45 Citations (Scopus)


A lack of analysis and research into primary education in general, and primary school leadership in particular, has left primary practitioners exposed like never before to the vagaries of policy-makers and unpredictable contextual pressures. The purpose of this article is to initiate discussion on the state of primary school leadership in Hong Kong since 2000. It attempts to explore some of the major reforms and other contextual factors impacting primary school leaders and comment on the challenges which accompany these. It further proposes that when initiatives confront the existing structural and cultural make up of primary schools they are blocked by what we call the bottleneck effect. The article also attempts to explain and illustrate this effect and what it means for primary school principals. It is hoped that the analysis serves to highlight interest in primary school leadership in Hong Kong and stimulate research in the area locally and internationally. Copyright © 2008 Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-521
JournalSchool Leadership & Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008


Cheng, Y. C., & Walker, A. (2008). When reform hits reality: The bottleneck effect in Hong Kong primary schools. School Leadership & Management, 28(5), 505-521.


  • School leadership
  • Principalship
  • Educational reform
  • Primary schools
  • Hong Kong
  • Bottleneck effect


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