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This article argues that the work of school principals in South Africa is shaped by two major sets of constructs or ‘landscapes’: the literature on leadership and management which provides particular constructions of the field and its changes; and the terrain of new policy frameworks adopted after apartheid to transform the education system.

Read more: Landscapes of Leadership in South African Schools: Mapping the Changes

This study set out to explore primary school principals’ instructional leadership. The study addressed a key issue in the school improvement literature, pertaining to the curriculum leadership of principals. The literature is not entirely clear about which leadership characteristic is more likely to produce the most favourable outcomes in terms of improved learner outcomes, in other words, how the curriculum has been implemented and how leadership in this regard has been effected. The article argues that robust training and development in instructional leadership practices become necessary to support school leaders in this regard.

Read more: Towards a leadership programme for primary school principals as instructional leaders

One of the best safeguards to ensuring a fair education system is making sure that all teachers have a similar level of capability. In a good system, a child in a rural poorer community and a child in a wealthier urban suburb should have an equally good teacher standing in front of them every day. But, when we look at the data on how teachers are trained in South Africa, it is clear that our system still sets teachers up for failure long before they even enter the classroom – and in the process further disadvantages the children they teach. 

Read more in Daily Maverick

Tags: teacher support

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