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Title: One thousand beacon schools : catalysts for change?
Author: Moynihan, Daniel
ISNI:       0000 0004 2704 1216
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2002
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This thesis explores the rationale underpinning Beacon Schools Policy and the implications of school improvement research for its potential efficacy. It also provides an early evaluation ofthe operation of beacon schools in practice. The thesis is based on interviews with two elite respondents, an analysis of the individual web pages of all beacon schools in existence in summer 2001, a questionnaire survey of beacon headteachers and case studies offour beacon schools. Underpinning the policy is the belief that successful schools can act as catalytic agents to improve less successful ones through site-based improvement activities. To that extent, the policy is emblematic of the wider approach to school improvement adopted by the Labour Government. In common with other 'model', innovative' and 'lighthouse' schools, beacon schools embrace the idea that they can help to scale up reform across local, non-beacon schools and eventually to the school system as a whole. Yet, the lessons from these experiments is that it is unrealistic to expect such schools to have a major impact on school improvement in the short term. This thesis suggests that, although Beacon School Policy is popular with the schools and teachers it directly implicates, it is both under-resourced and insufficiently conceptualised to be able to bring about large scale improvement generally. Rather than viewing the policy altruistically, headteachers tend to see beacon status primarily as a means to improve their own schools. This belief in the potential of the policy for self-improvement is supported by evidence from the operation of individual beacon schools. It demonstrates an atomistic approach to policy making, where already successful schools can receive multiple funding for the same activities through participation in different sitebased initiatives. The policy may be seen as a useful and motivating backdrop for school improvement work, rather than as a direct means to bring about improvement.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available