School Leadership Challenges in Canada
- Jing XiaoJing XiaoUniversity of Saskatchewan
- and Paul NewtonPaul NewtonUniversity of Saskatchewan
Educational leadership as a concept refers to leadership across multiple levels and forms of educational institutions. The challenges facing school leaders in Canada center on the changing demographics of communities and school populations, shifts in Canadian society, and workload intensification related to factors such as increasing accountability regimes and changing expectations of schools.
Although education in Canada is largely a matter of provincial jurisdiction, there are some similarities with respect to the challenges facing institutions across Canada. While regional differences occur, general trends in challenges can be observed throughout Canada. There are challenges related to the changing demographics and social context that include increases in immigrant and refugee populations, the growing numbers of Indigenous students and the implications of truth and reconciliation for settler and indigenous communities, the increased awareness of gender and sexual identity, and linguistic and religious diversity. There are also challenges related to the shifting policy context and public discourse with respect to the expectations of public schooling. These challenges include the necessity for schools to respond to the mental health and well-being of students and staff, the increasing pressures with respect to accountability and large-scale assessments, and the demands of parents and community members of schools and school leaders. The changing roles and responsibilities of school leaders have resulted in workload intensification and implications for leader recruitment and retention.