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System Leaders - Research by Masters Students

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Do Boards of Management contribute to meaningful and functional leadership in primary schools?

Celina Dempsey
University of Limerick

Governance of primary schools in Ireland, is an area that is not well researched. Governance of schools that is meaningful and functional, helps to contribute to the effective leadership and management of schools. Effective governance has the capacity to enable management in schools to lead effectively. The Republic of Ireland has a unique governance structure steeped in historical and religious roots. However, the global trends in governance structures around the world are moving from a centralised form of governance to a more decentralised form, which enables those stakeholders closest to education to get involved. Ireland has also moved in this direction, but meaningful involvement by boards of management in leadership of primary schools, has been under researched. This study hopes to contribute to that gap in the research. In addition, this study suggests that the model of distributed leadership, does not extend far enough into the governance structures of schools, to enable them to govern effectively. This research project sought to understand the leadership contribution that Boards of Management of primary schools make in leading their schools. The primary research question asks, “Does governance by Boards of Management contribute to meaningful and functional leadership in schools?”. A qualitative research design was used to answer the research question, by conducting a small-scale research project that sought the views of board members on how they believe boards are contributing to meaningful and functional leadership in schools. The findings suggested that while board members in this study believed they were contributing to leadership in their schools, the findings were conflicting with the emerging themes from participant responses. The responses indicated that board members felt inhibited in their role due to inadequate training, lack of clarity on roles and duties and lack of definition between governance and management. 

CSL is funded by the Teacher Education Section (TES) of the Department of Education (DE)
This service is managed by Clare Education Centre.