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The role of heads of department in cluster secondary schools in Singapore

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posted on 15.12.2014, 10:43 by Grace Cheow Yong Lim-Chan
This study investigated the role of heads of department in Singapore cluster secondary schools against the backdrop of a major educational reform in the Singapore education system, namely, the implementation of the School Cluster system in 1997, and a host of new initiatives including self-appraisal of schools and performance appraisal in the education service. Heads of department in a school cluster participated in a questionnaire survey, and the findings were triangulated with data from interviews as well as documentary analysis. The study found that external educational policy changes such as the School Cluster system have transformed the management of schools with the formation of administrative school clusters and expanded the scope of the middle managers' role with the creation of a collaborative cluster role for heads of department; and changing expectations in the internal appraisal of schools and the performance management of education officers have resulted in increasing emphasis on the leadership role of heads of department. However, the increasing demands and expectations on the role of heads of department have not been matched with a corresponding increase of time and adequate training and professional development for heads of department to effectively carry out their role. The study has incorporated the findings within the unique internal and external contexts in which heads of department operate to propose a Singapore model of the role of heads of department in cluster secondary schools. The model which has used contingency theory in explaining the work that heads of department do and built its components on the impact of recent policy changes in the Singapore Education Service provides a snapshot of the scope and complexity of the heads of department's role and its key determinants.


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University of Leicester

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