The Principal and School Improvement: Theorising Discourse, Policy, and Practice

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This book investigates the localised effects of reform by exploring the impact of a school improvement policy agenda on the work of three experienced principals. It presents three longitudinal case studies within a shared specific leadership context in Queensland, Australia. The case studies enable an exploration of the way the principalship in this context has evolved over time, providing deep insights into the practices and beliefs of three experienced school leaders working in a period of rapid and urgent systemic reform. The nature of global reform policy borrowing means that the research and the findings within this monograph are relevant for international audiences.

The book describes a new way to understand and theorise the effects of reform policies and associated pressures on school leaders. Using post-structural theory, it provides a better understanding of the specific effects of reform policy ensembles, particularly when combined with an analysis of the ways policy and discourse work together at a wider level to create an environment that disciplines the principalship. Further, it sheds lights on the means of complying with or contesting policy influences and how the work of leaders has changed over time.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages179
ISBN (Electronic)9789811314957
ISBN (Print)9789811314940
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameEducational Leadership Theory
ISSN (Print)2510-1781
ISSN (Electronic)2510-179X


  • primary school leadership
  • elementary school leadership
  • educational leadership
  • Michael Foucault
  • J.F. Lyotard
  • school policy enactment
  • school reform policies
  • school improvement
  • school principals
  • lenses and notions of performativity
  • leaders and autonomy and accountability
  • Independent Public Schools
  • experienced school leaders

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