An investigation into the role of school leadership in school improvement, including teachers’ and students’ development: A case study of two Saudi Arabian high schools.

2019-11-14T10:59:07Z (GMT) by Fawwaz A. O. Almutawa
Since Saudi Arabia began enthusiastically developing its position in the world, excellence in education has come to the fore asa key driver to the country‘s growth. However, school improvement has received insufficient attention from educators, policy makers, and scholars. This has resulted in Saudi schools suffering from a dearth of empirical studies designed to explore their needs in terms of the professional development of teachers to benefit students. In response, this study was conducted to fill in the current gap arising from the lack of empirical studies in this particular field, through considering the role of school leadership in school improvement and the associated requirements for the professional development of teachers and students in relation to school improvement.
The present study design relied on interpretivist qualitative methods, including documentary analysis, face-to-face semi-structured interviews and group interviews. The participants involved in the study were two school leaders, two school deputies, two student advisors and twelve teachers (face-to-face semi-structured interviews), and four groups of nine students (group interviews). The data was analysed using thematic analysis techniquesfollowing an interpretative coding approach.
The findings of the study reveal school leadership plays a significant role in school improvement. This is due to the authority of the school leadership team over essential factors related to the quality of teaching and learning, i.e. leadership style, school culture, inclusion,student voice, individual differences, school curriculum, school-parent relationships, PLCs, teaching effectiveness and class size. The findings also confirm that school improvement is also affected by several external factors; i.e. educational policy, the context of the school, the services available in the school district, society, lifestyle, external relationships, and the media. Although the result of this study is non-generalizable, it can be used to inform practitioners, researchers, and policy makers about how best to ensure school improvement in Saudi Arabia.

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