Leadership and Management

Leadership and Management

This project aims to understand the role of school leadership in implementing education quality in disadvantaged settings.

We have worked with primary school headteachers in Ghana and Tanzania to identify existing successful practice in effective school leadership for managing change and to develop new strategies.

We are also developing school self-evaluation tools to assist schools in monitoring the quality of education they offer..


Research and key findings

Following a baseline study of 260 schools in Ghana and Tanzania, participatory action research (PAR) was conducted in 20 schools in Ghana and 10 in Tanzania. Headteachers were trained in PAR techniques and used these to identify and try to solve issues or concerns that directly impact education quality for disadvantaged pupils in their school.

Findings to date

The main finding from this project is the value of using action research methodology, which relies facilitation rather than instruction, as a form of professional development for primary school headteachers.

In both Ghana and Tanzania, school level leadership clearly made a positive difference in the implementation of quality education initiatives. Through systematically collecting and analysing information, for example, on pupil attendance or performance, and then clearly communicating their findings, headteachers were able to mobilise school staff and local communities to bring about change.  Examples of change initiatives include:

  • raising girls' aspirations by inviting successful local women to visit the school as role models for girls
  • improving communication skills of hearing-impaired learners through strengthening use of sign language in teaching and learning
  • establishing school systems for supporting vulnerable learners with irregular attendance.

However, observation of the challenging situations that impact on the ability of schools to implement quality initiatives in Ghana led to four further conclusions:

  • Primary headteachers are not adequately prepared for their leadership tasks
  • Most headteachers did not see themselves as leaders or link their role with pupil learning
  • Awareness-raising and professional and logistical support for headteachers are critical to empowering them to provide effective leadership
  • Headteachers and other stakeholders must collaborate to create child-friendly schools that give pupils a voice in decisions affecting their learning.

Lead contact details

Dr Albert L Dare, University of Cape Coast,

Research team

Ghana team:

  • Institutional Coordinator, University of Cape Coast: Dr George K. T. Oduro
  • Researchers: Mr. S.K. Atakpa, Mr. Joseph Dzinyela, Dr. Rosemary Bosu
  • Research Assistants: Mr. Solomon Owusu, Ms Clara Araba \Mills
  • Administrators: Mrs Elizabeth Obese, Mrs Priscilla Baaba Bansah

Tanzania team:

  • Institutional Coordinator, University of Dar es Salaam: Dr. Hillary A. Dachi
  • Researchers: Alphonse Ndibelema, Mr. Raymond Boniface, George Kahangwa, Aneth Komba, Mislay Moshi
  • Research Assistants: Shabani Abdullah Ngodu, Amina Kamando
  • Research Students: Ms. Dora Baaba-Aidoo. Dr. Aneth Komba.

UK and Pakistan support:

  • Prof Iffat Farah, Institute for Educational Development, The Aga Khan University, Pakistan
  • Mr Mike Fertig, University of Bath, UK
  • Prof Leon Tikly, University of Bristol, UK
  • Dr Angeline Mbogo Barrett, University of Bristol, UK