School leadership for systemic improvement in Finland

Andrew Hargreaves, Rapporteur, Gabor Halasz, Beatriz Pont
This report is part of a larger OECD study exploring school leadership policy issues. It aims to provide analysis on the particular Finnish approach to school leadership for systemic improvement that contributes to their educational success. In a decentralised environment, Finnish municipalities are developing different approaches to school leadership distribution and cooperation to respond to pressures brought about by declining school enrolments and resources. Their reforms are geared to improve schooling for local children in a new environment by ensuring that principals are responsible for their own schools but also for their districts, and that there is shared management and supervision as well as evaluation and development of education planning. But this report goes beyond this remit and also explores key features at the heart of Finland‟s education miracle. The report begins with an introduction, provides some theoretical background for understanding systemic leadership and its impact, and then analyses the key Finnish context and features that make for successful schooling outcomes. It continues with a review of their systemic leadership approaches and provides a discussion of lessons learned and some recommendations on how these approaches can be made sustainable in Finland.
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