Principal Professional Learning: Sources of Sustenance?

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


Since the advent of NPM, in its various iterations it is generally accepted that the role of principal has become more ‘scripted’ and so too has preparation for the role, and the on-going support provided for those in post. Such intensification and increased performativity became more evident in the Irish context during the 1990s, in the wake of an OECD report that specifically called for ‘management’ training for principals. Henceforth, there has been a gradual infusion into policy documents of the language of NPM—targets, learning outcomes, accountability etc. What becomes evident in this chapter then is the increasing colonisation of the life worlds of school leaders by the system world increasingly being imposed by the pervasive influence of NPM, and how principals struggle in various ways to retain a sense of the purposes of education that are beyond the reach of or excluded from the mainstream by making their work more ‘auditable’ by various ‘rituals of verification’; mainly paper trails and Whole School Evaluation. There is a gradual alteration of school ecology as the infestation of the lifeworld of principals and teachers becomes pervasive. Learning in such circumstances may hasten the process through scripted preparation programmes, a form of ‘governmentality’ or build resistance through informal networks and unscripted learning. The purpose of this chapter is to document how this process has evolved over time and its impact on leaders and their leadership.


Professional Development Professional Learning School Community Golf Swing Initial Teacher Education 
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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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