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Outstanding schools in Saudi Arabia: leadership practices, culture and professional development

Alhammadi, M. (2018) Outstanding schools in Saudi Arabia: leadership practices, culture and professional development. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00077932


As Saudi Arabia strives to position itself strategically in global markets in response to globalization, education has become one of the most important tools to achieve this aim. While demands for reform in Western countries have fostered new notions of school excellence, equivalent concepts have to date received little attention in Saudi Arabia. This study aims to fill this gap by exploring the nature of outstanding schools in Saudi Arabia, and thus claims to be an original and important contribution to the understanding of this phenomenon. A qualitative case-study approach was used drawing on data from three high schools in Saudi Arabia, each having been rated outstanding by the city’s local authority. Principals, Deputies and Social Instructors from the three schools were interviewed (n=9), while group interviews were conducted with the majority of teachers from each school (n=68; 25 out of 26 teachers from school 1; 20 out of 24 teachers from school 2 and 23 out of 28 from school 3. In addition, the daily work of Principals in each school was observed and relevant documents were collected. The resulting data were thematically analysed using a framework based on the inter-related concepts of leadership practices, culture and professional development The findings reveal that leadership practices in these outstanding schools included a number of common features, such as establishing school vision, restructuring the organisation, leadership distribution, effective communication, strategic planning and quality assurance. Cultural aspects revealed the effect of both macro-level cultures: global and national cultures on these schools, as well as micro-scale effects. Professional development was perceived to be important, and both leaders and teachers engaged in training opportunities. While these results cannot be generalised, it is hoped that they will be important to inform practitioners, policy makers and researchers about the nature of outstanding schools in Saudi Arabia.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Floyd, A.
Thesis/Report Department:Institute of Education
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education
ID Code:77932
Date on Title Page:2017


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