Leadership development and school improvement

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial


Colleges, School and Institutes


The chosen focus of this special issue is timely given the burgeoning international interest and investment in leadership development and school improvement. In many countries leadership and improvement have been closely linked and there is no doubt that this linkage has an international reach. Together, these articles review and extend some of the key tenets surrounding present understandings and prompt further consideration of the advancement of both the theoretical and empirical agenda for leadership development and school improvement in the future. The collection offers insights into a variety of contemporary issues including access, equity and entitlement, the linkage of work-based and formal leadership learning, the distribution of learning opportunities, the development of inclusive leadership to serve the diverse communities that schools accommodate, the transition to headship and nature of central government policy directives that drive leadership development and school improvement. Perception of what constitutes an effective expression of leadership in schools is judged in relation to stakeholder requirements and expectations. Interventions made by central government stakeholders to direct how school leaders are developed and what they are expected to do will foster the formation of particular identities, thinking and priorities for action. The themes of central control and local solutions emerge in the articles in this collection and highlight that the establishment of leadership development that is seen centrally as fit for purpose does not necessarily embody the thinking and creativity needed to address the local expression of school improvement. Whilst many blind spots remain and space limitations do not allow a full range of issues to be explored, the present collection offers both UK-based and US-based studies upon which an international audience may further reflect upon their own practices, opportunities and constraints and in so doing further define their own research priorities.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-374
Number of pages14
JournalEducational Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2009


  • learner outcomes, leadership learning, school effectiveness, school improvement journey, leadership development