School Leadership & Management Welcoming proposals for an upcoming special issue

Understanding middle leadership: practices, polices and paradigm

School Leadership & Management

In the Editorial for Volume 37(3), Harris and Jones (2017) stated that “Middle leaders matter”, and made a strong argument for the importance for educational middle leadership. This special issue is a response to that impassioned and timely statement. Furthermore, there seems to be an increasing interest in the practices and policies associated with middle leadership, and this is an opportunity to draw some of this current research together.

This special issue aims to bring together a collection of articles from international researchers that consider what drives change in education – specifically the important work and practices of middle leaders. Notable educationalists and researchers from across the globe have invested much in isolating the specific ‘drivers’ that support (and inhibit) school change and development. Moreover, current foci on performative conceptions of accountability, reductive understandings of ‘effect sizes’ and decontextualized ‘what works’ approaches have been promoted as solutions to intractable educational problems.  However, such foci often ’hover above’ what really happens in everyday school contexts, and have generally proved to be little more than destabilising distractions that divert attention from necessarily situated understandings of practice as the real drivers of education development. It is envisaged that the articles in this special issue will draw attention to the importance of the leading practices enacted by a particular group of educators who work to foster education development from ‘the middle’ in their specific school sites.

Empirically, the articles direct timely attention to the leading practices of those described as ‘middle leaders’, and how their practices produce particular conditions for change, specifically in relation to leading the professional learning of their colleagues. Coupled with this, is the intense concern with improving conditions for student learning. Thus, the articles will interrogate distinctive ‘drivers’ of education development in educational settings, and draw on theory to examine the nuanced, localized enactment of the practices of middle leaders.

Ultimately, articles will argue that what is missing is a sufficiently focused investigation of the “real” drivers of day-to-day educational change in schools. Therefore, articles in this special issue will mark out middle leadership as an important educational phenomenon worthy of significant future investment for accomplishing site based education development. The focus upon the work of middle leadership offers schooling a future for real (and realistic) change in relation to both policy and practice.

Instructions for Submissions

We would hope that the whole process would take about 12 months, but we appreciate that this will be dependent upon the editorial and management processes of the journal.

· 15 December 2017: Initial proposals submitted and the special issue editors review the proposals
· 15 January 2018: Invite some to submit full manuscripts
· April 2018: Full manuscripts submitted to the journal for the normal reviewing processes. Full
​  reviewed and revised manuscripts sent to Special Issue editors
· October 2018: Special Issue editors provide final comments on full manuscripts   
· November 2018: Final submissions to the journal and Special Issue editors prepare an Editorial.
· February 2019: Special Issue published

Outline of the proposal:
The extended abstract should include:

· Name(s) and Institutions of the author(s)
· Email address for the lead author
· Manuscript title
· Abstract (maximum of 400 words)
· Supporting Statement (600 Words): National/international significance, timeliness, research quality,
​  the nature of the study, paradigm, and impact on practice, policy and theory.

Editorial information