'The theory and practice of democracy and democratic leadership have implications for how we understand what ought to be counted as 'improving schools' In this book Woods focuses on the idea of democratic leadership, examining what is meant by democratic leadership, what forms it can take, and how it is relevant to school education and learning. He shows how the ideals and theories of democratic leadership can translate into practice, and sets out some of the challenges that democratic leadership poses in the context of contemporary education . Democratic Leadership in Education challenges conventional approaches to leadership and many of the assumptions inherent in educational policy. It is about understanding and exploring both the idea of democratic leadership and its practical relevance through examples drawn from practice and research. An enlightening resource for practitioners and students on professional development and academic courses, this book will be essential reading for all policy makers, academics and others (such as inspectors) who critically examine leadership and management of educational institutions.

Obstacles and Challenges

Obstacles and challenges

This chapter is intended to sharpen the focus on challenges inherent in democratic leadership and obstacles to its realisation, summarised in Figure 7.1. These challenges concern every one who is involved in the circulation of initiative and who, therefore, has some part to play in being aware of and working through them, whether they are involved in democracy-creating, democracy-doing or both. Ideas and practices that help address these are discussed in the course of the chapters which follow on structure (Chapter 8), people (Chapter 9) and practical engagement (Chapter 10).

Figure 7.1: Obstacles and challenges to democratic leadership


The context provided by schools is not especially conducive to democracy and democratic leadership. Fielding identifies two sets of difficulties. The first is ...

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