A study of school improvement : understanding the processes and outcomes of planned pedagogical improvement in independent preparatory schools
This thesis describes the processes and outcomes of planned pedagogical improvement in a group of independent preparatory schools. It is an ethnographic investigation of these schools, which were researched and reported as multiple composite case studies. The research focuses upon two unusual and different aspects of school improvement. Firstly, a central theme of the study is the importance of the dynamic between improvement in classroom practice and the concomitant modification to school organisational arrangements.T he cases tudiesi nvestigate the essenceo f the mteractional processes that the schools experienced during implementing a process of pedagogical improvement, and as a result, a model is proposed to suggest a possible way of understanding the school improvement processes in these schools. Secondly, the research has been undertaken in the independent primary (preparatory) sector, where there has been little research undertaken and a dearth of literature that is useful and relevant to the culture of these schools specifically. The thesis examines and analysest he constraints,p roblems and successesth at the schools faced; and in particular considers individual and organisational capacity building, the stages that the teachers and schools moved through, the processes, consequences and outcomes and whether the pedagogical improvements could be sustained. The writer presents an empirical model of the process and argues that the evidence could be related, in a meaningful way, to other independent preparatory schools. The outcomes of the evidence appears to indicate that effective pedagogical improvement processes, that focus on modifying classroom practice and improving children's achievement, can be strategies for educational change; which can lead to adaptations and improvements within the organisational management arrangements, systems and controls within the school to support teaching and learning.