Creativity in School Leadership: A Systematic Literature Review of the Primary Sector

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    Organisations and policymakers face common challenges and rapid changes driven by globalisation, economic uncertainty, and advances in technology. Effective leaders in the 21st Century will drive change and address the myriad of tensions through applying creativity, particularly in relation to progressing a sustainable system (Basadur, 2004; Hennessey and Amabile, 2010). Consequently, the role of the headteacher is becoming increasingly complex, especially in light of the many educational reforms. Research from across the UK and internationally, continuously demonstrates the significance of educational leadership with regards to school improvement and effectiveness (Leithwood and Jantzi, 1999; Stoll et al., 2001; OECD, 2015). To enable those at the local level to respond, and for systemic sustainable change, creativity is useful to move thinking and practice forward. While creativity is featured in many curriculum documents to enhance student learning, consideration must be given to whether this, along with its counterpart, innovation, is readily extended to school leadership.

    The future is uncertain, particularly in light of external educational demands and changes, alongside the aforementioned challenges. Donaldson (2011: 16) highlights the notion that promoted school staff will ‘have to be flexible, bold and creative if they are to continue to serve young people well’. With this in mind, the systematic literature review of 19 papers spanning from 2010 onwards, explores creativity in school leadership in the primary sector. Guided by four search questions: What empirical evidence is there in the peer-reviewed literature: 1. concerning the creativity of headteachers within the primary sector? 2. to define creativity in school leadership? 3. to determine the key characteristics of creativity regarding primary sector headteachers? 4. for supporting headteachers regarding a creative approach in their leadership? Through applying a screening rubric and thematically analysing the results with the aid of NVivo coding, the findings enabled a definition of creativity regarding school leadership and highlighted a range of characteristics. Yet, there is limited evidence of explicit and direct support given to the school leaders to adopt these concepts. Overall, the review identified that a although there is a need for creativity for sustainability and progression, whether school leaders are willing to promote and implement a concept which is often juxtaposed with policy controls and accountability remains questionable
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2020


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