Management model, leadership and autonomy in Portuguese and Spanish public schools: a comparative analysis

Mireia Tintoré*, Joaquin Gairín, Ilídia Cabral, José Matias Alves, Rosário Serrão Cunha

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The organisation of K-18 schools and the management function are similar in Portugal and Spain, although, in recent years, Portugal has surpassed Spain’s educational results. Based on the last international reports, this article compares the educational systems of both countries considering some variables related to the management model: (i) the general organisation of education in these stages, (ii) the characteristics of the teaching profession, including the process of recruitment and selection of teachers and principals, and (iii) the level of school autonomy and the type of management and leadership. Findings corroborated the existence of structural proximity in the governance of schools within the framework of a management model that is both centralized and participatory. However, there are differences in the permanency of educational laws, the duration of compulsory education, the grouping of schools, and the requirements to be a teacher. We conclude that the policies undertaken by Portugal to improve education (such as the extension of compulsory schooling, legislative stability, or the rethinking of the internal organization of schools) are succeeding and can serve as an example for Spain. Both countries could help principals become leaders for learning and improve their autonomy to favour changes in education.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2105553
Number of pages21
JournalCogent Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022


  • Centralization
  • Education policy
  • Participation
  • School autonomy
  • School leadership and management


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