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Improving School Leadership, Volume 2

Case Studies on System Leadership

image of Improving School Leadership, Volume 2

This book explores what specialists are saying about system leadership for school improvement. Case studies examine innovative approaches to sharing leadership across schools in Belgium (Flanders), Finland and the United Kingdom (England) and leadership development programmes for system improvement in Australia and Austria. As these are emerging practices, the book provides a first international comparison and assessment of the state of the art of system leadership.

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The Finnish approach to system leadership

This chapter analyses the particular Finnish approach to school leadership that contributes to the country’s educational success. In a decentralised environment and in response to pressures brought about by declining school enrolments and resources, Finnish municipalities are developing different approaches to school leadership distribution and co-operation. Their reforms are geared to improve schooling for local children in a new environment by ensuring that principals are responsible not only for their own schools but also for their districts. There is shared management and supervision as well as evaluation and development of education planning. This chapter also explores key features at the heart of what is widely seen as Finland’s education miracle. Finland was selected by the OECD Improving School Leadership activity because of its innovative approach to distributing school leadership in a systemic way. This chapter is based on a study visit to Finland, organised by the Finnish Ministry of Education at OECD’s request. The chapter provides some theoretical background for understanding system leadership and its impact, and analyses the key Finnish context and features that make for successful schooling outcomes. It continues with a review of their system leadership approaches and provides a discussion of lessons learned and some recommendations on how these approaches can be made sustainable in Finland.

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