Changing practice through distributing leadership

by Peter Witana


Over a number of years teachers at Kawakawa Primary School were involved in sustained professional learning that led them to make fundamental changes to their teaching practice.

The leadership provided by middle and senior leaders was central to these changes. 

In his project report principal Peter Witana writes about the process he undertook to build leadership capacity in the school.

Download the report:

Distributing leadership

Distributing leadership throughout a school develops a group of teachers who can be accountable for effective teaching and learning beyond their own classrooms.

Peter Witana’s project developed a group of middle and senior leaders who take responsibility for a number of initiatives to improve student learning. 

Using middle and senior leaders in the school requires providing opportunities for them to take initiatives at school-wide level. Kawakawa School restructured staff meeting practices to give these opportunities, which in turn changed how other groups ran their meetings.

His example also shows the importance for new middle and senior leaders in schools to have opportunities to build networks beyond the school.

Reflective questions

  • What can you do as an educational leader to provide opportunities for your effective teachers to be models for others in the school?
  • What potential leaders do you have in your school? What projects they could take responsibility for?
  • What initial support and guidance might you need to offer them so that they can ‘step up’ to their new roles in the school?
  • What school-wide practices could you change so that other leaders in the school add new skills to their leadership practices?
  • What other groups in your area might provide support for developing leaders at your school?

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