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Exploring teachers’ experiences on the role of subject advisors in supporting teaching and learning in secondary schools in deprived contexts.

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The purpose of this study was to explore the role of subject advisors in supporting teaching and learning in secondary schools in deprived contexts. The study explored this role from the perspective of educators teaching in secondary schools in deprive contexts, examining what they expect as support from subject advisors and how they experience the offered support. Reviewed literature shows that there has been an identified relationship between district leadership from subject advisors that supports teaching and learning and teacher performance together with learner achievement. While there is some South African literature of district-level support for teaching and learning, there is not enough on the experiences of those who receive this instructional support. Hence, this is what motivated the exploration of this topic. This qualitative study was approached from the interpretive paradigm. It comprised of five educators from two secondary schools in the UGU district. The study made use of face-to-face semi-structured interviews as a method of data generation. The theory that underpinned this study was instructional leadership theory. The findings of this study revealed that subject advisors do support teaching and learning in secondary schools in deprived contexts; however, this support falls short of expectations. While educators did not only rely on subject advisors for curriculum-related support, they believe that support they get from them for teaching and learning does, in fact, have an influence in learner achievement. The study concluded with key lessons from the whole research journey. Among these lessons was that collaboration between subject advisors and educators is important as it enhances teaching practices and specialises the support given to each school. This collaboration in planning and formulating key strategies on curriculum related issues also enriches the professional development programme for teachers. This collaboration enhances teaching practices which has positive contributions to the overall learner achievement.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.