Education Leadership Theories

Several education leadership theories have been developed to explain different perspectives adopted by the school management. Among the current theories include servant and socio-emotional leadership. Since their emergence, these frameworks have been extensively studied and applied in the educational context. According to Sahawneh and Benuto (2017), a servant leader places the needs, goals, and well-being of other people above his or her own to achieve transformation.

In education, servant leadership applies in almost all school grades, from K-12 and higher. The reasoning is that the students need an effective learning environment where the teachers and the school management can play a vital role. In other words, the key duty of an educator is to make sure learners perform well, an undertaking that may require attending to the needs of each of them. The study by Sahawneh and Benuto (2017) examines the effectiveness of servant leadership in an online setting, which serves to illustrate the modern applications of the model in the current literature.

Much of the current literature on servant leadership examines its effectiveness and applications. Another study that illustrates the status of this framework is conducted by Norris et al. (2017), who express that connecting with Millenials can be challenging. Therefore, a servant leader whose primary aim is to place their needs before his or her own can have a significant impact on overcoming the hurdles. Investing in youth and their education is critical, meaning effective educational leadership is highly desired.

The socio-emotion leadership theory has also been extensively examined in terms of its effectiveness and deployment in schools. The emotional environment significantly affects the learning outcomes of the students and the emotional experiences of teachers at work (Zinsser et al., 2016). Contemporary schools are also required to continually increase the learning outcomes of learners, which are concurrent with greater social and personal stressors on the students. Therefore, educators are obligated to understand the learning situation and tailor their leadership styles to suit the students.

From the description of the two models, it can be argued that both are similar in the sense that they seek to improve the learning outcomes of students. The two theories are based on the notion that the learning environment affects academic performance and that the type of school leadership can help improve the situation. However, there are some differences between the two theories, especially concerning their primary objective. In servant leadership, the main aim is to serve the needs of the students by adjusting the leadership and teaching activities to suit the desires of the learners. On the other hand, socio-emotional leadership recognizes the role of the emotional environment and seeks to make it conducive to learning.

Modern literature has illustrated the effectiveness of these frameworks where a consensus has been reached that leadership models deployed in a school setting reflect the academic outcomes of the students.

Staffing ratios have been found to have positive correlations with the academic outcomes of the learners. Several studies have led to the conclusion that a smaller student-staff ratio leads to a higher quality of teacher-learner interactions (Bowne et al., 2017). In the PK-12, researchers recommend that more teachers in the institutions make it possible to establish high-quality interactions with the learners. Early childhood has been the focus of most studies, mainly because the students require more attention than higher grades. For example, a working paper by Slot (2018) establishes that smaller classroom sizes and smaller staff-child ratios lead to higher process quality.

A systematic review and meta-analysis by Perlman et al. (2016) focus on the emotional, instructional, and organizational support offered to the learners. The materials reviewed in their paper lead to the conclusion that staff-child ratios and staff education comprise the structural quality indicators. Since these indicators are quantifiable, governments often focus on regulating them to improve the quality of early childhood education.

While most of the studies recommend more staff and fewer students, it is important to highlight that there are hardly any mentions of minimums and maximums. Only general statements that lower staff-student ratios improve the quality of learning outcomes. The industry standards are not precisely stated in the articles reviewed. Additionally, the literature focuses only on the classroom personnel, who have direct contact with the learners.

The roles of the support staff, including security, food service, and custodial, can only be reviewed in separate papers. Classroom interactions have been linked to quality issues. Therefore, it can be argued that the staffing ratios matter most when the teachers are involved. Most importantly, the PK-12 education levels have received greater attention, which leads to the deduction that these stages require more personal assistance from the learners. The general direction on what to expect is that smaller classroom sizes help improve the quality of academic outcomes.

School budgeting is important because it helps the institutions plan for the resources allocated to them. Schools often depend on donors and the government for funds, meaning that these sources may require a detailed budget plan before providing the finances. The main goal of budgeting is to make sure that the students receive a quality education in terms of adequate teaching staff and educational materials. According to Alahmadi and Tabrizi (2019), most of the findings in education are based on enrolment. Therefore, budgeting allows the principals to assess the financial needs of the school depending on the enrolment levels.

This explains why many institutions still use per-pupil funding for schools. Additionally, it has been established that budget implementation concerning education costs directly affects the delivery of education (Amir et al., 2020). In other words, school budgeting has a significant influence on the education outcomes for both the educators and the learners. Those expenses that are not directly involved with the provision of education can be labeled as an extravagance. Donors and other funding sources have to make sure the finances are strictly used for education purposes.

There is little scholarly research on how to improve discipline in budgeting for schools. However, all institutions receiving funding from external sources may have a basic requirement to be disciplined. According to Clark et al. (2017), Budgeting and Accounting Act was passed in 1950 to require all agency heads to provide justifications and performance by units. It can be argued that the same legislation applies to schools where the principals are obligated to justify their school spending. As mentioned earlier, any spending which is not directly involved in the provision of education is labeled extravagance.

Therefore, the principals can increase discipline in the school budgeting by eliminating all instances of extravagance. The school budget comprises part of the government expenditure for many countries. Therefore, disciplinary measures on rogue budgeting activities can also be pursued by the state.


Alahmadi, H., & Tabrizi, S. (2019). School budgeting and planning: Selecting the most effective budget plan for Ontario’s public schoolsInternational Journal of Innovative Business Strategies, 5(1), 279-284. Web.

Amir, A., Yunus, M., & Susanti, G. (2020). Public policy implementation: Study on educational budgeting for PalopoJournal la Sociale, 1(1), 5-11. Web.

Bowne, J., Magnuson, K., Schindler, H., Duncn, G., & Yoshikawa, H. (2017). A meta-analysis of class sizes and ratios in early childhood education programs: Are thresholds of quality associated with greater impacts on cognitive achievement, and socioemotional outcomes? Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 39(3), 407-428. Web.

Clark, C., Menifield, C., & Stewart, L. (2017). Policy diffusion and performance-based budgetingInternational Journal of Public Administration, 41(7), 528-534. Web.

Norris, S., Sitton, S., & Baker, M. (2017). Mentorship through the lens of servant leadership: The importance of accountability and empowerment. NACTA Journal, 61(1), 21-26. Web.

Perlman, M., Falenchuk, O., Fletcher, B., McMullen, E., Beyene, J., & Shah, P. (2016). A systematic review and meta-analysis of a measure of staff/child interaction quality (the classroom assessment scoring system) in early childhood education and care settings and child outcomesPLoS One, 11(12). Web.

Sahawneh, F., & Benuto, L. (2017). The relationship between instructor servant leadership behaviors and satisfaction with instructors in an online settingOnline Learning Journal, 22(1), 107-129. Web.

Slot, P. (2018). Structural characteristics and process quality in early childhood education and care: A literature review. OECD.

Zinsser, K., Denham, S., Curby, T., & Chazan-Cohen, R. (2016). Early childhood directors as socializers of emotional climateLearning Environments Research, 19(2), 1-24. Web.

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