ISSPP began at a meeting of interested parties held at The University of Nottingham, UK in 2001. It was agreed that, whilst there was much research and writing about school principals, much of it was based upon self-report, theoretical studies, school improvement, quantitative ‘school effectiveness’ studies, or competing models of school principalship, mainly from Western perspectives. While valuable, such research was not able to answer questions of how, over what time, and in what circumstances some school principals achieve and sustain success whilst others do not. As such, it was agreed that conducting multi-perspective case studies of schools deemed to be successful in different countries and jurisdictions would provide valuable evidence, which would contribute new knowledge about associations between the contexts in which successful principals lead their schools, and the values, purposes, qualities, strategies, skills and relationships which they applied.
We used ‘success’ because it contains a broader meaning than ‘effective’, the latter being usually associated primarily only with the measurable, functional outcomes of students as they end their time in any given school sector or phase.Today, the ISSPP is the largest and most sustained research network on successful school principalship, with a membership of academics from more than 20 countries. ISSPP members have developed case studies, organised national and international dissemination conferences and produced numerous, robust academic papers in reputable journals internationally, as well as several special issues.
To find out more about the project use this link to open the ISSPP brochure (PDF).