|dc.description.abstract||Vice-principals and principals play an essential role in school leadership teams, and the
development programmes in which they participate to ensure effective Strategic Leadership
in schools, have been the subject of intense debate for many years.
Employing a mixed-method case study approach, this study examines and compares the
perceptions, roles and responsibilities of newly appointed senior school leaders in two
country contexts, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Specifically, it explores
the professional development opportunities that newly appointed senior school leaders in
Abu Dhabi, UAE and the Western Cape, South Africa, have been exposed to. It further
investigates the particular professional development needs of these senior school leaders.
This study uses Critical Realism theory as a philosophical lens through which to explore the
perceptions of newly appointed senior school leaders on their roles, responsibilities,
competencies and developmental needs. A comparative case study approach with qualitative
and quantitative techniques was employed, and comprised of three elements. Firstly, a
detailed questionnaire survey was administered at Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) and
the Western Cape Education Department (WCED). Secondly, follow-up interviews were
conducted with 25 per cent of the respondents for clarification and to establish the accuracy
of data collected during the first phase. Finally, semi-structured interviews were conducted
with officials from both ADEC and the WCED to gather further contextual data for each case.
The main study findings confirm that as senior school leaders transition into their roles at
ADEC and the WCED they require distinctive support in a variety of ways. It was found in
both systems for instance that the training programmes are not appropriately designed,
delivered, and aligned to the perceived needs of the respondents, and that they need
appropriate and more contextualised, individualised, in-office support once appointed.
The study's findings are consistent with the literature that newly appointed senior school
leaders welcome support from mentors and role models but require to a lesser extent formal
courses. They confirmed the current gap between the perceived needs of newly appointed
senior school leaders and the current development programmes provided to support them,
and identified a clear shortfall in their current competencies.||en_US