Accountability, responsibility and school leadership

Lee-Anne Perry, Erica McWilliam


School leaders are faced today with a new ‘attentional economy’ (Taylor
2005) in which schools must be seen to perform, and to perform in ways that
are measurable and thus are rendered visible to all. In this paper we seek to
account for this new attentional economy as one that is an effect of riskconsciousness
impacting on schools as social organisations. We attempt to
show how rationalities of risk have come to require principals as school
managers to pay attention to, and require of others, the forensic work of
making schooling calculable. We then raise some questions about the extent
to which the new accountabilities that prompt so much of the forensic work
school managers do should be differentiated from the responsibilities of

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