Leadership and Organisational Change in Singapore Schools: A Baseline Study

Project Number
OER 03/10 CD

Project Duration
September 2010 - February 2014


This Phase 1 project addresses a major void in Singaporean educational research, namely, the lack of an empirical knowledge base on school leadership and organisational change. The project will therefore be unique and highly significant for two reasons. First, it will be the first system-wide study of school leadership and organisational change - embracing primary and secondary schools and junior colleges. Second, it will be the first project to establish a broad baseline study of school leadership and organizational change for Singapore. That is, it will embrace a wide range of the field of educational leadership, and the anticipated data sets will yield comprehensive knowledge and information on school leaders’ current values, knowledge, skills and dispositions across the spectrum of leaders (principals, senior and middle level) and leadership in the Singaporean school system. For the first time, academics, practitioners and policy makers will have access to data on patterns of leadership practice across the whole school system. This in itself will make it unique. New knowledge will be created in all areas of Singaporean leadership covered by the project. The rationale for the project, however, goes beyond its intrinsic value and uniqueness set out above. In mapping current practices across the system, a platform for further Phases of the research programme will be established. For example, it is anticipated that Phase 2 will consist of in-depth study of 4 areas – leadership for learning, distributed leadership, professional learning communities, and leader preparation and development – all of which according to previous research findings, indicate leverage for school improvement and better student learning outcomes. A Phase 3 study will then focus on designing and trialling models of these four innovations in case schools, with a view to subsequent scalability and sustainability through the system. Further significance of this Phase 1 baseline study project is the synergy and integration with research initiatives already underway at NIE in pedagogy, learning and assessment. These current research initiatives are suggesting new forms of pedagogy and assessment for 21st Century schools in Singapore and require the support of innovative leaders and leadership practices for their successful adoption and implementation. This Phase 1 project will bring benefits to all three major stakeholders in the system. First, it will provide valuable research benefits to NIE academics (especially in Policy and Leadership Studies) in terms of research skilling and empirical data for publications. Secondly, it will be benefit the practitioner community of leaders and teachers in schools, by providing them with evidence-informed data on their practices, thereby professionalising leadership. Third, it will provide MOE with the greater opportunity for evidence-informed policy making.

Research Themes
Leadership & School Organisation

Funding Source

Related Links
NIE Research Brief No. 15-003: Leadership and Organizational Change in Singapore Schools: A Baseline Study
ReEd Vol. 10 2013: Teachers Are Leaders Too

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