Leadership competences

GTCNI is working with DE and key educational stakeholders, and engaging with the wider education sector to develop proposals for a competence framework for leadership at all levels.

The Council is working on a new framework on leadership competences that will align both with the existing teaching competences – Teaching: The reflective profession – and the Department of Education Learning Leaders Strategy.

This programme of work is supported by an Advisory Committee drawn from every part of the education sector.

The GTCNI approach builds on important research on leadership in schools – recognising that the definition of leadership can be ‘arbitrary and very subjective’ (Yuki, 2002)

Bush (2003) highlights three dimensions of leadership that may be identified as a basis for developing a working definition:

  • Leadership as influence;
  • Leadership and values; and
  • Leadership and vision.

The leadership competence model will be based on the experiences of teachers in Northern Ireland while recognising recent work across the UK on Leadership.

GTCNI Guiding Principles

Based on current research, including the work of Hargreaves and Fullan (2012), Connolly et. al. (2008) and Nusche (2008), and the GTCNI teaching competences, the Council has agreed a number of core guiding principles to support its work on developing leadership competences.

  • Leadership competences should reflect the values and ethics (moral principles) associated with the teaching profession and should underpin school leadership in Northern Ireland
  • New leadership competences should align with the NI Teacher Competences in ‘Teaching: The Reflective Practice’.
  • Leadership competences should emphasise the pre–eminent role of school leaders as ‘learning leaders’ (note this is emphasised in the DE Strategy).
  • Leadership competences should be developmental and progressive and framed within a constructivist view of teaching and learning (Education).
  • The leadership competences should seek to promote leadership development and encourage school leadership as a career aspiration.
  • Leadership competences should seek to promote leadership agency and professional capital.
  • Leadership competences should be viewed as enhancing the professional status of and respect for school leaders and school staff more generally.
  • The leadership competences will be developed in a collaborative manner drawing on evidence from research, best practice and the experience of members of Council and the Advisory Group.


  • Yukl, G.A. (2002) Leadership in Organisations 5th edition: Upper Saddle River, NJ, Prentice Hall.
  • Hargreaves, A. and Fullan, M (2012) Professional capital: Transforming teaching in every school: London, Routledge.
  • Connelly, M. Milton, E Davis, A.J. and Barrance, R. (2018) ‘Turning heads: The impact of political reform on the professional role, identity and recruitment of head teachers in Wales’. British Educational Research Journal, 44 (4), pp608–623.
  • Nusche, D. (2008) ‘Why School Leadership Matters’ in School Leadership Policy and Practice North and South SCoTENS.

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