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Issues in Educational Research, 2022, Vol 32(1), 205-224.
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Leadership teams supporting teacher wellbeing by improving the culture of an Australian secondary school

Geoffrey W. Lummis, Julia E. Morris, Catherine Ferguson, Susan Hill and Graeme Lock
Edith Cowan University, Australia

This research explored teachers' experiences of school and their work-related wellbeing, from the perspective that work-related wellbeing is an organisational responsibility. A single case study was enacted in an urban Western Australian secondary school to explore the relationship between school organisational health and teacher wellbeing. A mixed method pre-test phase determined professional growth, professional interaction and role clarity were areas of organisational health that yielded divergent responses from staff. Subsequently, the school's leadership team implemented interventions to improve these domains, and post-intervention data collection was conducted 18 months later to determine any changes. Qualitative data showed improvements in the professional growth and professional interaction domains, with staff reporting that professional learning summary sessions and mentoring conversations between teachers and the principal were beneficial strategies to improve teachers' school experiences. Role clarity was not so easily addressed, as the school suffered a series of crisis events during the research process that resulted in an emphasis on improving student services roles within the school. Consequently, role clarity was not achieved across the whole school staff. The qualitative data describe the complexity of addressing teacher wellbeing through organisational health, and specific strategies that leadership teams can implement to develop a supportive, collaborative staff culture at school.
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Authors: Associate Professor Geoffrey W. Lummis PhD is a researcher in the School of Education at Edith Cowan University, Western Australia. Geoff is the Chair of a Perth secondary school board and has collaborated with State Government ministers on local education projects. Geoff has taught preservice education for over 35 years and has a doctorate in sustainability and interests in evolutionary epistemology and aesthetics. His interdisciplinary interests are inclusive of the arts, humanities and STEM in education. Geoff has presented his research at both national and international conferences and supervised over 36 higher degrees by research completions.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1632-6676
Email: g.lummis@ecu.edu.au

Dr Julia E. Morris is a senior lecturer and course coordinator for visual arts education (secondary) in the School of Education at Edith Cowan University, and an honorary fellow at the University of Melbourne. Her main research interests include engagement and evaluation in applied education research, with an emphasis on developing and utilising evidence-based measures to improve educational practice.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4481-8050
Email: j.morris@ecu.edu.au

Dr Catherine Ferguson is an experienced multidisciplinary researcher, currently a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Education at Edith Cowan University. Her research interests include multi-cultural competence, the transition experience of commencing students in higher education, and organisational behaviour in the context of school management and leadership.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6204-7301
Email: c.ferguson@ecu.edu.au

Dr Susan Hill is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the School of Education at Edith Cowan University and has worked on a range of education and training related programs and research projects in universities and public sector settings. Her broad research interests include school-based support for students experiencing disadvantage, school leadership, literacy practices, and post-compulsory education pathways.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1833-2500
Email: susan.hill@ecu.edu.au

Associate Professor Graeme Lock, now retired, is the former Associate Dean Teaching and Learning in the School of Education at Edith Cowan University. His research interests include educational leadership, rural and remote education and student experiences at university. Email: graeme.lock11@gmail.com

Please cite as: Lummis, G. W., Morris, J. E., Ferguson, C., Hill, S. & Lock, G (2022). Leadership teams supporting teacher wellbeing by improving the culture of an Australian secondary school. Issues in Educational Research, 32(1), 205-224. http://www.iier.org.au/iier32/lummis.pdf

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