Date of Submission



This research sought to explore whether leadership benefits result when Catholic parish primary schools work in partnership. The research sought to explore potential leadership benefits for principals involved in a Catholic parish primary school partnership. The benefits were explored in terms of support for the principals and any resultant impact on their effectiveness. The role of the principal has changed vastly over the past twenty years (Earley & Weindling, 2004) and expectations of principals are continually increasing. These changes are even more pronounced in Catholic parish primary schools in Australia (Carlin, D'Arbon, Dorman, Duignan & Neidhart, 2003). The changing role of the principal, particularly in the Catholic context, has led to principal burnout and difficulties with succession (D'Arbon, Duignan, Duncan & Goodwin, 2001). School partnerships, resulting from parishes merging, may provide leadership benefits to support principals. This research explored the experiences of the principals and parish priest of three formerly separate schools in three parishes and now in the same parish. The research was, therefore, in the context of school change, associated with a parish merger. This merger led to the formation of a partnership between the principals and the parish priest. The review of the literature generated three research questions. The first research question was, 'What is the nature of the emerging partnership?' The introduction of successful change requires careful leadership. This led to the second research question, 'How did the school leaders involved lead the development of the partnership?' The focus of this study was on the leadership outcomes, consequently the third research question was, 'To what extent do leadership outcomes result when Catholic parish primary schools work in partnership?...


School of Educational Leadership

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


225 pages

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Faculty of Education