26 SES 10 B, Policy Expectations towards School Leaders: Country perspectives
The Spanish model of school principalship is remarkably different in some relevant issues from the majority of the OECD countries, which obviously implies shades but -this contribution will try to show- at least one light. Perhaps the greater singularity has to do with the importance paid to the principal as a representative of the school community, with the need of professionalization just in the background. Despite the growing efforts from the educational administrations of introducing competency-based criteria in the principals’ recruitment system, the process is still based on election, more than in selection (Bolívar and Moreno, 2006). This situation explains the recent interest of local researchers on the way Spanish principals build their professional identity in such a singular normative context (Ritacco and Bolívar, 2019; Cruz-González, Lucena-Rodríguez and Domingo-Segovia, 2020). One of the weaknesses of such a system is the lack of rich, well focused and practice-based opportunities of principals’ professional development of both novice and experienced principals. This situation, together with the lack of autonomy of schools and management teams and the micro-politics frequently associated to a governance system that emphasize the participation of the school community, provoke a widely extended perception of principalship as a risky job. If it were not enough, the pressure into schools and educational administrators to improve the results after the persistent failures detected by international reports like PISA and other, adds complexity and stress to school leaders (López-Yáñez and Sanchez-Moreno, 2013). As for the light, distributed leadership has been part of school principalship DNA even before this concept -and its sequels like hybrid leadership- were coined. It has been part of the strong foundation of principals’ legitimacy in teachers, students and stakeholders participation. Even more, the management team has been one of the cornerstones of the schools governing system since Democracy instauration in 1978.
Bolívar, A. and Moreno, J.M. (2006) Between transaction and transformation. The role of school principals as education leaders in Spain. Journal of Educational Change, 7, 19–31. Cruz-González, C., Lucena-Rodríguez, C. and Domingo-Segovia, J. (2020) A systematic review of principals’ leadership identity from 1993 to 2019. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 23(1) DOI: 10.1177/1741143219896053. López-Yáñez, J. and Sánchez-Moreno, M. (2013) Levers for sustainable improvement of Spanish schools in challenging contexts. Journal of Educational Change, 14, 203–232. Ritacco, M.J. and Bolivar, A. (2019) A dual and discontinuous professional identity: school principals in Spain. International Journal of Educational Management, 33(5), pp. 806-827.
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