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Middle leadership in international schools: evidence from Malaysia

Javadi, Vahid; Bush, Tony; Ng, Ashley


Vahid Javadi

Ashley Ng


This paper examines middle leadership of the heads of English, maths and science departments in four international secondary schools in Malaysia. It focuses on their roles, responsibilities, role relationships, instructional engagement and leadership involvement within the theoretical framework of instructional, distributed and teacher leadership. The study is a qualitative multi-method case study, involving observation, documentary analysis, and semi-structured interviews with 12 heads of department, 36 teachers, and four principals. With respect to the middle leaders’ roles and responsibilities, the findings illustrate cross-school and in-school differential developments, with contextual factors contributing to uneasy role relationships. The results also show that, while broad-based leadership opportunities are limited for the middle leaders and teachers, the most powerful and common feature of all these international schools is the centrality of teaching and learning.


Javadi, V., Bush, T., & Ng, A. (in press). Middle leadership in international schools: evidence from Malaysia. School Leadership and Management, 37(5),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 25, 2017
Online Publication Date Aug 17, 2017
Deposit Date Sep 12, 2017
Publicly Available Date Feb 18, 2019
Journal School Leadership & Management
Print ISSN 1363-2434
Electronic ISSN 1364-2626
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 37
Issue 5
Keywords Middle leadership, instructional leadership, distributed leadership, teacher leadership, international schools, Malaysia
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in School Leadership & Management on 17 August 2017, available online:


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