Thinking about principalship

by David Stewart

Overview

In this article, David Stewart explores the link between effective principalship and school cultures that support learning. He originally developed it for the First-Time Principals Induction Programme in 2002.

He overviews the work of a number of theorists who argue that successful leadership stems from a particular form of school culture – one where schools are perceived as communities rather than organisations. He looks at the differences between transactional and transformational leadership – with an emphasis on the role of the principal in transforming the school culture.

The article covers:

  • the crucial role of the principal
  • a school development approach
  • the concept of community
  • establishment of a learning community
  • principals’ responsibilities.

Reflective questions

These reflective questions might assist your reading of this article:

  • David Stewart sets out Sergiovanni’s outline of cultures that are transactional or transformational. Where does your school sit along the continuum between the two?
  • What broad strategies or actions might help a school which has a focus on being an organisation to become one that focuses on being a community?

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