JELPP – Volume 30, Issue 2 (Dec 2015)

Principal traits and school climate: Is the Invitational Education Leadership Model the right choice?

Ingrid Legros and Thomas G. Ryan
Nipissing University, Canada


This review is grounded in the belief that the principal is integral to the creation and sustainment of a school’s climate. The existence of a positive school climate is no longer a bonus of good leadership. It is the product of conscious leadership choices. We argue that the way in which a principal chooses to lead determines whether or not a positive school climate will arise. Today’s principal can no longer be a hierarchal leader. Leadership must be inclusive and provide all with a voice that is authentic and valued. Invitational Leadership exists as a model that encompasses the need to establish a positive school climate and the need to effectively address student achievement. Choosing to lead from an invitational stance enables principals to be inclusive, involving staff, students and parents in a shared school vision. This active participation of all involved sets a respectful, trustworthy and meaningful climate in a school.


Leadership; principal; invitational leadership; school climate

Multiple perspectives of leadership development for middle-level pedagogical leaders in New Zealand secondary schools

Carol Cardno and Martin Bassett
Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand


A growing recognition of the important role of pedagogical middle-level educational leaders in relation to their direct impact on the learning outcomes of students is evident in both recent research and policy. In spite of considerable attention being drawn to the significance of leadership at this mid-level of the school, there is a notable lack of leadership development that specifically targets middle-level leadership. In fact, there is evidence that middle-level leaders are currently experiencing role expansion that has been bequeathed to them from leaders in the tier above without recognition of the associated challenges. This study set out to examine the views of secondary school leaders responsible for the development of middle-level leaders and the views of the middle-level leaders themselves regarding their experiences of leadership development. The findings reveal strong differences in the perceptions held by those in executive level positions (school governors and school principals and deputy principals) and those in middle-level positions (curriculum leaders and heads of department). It is concluded that in the absence of national initiatives for middle leadership development, institutions need to make this a priority and need to clarify expectations, merge understandings and include the needs of the organisation and the individual to develop and leverage the critical role that these middle-level leaders play as instructional leaders who can impact the quality of teaching and learning.


Leadership development; middle-level leaders; secondary schools; New Zealand

The impact of the Canterbury earthquakes on schools and school leaders: Educational leaders become crisis managers

Carol Mutch
The University of Auckland, New Zealand


The 2010/20111 Canterbury earthquakes provided the opportunity to reflect on the role of educational leaders in crisis contexts. This article draws material from a wider study which followed a range of school communities as they responded to, and began to recover from, their earthquake experiences. The focus in this article is on (a) what we can learn from how school leaders internationally have responded to similar disasters, (b) how a leadership role changes in a crisis context and (c) how those in leadership roles in four Canterbury schools met the challenges they faced. The article draws this material together to discuss how educational leaders, their leadership teams and their organisations might prepare for such unexpected events. One of the key findings is that the inclusive culture of the school and the strength of the relationships before the event will have a bearing on how well a school manages the crises they might face.


Educational leadership; crisis management; disaster response and recovery

Leadership: Going beyond personal will and professional skills to give life to Ka Hikitia

Mere Berryman, Elizabeth Eley, Therese Ford and Margaret Egan
University of Waikato, New Zealand


This paper investigates the Ka Hikitia Māori education policy and its subsequent influence in effecting system change towards Māori students’ achievement. It discusses how a Request for Proposal to the Ministry of Education’s Building on Success was conceptualised to support English-medium secondary schools across New Zealand to address this policy. The result, Kia Eke Panuku, is a professional learning and development response that works with Strategic Change Leadership Teams to create culturally responsive and relational contexts for learning, focused on Māori students enjoying and achieving educational success as Māori. It is argued that neither a political mandate for change nor a set of learned strategies by school personnel will truly bring about a changed reality for Māori students. Rather the reform must be led by transformative leaders who are driven by both the moral imperative to change and a keen sense of urgency to see this happen in our schools for Māori students and their home communities.

The major issues raised in this paper, and the solutions that have been reached thus far, can help inform others who are trying to raise the participation, inclusion and achievement of students who may currently be marginalised from formal education settings.


Education policy; reducing disparity; transformative leadership; moral imperative; culturally responsive and relational contexts for learning

Authentic school leadership change in New Zealand: rhetoric or reality?

Denis Slowley


The purpose of this paper is to suggest that without an educational environmental shift in New Zealand it will be difficult to achieve authentic school leadership change. The paper is based largely on the results of a study of the leadership perceptions of 94 secondary school principals in New Zealand (Slowley, 2012) and therefore is mostly about how difficult it is for secondary school principals in New Zealand to make changes in their leadership. However, it also points to a dichotomy that exists for principals at all levels and school types, between the leadership assumptions that permeate the schools’ self-management system in New Zealand and the new leadership forms being called for by the government and its advisors and by some educationalists. This paper argues that dichotomy exists because the current schools’ self-management system compels principals to be focused on the demands generated by an education market and by the government’s expectations that principals should be effective administrators. To illustrate this dichotomy, the paper outlines the impact on the leadership of the individual principal of the accountabilities and leadership assumptions they are subject to on a daily basis. In so doing, the paper raises important questions about the value of providing principals with models of good leadership practice when those leadership models contrast with the inherent leadership assumptions within the current education environment.


Authentic school leadership change; good leadership practices; inherent school leadership assumptions; school leadership accountabilities

Leading together: Exploring contexts for collaboration

Juliette Hayes1 and Ann Briggs2
1Columba College, Dunedin, New Zealand; 2Newcastle University, UK


This paper presents small-scale research undertaken in New Zealand, through a range of formal and informal research approaches, to explore educational partnerships and the features of successful collaboration for educational leaders. It explores the perspectives of leaders across the sectors on the extent and value of their networks and collaborations, both within their own schools and centres, and between educational settings. It identifies the range of networks in which the respondents were engaged, the drivers and barriers to collaborative working, and the skills and dispositions that collaborative system leaders felt that they possessed. The research was carried out as the New Zealand government launched a policy of Communities of Learning, aimed at engaging schools to work together in ways that would improve student learning outcomes. The paper therefore offers timely insight into strategies that would support contexts for purposeful collaboration by leaders in education.


Collaboration; networks; educational leadership; system leadership; leader skills and dispositions; Communities of Learning; principal preparation.

Book Reviews

John MacBeath and Nigel Dempster (Eds.). (2009).

Connecting Leadership and Learning. Principles for practice. London. Routledge. ISBN 10: 0-415-45295-3 (pbk.) 194 pp.

Ann R.J. Briggs, Marianne Coleman and Marlene Morrison (Eds.). (2012).

Research Methods in Educational Leadership & Management (3rd edn.). London: Sage Publications. ISBN 978-1-4462-0044-5 (pbk.) 432 pp.