An Empirical / Longitudinal Investigation into the Worklives and Principalship Preparation of Assistant Principals in Hong Kong (A GRF Project)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Over the last two years, 60% of new secondary school principals in Hong Kong have come directly from the ranks of assistant principals. Despite this fact and policy concerns about the next generation of school leaders, empirical investigation and substantive theories into the worklives, motivations and learning of assistant principals remains woefully inadequate. This is particularly so in Hong Kong where research into assistant principals, and particularly those who aspire to the principalship, is virtually nonexistent. Given this void, this project proposes to investigate the worklives of assistant principals in secondary schools in Hong Kong, and particularly those who openly aspire to the principalship. The study therefore also targets the important area of what assistant principals consider is an appropriate preparation for the principalship and how they conceive the relationship been the assistant principalship and the principalship itself. The study will combine qualitative and quantitative methods to compare career assistant principals with assistant/aspiring principals and to track a group of the latter over a two-year period. Together, the survey and longitudinal data will represent a major theoretical and methodological contribution to the field of Educational Leadership in a central but neglected area, especially in Hong Kong. Findings will also lead to improved understanding of the nexus between system policy and leadership preparation and our understanding of the transition from assistant principal to principal. The study also has the potential to inform policy makers of the training and development needs, career aspirations, beliefs and motivations of assistant principals and future principals, and the transition between the two positions. In even more practical terms, such information can be utilised to improve the pool and quality of future principals and career assistant principals. In short, the study expects to contribute to theory, practice and policy implementation in the area of the assistant principalship and school leadership in general.

Funding Source: RGC - Competitive Earmarked Research Grant
Effective start/end date01/01/0331/01/05


  • Principalship Preparation
  • Assistant Principals


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