Original Research

Towards a leadership programme for primary school principals as instructional leaders

Parvathy Naidoo, Nadine Petersen
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 5, No 3 | a371 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v5i3.371 | © 2016 Parvathy Naidoo, Nadine Petersen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 November 2015 | Published: 06 February 2016

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Parvathy Naidoo, Department of Childhood Education, University of Johannesburg, South Africa, South Africa
Nadine Petersen, Department of Childhood Education, University of Johannesburg, South Africa, South Africa

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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. In South Africa, based on numerous reports of poor learner outcomes in schools, we question whether principals possess the necessary skills required to lead and manage curriculum in schools. In this article, the views of five principals, who have completed the Advanced Certificate in Education: School Leadership and Management (ACESLM) programme, are examined. Findings indicate that not all principals who participated in the study are fully conversant with their roles and responsibilities as instructional leaders. They mainly interpret their functions to be purely managerial and to be leaders and administrators of schools. Thus, whilst some understanding of instructional leadership was apparent in some of the principals’ responses, it is the authors’ views that ACESLM, as a leadership development programme, needs to be redesigned to include greater focus on instructional leadership.


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