Social justice and leadership development

Christine Forde, Deirdre Torrance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The revised professional standards for the teaching profession in Scotland are underpinned by a set of values which includes a detailed articulation of social justice for education covering rights, diversity and sustainability. There is a future orientation in these standards that privileges the contribution of teachers and leaders to realising a wider social aspiration for social justice. This expectation on leaders to contribute to this wider aspiration for social justice raises questions about the practice of leaders and their development. This article considers the implications of the articulation of social justice in the professional standards for career long leadership development. The article explores some of the issues related to social justice and the role of leadership in school. The article then focuses on the context of Scottish education, looking firstly, at the professional standards and secondly, at the issues related to social justice leadership. From this discussion the implications for career long leadership development are considered. The article concludes with a framework for social justice leadership development identifying key aspects of values, knowledge and understanding, inclusive practice, policy, issues of equity and equality that can be developed progressively across a leadership development continuum.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-120
Number of pages15
JournalProfessional Development in Education
Issue number1
Early online date27 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2017


  • leadership development
  • social justice leadership
  • professional standards
  • professional values
  • career long leadership development
  • educational leadership


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