School Leadership in Context: National Policies, International Influences

  • Ciaran Sugrue
Part of the Studies in Educational Leadership book series (SIEL, volume 20)


At a minimum, contemporary school leaders are required to be Janus-faced: acutely sensitive to the ecology of the school community, while simultaneously attuned to the external educational landscape. Such leadership requirements are more redolent of Daedalus than Icarus: it is necessary to occupy the swampy lowlands, indicate the future by being able to soar above, yet extremely mindful of the policy thermals that can cause instant instability. Leadership in such turbulent and unstable circumstances is more akin to paragliding than being the ‘company man’. It requires being intimate with local circumstance, yet capable also of ‘reading’ the national and international panorama—the macro, meso and micro policy environments of school leadership. This chapter sets out to indicate these three layers while seeking also to signal the manner in which these distinct spaces of practice are colonised—with particular reference to how the language, logic and attendant accountability technologies of NPM have been progressively insinuated into National policy rhetorics; a process of policy tessellation where one is over-shadowed and shaped by the other. This approach also becomes instrumental in indicating the significance of the potential of the Irish ‘case’ to inform and illuminate international discourses on leadership.


School Leadership School Community Green Paper Professional Autonomy Special Duty 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ciaran Sugrue
    • 1
  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity College DublinBelfield, DublinIreland

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