'Scottishness', 'Partnership' and 'Efficiency' : exploring devolved school management and local government reorganisation within the local education system
This thesis explores the reorganisation of schools and education authorities in Scotland. National implementation of Devolved School Management (DSM) began in 1994. Two years later, Local Government Reorganisation (Reorganisation) occurred. Each policy signified a reorganisation of the education system. The thesis argues the need to consider the combination of DSM and Reorganisation in policy and practice, particularly for the roles and relationships of schools and education authorities. Therefore, the initiation, interpretation and implementation of DSM and Reorganisation over time and across 25 schools and 11 education authorities are researched. There is no previous research on this specific area of inquiry. Hence, the thesis is exploratory. The thesis develops debate about research and analyses of education policy. Influenced by and seeking to develop policy sociology, the method is qualitative. DSM and Reorganisation are interpreted within their historical, political, cultural, social, economic and institutional contexts. The need to explore issues of and linkages between structure and agency is debated. Consideration of discourse is developed to explore the nature of policies, perceptions of persons involved, the linkages to previous developments and the discursively articulated influence of structure and agency. It is suggested three central discourses characterise Scottish education policy. 'Scottishness' posits the distinctive, collective and egalitarian nature of Scottish education. The post-war 'Partnership' advocates a 'national system, locally administered' promoting 'equality of opportunity'. Both discourses have been challenged since the 1970s by an economic discourse of 'Efficiency' valuing market forces and managerialism. The thesis explores the developing and dynamic discourses and the perceptions and practices of policies at school and education authority levels. The perception and promotion of a 'Scottish dimension' within a British state and arguably global reorganisation of education indicates the complex inter-relationships between structure and agency, as articulated in discourses and affecting developing policies such as DSM and Reorganisation.