Firefighters or deputy lead learners? Organizational, deputy and principal in-situ perspectives on the role of secondary deputy principals

Ann Leaf, Rachel Wilson, George Odhiambo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

There is a dearth of research examining secondary school deputy principals’ in situ educational leadership practices. This study explores deputies’ educational leadership and engagement with the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (benchmarking standards). Interviews with seven system and policy leaders from regulatory and jurisdictional organizations provided background for interviews with five principals, 11 deputies and analysis of 24 school documents in five schools. Although sensitive to instructional and transformational leadership, this qualitative study is primarily inductive and sought understanding of deputies in diverse school contexts. Thematic analysis provided insight into contextualized leadership practices through an Australian secondary deputy lens. A spectrum of educational leadership was often hampered by managerial responsibilities. Opportunities for practicing instructional and transformational leadership varied and were often constrained by socialization into the deputy role and a Taylorist approach to role allocation. System and policy leaders identified the importance of deputy engagement with ‘the Standards’, but in-school engagement depended largely on individual schools allocating deputies’ duties. Findings illustrate how instructional and transformational leadership theories do not always address deputies’ onsite practice and require integration with organizational and socialization theories. These five schools revealed heavy dependence on school context, historical conventions and local socialization into deputy roles.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Leadership in Education
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Strategy and Management

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