Professional School Leadership: Dealing with Dilemmas


Political and social expectations of schools and their leaders are very high. The ideal school leader is often portrayed heroically as someone who is able to drive forward an agenda of change and improvement, whatever the challenges. Yet the experience of school leadership is more complex. School leaders find a gap between their aspirations and the tensions of the job, leading to high levels of personal and professional stress. These tensions arise between individuals and groups within plural school communities while the competing priorities set for the education system by its political masters are exacerbated by the competing values and interests found in our complex societies. In schools, this gives rise to specific and unavoidable dilemmas which affect individuals deeply - dilemmas which can occur on a daily basis. Professional School Leadership - Dealing with Dilemmas uses this concept of 'dilemmas' to rebalance the understanding of the work of school leaders. This analysis offers helpful support to school leaders facing difficult decisions and gives insight for those in leadership training programs. The book provides a frame for 'dealing with dilemmas,' drawing on experience of school leadership, the psychology of learning, and perspectives of the politics and ethics of schooling. The book concludes with some important insights into what the dilemmas tell us about the character of all public service in complex plural democracies.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Edinburgh
Publication year:
  • 2007


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