UK Review of Educational Leadership and Administration

Educational Leadership and Administration in the United Kingdom

A Comparative Review

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During the course of 2018/2019, BELMAS undertook a programme of invitational conferences with the aim of examining critically the policy frameworks and interpretations of educational administration and leadership across the four jurisdictions of the United Kingdom. This project was timely for a number of reasons. First, the last 20 years has been a period of rapid change in educational policy and organisation and yet it is many years since a review of the field of this kind has been undertaken in the UK. Secondly, recent constitutional developments throw into the relief the important fact that education is a devolved matter in the United Kingdom. There are many ways in which education systems in each of the four administrations differ and, in some cases, they may be further diverging. Third, the Society sees this activity as an important sign of its commitment as a UK-wide organisation.  

The review was comparative, considering the similarities and differences between the policy approaches and their trajectories, the underlying factors which determine these and what is known about their consequences. As far as possible this comparison was placed within the wider context of developments internationally. The review explored both how developments can be theorised (especially in comparative perspective) and the implications for policy and practice of its findings. The aim has been to bring together policy makers, educational leaders and managers, and researchers.

The Review comprised five 24-hour conferences, one in each of the four jurisdictions, each concentrating on the national education system in which it is located, and a fifth conference to consider the UK as a whole. Each jurisdiction-specific event included inter alia: contribution(s) about the situation in the host jurisdiction; a theoretical contribution relating to comparative educational administration; perspectives from key actors in the local jurisdiction; and a commentary from outside the UK.

Following a presentation and interim report at the 2019 BELMAS conference, a final report has now been completed and is available here. Other publications and events will follow.

For more information please contact:

Professor Philip Woods, University of Hertfordshire (; or Professor Tim Simkins, Sheffield Hallam University (

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