How far is leadership distributed in extended services provision?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes


This study focuses on the leadership engagement of children, young people (CYP) and their families in six school-based extended services (ES) clusters in a single, large, urban local authority in England. Empirical research was carried out in two strands of activity that focused on outcomes and experiences for CYP and leaders and leadership. Document analysis of annual reports and action plans, observations of activities for CYP, a survey of CYP views, interviews and/or focus groups with parents and interviews with local authority leaders, cluster coordinators, school leaders and agency representatives was undertaken. Analysis of the data was carried out using the components
of activity theory. Findings show four distinct roles for ES clusters as: (1) coordinator of resources; (2) conduit for communication; (3) hub for socially inclusive activity; and (4) mechanism of school/ES leadership accountability. The extent of CYP and parental engagement was dependent on the commitment of professionals to socially inclusive leadership and the meso- and macro-level
organizational context where ES clusters could or could not access already existing partnerships. This research has implications for the implementation of the Coalition government’s ‘Big Society’ approach to service provision.

Bibliographic note

Special Edition of Educational Management, Administration and Leadership: Researching Leadership - A Review of Progress


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)598-619
Number of pages22
JournalEducational Management, Administration & Leadership
Issue number5
Early online date29 Jul 2013
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sep 2013


  • Big Society, children's leadership, distributed leadership, extended services, parental involvement, social inclusion