Teachers in secondary schools need to update, strengthen and sharpen their competencies through in-service training in order to meet new challenges and emerging issues in education. Access to professional development programmes through this in-service training has a multiplier effect on teachers‟ effectiveness and students‟ academic performance. In order to achieve this, the role of the school head teacher is critical in staff professional development. Little documented evidence exists on the actual level of support that head teachers accord to staff professional development in secondary schools in Kenya. This study assessed the influence of secondary school head teachers‟ support on teachers‟ professional development in Nakuru District, Kenya. The study adopted an ex post facto design. The target population included 600 teachers from 45 public secondary schools. A random sample of 226 teachers was drawn from 40 randomly selected schools. Data was collected using a structured questionnaires administered to the respondents. Content validity of the research instruments was established. The instruments had reliability coefficient of 0.75. The collected data was processed and analyzed using descriptive statistics with the aid of Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 11.5 for windows. The study findings indicate that majority of the teachers were aware of the importance and need for professional development and the available programmes. Head teachers are ready to support teachers who look out for opportunities for professional development. Staff professional development programmes are very effective in improving teachers‟ performance in schools by boosting their skills and knowledge, and overall student performance. From the findings, the study recommends that there is a need for all the schools, and especially head teachers, to actively provide an enabling environment that facilitates identification of training needs, participation of teachers in staff professional development programmes and application of the knowledge learnt. As a result of the role of the individual teachers in professional development programmes, there is need for them to take the initiative and show the need for it. There is need for the government and school management to encourage staff professional development by allowing their teachers to enroll in such programmes. There is also a need for the schools and the TSC to consider including staff development as criteria for promoting teachers in secondary schools.

Background of the Study
Effective schools are characterized by well qualified teachers with a good blend of experience and expertise who are provided with opportunities for professional development within overall context of the needs of the school. According to Okumbe, (1998), effectiveness in an educational organization is judged by the extent to which the organization achieves its goals, acquires the necessary material and human resources, provides a congenial organizational climate and meets the expectations of the society within which it is established. Segiovanni (1993), and Les (1992), reported that head teachers who exercise strong instructional leadership and effective school management, have a structure that enables staff to participate in making of policy and taking decisions that affect their working lives. Such involvement provides significant opportunities for enhancing professional development of colleagues.

Les (1992) continues to assert that professional staff development is an integral part of school development and a responsibility of all managers in schools who have to ensure that colleagues within their teams are given the maximum opportunities to benefit from individual professional development as part of school development. According to Finch and McGough (1991), the success of any staff development program is in many respects, a function of the leader‟s involvement in its design, development and execution. Although factors such as resources and facilities do have an impact on program operation, the individual responsible for its management is a major contributor to ultimate success or failure. To manage staff development program effectively, the leader must take an active role in its operations. O‟ Sullivan (1990), noted that staff development and sound management practices go hand in hand within schools. The head teacher is the key person who promotes, maintains and monitors the staff development process by creating an enabling institutional environment which is conducive (Wideen & Ian 1997; Kydd, Morgan & Riches, 1998). Therefore head teachers and all school stakeholders need to embrace school effectiveness which lies in staff development policy and practice. This is achieved through school focused staff development programmes and that of the individual (Neville, 1989).

According to Duke (1987), professional development entails a major investment of time by school leaders who must play an active role initiating guidance and supporting teacher‟s professional development if it is to succeed. In order to meet Kenya‟s Education and Training Sector specific objectives which include; improving all aspects of education and training quality so that recognized and measurable learning outcomes are achieved, especially in literacy, numeric and essential skills relevant to the world work by 2010; equip Kenyan youth with the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes through science and technology training to meet the challenges of industrialization and globalization by 2030. The Ministry of Education reformed Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards (DQAS) in the realization of the need to strengthen quality assurance at all levels of education and training. This entails capacity building programmes for teachers such as Strengthening of Mathematics and Science in Secondary Education (SMASSE), Teacher skills upgrading and development of Non Formal Education (NFE) curricula, guidance and counseling programmes among others (Education Sector Report, 2007). Teachers have a responsibility to their immediate supervisors and those in management positions from the schools up to the head office, for initiating training programmes. Teachers who are in need of professional development are actually in the best position to initiate training (Kenya Education Staff Institute, 2000).

According to Maslow‟s hierarchy of needs, a person will be concerned with self- actualization needs only if his physiological, security love and esteem needs are well satisfied. Maslow implies that needs are arranged like a ladder that must be climbed one rung at a time. A need which has been satisfied is no longer motivating. In secondary school, most teachers have met their basic needs and therefore educational managers should focus on creating a work environment which satisfies the growth of higher order needs. An enabling environment provides opportunities for teachers to gain new skills, knowledge and attitude. If an enabling environment is not provided for teachers, they will have increased frustration, lower performance and job satisfaction, increased work restriction, tardiness and high turnover (Okumbe, 1998). In Fredrick Hertzberg two- factor theory, hygiene factors prevent dissatisfaction but do not lead to satisfaction. Motivational factors, which include achievement, growth, and interpersonal relations when present, build a strong motivation and high job satisfaction (Finch & McGough, 1991).

In order to achieve Kenya‟s secondary school education objectives (KESI, 2005), based on national goals of education (Ominde, Report 1964), the Ministry of Education has spelt out the importance of good school governance by the head teachers and supportive management teams. Some of the functions of the Ministry of Education have been delegated to various statutory bodies of the Ministry; Kenya Educational Staff Institute (KESI) identifies staff educational development needs and provides in-service training to head teachers, deputy head teachers and heads of departments. Kenya Institute of Education (KIE) conducts in-service courses and workshops for teachers involved in carrying out experiments and teaching materials among other functions (Ministry of Education, 1999). The guide further stipulates that, it is the responsibility of the head teachers to organize support programmes for teachers in order to improve performance. Despite Nakuru District, through District Education Office (DEO), offering SMASSE courses to teachers, since 2004, KESI induction courses for Heads of departments, since 2005, KIE subject workshops, Guidance and counseling among others, the District had a mean grade of C- (minus) in Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) since year 2002 to the time of study (Nakuru DEO, 2007). This study assessed the influence of the head teachers‟ support on teachers‟ professional development in Nakuru District.

Statement of the Problem
Staff professional development programmes have enormous potential for the teachers concerned, students and the school at large. However, its actual implementation and effectiveness in a school directly depends on the support of the head teacher. The head teacher provides an enabling environment under which the programmes can be implemented. Despite this critical role that head teachers play, little documented evidence exists on the actual level of support that the head teachers accord to the staff professional development programmes in secondary schools in Kenya. This study focused on assessing the influence of secondary school head teachers‟ support on teachers‟ professional development in Nakuru District, Kenya. The study evaluated the extent to which the head teachers supported various aspects of staff professional development in their schools.

Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study was to assess the influence of secondary school head teachers‟ support on teachers‟ identification of training needs, participation in professional development programmes, financing and identification of professional development programmes in Nakuru District, Kenya.

Objectives of the Study
In order to achieve the broad purpose of this study, the following specific objectives were stated:

i) To establish existing teachers‟ professional development programmes for secondary school teachers.

ii) To determine the extent to which head teachers support the identification of training needs for teachers‟ professional development.

iii) To determine the extent to which head teachers support teachers‟ participation in professional development programmes.

iv) To evaluate the effectiveness of staff professional development programmes in secondary schools.

Research Questions
The study sought to address the following research questions:

i) What are the existing teachers‟ professional development programmes for secondary school teachers?

ii) To what extent do head teachers support the identification of training needs for teachers‟ professional development?

iii) To what extent do head teachers support teachers‟ participation in professional development programmes?

iv) What is the effectiveness of staff professional development programmes in secondary schools?

Significance of the Study
In order to realize the full potential of staff professional development programmes in secondary schools in the country, empirical studies were needed to assess the role of head teachers in supporting the programmes. This was important in understanding the extent to which head teachers influence staff professional development programmes in various aspects including identification of training needs and support of teachers‟ participation. This study is helpful in providing information which is useful in recognizing and enhancing head teachers‟ support on teachers‟ professional development programmes to those concerned. They include; Ministry of Education, policy makers, school management committees, teachers, parents and the entire society. The study will also sensitize these stakeholders about the need for effective staff professional development in schools, identification of training needs, creation of enabling environment and designing effective in-service programmes.

Scope of the Study
The study focused on assessing the influence of secondary school head teachers‟ support on teachers‟ professional development in Nakuru District, Kenya. Secondary schools in Nakuru District were chosen as study units, because like in all other schools in the country, teachers require regular staff professional development programmes so as to keep abreast with changing educational needs and emerging issues. Only teachers employed by the Teachers‟ Service Commission in public schools were included in the study as a result of the uniform qualifications, employment criteria and terms of employment. Such teachers were likely to go for professional development courses strictly to enhance their teaching efficiency and go back to schools after training. This might be different in private schools where the criteria of employment and qualification are not the same.

Limitations of the Study
In undertaking this study, a number of limitations were encountered which impeded effective answering of the research questions. The main limitation was the sample size and generalization of the research findings. There were very many secondary schools in the country and all of them were expected to be having teachers who had either attended professional development programmes or were intending to do so. Therefore, adequate and conclusive assessment of the influence of secondary school head teachers‟ support on teachers‟ professional development required a consideration of as many schools and teachers as possible. However, due to time, manpower and financial resource constraints, it was impossible to cover all the schools and teachers. This meant that only a case study of secondary schools and teachers from Nakuru District was viable, tenable and possible. Therefore, only a sample of schools and teachers were involved in this study. The findings of this study are therefore confined to the sampled secondary schools and teachers from Nakuru District and would be cautiously generalized to all schools and teachers in the country.

Assumptions of the Study
The study was based on the following assumptions:

i) Teachers recognize the importance of professional development programmes and were attending training

ii) All head teachers and teachers had initial training, qualified and experienced in their fields of specialization.

iii) Appointment of secondary school headship was based on ones competence and experience.

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Item Type: Kenyan Material  |  Attribute: 63 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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