A Study into Teachers’ Perception of Leadership Practice in Large Co-Educational Primary Schools in County Donegal, Through the Lens of Distributed Leadership
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Leadership practice in Irish primary education is undergoing unprecedented change reflected by a major shift in educational policy with regard to in-school leadership and management. Through policy enactment there has been a move away from the historical, monocratic system of leadership towards a more collaborative, dispersed, democratic view that is flexible and robust enough to sustain the pressures and demands of our current education system. Motivated by the recent policy change towards a more distributed leadership approach, this Masters thesis examines teachers’ perception of leadership practice in large co-educational primary schools in County Donegal, through the lens of distributed leadership. Three schools with a student population of between 400-600 participated in this study. A qualitative methodology was employed and sixty-one teachers completed an extensive questionnaire, three of which agreed to a consecutive interview to ascertain a clearer understanding of the data collected across the schools. Findings reveal that an effective leadership model (agreed by 84 per cent of teachers) encompassing a distributed leadership approach is being enacted across the schools and the key themes that arose in the data were Collaborative practice, Dispersing leadership, Pupil voice, participation and leadership and Renumeration. Further research is warranted in this area to encapsulate a nationally representative voice, and to support policy decision making.
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