Continuing professional development for middle leaders in primary schools in Hong Kong

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Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to report on an exploratory study regarding the present situation of middle managers in schools; their professional development needs; and requirements of middle leaders for quality school management so that contents of existing professional development programmes could be improved to meet the needs of middle leaders of primary school education. Design/methodology/approach: Employing both quantitative and qualitative methods, this paper reports on a study of the training needs of middle leaders in primary schools in which their present situation, their needs for professional development and requirements for quality school management and leadership are explored. The study adopted survey questionnaires as the main method of data collection. To supplement quantitative data with regard to the professional development needs, six middle managers were purposefully selected for semi-structured interviews. Findings: The findings suggest that there are insufficient training opportunities for middle leaders in primary schools and that there is a strong demand for including the notions of interpersonal skills, crisis management, resources management and understanding of education ordinances in the professional development curriculum for middle leaders. The study recommends that training programmes should exert focus on meeting the specific needs of middle leaders and the content and approach be multi-dimensional. Originality/value: In spite of the small scale of the survey study, the data collected from individual in-depth interviews can provide the investigators with supplementary information on their professional development needs which also serves the purpose of triangulation. The finding can also be a very constructive reference for course providers who wish to re-engineer and improve the quality of professional development programmes for middle leaders. This may help arouse their interests and enhance their learning motivation. Copyright © 2014 Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)869-886
JournalJournal of Educational Administration
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014


Ng, S.-W., & Chan, T.-M. K. (2014). Continuing professional development for middle leaders in primary schools in Hong Kong. Journal of Educational Administration, 52(6), 869-886.


  • Primary schools
  • School leadership
  • School improvement
  • Needs assessment
  • Continuous professional development
  • Middle leaders


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