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Principals’ perceptions of school autonomy and educational leadership

journal contribution
posted on 2021-09-30, 00:00 authored by R Niesche, S Eacott, Amanda KeddieAmanda Keddie, B Gobby, Katrina MacDonaldKatrina MacDonald, J Wilkinson, Jillian BlackmoreJillian Blackmore
This paper examines principals’ perceptions of school autonomy and leadership as part of a 3-year research project looking at the implications of school autonomy on social justice across four states of Australia (Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia and Queensland). Drawing on interviews with principals and representatives from principal stakeholder organisations in these four state jurisdictions, the paper identifies a number of key issues for school principals and the implications for understandings and practices of educational leadership. These include varied understandings of autonomy, practices of leadership and implications for health, workload and well-being. The paper argues that while principals have mixed perceptions of school autonomy policies, there has been a narrowing of leadership experiences by principals in the form of managerialism and compliance. Furthermore, principals continue to experience high levels of workload, and some principals, depending on career stage and experience level, feel better able to work within and sometimes against these policies in their schools and communities. These practices are sometimes felt to be despite the system and not due to school autonomy policies themselves. The implication of these findings is that principals are inequitably able to respond to and implement school autonomy policies, an issue often glossed over in educational leadership research.

Funding

School autonomy reform and social justice: a study of public education in Australia | Funder: Australian Research Council | Grant ID: DP190100190

History

Journal

Educational Management Administration and Leadership

Article number

ARTN 17411432211034174

Pagination

1 - 18

Location

London, Eng.

ISSN

1741-1432

eISSN

1741-1440

Language

English

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Publisher

SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD