Female school leadership in the United Arab Emirates: Validation of a ‘heuristic’ inclusive education leadership model

Aysha Alnuaimi, Maxwell Peprah Opoku

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Inclusive education has been widely accepted as a useful policy to offer equal access to education to all children. However, practices have stalled in many countries, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), necessitating support for system strengthening to enhance the existing practices in schools. While leadership is at the heart of effective practices, there is little discussion on the leadership required to leverage inclusive practices. In the UAE, little information is available regarding inclusive education leadership at early school levels, which is dominated by female teachers. This study examined the structural validity of the heuristic leadership framework, which focuses on leadership tenets (transaction, transformation and instruction) controlled by school leaders, to explain female leadership practices in the implementation of inclusive education in early education schools in the UAE. A scale based on the study framework (heuristics leadership framework) was used to collect data from 151 school leaders, including principals, vice principals, faculty heads and lead teachers, working at early school levels across the UAE. The results of this study provide theoretical support for the heuristic leadership framework and some demographics, providing valuable insights into leadership practices among female education leaders in the UAE.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Research in Special Educational Needs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • female
  • gender
  • inclusive education
  • leadership approaches
  • practices
  • schools
  • special needs
  • support
  • UAE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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