Educational middle leading: A critical practice in school development

Peter Grootenboer, Christine Edwards-Groves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Educational leadership makes a difference in schools for the learning of students, and as part of this range of leading practices, we have focussed specifically on the practices of middle leaders. We have defined middle leaders as those who have an acknowledged position of leadership in a school, but also teach in the classroom. The leading practices of these middle leaders have been the focus of our research and scholarship for over ten years, and while there seems to be current increase in interest in this topic, it generally remains under-researched and under-theorized. For our part, we have focussed on middle leaders leading professional learning and curriculum development, specifically as they happen and unfold in particular school sites amidst local conditions and arrangements (practice architectures). Thus, we reject the idealized notion of some form of middle leadership best practice, but rather see middle leading as dialogic, communicative and responsive – replete with concerns about trust and change. Therefore, a main thrust of our work is that middle leading can be seen as a key driver of educational change in schools and other learning institutions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-30
Number of pages8
JournalLeading and Managing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2020


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