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Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 46 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article

Bill Mulford

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of what the author believes to be his major contributions to the field of Educational Administration.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of what the author believes to be his major contributions to the field of Educational Administration.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach taken is a personal review and reflection based on research. For purposes of structuring the article three themes have been selected – complexity, development, and being close to and providing an empirical base for policy and practice. In addition, three areas are discussed that the author regrets having not taken further – the relationship between a school and its system from the school's perspective, the role of quality evidence, particularly the provision of valid and reliable surveys for use by practitioners, and public attitudes to education, including re‐examining the purposes of schools and their enactment.

Findings

The studies reviewed stress the importance of the interrelationship between the individual, organisational and contextual in effective teaching of educational administration, organisational development in schools, leadership for organisational learning and student outcomes, and successful school principalship. These studies promote a “tinkering towards Utopia”. “Tinkering” in the sense of improvement from the inside out rather than from outside schools and from the top down, and being about small scale and developmental rather than wholesale and/or continuous change. “Utopian” in the sense of focusing on complexity and heterogeneity rather than simplicity and homogeneity in both purposes and processes. “Utopia” is about learning for all, especially through facilitating schools as communities of professional learners. However, there continues to be a need for researchers in the field to provide a stronger empirical base for policy and practice, including providing quality, culturally specific evidence.

Research limitations/implications

While clarity is provided on the links between leadership and student outcomes in schools and areas for further research are identified, the article is limited by its heavy reliance on the author's Australian research findings.

Originality/value

The article has value in that the links are clarified between leadership and a breadth of student outcomes. It broadens what counts for good schooling and school leadership and provides clear evidence for improvements in policy and practice.

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Article

BILL MULFORD

This article sets down some thoughts on the teaching of educational administration. It delves briefly into three interrelated aspects which need to be considered by…

Abstract

This article sets down some thoughts on the teaching of educational administration. It delves briefly into three interrelated aspects which need to be considered by teachers of the subject: the learners and their stages of individual development, their tendency towards dependence, and their needs to master and belong; the setting, particularly such factors as assessment, the inclusion of students from different organizations, and group teaching; the content, specifically how different learning objectives might be met by different teaching approaches and whether reality is a unidimensional concept or always the most efficient approach in learning situations. It is concluded that only when we expect of ourselves what we expect of our students, that is, that performance comes to depend not only on intuitive skill or ‘art’ but also on explainable techniques and procedures, that we will transform a craft into a profession.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article

Bill Mulford and Halia Silins

This study aims to present revised models and a reconceptualisation of successful school principalship for improved student outcomes.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to present revised models and a reconceptualisation of successful school principalship for improved student outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach

The study's approach is qualitative and quantitative, culminating in model building and multi‐level statistical analyses.

Findings

Principals who promote both capacity building and systems of accountability and evaluation, to the extent that their teachers perceive these two factors as characterising their schools, advance student empowerment, social development and academic achievement. Other success factors include student home educational environment, the values and beliefs of teachers, and principals' years in a school and hours worked. It is demonstrated that the negative effects of socio‐economic disadvantage can be moderated.

Practical implications

Insights are provided into how schools and their principals can best achieve a broad range of student outcomes. For example, the most direct route for a school to achieve academic success is the indirect route through fostering student social development. For successful practice, the challenge is to create synergistic effects; the accumulation of a number of effects developed with others over time in the same direction.

Originality/value

This study represents the culmination of a five‐year research journey on school principalship that improves student outcomes. It employs an in‐depth qualitative and quantitative methodology culminating in model building and powerful multi‐level statistical analyses. It is one of few studies available that examines most of the factors that may influence a school's success in three categories of student outcomes: academic achievement, social development, and student empowerment.

Details

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 25 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-354X

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Article

Bill Mulford, Lawrie Kendall and Diana Kendall

This article explores the relationship between teachers' perceptions of administrative practice in high schools and students' perceptions of the school, teachers and their…

Abstract

This article explores the relationship between teachers' perceptions of administrative practice in high schools and students' perceptions of the school, teachers and their own performance. It was found that where decision making is perceived by teachers as collegial, collaborative, co‐operative and consultative and providing adequate opportunities for participation it will be more likely to lead to positive student perceptions about their school and teachers, as well as perceptions about relationships and their own performance, than where decision making is more top‐down, executive or does not foster widespread involvement. Reinforcing these findings it was found that where teachers identify the main sources of stress in their schools as lack of support from management, poor leadership and ineffective decision‐making processes, students are much less favourably disposed towards their teachers or their own engagement and performance. Previously reported results have shown that such inclusive decision‐making practices may not be widespread in high schools.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 42 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

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Article

Dan Riley and Bill Mulford

The purpose of this article is to critique the strengths and weaknesses of the National College for School Leadership (NCSL). The primary purpose of the NCSL is to improve…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to critique the strengths and weaknesses of the National College for School Leadership (NCSL). The primary purpose of the NCSL is to improve student attainment levels through enhancement of leadership capacity within England's government schools. The critique aims to include the issues of strategic rethinking, definition of terms, leadership competencies, core competencies, selection criteria, and research needs.

Design/methodology/approach

This article provides a review of literature related to leadership capacity building and challenges to the NCSL enhancement of student attainment levels in England's government schools.

Findings

The article indicates that the NCSL had numerous strengths adequate for the initial core activities of headteacher development. Subsequent broadening of those responsibilities to include all leadership development in government schools is a challenging task. The continued increase in expectations necessitates a strategic rethinking of NCSL capability.

Practical implications

The number of potential school leaders warrants reflection on current practice. The “demographic time‐bomb” of the teaching profession has implications for succession planning and professional development. The NCSL has endeavoured to prepare additional school leaders. The increase in NCSL responsibilities regarding school leadership necessitates a sharing of responsibility with other providers.

Originality/value

The article is among the first to critique the NCSL and to identify lessons to be learned by educational leaders from the NCSL experience.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 45 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

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Article

Bill Mulford

This paper examines and compares the recent emphases in school education and school leadership training in Australia and the state of Tasmania as they relate to the…

Abstract

This paper examines and compares the recent emphases in school education and school leadership training in Australia and the state of Tasmania as they relate to the democratic purposes of schools. It finds a strong emphasis on the democratic purposes of schools and congruence between these purposes and the means of achieving them, in respect of school principal training at the national but not state level. This finding raises a major issue in respect of the ongoing pervasiveness of educational bureaucracies and whether they continue to be the best means of delivering educational outcomes (including principal training) in, and for, a democratic and increasingly knowledge society.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 42 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article

Halia Silins and Bill Mulford

An Australian government‐funded four‐year research project involving 96 secondary schools, over 5,000 students and 3,700 teachers and their principals has provided a rich…

Abstract

An Australian government‐funded four‐year research project involving 96 secondary schools, over 5,000 students and 3,700 teachers and their principals has provided a rich source of information on schools conceptualised as learning organisations. The LOLSO project focused on three aspects of high school functioning: leadership, organisational learning and the impact of both on student outcomes. This research has established a relationship between the system factors of leadership and organisational learning and student outcomes as measured by student levels of participation in and engagement with school. This paper summarises this research and reports on a study that empirically tests the relationship between students’ participation in and engagement with school and student achievement using model building and path analysis. The importance of learning at the system, teacher and student level is discussed in the context of school restructuring.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 40 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article

Bill Mulford, Bill Edmunds, John Ewington, Lawrie Kendall, Diana Kendall and Halia Silins

Who are late‐career school principals? Do they continue to make a positive contribution to their schools? Do they feel tired and trapped or do they maintain their…

Abstract

Purpose

Who are late‐career school principals? Do they continue to make a positive contribution to their schools? Do they feel tired and trapped or do they maintain their commitment to education and young people? The purpose of this paper is to explore these issues, employing the results of a survey on successful school principalship with the population of Tasmanian government school principals.

Design/methodology/approach

Surveys on successful school principalship were distributed to a population of 195 government schools (excluding colleges and special schools) in Tasmania. Return rates were 67 per cent for principals and 12 per cent for teachers. Surveys sought responses in areas such as demographic characteristics, leadership characteristics, values and beliefs, tensions and dilemmas, learning and development, school capacity building, decision making, evaluation and accountability, and perceptions of school success.

Findings

The findings confirm other research indicating that pre‐retirement principals, when compared with other principals, are more likely to have a strong work ethic, to consult widely and to have a strong social consciousness. The findings contradict results from other research indicating that pre‐retirement principals, when compared with other principals, are more likely to be rigid and autocratic, disenchanted with and withdrawn from work, and “tired and trapped”.

Practical implications

Such findings lead one to conclude that pre‐retirement principals continue to be a committed and valuable resource and that therefore greater research and policy attention should be given to the issue. With education systems undergoing major and continuing change, while at the same time suffering potential shortages of effective school leaders, it is time to re‐examine educational career structures, especially for those principals approaching retirement.

Originality/value

The paper's originality lies in the evidence it provides about an area that is not well researched.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 47 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

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Article

Bill Mulford, Diana Kendall, John Ewington, Bill Edmunds, Lawrie Kendall and Halia Silins

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…

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.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 46 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

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