The Kenya Government has invested resources on Free Primary Education in improving academic performance of primary schools. Despite the high investment by government through Kenya Education Management Institute in training school heads, the performance in Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) in many schools is still low especially in Tindiret Sub-County. This may be attributed to influence of headteachers leadership styles among other factors. This study investigated the influence of selected headteachers‟ leadership styles and academic performance of public primary schools. The study was grounded in four leadership styles, namely; autocratic, democratic, laissez faire and transformational leadership. The specific objectives of the study were to determine the influence of selected headteacher‟s leadership styles; autocratic, laissez faire, democratic and transformational and academic performance of public primary schools in Tindiret Sub- County and to establish the relationship between leadership styles and academic performance of pupils‟ in primary schools in Tindiret Sub-County. The study adopted descriptive research design. The target population comprised of 76 headteachers and 532 teachers in Tindiret Sub- County. A sample size of 84 teachers (30% of the accessible population) and 40 head teachers was randomly selected in the 2 school categories of public day and public boarding primary schools. Stratified random sampling was used to select respondents based on the school category. Two-self-administered questionnaires (for teachers and head teachers) were used to obtain data on leadership styles in relation to academic performance of schools. Document analysis of KCPE results gathered information about Tindiret Sub-county KCPE performance from 2013 to 2017. The reliability index value of 0.731 was obtained for teachers and 0.74 for headteachers questionnaire respectively which were above the threshold of 0.7. The instrumentswere also validated by experts from the Department of CIEM, Egerton University. Data collected was coded, entered in SPSS and analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics; chi square at 0.05 significant level to test hypothesis. In line with the study findings, it was found out that when head teacher utilised laissez and autocratic leadership styles, the academic performance of schools decreased. When transformational and democratic leadership styles were used, academic performance increased significantly.To improve academic performance in schools, there is need for headteachers to involve other stakeholders in decision-making as part of leadership practice, school administrations need also to involve teachers and pupils in setting school targets;school administration need to hold regular meetings with stakeholders and apply transformational leadership idealsfor the purpose of improving school academic performance. This study provides information that may help Ministry of Education in improving in-service programmes on leadership for headteachers that would improve academic performance of schools.

Background to the Study
School academic performance globally is dependent on the quality of leadership and leadership styles adapted by those appointed to the leadership positions among other factors (Muriel, Ogoti, Jepkoech & Momanyi, 2015). Leadership is the interpersonal influence exercised in a situation and directed through the communication process towards the attainment of specific goals of an organization (Kitavi, 2014). Kariuki (2013) asserted that leadership is the ability to influence an organization towards the accomplishment of its set vision, mission, core values and objectives. The achievement of schools‟ objectives relies on the leadership in the school.

The primary role of the headteacher is to facilitate teaching and learning in schools. Tripathi (2004) observed that a headteacher spends majority of their time dealing strictly with administrative duties. In essence, a principal who is an instructional leader is charged with redefining his/her role to become the primary learner if excellence in education is to be achieved in schools. The headteacher‟s responsibility is to work with teachers in defining educational objectives and setting school-wide goals, providing the necessary resources for learning, and creating new learning opportunities for students and staff (Wong, 2004). Chika (2008) asserts that secondary school head teachers in Nigeria seem too busy with all the day to day responsibilities of running their school and they do not seem to have enough time to practice instructional leadership as expected.

According to Musungu and Nasongo (2009), academic achievement is related to effective instructional leadership. They recommended that studies should be done to determine the influence of leadership on academic achievements in schools. This study investigated the influence of selected leadership styles and academic performance of public primary schools in Tindiret Sub-county. This study is based on the fact that education system in Kenya is examination oriented, in that the quality of education is seen in terms of the number of students/pupils passing national examinations. Examination results at KCPE determine the type of secondary school, course to take at the university and the future career of a candidate (Nzile, 2012). Due to concerns that have been raised by stakeholders with regard to academic performance of schools in Kenya (primary and secondary),the government through collaboration of partners rolled out diploma in education management training for school heads through Kenya Education Management Institute [KEMI]. According to Ndiga, Mumiukha, Fedha, Ngugi and Mwalwa (2014), this programme (diploma in education management) has been mandatory for school heads to equip them with skills with the aim of enhancing quality of education in Kenya public schools.

Researchers (Nsubuga, 2009; Mohamoud, 2016) have discerned a number of school leadership patterns, the most commonly known having been identified by renowned social scientist Kurt Lewin in 1939 (Ali & Shaika, 2013). These are authoritarian or autocratic, democratic or participative, laissez-faire or passive, transformational, transactional, bureaucratic, charismatic, servant leadership and situational leadership (Barbuto, 2005). The authoritarian leader makes all decisions, independent of members‟ input; the democratic leader welcomes team input and facilitates group discussion and decision-making; and the laissez-faire leader allows the group complete freedom for decision-making without participating himself / herself. In schools, headteachers use a variety of leadership styles. According to Blase (2000), leadership styles are patterns of behaviours that they adopt in influencing actions of their followers. Leadership styles like autocratic, laissez-faire, democratic and transformational are correlated with school academic performance by research studies conducted (Kitavi, 2014; Ampairea & Namusonge, 2015). This research therefore utilised these styles to establish how they affected the academic performance of public primary schools in Tindiret Sub County.

One leadership style is the autocratic one. Bradford, Duncan and Tarcy (2008) indicate that this is a style is a form of directive and coercive leadership where a leader tells the subordinate what to do and how to do it. The leader initiates the action about the things to do and tells subordinates exactly what is expected of them with reference to standards and deadlines (Ndinza, 2015). They exercise firm rule and ensure that subordinates do follow their orders (Saleemi, 2007). This kind of leader is usually more traditional and of the authoritarian type of ruler (Robbins, 2003). When a school head teacher behaves in such a way, the approach restricts the potential of individuals in the school since there is little room for creativity and initiative.Thus, teachers become frustrated (Valonsky & Friedman, 2003). This research investigated how use of autocratic leadership influenced academic performance of schools in Tindiret Sub-county.

The second leadership style is laissez-faire leadership. This is a style where the leader takes a back seat indecision-making and allows his team to take their own course of actions (Tripathi, 2004). Laissez-faire leadership is characterized by very little guidance from the leaders and complete freedom for followers to make decisions. Leaders provide the tools and the resources needed while group members are expected to solve problems on their own. Democratic leadership style is also known as participative leadership (Anaf, 2015). This is a type of leadership style where members of the group are allowed to share and contribute ideas. The members of a group take a more participative role in decision-making while the leader puts himself as a member of the team and discusses possible decisions with the team (DuFour, 2002). The leader also seeks consensus before coming to a decision and everyone is supposed to take ownership in the final decision.

In a school set up, the use of transformational leadership style allows teachers to have opportunity to come up with their own solutions for improving classroom learning experiences. Ali and Shaikah (2013) view a transformational leader as one who motivates followers to do more than they originally expected to do. Transformational leaders broaden and change the interest of their followers, and generate awareness and acceptance of the purpose and mission of the group. They stir their followers to look beyond their self-interest for the good of the group. Chika (2008) found that transformational leadership is positively related to the ability to monitor and manage emotions. Transformational leadership can be defined as increasing the interest of the teachers and other staff in the school to achieve higher performance through developing the commitments and beliefs in the school (Ali & Shaika, 2013).

Transformational school leaders exhibit a clear sense of direction for their school, prioritize and focus attention on the things that really matter in terms of the work of improving their school academic performance. Pearce II and Robinson (2005) noted that to be a successful leader, the headteacher must give primary attention to the programme of staff improvement, which comprises leadership techniques and procedures designed to change the teachers‟ role and academic performance. There is no one best way of leading an organization. Morgan (2007) argues that instead it depends on the kind of task or environment one is dealing. What the leader requires is to sustain good relationship with the teachers in the school which might influence the academic performance in the long run.

Studies have been done on the influence of leadership styles and academic performance of pupils in schools. In Nigeria, Adeyemi and Adu (2013) found that there was a significant relationship between headteachers‟ democratic leadership style and teachers‟ job satisfaction in the schools. This implies that when teachers are satisfied, they will be committed in their responsibilities hence improved academic performance of their schools (Anaf, 2015). Nsubuga (2009) research in Uganda established that there was a strong relationship between leadership styles and school performance in secondary schools in Uganda. Nsubuga found out thatacademic performance of secondary schools was explained by the prevailing style of leadership. The research determined whether this was the situation in primary schools in Tindiret Sub County.

In Kenya, Kitavi (2014) research found out that there was a strong relationship between leadership styles and academic performance of schools. The academic performance of public primary schools was explained by the prevailing style of leadership style being used. It is apparent that leadership plays a very critical role in galvanizing all the other factors in the school together to ensure positive outcomes are obtained. This research investigated perception of teachers and head teachers on the influence of leadership styles and academic performanceof public primary schools in Tindiret Sub-county schools....

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Item Type: Kenyan Topic  |  Size: 81 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


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