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Title: National provision for leadership development : the views of English special school head teachers and deputy headteachers
Author: Shaw, Rowena Marie
ISNI:       0000 0004 2701 2511
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2006
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Literature on school leadership is mainly generic as is the national development framework for English school leaders, presenting standardised models which cut across all school contexts. Some theorists argue that successful leadership is dependent on an understanding of the values, knowledge and practice identified with specific school contexts (for instance Hersey and Blanchard, 1982; Thrupp and Willmott, 2003). Although every school is different it is likely that the context of the special school is distinct in terms of professional knowledge, internal context and an environment characterised by unprecedented change, complexity, uncertainty and even hostility. This study aims to ascertain if special school leaders in England feel that the generic leadership programmes offered by the NCSL meet their specific professional development needs within the context of current leadership theory. A random sample of 50% of heads and deputy heads in English special schools was surveyed by questionnaire in 2001 to seek their views on the value of NPQH, Headlamp, LPSH and other professional development opportunities generating a 38% response. Literature on special schools and on their leaders is extremely sparse and so the findings of this study offer unprecedented insight into a previously over-looked area: the views of special school leaders on the professional development they need to lead their schools through a period of change. Findings indicate that contrary to contingency theories which locate the development of learning communities in the specific context of the school, half the respondents valued generic professional development over context specific programmes. Leadership development is seen as more important in determining effective headship than management training and much more important than special needs training. The study concludes that context specific issues cannot be ignored and therefore participants from special schools on generic leadership programmes should be offered additional modules or experiential learning through mentoring, networking and peer learning groups as it is difficult to find common ground when all other participants are from mainstream schools.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available