Governance and ethos : case studies from the primary school sector in Northern Ireland.
This thesis is a study of the relationship between school governance and school ethos in
three primary schools of different management type in Northern Ireland (NI). It is
primarily interested in the perceptions and experiences of governors and head teachers
after the 1989 Education Reform (Northern Ireland) Order. A case study approach has
been adopted which involved strategy has been employed, incorporating non-participant
observation and semi-structured interviews. The t will be shown that ethos varies with
school type and influences the operation of school boards of governors.
Chapter One traces the historical developments which have led to the present education
system in Northern Ireland. It also analyses the implications of the recent Education
Reform (NI) Order 1989 for school governing bodies. Chapter Two contains a
discussion of the religious and cultural differences which exist between Protestants and
Catholics in Northern Ireland and considers the extent to which these differences are
reflected within the school system. The theoretical literature on culture, presented in
Chapter Three, provides a conceptual framework around which the study is based.
Whilst Chapter Four analyses the methodological issues raised in a qualitative study of
this nature, Chapter Five presents an account of the actual research techniques employed.
The evidence from the three case study sites is presented in Chapters Seven to Ten. In
Chapter Eleven the conclusions to the thesis are presented where a new definition of
ethos, based upon the evidence from each of the schools, is proposed. It is shown that
the three schools 'studied, each representing a different management type, embody a
particular and unique ethos which in tum affects the ways in which new policy and
legislation is interpreted and implemented.