The Rural Difference Trope: Leader Perceptions on Rural, Regional and Remote Schooling Difference

Philip Roberts, Natalie DOWNES

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The recent Independent Review into Rural Regional and Remote Education (Halsey 2018) identified leadership as a key component for enhancing education in rural, regional and remote communities. In this article we draw upon a review of recent Australian research on rural school leadership that identified a persistent theme of ‘rural school difference’. However, a limitation of this research was also identified, namely that the literature was primarily based upon small-scale interview and/or case study research. To address the identified limitation the present study takes a secondary data analysis approach to reanalyse data from the Staff in Australia’s Schools (SiAS) survey. Using a range of descriptive and multivariate statistical approaches, we explore leaders’ perceptions of working in rural, regional and remote communities as compared to their metropolitan peers. We find that there is a significant, and consistent, trend in the data organised around proximity from the metropolitan locations. This finding reinforces the findings of the more qualitative research reviewed on this topic. Specifically, the analysis suggests that a certain type of leader is attracted to particularly remote school leadership – one who wants to lead school development and clearly has well developed emotional intelligence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-65
Number of pages15
JournalLeading and Managing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


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