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Issues in Educational Research, 2018, Vol 28(3), 781-796.
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Distributed leadership in three diverse public schools: Perceptions of deputy principals in Johannesburg

Lucy Sibanda
University of the Free State, South Africa

This article explores the perceptions of deputy principals of formerly segregated township schools in South Africa on the concept of distributed leadership. In the apartheid dispensation, school leadership style was hierarchical and centralised on the principal, but now distributed leadership has gained global attention because it allows different leadership roles to be allocated over multiple members of the school, for the purpose of improvement of learner achievement. The paper is based on a case study research of three deputy principals in three schools in Johannesburg. The schools were selected on the basis that they were historically disadvantaged, hence they are designated here as former Indian, Black and Coloured schools. A qualitative approach was employed in which semi-structured interviews were used to gather data. The findings revealed that all the three deputy principals understood distributed leadership as sharing responsibilities and working collaboratively for the sake of learners' achievement. Although two deputy principals strongly believed in the benefits of empowering teachers to make decisions concerning the school, the deputy principals showed a lack of trust in teachers' ability to take leadership and believed that if teachers are given that power, they may abuse it. It is recommended that formal leaders in schools build trust relationships in which teachers feel entrusted to make good decisions for the school. This promotes a more suitable and comfortable working environment for every stakeholder in the school.
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Author: Dr Lucy Sibanda was a Post-doctoral Fellow in the Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education at the University of the Free State in 2016 and 2017. She holds a Masters and PhD in education from Rhodes University in South Africa. In her PhD she researched on the linguistic challenges of Grade 4 Mathematics Annual National Assessments. For the Post-doctoral Fellowship she undertook research for the SANRAL project conducted by the Faculty of Education, Free State University. Her research interests are in the areas of educational leadership and language and literacy in primary school years.
Email: lcysbnd@gmail.com

Please cite as: Sibanda, L. (2018). Distributed leadership in three diverse public schools: Perceptions of deputy principals in Johannesburg. Issues in Educational Research, 28(3), 781-796. http://www.iier.org.au/iier28/sibanda.pdf

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