Middle leading in Australian schools: professional standards, positions, and professional development

Kylie Lipscombe*, Christine Grice, Sharon Tindall-Ford, John De-Nobile

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    In Australia, there is a national education agenda for school improvement with an increasing focus on how school leaders can fulfil this agenda. As school principals are arguably faced with increasing demands, the importance of school middle leaders is increasing. This article presents the initial findings from a larger project on middle leadership in Australian schools, the first phase of which is a documentary analysis of significant texts including policy documents, websites and reports. The purpose of the document analysis was to examine expectations placed on, and support provided for, school middle leaders in Australian schools to make explicit the potential implications for policymakers, leaders and researchers investigating this field. We argue there is a lack of clarity about the role of middle leadership across Australia, with unclear policies, and variations in expectations, titles and levels of support. What is evident is that middle leaders play a pivotal role as they lead teaching, learning, and pastoral care. They carry out these roles in subject areas, key stages and classrooms, and among teachers. While there are a range of professional development provisions for middle leaders across different states, middle leadership needs to be an area of increased focus across Australia.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)406-424
    Number of pages19
    JournalSchool Leadership and Management
    Issue number5
    Early online date25 Feb 2020
    Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2020


    • middle leadership
    • school leadership
    • professional learning
    • professional teaching standards


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