School leaders play a vital role in ensuring that schools attend to issues of local and global justice within the ethos and daily practices of their school community. This article examines the attitudes and activities of school leaders in relation to development education and their vision for its integration in schools based on a national survey of post-primary school leaders in the Republic of Ireland. We consider the conditions needed for development education to be successfully implemented and the drivers of change required that can sustain it in the longer term. We examine why some school leaders and communities seem to be disconnected from development education opportunities and unaware of available supports, whilst others engage actively with it as an organic part of their school culture. This has broader implications for resilience of school leadership, the teaching profession and school community, particularly in an era of constraint. It offers a unique insight into development education from the vantage point of those leading schools.