Turnaround strategies at poor-performing secondary schools: Lessons from success cases in historically disadvantaged areas.

Prof Ike Xaba - Project leader.



Dr Velaphi Aaron Nhlapo


The purpose of this research project is to identify and explore turnaround strategies used at historically disadvantaged poor-performing secondary schools. The thrust of this study will be on identifying and gaining in-depth insight into and understanding the strategies relating to leadership (and will later be expanded to include governance, school physical and psychosocial safety and security environments, and parental-community involvement) that were effective in the turnaround of poor-performing secondary schools.

Promotion of Healthy School Environments (PHSE) in South Africa.

Dr Siphokazi Kwatubana - Project leader.



Dr Mark Bosch (NWU Vaal), Dr L Sibanda (NUST, Zimbabwe), Dr M Mpofu (NUST, Zimbabwe)


This is an exploratory study that intends to understand how Healthy School Environments can be enhanced using an Organisational Development approach. The goals of the project include:

  • Identifying the challenges and opportunities in the initiatives of the school managers to promote healthy environments;

  • Engaging school managers, teachers, community members and government department representatives and district officials in a visioning process that will encourage their participation in, understanding of, and contribution to future goals to improve the PHSE; and

  • Empowering school managers to sustain improved school environments.

The influence of school principal leadership styles, school governance structures, moral leadership and contextual determinants on a positive school climate.

Dr Leentjie van Jaarsveld - Project leader.



Prof C Wolhuter, Dr B Challens, Dr D Vos


The purpose of the project is to determine to which extent the social interdependence theory can contribute to improved interaction with the most appropriate leadership styles, moral leadership, the role of school management structures and contextual determinants in the establishment of the conducive school climate.


  • To explore the most appropriate leadership style for principals to establish a positive school climate;

  • To determine the role of the local school governance structures in the establishment of a positive school climate;

  • To determine the role of the school leaders in the promotion of acceptable moral conduct of learners; 

  • To determine which contextual determinants play a role in the establishment of a positive school climate

Understanding leadership for and during school change and development in challenging formerly deprived South African context.

Prof Jan Heystek - Project leader. 


(NRF funded )

Duration: 2017 till 2019


Prof T Steyn (Unisa), Prof R Mestry (UJ), Prof V Chikok (UKZN), Dr TT Bengu (UKZN), Prof A Makura (CUT), Dr J Palmer (UFS), Dr M van Niekierk (NWU)


  • To develop a deeper understanding of the ability of school leaders to change academically underperforming schools into performing schools in diverse and deprived school communities; 

  • To determine the factors and reasons why school leaders are not able to change academically underperforming schools into performing schools in diverse and deprived school communities.  

International Study of Teacher Leadership.


Prof C Webber (Canada) - Project leader. 



Dr CP van der Vyver