Headshot of Alma Harris and Michelle Jones

Professor Alma Harris, a specialist in the field of Leadership at Swansea University, has led a team of partners from HE and practice in Wales in undertaking the review of the Welsh education system.

Collaboratively working alongside Professor Carol Campbell of the University of Toronto Ontario to bring an international perspective and critical objectivity to the research.

Swansea University’s Michelle Jones, Professor of Education and Childhood Studies, was part of the review team involved in the report.

The review took place during the Covid 19 pandemic, and the report outlines the findings and advice from over 120 hours of interviews time with key stakeholders throughout Wales.

Identifying responses from 169 senior leaders in Wales from an online survey that was analysed by an independent company.

The evidence shows that the emphasis placed on leadership development, support, and training is an important and widely valued aspect of the Welsh policy context.  

As outlined in ‘Education in Wales-Our National Mission’ and reinstated in the update in 2020, the core aspiration is for all leaders in Wales to be inspirational and ‘supported to lead their organisations through the changes ahead’.

The purpose of the review is to help the Welsh education system move to the next level of performance. Focusing on future possibilities and directions for leadership development presents the possibility of further strengthening leadership capability and capacity within the Welsh system.

The review team was impressed by the professionalism, commitment, and dedication of all those interviewed, this is unquestionably a strength of the system.

Key Findings from the review were that leadership continues to be at the epicentre of the Welsh education policy. Wales has embarked on an ambitious reform of its school system and most recently centered on a new curriculum in Wales designed to deliver a broad and balanced education for young people.

The central role that leaders play in achieving system reform has been clearly underlined by the Welsh Government. Leadership is one of the main enabling objectives to support the introduction of the new curriculum and is a critical part of the ongoing reform journey in Wales.

Delivery of the new curriculum requires a huge shift in the learning and teaching processes within the system. A system-wide approach to leadership provision has the potential to enforce positive changes in system performance quickly. This will require collaboration and greater synergy between all parts of the system.

Professor Emeritus Alma Harris the Independent Review Team Lead had this to say about the published work.

‘It has been a privilege to be part of the academic team responsible for this independent review of leadership. I am grateful to the practitioner group that supported the review team and Professor Carol Campbell (OISE Canada) for her external scrutiny of the entire review process. I am pleased that the Welsh Government is already actively using this independent review to guarantee the best training and support for all leaders, at all levels, wherever they are within the Welsh system.’


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