AbstractThis thesis is written as a contribution to the larger comparative study of school leadership training in five countries (namely Norway, Finland, France, United Kingdom and United States) the HEAD Project, which is being carried out within the frame of the Programme for Innovation and Renewal in the Norwegian Public Sector, funded by the Research Council of Norway.In this thesis the author intends to answer the question of what is official interpretation of the role of a school head in French educational system, i.e. what professional qualities and competences of a school head are seen to be of importance for his effective performance in the context of growing autonomy of educational institutions and overall orientation towards achievement of national educational goals. In order to define the official interpretation of the role of a school head in French educational system, the main focus is on the analysis of the state official policies regulating missions, activities and professional competence of a school head.Nowadays the world sector of education is changing rapidly as a response to new political, economic and cultural challenges. In the global educational sector one of the major tendencies pointed out by a great number of scholars is decentralising educational reforms.Thus, analyzing the data on decentralisation reforms in the French educational sector, the author concludes that decentralisation tendency is responsible for the recent organizational changes in the sector of national education in France as well as reassessment of the role of a school head and growing interest towards professionalizing of school leadership training. Dwelling on the issues concerning organization of school leadership training in France, allows the author s concluding that the domain of school headship has evolved into category of educational managerial staff.Consequently this fact brings forth the assumption that the focus of the French government is now on professional competence and qualities of a manager. The close analysis of missions, activities and competences of a school head, defined by the official documents, and scrutinizing of the data through theoretical framework of educational management and educational leadership allow the author concluding that the rationale of the official interpretation of the role of a school head refers to formal management and managerial leadership. In the framework of overall priority and reference to diligent and faithful fulfilling of the mission of a representative of the State in educational institution, a role of a school head is that of a formal manager and managerial leader in the civil service of the State.