Middle leadership of teams in large New Zealand secondary schools

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Peak, Rachel
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Educational Leadership and Management
Unitec Institute of Technology
Cardno, Carol
Howse, Jo
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
New Zealand secondary schools
middle leadership
team leadership
Peak, R. (2010). Middle leadership of teams in large New Zealand secondary schools. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Educational Leadership and Management). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10652/1548
Middle leaders of teams in New Zealand secondary schools are vital to the quality of teaching and learning and a large amount of responsibility for the leadership of learning practice has been passed on to middle leaders. The problem is that middle leaders of teams need to work closely with their colleagues to improve pedagogy and raise student achievement levels, yet middle leaders are still being overloaded with the day-to-day administrative tasks. Within this context, my qualitative research, involving four large New Zealand secondary schools takes place. Two data gathering methods were employed: an open-ended questionnaire to senior leaders and Heads of Faculty and four focus groups involving curriculum Heads of Department. Three key research questions guiding this study were: What are the expectations of middle level team leaders? Secondly, what are the challenges of middle level team leaders while performing their role? Thirdly, how do middle level team leaders deal with these challenges? The thematic findings revealed that middle leaders of teams are struggling with issues of work overload, role ambiguity, and the challenges of leading teams to achieve their objectives. This study indicated that middle leaders are ill-prepared and require support in order to fulfil a role that is changing from managing to leading teams. This study highlights the need for principals to cultivate and develop new and existing middle leaders within their institutions and for the Ministry of Education to consider designing, in consultation with middle leaders, a professional development programme that will support, enhance and sustain middle leadership in New Zealand secondary schools.
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