Leadership characteristics of successful school management teams in township schools.
Dlamini, Linda Aquillar.
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In South Africa the right to receive basic education is guaranteed in the Constitution under the Bill of Rights (Republic of South Africa, 1996a). This implies that all learners despite their socio-economic background and geographical position should be afforded an equal opportunity to basic education. Yet, learners in rural and township contexts have limited access to reasonable quality education compared to their urban counterparts. Additionally, township schools are generally viewed as dysfunctional due to lack of resources and depressing socio-economic backgrounds. However, some township schools have managed to excel despite the disparities. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate what characterises the leadership approaches of successful school management teams in township schools. The aim of the study was to find out how leaders of depriving contexts manage to provide quality education despite the daunting challenges. It sought to find from principals and School Management Teams how they manage to achieve and sustain outstanding results, despite the disparities. It further sought to explore strategies they employ to mitigate the challenges and in order to uphold their reputation. Drawing from Purkey and Novak‟s (1996), Stoll and Fink‟s (1996) and Kemper's (2008) invitational theory, a conceptual framework for this study was developed. Using the qualitative approach and case study as a research design, it was conducted within the confines of the interpretive paradigm. Data was generated using semi-structured interviews. Six teachers from two township schools in the Ugu District of the KwaZulu-Natal province were participants. Findings revealed that good leadership and management are fundamental elements of a successful school. Leaders adopt participative and interactive approach and they also adhere to policies as their beacon of light for clarity and direction. Recruitment and retention of quality teachers emerged as an integral source of quality education. In addition, success of participating schools is attributed to dedicated teachers who work beyond the call of duty and good leaders and managers. Recommendations based on the findings are made, namely, school leaders are to lead like team captains where relationships are fostered within the school should be built on foundations of mutual trust, respect, selflessness and compassion. Leaders should acknowledge and embrace individuality among teachers and learners. They should open channels of communication to invite external assistance. Leaders should constantly seek knowledge.
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