The primary focus of this review is on how school leaders can develop and sustain a student-centred philosophy at all levels within their schools in order to increase the quality of education for all students. The authors draw on research literature from Australia and internationally to examine the impact that student-centred education can have on student outcomes, particularly for those students in disadvantaged contexts.
The review initially explores the concept of student-centred schools and how this notion is nested within a range of theoretical and philosophical constructs. The authors draw from research into student-centred pedagogy, learner-centred education, student-centred teaching and learning, and student-centred/ learner-centred leadership to provide a description of a student-centred school. They then consider models of leading student-centred schools, drawing from AITSL’s Australian Professional Standard for Principals and looking at the large-scale student-centred reforms in Ontario, Canada.
The authors use Viviane Robinson’s five dimensions of school leadership that impact on student outcomes: 1) Establishing goals and expectations, 2) Resourcing strategically, 3) Ensuring quality teaching, 4) Leading teacher learning and development, and 5) Ensuring a safe and orderly environment. They then extend this framework to include three additional dimensions of student-centred schooling that emerged from the literature: a) Working with the wider community, b) Ethical Leadership, and c) Student voice. This report offers a critical review of literature to address the hypothesis that student-centred schools make the difference.