Leadership for improving the quality of secondary education: Some international developments

  • Bill Mulford


Internationally, this is a “golden age” of school but it is taking place in the face of tremendous pressure for schools to be more publicly accountable. This mix of leadership and accountability has created a very new working context for both teachers and school leaders. There is a clear need to better understand the consequences of that context for the work of secondary school leaders. To help with this understanding, this paper identifies some of the international developments in that context in education and school leadership. It first focuses on work emanating from the OECD and then moves to recent developments in UK and Australia. All start at the broadest level by questioning what kind of education best serves society now and in the future. They then move to the question of how the education system is best organised in order to met the new demands, especially in terms of its governance and leadership. Three clear areas are identified from this work that involve a broadening of what counts for good schooling, governance and school leadership. A second focus on recent reviews of research on school leadership effects on student learning finds them consistent with these international and national developments, as well as suggesting directions forward for effective secondary school leadership.


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