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School Leadership and Professional Autonomy

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School autonomy remains an elusive term in research, policy and practice as does the role of the leader under its various manifestations. The purpose of this article is to illuminate the issues and describe new perspectives and important breakthroughs that may help manage if not resolve some of the associated tensions.

This paper draws on two sets of studies. The first culminated in the International Project to Frame the Transformation of Schools conducted in 2007 in Australia, China, England, Finland, United States and Wales and funded jointly by the Australian Government and Welsh Assembly Government. Findings were reported by Caldwell and Harris (2008).

The second was part of the International Study on School Autonomy and Learning, conducted from 2014 to 2017 by teams of researchers from Australia, Canada, China (Hong Kong), England, Israel and Singapore. While selected findings are reported here, accounts of developments in the six countries are contained in a special issue of the International Journal of Educational Management (2016). The Australian contribution was supported by funds from the Australian Government and was conducted in two stages (1) 2014 and 2015 (Caldwell, 2016a, 2016b, 2016c) and (2) 2017 (Caldwell, 2018).

The article deals with (1) reframing leadership as capital formation; (2) refocusing to emphasise professional autonomy rather than structural autonomy; (3) leadership roles in different national contexts; (4) school leadership, professional autonomy and curriculum; and (5) preparation and professional learning of leaders in high-performing countries.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2018

More about this publication?
  • Previously published under the title University of Wales Journal of Education, this internationally-distributed annual journal offers an arena for disseminating education research from national and international perspectives. The journal explores a range of controversial arguments relating to education, including areas such as bilingualism, religion in education, well-being and the standards of literacy and numeracy. The contemporary drive for improved education standards, within Wales and internationally, provides a wealth of interdisciplinary research opportunities, and the journal aims to publish research reports relating to these current issues. The journal also includes a comprehensive reviews section.

    Mae'r cylchgrawn blynyddol hwn, a adwaenid gynt fel Cylchgrawn Addysg Prifysgol Cymru, yn trafod agweddau datganoledig ar addysg, ynghyd ag ymdrin ag addysg o safbwynt cenedlaethol a rhyngwladol. Wrth ymhel â materion cyfoes yn ymwneud ag addysg, mae'r drafodaeth yn amlinellu safbwyntiau dadleuol ynghylch dwyieithrwydd a chrefydd yn ogystal â safonau llythrennedd a rhifedd. Mae'r ymdrechion i wella safonau addysg yng Nghymru a thu hwnt yn esgor ar feysydd ymchwil newydd, a bwriad y cyfnodolyn yw cyhoeddi erthyglau cryno yn ymdrin â materion cyfredol o'r fath. Mae'r cyfnodolyn hefyd yn cynnwys adran adolygiadau.

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