School leadership practices are significant in addressing learner-attainment gaps in school subjects such as science and mathematics. This paper uses an exploratory qualitative case-study approach with four purposely selected high schools to explore how distributed leadership (DL) improves opportunities for teaching and learning in science and mathematics. The four schools constituted two suburban and two township schools prioritizing science and mathematics on school improvement agendas. Principals, deputy principals, heads of department, and teachers of science and mathematics participated in semi-structured interviews. Thematic content analysis in which the emerging themes were compared to the DL tenets was used to make sense of the gathered data. The findings indicate that DL practices influence the teaching and learning of science and mathematics, irrespective of a school’s socioeconomic status. The participating schools developed useful mechanisms for school improvement through science and mathematics that were compatible with the DL setups existing in their schools. The study recommends that DL should be promoted in schools by being one of the topics for professional development made available to science and mathematics teachers.
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