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Middle Leaders’ perspectives of leadership in primary school: comparative study between Saudi and England

Alzahrani, Saeed Musaid H (2018) Middle Leaders’ perspectives of leadership in primary school: comparative study between Saudi and England. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

The definition of a middle leader in the educational context is difficult to define because in some cases the middle leader is a teacher who has taken on a position of authority among his or her peers. In other situations, the middle leader can be a manager, external to the pedagogical component of the educational system but with a strong business acumen. This dissertation examines the perspectives of middle leaders in two contexts: Saudi Arabia and England. This research was undertaken primarily because there was a paucity of research that examined the Arabic context of middle leadership. This, paired with significant changes within the educational context in Saudi Arabia, meant that an opportunity existed to examine how Saudi middle leaders currently perceived their role in an attempt to shape how they could adapt to changes in the future. This research took on an ontological and epistemological view in an attempt to understand the interactional and practical experience of middle leaders. Using a case study design, the researcher used semi-structured interviews, observations, and document analysis to interpret the perceptions of middle leaders within six different primary schools across Saudi Arabia and England. Findings from this study suggested that middle leaders in Saudi Arabia took on a much more administrative position than their English counterparts, though in both cases, there were considerable challenges identified among the participants. These challenges largely related to educational culture and the difficulty of navigating between teachers and senior management. This research has contributed to knowledge by addressing the issues and perceptions of middle leaders, especially in Saudi Arabia, as the King intends to pursue his 2030 Vision, which would have a considerable impact on the middle leader population.

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