AER 53-The Leadership Challenge elaborates on issues raised by the ACER Research Conference 2007: The Leadership Challenge - Improving learning in schools. This conference was significant in that it identified leadership as an area of interest to school leaders requiring explicit policy development at both a school and system level.
This review aims to demonstrate that a great deal of a school's success depends on which areas of school life the educational leader chooses to spend time and attention.
- Section 1 describes the three interrelated, or nested, elements of leadership. Beginning from the outside and moving inward to the core these are: school context, school organisation, and the school leader.
- Section 2 focuses on the school context, with reference to the forces that are currently pressing on schools, and the implications these have for schools and their leaders.
- Section 3 examines school organisations and looks at evolving models such as communities of professional learners.
- Section 4 concentrates on the school leader, questioning whether one type of leader fits all and what it means to be a successful leader. It also examines issues of leader recruitment and retention; leadership in pre-retirement, or small schools, or high-poverty communities; leader autonomy and responsibility; and new shared models of leadership.
- Section 5 provides a range of recommendations and the challenge to school leaders that they move beyond mere technical competence and be contextually literate, organisationally savvy and leadership smart.