Distributed Leadership for Equity & Learning Toolset

The toolset has been designed to support the development of school cultures which are underpinned by the belief that everyone is capable of learning. Such a culture means that each person in the school is treated as a valued person with skills, expertise and experience that they can contribute to the development of the organisation and of the individuals within it. It is a culture in which deep and holistic learning is valued, new ideas are liberated and collaboration is actively encouraged.

Distributed leadership is fostered in a school culture that views leadership as emergent and participatory, and is explicitly committed to core values of equity and democratic citizenship.

One way of helping to create this culture is through the development of distributed leadership for equity and learning (DLE). Developing distributed leadership in itself does not automatically put the values of social justice and democratic citizenship at its core, which are essential to this kind of school culture. Equity, which includes these values, needs to be made an explicit part of the purpose of distributed leadership. DLE does this, and hence it is DLE which is the topic of this toolset.

Purpose, focus and use of the toolset

The purpose of the toolset is to help policy-makers and practitioners develop and implement policy that supports distributed leadership for equity and learning in schools.

The toolset is designed on the basis of the following questions:

What do we mean by leadership?

Leadership is the process of mobilising people and resources in order to bring about change directed towards achieving a goal or purpose.

This process involves creativity, initiative and action, but it is not necessarily undertaken by one individual.

Leadership is shaped and influenced:

  • by numerous people, including students and staff who are not in formal management positions, and
  • by the school context, such as organizational structures and cultural factors, in which it takes place.
  • Who is the toolset for?

    Who is the toolset for?

  • Those involved in educational policy who are responsible for or influence leadership development and school improvement in school education
  • Those leading change in schools, including headteachers, principals and others in leadership positions within schools
  • What is the toolset for? Photo by  Bogdan Suditu (https://www.flickr.com/photos/bogdansuditu/2377844553/)

    What is the toolset for?

  • To help you learn about distributed leadership for equity and learning
  • To stimulate reflection leading to practical ideas for supporting and developing distributed leadership for equity and learning in schools, in ways relevant to your context
  • What’s in it?

    What’s in it?

  • An explanation of what distributed leadership for equity and learning is and why it is important
  • Ideas on how distributed leadership for equity and learning can be developed, sustained and evaluated
  • How might it be used

    To share knowledge and expertise about:

    Learn about

    Read the toolset to learn about:
  • Distributed leadership for equity and learning (DLE)
  • How DLE can support leadership development and student learning in schools
  • How you might support the development of DLE in a school, a number of schools or across a school system
  • To use it as a resource about:

    Kick-start dialogue

    Use it to kick-start dialogue, as a resource with colleagues to develop ideas together about:
  • Your understandings of distributed leadership for equity and learning
  • Practical changes you can make to support the development of distributed leadership for equity and learning in a school, a number of schools or across a school system
  • To stimulate ideas on. Photo by  Joe Loong, See http://www.flickr.com/photos/joelogon/5001595933/in/photostream/

    Stimulate ideas

    Select part of the toolset most relevant to your concerns and context to stimulate ideas on:
  • How distributed leadership for equity and learning might be of help
  • How in your context distributed leadership for equity and learning can be developed and supported
  • Grounded in a participatory culture, distributed leadership practice becomes the natural core of a school’s activity. The development of such a culture relies on the collaborative development of shared goals based on the essential ideas and values of distributed leadership.