Theoretical Background

The 2016 OECD Review of School Resources for Austria recommended a shift towards a stronger culture of pedagogical leadership in schools. It proposed giving greater consideration to the views and experiences of teachers and headteachers in relation to school-based quality development, citing England as an ‘interesting example’ of pedagogical leadership and quality development from which Austria might learn (Nusche et al 2016, 38).

It was against this backdrop that plans for a project exploring the experiences of headteachers from highly effective schools in England commenced in 2016. One of its aims was to explore school improvement in England within the last 30 years from a historico-political perspective. Additionally, the pheonmenon is analysed from the perspectives of school effectiveness and improvement research and teacher education research. Several international partner institutions and individuals from both these areas of research agreed to support the study. The Austrian Science Fund (FWF) has generously awarded a grant to the project as the outcome of an international peer review process.