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Title: The challenges of leading the attainment agenda : framing the role and practices of the new Secondary Headteacher
Author: Cook, Elaine D.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5361 3492
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2015
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Scottish institutions within the educational networks, including Government, local authorities, and schools, are entangled in performative activities dedicated to improvements in student attainment. Secondary school performance in Scotland is measured nationally predominantly by the number and level of national qualifications achieved. The thesis makes the case that this attainment agenda places enormous pressures on Headteachers to ensure student outcomes are maximised and that the culture of performativity is a major factor in shaping the roles and practices of Headteachers. The study is based on four new secondary school Headteachers in a single Scottish local authority. It is through an examination of their work practices that the formation of subjectivities within a range of power relations and discursive regimes are explored. Performativity and accountability influence the role and actions of the Headteacher in many ways which are unanticipated. There is an ongoing power struggle engendered by the pressures and controls imposed on new Headteachers which modify and discipline their behaviours. In this thesis, a case study methodology is employed and the concepts of Michel Foucault are applied to provide an alternative means of understanding the practices of Headteachers. A Foucauldian approach also provides a different perspective on the problematic conceptualisation of school leadership. The aim of this study is to make a research-based contribution to our understanding of the complexities and competing priorities negotiated by new Headteachers. The research evidences the dominance of the attainment agenda on the lived lives of the new Headteachers. This study should enable the development of additional ways to assist with Headteacher preparation and the provision of improved support in the early years of Headship.
Supervisor: Fenwick, Tara; Drew, Valerie Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Attainment agenda; Headteacher; performativity; accountability; Foucault; educational leadership ; High school principals Great Britain ; School management and organization Great Britain ; High schools Great Britain Administration