Leadership in Scottish Education (SERA LiSEN)

The primacy of leadership in effecting change and improving outcomes for young people is seen in ongoing investment in building leadership capacity and capability across education systems, including Scotland. While leadership challenges and solutions are context specific, approaches to leadership development reflect global trends. Given the scale and speed of systemic change in education, the place and role of research in informing such approaches and supporting the development of leaders can be often be partial or post factum. This SERA network provides a forum to articulate and discuss leadership and leader learning and development; to connect academics, researchers, practitioners and policy makers; and to interact nationally and internationally with cognate research associations. A key feature of the network will be its interdisciplinary and interprofessional leadership focus to promote research engagement and collaborations in education and with the wider public sector.

SERA LiSEN was formed in November 2014 under the joint stewardship of Co-Convenors Dr Joan Mowat, (University of Strathclyde) and Professor Margery McMahon, (University of Glasgow).  Both have subsequently stepped down and the current Co-Convenors are Dr Julie Harvie (University of Glasgow) and Dr Romina Madrid (University of Stirling).  It has grown from strength to strength and currently has over 150 members drawn from academia, the policy community and practitioners in schools.

Nov 2023 – Nov 2024

This year we submitted a number of articles to academic journals based on the research we have conducted.  This research used a case study approach involving one national cohort of Into Headship participants from three different Scottish universities who undertook their studies during the Covid-19 crisis.  The findings highlight a number of key themes relating to developing professional identity and how this professional learning impacted on the agency of students in terms of enabling them to lead school improvements.  Headteacher recruitment and retention problems exist internationally therefore understanding factors which can enhance or impinge on the agency of potential school leaders could help ensure that educational systems foster leadership aspirations in teachers and prepare and support them adequately in senior leadership roles.  The findings are relevant to those involved in school leadership preparation and educational system level strategic planning.

Nov 2022 – Nov 2023

This year we analysed our data and began to construct a series of articles for publication.  We presented our initial findings at the ECER and SERA (2022) Conferences.

Nov 2021 – Nov – 2022

This year we recruited participants from three different Scottish universities and began collecting the data by sending out questionnaires and conducting semi-structured interviews.

Nov 2020 – Nov 2021

This year we met regularly, designed our research proposal and gained ethical approval for our research.

Nov 2019 – Nov 2020

A key aspect of our work this year will be to focus on the future direction of leadership education in Scotland post the draft revision of the Professional Standards and Code of Practice and the revised model of Professional Development. Emeritus Professor Christine Forde will be leading an initial session on this theme. Details to follow.

To mark the European Conference on Educational Research (ECER) taking place at the University of Glasgow on the 25th – 28th August. We are intending to host a symposium or workshop jointly with the Teacher Education Network focussing on ‘Leadership of and for Learning: Professional Learning as Critical Enquiry to further school improvement.’

Nov 2018 – Nov 2019

Annual Report Nov 2019

Much of our work in this session focussed on alleviating the poverty-related attainment gap through a series of events jointly hosted with the Scottish Universities Insight Institute, the University of Strathclyde, the University of Edinburgh and the SERA Poverty Network. This included a workshop at the SERA Conference at the University of Edinburgh led by Dr Joan Mowat, University of Strathclyde, Dr Gale MacLeod, University of Edinburgh and Professor Stephen McKinney, University of Glasgow. Access to the full range of materials, research briefs and key recommendations can be found via this link.

Nov 2017 – Nov 2018

Annual Report Nov 2018

Nov 2016 – Nov 2017

Annual Report Nov 2018

Network conveners

  • Dr Julie Harvie, University of Glasgow
  • Dr Romina Madrid, University of Stirling