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Successful principalship of high‐performance schools in high‐poverty communities

Bill Mulford (Leadership for Learning Research Group, Faculty of Education, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia)
Diana Kendall (Leadership for Learning Research Group, Faculty of Education, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia)
John Ewington (Leadership for Learning Research Group, Faculty of Education, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia)
Bill Edmunds (Leadership for Learning Research Group, Faculty of Education, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia)
Lawrie Kendall (Leadership for Learning Research Group, Faculty of Education, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia)
Halia Silins (Leadership for Learning Research Group, Faculty of Education, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia)

Journal of Educational Administration

ISSN: 0957-8234

Article publication date: 4 July 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to review literature in certain areas and report on related results from a study of successful school principalship in the Australian state of Tasmania.

Design/methodology/approach

Surveys on successful school principalship were distributed to a population of 195 government schools (excluding colleges and special schools) in Tasmania with a return rate of 67 per cent. Surveys sought responses in areas such as demographic characteristics (including a measure of school poverty), leadership characteristics, values and beliefs, tensions and dilemmas, learning and development, school capacity building, decision making, evaluation and accountability, and perceptions of school success. In addition, details of actual student performance on literacy and numeracy tests were supplied by the Department of Education.

Findings

The literature reviewed in this article indicated that world‐wide poverty is a major issue and that there is a nexus between poverty and education. While questions may be raised about the effectiveness of schools as institutions in serving those in high‐poverty communities, as well as problems in labelling a school as high‐poverty, evidence has emerged of high‐performing schools in high‐poverty communities. A common characteristic of these schools is successful, high‐performing leadership.

Practical implications

Evidence is provided on the nature of successful principalship of high‐performance schools in high‐poverty communities.

Originality/value

World‐wide poverty is a major and growing social and economic issue. Yet, material available in the area, including research reported here, leads one to conclude that the research on successful principalship in high‐performance schools in high‐poverty communities needs to be given greater priority.

Keywords

Citation

Mulford, B., Kendall, D., Ewington, J., Edmunds, B., Kendall, L. and Silins, H. (2008), "Successful principalship of high‐performance schools in high‐poverty communities", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 46 No. 4, pp. 461-480. https://doi.org/10.1108/09578230810882009

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited