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The role of District Officials in supporting under-performing schools: perspectives of school principals.

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This research study aimed at exploring what the principals understand and expect to be the role of District Officials in supporting under-performing schools. The study explored this role through the perspectives five principals of under-performing secondary schools in Umlazi District. These principals had an immense contribution through sharing their experiences at the school level. This qualitative research study was constructed within an interpretive paradigm. Face to face semi- structured interviews were used as a method of data generation. This study is framed by instructional leadership theory. Various local and international scholars were used in developing discussions around the role of District Officials’ support to schools. Literature reveals that District Official’s support that is framed by collaborative efforts between the District, principals and educators improve learner achievement. While there are some local empirical studies that have been conducted on the role of district support, there is not enough literature that explores the role of District Officials’ support to under-performing secondary schools. This is what motivated me to explore the role of District officials support through the perspectives of principals. The findings of this study revealed that District Officials do support under-performing schools, though support is not enough according to principals’ expectations. Included in this study are key lessons that were derived from this research journey. One of the key lessons that emerged from data generation, was the importance of the collaboration between the District Officials and under-performing school in planning and setting out goals towards improved practices that enhance learner achievement among other things.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.