The effective instructional leader
Campbell, P, Chaseling, M, Boyd, W & Shipway, B 2018, 'The effective instructional leader', Professional Development in Education.
Publication available from
This study examines school principals’ insights into effective instructional leadership. It follows the implementation by the New South Wales Department of Education, Australia, of a state-wide strategy that featured Instructional Leaders. Over 200 were appointed to selected schools as completely new positions. However, the initial implementation contained no published role description or guidelines. In a context relatively devoid of supporting information, school principals found it necessary to construct the concept and role of ‘instructional leader’ themselves – including the appointment level within the school staffing profile. Using qualitative research based on in-depth interviews, the study explores the insights of six school principals who had an Instructional Leader appointed to their school. The data were analysed to explore the principals’ perceptions of effective instructional leadership, and ascertain whether it had an impact upon the depth of professional learning in their schools. The study found that: (i) principals did not view themselves as instructional leaders, but as facilitators of the concept; (ii) understanding of instructional leadership was weak and diffuse, and depended on prior experience; and (iii) instructional leadership could be considered effective in improving student outcomes by improving teacher practice, developing purposeful professional learning, and building strong relationships across the school.