Should School Leadership be ‘Shared’?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


A cluster of initiatives developed by educationalists have described school leadership as ‘shared’ (2002, Kagan, 1994) or ‘distributed’, sometimes as ‘democratic’; rarely, these are considered as potentially morally desirable accounts of school leadership. These approaches have attracted interest as a practical response to the problem of recruiting and/or retaining suitable headteachers faced by schools. For example, leadership may be described as ‘shared’ where two practitioners cover the headteacher’s role (‘co-headship’). Leadership may also be described as ‘shared’ when traditional models are dismantled entirely to redistribute decision making powers in ways that include teachers, non-teachers, pupils and parents. Were empirical evidence to prove that school leadership can be ‘shared’ along the more radical lines just indicated, conventional practices and policies assumed within the dominant school leadership discourse (2003, Court, 1998, 2004, MacBeath, 1999, 2005, Woods, 2004) could be challenged without completely dismantling those existing arrangements. Observations of a ‘broad-based’ (Harris and Muijs, 2005) approach to school leadership appear particularly helpful. Further conceptual work is needed to unravel the interesting and important – but nonetheless confusing, and at times contradictory – collection of school models that are interpreted as ‘shared’.
Translated title of the contribution‘Should School Leadership be ‘Shared’?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnnual Conference of the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain, New College Oxford
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Bibliographical note

Medium/genre: Paper
Conference Organiser: PESGB


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