Examining middle level leadership in schools using a multi-role framework

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


While there has been a growing body of literature investigating middle level leadership in schools and other contexts, uncertainties about the nature of their roles persist. Are they administrators or staff developers? Are they managers or leaders? If they are middle leaders, what is the nature of that leadership? The recent shift in terminology in the literature relating to these positions, from middle management to middle leadership, suggests that their role might be evolving. This paper presents the results of research into the role of middle leaders in schools. Participants were middle leaders from 12 primary and secondary schools in the Sydney metropolitan area who participated in questionnaire-based surveys concerning the nature of their roles. Aspects of their roles were analysed in relation to five key roles identified in recent studies. The results describe the frequency and nature of the work of middle leaders across the five roles: ‘administration’, ‘management’, ‘supervision’, ‘staff development’ and ‘leadership’, and identified a possible sixth role termed ‘student focus’. The paper concludes with implications for school leadership teams and systems as well as future research.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2014
EventAustralian Council for Educational Leaders (ACEL) 2014 National Conference - Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 1 Oct 20143 Oct 2014


ConferenceAustralian Council for Educational Leaders (ACEL) 2014 National Conference
Abbreviated titleACEL 2014


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