Leadership that transforms schools and school systems

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Caldwell, Brian
Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER)
Top performing countries; The autonomy premium (2016); School leaders; School improvement; School based management; Institutional autonomy; School systems; Principals; National surveys; International comparisons; Educational Leadership; Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration
conference paper description
This paper will report on the findings of four international research projects on leadership in high-performing school systems around the world. The paper will focus on building the capacity of school leaders to exercise professional autonomy and how different levels of government achieve strategic alignment among policies in their efforts to lift performance. The paper will summarise findings reported in The Autonomy Premium published in 2016 by ACER Press, along with the findings of a national survey of principals in Australia. The major part of this presentation is devoted to comparing Australia on 15 benchmarks derived from international studies in 2017 in Australia, Canada, China (Hong Kong), England, Estonia, Finland, Israel, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States. The key message will be that Australia will not become one of the top-10 high-performing systems unless there is a transformation of approaches to leadership and leadership development at all levels, and unless due account is taken of outstanding practice in schools and school systems around the nation. Innovation and the resourcefulness of leaders abounds but these must be scaled up. This paper will explore the challenges and priorities for governments and leaders in schools and school systems.