Northern Ireland: Some post-conflict challenges in education

Samuel J. McGuinness, Lesley Abbott, Frank Cassidy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


How do different contexts influence the nature and character of school leadership? This book is predicated on the simple, yet profound, observation that school leadership can only be understood within the context in which it is exercised. The observation is particularly valid in relation to post-conflict societies especially when they have eventuated from new-wars. Schools in these contexts face highly complex circumstances and a level of environmental turbulence requiring different kinds of leadership from those operating in less complicated and relatively stable situations. By assembling an impressive array of international experts, this book investigates a much neglected area of research. Each chapter highlights the importance of context for understanding the realities of school leadership, and reveals the challenges and influences that school leaders face as well as the strategies they adopt to deal with the complexities of their work. In particular, valuable insights are provided into how intractable problems faced by schools can affect student, professional and organizational learning agendas. There are also important glimpses of the progression that can be made in schools by: -Enhancing the curriculum -Energizing teaching capacity; and -Optimising leadership capacity. Depictions of post-new war environments include Angola, Ghana, Sri Lanka, Rwanda, Kenya, Solomon Islands, Lebanon, Kosovo, Timor-Leste and Northern Ireland. The book will be key reading for undergraduate and postgraduate students studying educational leadership, comparative education and education policy.This chapter is concerned with educational leadership and associated challenges at the school level in post-conflict Northern Ireland. It opens with a brief overview on the period of conflict. The contemporary educational situation is then outlined. This is followed by an account of contemporary leadership developments in Northern Ireland related to principalship, many of which are similar to developments in countries throughout the Western world which have not had the same experience of conflict. Considerations then take a very different turn, with an examination of challenges for principals in relation to post-conflict initiatives related to the sectarian aspect of the conflict.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSchool Level Leadership in Post-conflict Societies
EditorsSimon R. P. Clarke, Thomas A. O'Donoghue
Place of Publication2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN
ISBN (Print)978-0-415-68709-6 (hbk) 978-0-203-36277-8 (ebk)
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 5 May 2013


  • School leadership
  • post-conflict societies
  • area learning communities


Dive into the research topics of 'Northern Ireland: Some post-conflict challenges in education'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this