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Distributed leadership - full report

Author: Bennett, Nigel; Wise, Christine; Woods, Philip; Harvey, Janet
Subject: Models and partnerships
Audience: Headteachers, Middle leaders and aspiring headteachers
Date of publication: May 2003   |   File format and size: PDF, 694 Kb

Why have just one leader, when you can have a whole school of them? This is the fundamental principle of distributed leadership.

The idea has been at the forefront of National College philosophy since its creation. This study reviews early thinking on the principle, examining its influence and effect.

Dating from before distributed leadership was widely accepted in leadership theory, this study reviews what is meant by the term in literature, looking at disparate definitions and trying to establish if there is a common understanding of the term.

The report also looks at formal and informal leadership methods which come under this heading, and examines practical advice to heads and other school leaders in developing distributed leadership within their organisations. It includes a discussion about the very nature of distributed leadership, and theories about what implications the idea has for professional development. A fascinating snapshot of early thinking on one of school leadership's most important developments.

A summary version of this report is also available

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