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Investigating School Leadership within a European Project

Kathy Kikis-Papadakis


This article draws on the work conducted within the context of the European Policy Network on School Leadership. Its aim is to discuss and reflect upon school leadership policy development in the context of European education systems. The first section focuses on the concept of school leadership, identifying connections between school leadership practices and the promotion of equity and learning in schools. The second section discusses critical factors in policy implementation that shape the capacity of school leaders to combat inequalities and promote learning performance in schools. The article ends with an outlining of key policy actions for the promotion of distributed leadership practices in schools. In effect, this section stresses the need for a conceptual shift in understanding school leadership, from the position, roles, responsibilities, traits and capacities of the individuals holding formally assigned leadership roles in schools, to leadership as a function inside schools. As it is argued, such a conceptual shift calls for a policy shift in school leadership capacity-building that strengthens, but also goes beyond, the traditional repertoire of policies that focus on the preparation and professional training of school heads or other members of formal teams responsible for school management.


Capacity-building; Equity; School leaders; School leadership; School policies; Dirigenti scolastici; Dirigenza scolastica; Equità; Politiche scolastiche; Sviluppo di capacità

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/ecps-2015-011-kiki


Journal of Educational, Cultural and Psychological Studies (ECPS)
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (19/05/2010 n. 278)
Online ISSN 2037-7924 - Print ISSN 2037-7932

Research Laboratory on Didactics and Evaluation - Department of Education - "Roma Tre" University

Executive Editor: Gaetano Domenici - Managing  Editor: Valeria Biasci
Editorial Board: Giuditta Alessandrini - Eleftheria Argyropoulou - Massimo Baldacci - Joao Barroso - Richard Bates - Christofer Bezzina - Paolo Bonaiuto - Lucia Boncori - Pietro Boscolo - Sara Bubb  - Carlo Felice Casula - Jean-Émile Charlier - Lucia Chiappetta Cajola - Carmela Covato - Jean-Louis Derouet - Peter Early - Franco Frabboni - Constance Katz - James Levin - Pietro Lucisano  - Roberto Maragliano - Romuald Normand - Michael Osborne - Donatella Palomba - Michele Pellerey - Clotilde Pontecorvo - Vitaly V. Rubtzov - Jaap Scheerens - Noah W. Sobe - Francesco Susi - Giuseppe Spadafora - Pat Thomson
Editorial Staff: Fabio Alivernini - Guido Benvenuto - Anna Maria Ciraci - Massimiliano Fiorucci - Luca Mallia - Massimo Margottini - Giovanni Moretti - Carla Roverselli 
Editorial Secretary:
Nazarena Patrizi