Introduction: School leadership has increasingly been gaining attention from educational policymakers, and the entire educational society. Research has also confirmed that school principals are essential for developing and maintaining effective school systems. The role of school leadership in schools is highly complex and dynamic such that strategies are needed to change underperforming schools. This article reported on a small scale exploratory qualitative study that investigated the effects of school leadership in enhancing the learning outcomes of a cohort of schools in a rural setting in South Africa.
Purpose: The purpose of the study was to analyse the role of principals in enhancing learning achievement in schools.
Methodology: The study took a qualitative research approach with an interpretive epistemological and constructivist ontological perspective. Qualitative evidence was collected from six schools in the same district through semi-structured interview question with educators and school principals. Purposive sampling techniques were used to select information-rich cases from the schools and in selecting the schools.
Results: Grounded in the accounts of our study participants, results from the study indicated that school principals are the cornerstones of achieving quality teaching and learning through motivating educators, training and providing distributed leadership
Recommendations: From the study findings, it was recommended that there is need to improve the basic unit of the educational institution which include structural, cultural and agential conditions to enhance the effective operations of school principals. There is a need to motivate and enhance existing forms of agency in ways that expand learners’ achievement.
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