CORDIS - EU research results

Teacher leadership for school improvement: community capacity building towards effective leadership, educational success and social cohesion

Final Report Summary - TEACH-IN (Teacher leadership for school improvement: community capacity building towards effective leadership, educational success and social cohesion)

Research on teacher leadership demonstrates that it has a role to play in improving schools and academic outcomes but less is known about the existing synergies between teachers, families and other community members in strengthening such improvements. The increasing pressure in schools for students to perform well in tests influences teachers’ practice, often making them more didactic and more bureaucratic with reduced opportunities to share practice with colleagues and to engage with community members and students’ families. Therefore, the ways in which teachers are able to open up spaces for dialogue with community members becomes a relevant element of analysis in teacher leadership research. On the basis of the FP6 INCLUD-ED project, the HertsCam Network and the International Teacher Leadership initiative, the TEACH-IN project sought to find teacher leadership practices that overcome the disconnect between what is happening in schools and the reality experienced in neighbourhoods.

The TEACH-IN main objectives, therefore, were:

(1) to analyse teacher leadership practices in the United Kingdom and other European countries in relation to community participation
(2) to identify common teacher leadership elements that contribute to school improvement from a whole school-community approach
(3) to provide evidence about successful strategies and actions that supports teachers´ work as agents of change

Data collection

Secondary schools in 4 European countries and 1 candidate country participated in the project, covering diverse socioeconomic and cultural contexts. 31 teachers were directly involved and 160 indirectly involved, and 32 community members including families took part. Furthermore, 45 sessions in which teachers from HertsCam and the ITL shared practices were observed, and 20 were videorecorded.

The research involved interviews with teachers who had been leading development projects in a wide range of different contexts. Included also were the voices of families, volunteers and other community members who had collaborated with teachers to improve schools and learning. Qualitative and quantitative data were obtained and analysed.

Enabling community participation through teacher leadership

• Teachers with very diverse positions lead a more dialogic school-home relationship that enables the participation of community members in learning activities.
• Successful educational actions (SEAs) strengthen teacher leadership, opening the school to the participation of the community in learning activities, improving academic results.
• Dialogue among teachers about their leadership supports their roles as agents of change.

Dissemination and impact

• The project demonstrates different ways in which teacher leadership enables community participation to contribute to school improvement and increase academic results. This will contribute to advance towards the EU2020 targets (i.e. at least 40% of 30-34–year-olds completing third level education). As a result of the project:

Teachers and schools rethinking their leadership practices: 60 - 3
Teachers and schools deepen in the synergies for “community participation”: 120 - 20


• International conferences (12), invited sessions (4) and publications in ranked journals (5).
• Teachers extend leadership practices for community participation across countries.
• Community members (families, volunteers) become active members in the schools, leading change in transformative processes beyond the school.

Contact details. Scientist in charge: Dr. David Frost,
Marie Curie Fellow: Dr. Gisela Redondo Sama,

Project websites:
The research leading to these results has received funding from the People Programme (Marie Curie Actions) of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under the REA grant agreement nº 628982