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Teacher leadership as intellectual leadership: creating spaces for alternative voices in the English school system

International Professional Development Association / Routledge
Publication Date
  • X990 Education Not Elsewhere Classified
  • Education
  • Political Science


Teacher leadership has become an area of significant interest in research and policy terms in recent years. However, as a form of leadership it remains orthodox and conservative, rooted in largely traditional managerialist hierarchies, and disconnected from a critique of the wider policy imperatives that shape the contexts in which leadership is constructed. This article reports on an evaluation study of the work of Union Learning Representatives in a major teaching union in England and suggests that their role offers a new and more fruitful way of considering teacher leadership. Such leadership needs to be genuinely democratic and focused on cohering a professional voice amongst teachers. It is not a leadership concerned with providing ‘vision’, but one rooted in a dialogic and critical process, from which genuinely transformatory possibilities emerge.

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