Australian Journal of Education

Article Title

Improving the small rural or remote school: The role of the district


There is a robust body of work highlighting distinctive challenges encountered by leaders of small schools in pursuit of school improvement but this work has focused on the school as the unit of change and neglects the role of the district. As the district potentially influences what principals know and how they use their knowledge, this article examines how districts provide professional support for principals of small schools in rural or remote environments. The article identifies from the literature features of effective districts in supporting change and improvement in their schools. A case study is then presented of one district in Western Australia. This district’s magnitude and remoteness yield rich insights into strategies assisting principals to enhance performance and vitality of rural or remote schools and their communities. Finally, suggestions are made for strengthening these strategies referring to the new model of supporting schools on the cusp of its implementation in Western Australia.