The leadership practices of a novice head teacher in a public primary school in Kenya

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Abdalla Mohamed

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Joachim Tamba


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


The general purpose of this study was to investigate the leadership practices of a novice head teacher in a public primary school in Kenya. A qualitative research approach using a case study design was employed. Purposively selected participants included a Teachers Service Commission sub county director in charge of teacher management, a novice head teacher, a deputy head teacher, four teachers and a chairperson of the school Board of Management. Data collection was through face-to-face semi-structured interviews, Focused Group Discussion with the teachers and observation of the novice head teacher as the key informant. Data from the interviews as well as focused group discussion was recorded using a digital audio recorder while observation data was gathered using observation protocols. First, verbatim transcription of the data was done, then the data read, re-read, and finally analyzed through open coding to develop themes for the study. The findings revealed that the leadership practices of a novice head teacher included establishing goals and expectations, understanding and developing people, redesigning the organization as well as improving the instructional programmes. However, evidence revealed that in the process of executing the leadership roles, the novice head teacher faced leadership challenges due to various causes. Similarly, evidence revealed that the novice head teacher devised mitigation strategies that included inclusive consultation with the school community. The study recommended that the Teachers Service Commission should formulate pre-appointment programmes for aspiring head teachers to equip them with leadership competencies. Furthermore, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in liaison with teacher educators should review the teacher education syllabus to infuse school leadership units in the pre-service programmes. The recommendations from the study may be useful to the sub-county education officers to design professional support and guidance for novice head teachers in the initial phase of appointment.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library