Case study on the principal leaderships utilised in a Hong Kong special secondary school setting in the NSS educational reform

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The education reform called the New Secondary School Curriculum (NSS) was first launched by the Education Bureau of Hong Kong (EDB) in 2001. The reform was intended for the improvement of all aspects of education for primary and secondary school students. Thus, when such reform is achieved, the stakeholders of education would benefit in terms of achieving globalization. The ultimate goal of NSS is to cultivate a self-regulatory study mode that focuses on learning instead of mono-induction of knowledge. Upon the directions mapped by the EDB, the implementation was established in three phases. The short-term phase (from the periods 2001–2002 to 2005–2006) was prescribed for all schools to formulate and integrate their school-based curricula with the elements, ideologies, and generic skills suggested by the EDB. Subsequently, the second phase (from the periods 2006–2007 to 2011–2012) was the intermediate stage for facilitating and piloting the NSS curriculum into the secondary school setting. Eventually, the long-term phase (beyond 2011–2012) was the preliminary evaluative stage that further consolidated the teaching practice to enhance its efficacy and also provided the schools with opportunities to evaluate critically the catalysts and obstacles affecting student learning outcomes because the first batch of graduates should have had their examination results announced by July 2012.

Few studies examine the leadership styles of schools who serve students with Special Education Needs (SEN) and Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD) during the NSS education reform, including the effects of their leadership models. In this essay, the author will first provide a background of the NSS education reform with Burke’s four concepts of change: content, context, process, and change participants. Based on NSS and Bush’s leadership models, this paper will present the prerequisite of one of the local special secondary schools in Hong Kong (HK), that is, Tung Wah Group of Hospitals (TWGHs) Mr. and Mrs. Kwong Sik Kwan College (KSKC) and how the two principals of KSKC, Principals Chow and Ng, manage the team with their leadership in this education reform. After identifying their leadership type, the author will analyze whether such educational leadership styles are applicable to this special school, as well as make suggestions to address the opposition encountered by school seniors.

Aside from being the author of this case analysis, the writer was also one of the middle managers in this school, having been serving in the English Panel for six years, during which time he had experienced the leadership of these two principals. Both leadership styles were proactively deployed to the NSS education reform, although their consequences differed. Copyright © 2015 the author(s), with first publication rights granted to the journal.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-56
JournalInternational Journal of Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


Chim, H. (2015). Case study on the principal leaderships utilised in a Hong Kong special secondary school setting in the NSS educational reform. International Journal of Education, 7(1), 44-56. doi: 10.5296/ije.v7i1.6630


  • Principalship
  • NSS
  • SEN
  • Organisational change


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