In Australia and England, for instance, such a policy context has been characterised as low-trust and high-stakes in terms of teacher and leader accountability, encouraging in school leaders the production of entrepreneurial and performative (Courtney 2016; Perryman et al.
2018) forms of practice that are largely bypassed by policy attempts to enhance satisfaction.
This literature review therefore aims to explore international approaches to teachers’ and leaders’ career pathways in the context of their policy environment.
The methodology used was multiple case studies, with five contexts being purposefully selected that speak particularly to the question under investigation.
This demonstrates the high value that policy-makers place in an assessment that the research evidence has for years shown to be problematic.
Goldstein (2004), for instance, has argued that its methodology renders its findings untrustworthy, and the Australian academic, Dinham (2013), notes of the “competition” that: … are not nations at all, but cities [and] city states … 95) The push for high test scores can harm both enjoyment and self-belief.
Inter-track movement is possible and intra-track progression is purposefully challenging.
Taken together, these cases reveal the ambiguous relationship between a perceived policy “problem” and its attempted solution.
These are based on explicit professional standards. Instead of a structured career pathway, teachers and school principals instead enjoy considerable autonomy and high status within an undifferentiated profession. Singapore uses a highly structured three-track, multi-level career-progression system, with “leadership” comprising one of these tracks.
The context is bureaucratic, and so teachers and leaders as civil servants accept their lack of professional autonomy.