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Sustainable school capacity building – one step back, two steps forward?

Stephen Dinham (University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia)
Frank Crowther (University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia)

Journal of Educational Administration

ISSN: 0957-8234

Article publication date: 27 September 2011




This paper aims to serve as an introduction to and overview of this special issue of the Journal of Educational Administration entitled “Building organisational capacity in school education”. The co‐editors have solicited contributions from authors in Wales, Australia, Canada, the USA, England, Hong Kong and New Zealand.


The paper reviews past and contemporary approaches to the issue of capacity building in education and in particular, sustainable capacity building. As well as reviewing key researchers and writers in this field, including their own work, the authors foreshadow and synthesise the other seven papers that make up this special issue.


The paper contends that building capacity in schools and schooling, while no means easy, can be both understood and accomplished. However, caution needs to be exercised because hard‐fought gains in capacity building and sustainability can be quickly eroded under the influence of poor leadership or extraneous changes.

Practical implications

The paper serves as a framework both for the seven papers that follow and more generally for understanding and conceptualising sustainable school capacity building.


The paper performs the function of framing current debates and pressures around sustainable school capacity‐building in an international theoretical and practical context.



Dinham, S. and Crowther, F. (2011), "Sustainable school capacity building – one step back, two steps forward?", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 49 No. 6, pp. 616-623.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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