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The heads of department’s instructional leadership role in mathematics teaching and learning in three South African secondary schools in Pinetown District.

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The ever-changing curriculum policies in South Africa have posed challenges in terms of teaching and management strategies to be applied by teachers to meet the standards. At the forefront of these curriculum policy changes is the need for effective leadership and management of teaching and learning. This is so because for any successful school there is successful leadership that focuses on teaching and learning in this regard, Head of Departments (HoDs) are expected to play a significant role in managing curriculum and supervision of teachers. This study sought to explore the Head of Departments’ instructional leadership role in Mathematics teaching and learning in three South African secondary schools. The study was coached into interpretive paradigm and adopted qualitative approach. Data was generated through semi structured interviews and observations. Three Mathematics HODs and seven Mathematics teachers were purposively sampled from case study schools in Mafukuzela Gandhi circuit in Pinetown district. The findings suggest that HODs do not get enough time to perform their duties effectively as they were also engaged in teaching. Furthermore, HODs did not regard instructional leadership as their main role rather they spent most of their time doing administrative tasks. The findings also revealed that all the HODs lack relevant expertise in the subject consequently teachers were not developed effectively in these schools for positive learner performance. Support from the principal and other SMT colleagues was minimal. Conclusions drawn from the findings reveal that HODs understanding of their role is limited to monitoring learner’s and teachers work and protecting teaching time. Supporting teachers required HOD to be competent in Mathematics, teachers did not regard HODs to be useful in that they were not subject expertise. Additionally, balancing their own teaching and management was a challenge that needed attention by the HODs to fully execute their job.


Masters of Education in Leadership, Management and Policy. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 2017.


Educational Leadership - SA - KZN., School Principals - SA - KZN., School Management and organization - SA - DBN., Theses - Education.