Repository logo

The role of circuit managers in leadership and professional development of principals: perspectives of six secondary school principals.

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The focus of the study reported in this dissertation was to explore the role of circuit managers in the leadership and professional development of principals; this was studied from the perspective school principals. The study was conducted in six secondary schools in Umlazi District in KwaZulu-Natal, and principals of these schools participated voluntarily. Since there is no prior qualification that is needed in South Africa before teachers are appointed to a principal position, I wanted to understand the principals' perceptions of the role played by circuit managers in their leadership and professional development. The study also intended to explore the different strategies that circuit managers implement in pursuit of developing principals' leadership and professional skills. Lastly, the study also explored the impact of the strategies implemented by the circuit managers. I located myself within an interpretive paradigm in this study; this paradigm is grounded on the belief that there is no single absolute truth, but it is created through the engagements of the researcher and participants. Reality is subjective and emanates from people's real-life experiences. Transformational leadership theory and Gray and Bishop’s leadership development model formed the theoretical framework that underpinned this study. Furthermore, the case study research methodology was used to comprehend the principals' experiences. The thematic analysis method was chosen to analyse data that was generated through semi-structured interviews. The study found that the role of circuit managers, from the perspective of principals, played a pivotal role in developing principals’ leadership and professional development. The participating principals shared a similar sentiment that circuit managers played the role of building their capacity. Among other things, principals mentioned that circuit managers implemented mentoring and modelling, twinning schools to foster collaborations and ongoing training as strategies to enhance principals' professional and leadership growth. The study further found that the implementation of these strategies by circuit managers resulted in principals growing their management and leadership practices.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.