Policy and practice in social justice leadership in Scotland

Deirdre Torrance, Christine Forde

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Policy is a significant issue in social justice leadership creating expectations and demands which can either hinder or facilitate more just practice. A policy commitment to social justice has been made in Scottish education with frameworks used to regulate the educational system and professional standards setting out clear expectations for teachers, placing ultimate responsibility with headteachers to ensure socially just practices. However, headteachers are working in schools located within unjust contexts and the relationship between policy and practice is complex. There is significant debate about how policy is conceptualised and investigated in educational research. This chapter explores the place of policy in social justice leadership utilizing different approaches to investigate policy and its impact on practice. The chapter begins with a discussion of the development of policy related to social justice in Scottish education. Using the ISLDN macro, meso and micro framework, as well as the ISLDN headteacher interview protocol, the chapter then explores the relationship between policy and practice from a number of different perspectives: policy intentions, policy as a process and policy response by headteachers. By examining policy from different perspectives the chapter critically appraises the possibilities and realities of leading social justice in Scottish schools.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Global Perspective of Social Justice Leadership for School Principals
EditorsPamela S Angelle
PublisherInformation Age Publishing
Pages187- 208
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781681238753
ISBN (Print)9781681238739, 9781681238746
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2017


  • social justice leadership
  • educational policy and social justice
  • policy analysis


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