There is strong evidence of an indirect but powerful relationship between school leadership and student outcomes in academic and well-being domains. Effective leadership in areas of learning and teaching strategies, as well as contextualised leadership that is in tune with local and individual needs of learners, tend to provide the greatest impact. Within schools in challenging circumstances, pressures to raise standards are felt particularly sharply. Evidence suggests that encouraging a collaborative identity to which all can subscribe empowers schools; this helps them to deal with the immediate pressures of their challenging circumstances and also helps bring about sustained improvement over time. How all leaders are trained, developed and renewed is also of great importance. The connection between school performance, the contribution of school leadership and the professional learning that supports leadership needs to be at the heart of improvement policy and practice. The development that appears to be most effective is when it is applied and embedded with strong reference to the context in which leaders work.
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