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Published empirical research was used to synthesise the evidence about the impact of different types of leadership on students’ academic and non-academic outcomes. The first analysis involved a comparison of the effects of transformational and instructional leadership on student outcomes. The second involved the inductive development of five sets of leadership practices and the estimation of the magnitude of their effects. The comparison of the effects of instructional and transformational leadership indicated that the effect of the former is consistently and notably larger than the effect of the latter type of leadership. The second analysis revealed five leadership dimensions that have moderate to large effects on outcomes: establishing goals and expectations; strategic resourcing; planning, coordinating and evaluating teaching and the curriculum; promoting and participating in teacher learning and development; and ensuring an orderly and supportive environment. The more leaders focus their professional relationships, their work and their learning on the core business of teaching and learning, the greater their influence on student outcomes. It is suggested that leadership theory, research and practice needs to be more closely linked to research on effective teaching, so that there is greater focus on what leaders need to know and do to support teachers in using the pedagogical practices that raise achievement and reduce disparity.