The role and professional development needs of middle managers in New Zealand secondary schools
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Citation:Chetty, P. (2007). The role and professional development needs of middle managers in New Zealand secondary schools. Unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Master of Educational Management, Unitec New Zealand, New Zealand.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/1310
Middle managers in secondary schools work at the interface between teaching and managing. Their role is diverse and challenging and many middle managers lack clarity in regard to expectations. This study set out to investigate the perceptions of middle and senior managers in relation to the role and professional development needs of middle managers. A survey (open ended questionnaire) of middle managers with subject responsibility and members of the senior management team was conducted in six Auckland secondary schools. The findings of the study show that the role is large and varied, time is a major problem and support for middle managers is generally insufficient. Middle managers require support in induction into the middle management role and ongoing mentoring and appraisal. In addition, the expectations held of middle managers by themselves and senior managers do not always mesh. With regard to professional development needs there was a lack of agreement between the perceptions of middle and senior managers. Whilst senior management felt that these needs were being met, this was not the view of middle managers. The study concludes that the differing expectations held of middle managers are not conducive to them performing their role effectively. Furthermore, the lack of management development programmes in schools will continue to detrimentally affect the way the role is performed. It is therefore essential that an induction programme for middle managers in secondary schools be developed at both national and school level to fill the current gap. There is also a need for the inclusion of a framework for professional leadership in the Professional Standards (1999) which includes team development and leadership. This will address the role middle managers play in this regard so they are able to gain more clarity about their leadership role and how to develop teams. Finally, further research into the role and professional development of middle managers in secondary schools is required as it could either endorse or challenge the findings of this study and might also inform school leaders about the role and professional development needs of middle managers and prompt an evaluation of the existing role and needs.