Co-leaders and middle leaders: The dynamic between leaders and followers in networks of schools
Authors: Hadfield, M.
Journal: School Leadership and Management
This paper sets out to explore the nature of leadership within networks of schools. The research is based on a large-scale funded initiative in the UK of over a 100 school networks. The empirical data are drawn from a series of programme-wide research and enquiry activities that took place over the first two years of the initiative. Drawing on school leadership and social movement theory it analyses the practices of strategic network leaders and the overall growth of leadership capacity within school networks. This analysis explores the interaction between groups of leaders and the dynamics of their relationship. In doing so it raises the question of whether the leadership of school networks is qualitatively different from that of leading a school. The issue of leadership shearing, where the differential developments in the agency of groups of leaders in a network can lead to increasing tensions and fragmentation of effort, is used to exemplify the emergent leadership challenges offered by an education system that is increasingly becoming networked.