System Leaders and System Leadership:
Reviewing the Evidence

Professor Alma Harris

Swansea University School of Education

To create a suitable evidence base to inform the development of system leaders / leadership in Wales, the National Academy for Educational Leadership commissioned Professor Alma Harris, a leading expert on educational leadership, to review the international academic and policy literatures and recommend ways that system leaders / leadership can be further developed in Wales.

The report outlines the findings from a contemporary review of the evidence base on system leader / leadership, providing analysis, commentary, insights (including the insights of country experts) and country specific examples. It is not a systematic review of the literature but rather it outlines the main findings from a contemporary exploration of the evidence base (2010-2020) encompassing peer reviewed articles, books, chapters, and the grey literature. In particular, it focuses upon the roles, responsibilities, actions, functions, and outcomes of system leaders / leadership and offers specific examples of system leaders / leadership from different counties. The report concludes with practical recommendations for developing system leaders / leadership in Wales.

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