Unit 1.5 The role of the Head Teacher/School Principal/School Leader


There are certain key functions which must be undertaken as Head Teacher or School Principal of an UNWRA school. What are the differences between these two roles? Are you currently a Head Teacher or a School Principal? What will you need to do differently as a School Principal?

The material in this Unit is closely linked to the Installation Management (IM) Course you have recently completed or will be completing shortly. The key differences between this Unit and the IM Course are around leadership and management and a body of research into what effective principals do to improve the performance of their staff and students.

We will explore worldwide research into school systems and identify exactly what the most successful principals do to improve their schools.

As part of studying this Unit, you will hear from the School Principals and Head Teachers of successful UNRWA schools about how they approach their roles. Whether you are currently a School Principal or a Head Teacher, there will be material in this Unit to help you think about your role and how you can move forward as an effective leader and manager of a successful school.


By the end of this Unit of study, you will be able to:

  • recognise the key differences between the UNRWA Post Descriptions for School Principals and Head Teachers;
  • understand the role of School Principal as described by UNRWA;
  • identify how the world’s most effective principals spend their time.

Learning and practice outcomes

By the end of this Unit of study, you will:

  • analyse the proportion of your time spent on the key functions of the role of School Principal;
  • plan to increase your effectiveness in the role of UNRWA School Principal.

Implementation Task

Analyse in detail how you spend your time during a working day at school and compare it to your Post Description.

UNRWA Headteacher job description

UNRWA School Principal job description

McKinsey & Company 'How the world’s most improved school systems keep getting better’ – English

Mona Mourshed (McKinsey chief researcher) presenting the research report findings

Professor Viviane Robinson - School Leadership and Student Outcomes: Identifying What Works and Why