The overall principle governing the SLDP draws from the work of Michael Fullan, an international expert on education leadership. Fullan’s theory of change pronounces that school change driven by individual change can create systemic change. The program, thus, focuses heavily on encouraging self-change in the headmasters and leveraging it to cause change in their respective areas of responsibility.
The program attempts to build in an integrated format capacities of headmasters in school leadership across four aspects:
1. Personal Leadership: Developing intrinsic motivation, self-awareness and ability to critically analyze experiences and shift own mindsets. It emphasizes reflective practice, proactive problem-solving and goal-directed planning.
2. Instructional Leadership: Improving teaching and learning processes and encouraging adoption of child-centred, activity-based teaching and learning. It inculcates skills among the headmasters to mentor their teachers into adopting the attitude and skills required for making their teaching more effective and result oriented for the student.
3. Institutional Leadership: Focuses on the school as a system, improving school processes and effectively engaging the stakeholders in the functioning of the school. The headmaster is expected to design and implement processes to enable peer-learning and collaboration among staff, engage families and the community, and manage the organization by strategically allocating resources and support.
4. Social Leadership: Getting parents and community involved in the education of their children, encouraging enrolment and ongoing participation within the education system and addressing barriers which inhibit the former. It encourages the headmaster to involve the community at various levels in planning, implementation and monitoring of the working of the school by mobilizing and collaborating with systems that already exist such as School Development Committees or Village Education Committees.
Each of the above levels of leadership aims at making school processes participatory, accountable, transparent, effective and inclusive. The components come together to constitute a leadership that is essentially transformational in nature and can fundamentally turn around a school as an organization.