The role of the head teacher in Saudi primary schools

Kurdi, Salah

February 2011

Thesis or dissertation

© 2011 Salah Kurdi. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

This study examines the role of the head teacher in Saudi primary schools. It looks at their ability to lead and manage school act activities, the extent of their authority to enhance the learning environment (e.g through acquisition of resources), their role in staff development, relationships with staff, education authorities, parents and the wider community, power sharing, budget management and freedom to initiate changes. Quantitative data were collected from head teachers, deputy heads and teachers (200 in total) randomly selected from primary schools in Medina. In addition, semi-structured interviews were conducted to obtain complementary quantitative data from 2 head teachers, 3 deputy heads and 4 teachers. It is shown that head teachers work in strict and complex environment, subject to a bureaucratic centralised system, leaving them little decision-making autonomy. Within these limitations, they undertake responsibilities for managing staff and pupils and staff development, and are the main point of contact between the school and other stakeholders. They understand the notion of power sharing, working closely with deputy heads and delegating some roles to teachers. However, there is evidence of conflict in some schools, over the relative roles of heads and deputies. Moreover, it is not clear to what extent heads’ performance is affected by personal characteristics and by external factors such as selection processes. These are suggested as fruitful areas for further research.

Centre for Educational Studies, The University of Hull
Lukes, J. R. (Jacqueline Rovina)
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