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Title: Leadership and educational improvement in two highly disadvantaged communities
Author: Jones, Stephen Christopher
ISNI:       0000 0004 2704 7351
Awarding Body: Sheffield Hallam University
Current Institution: Sheffield Hallam University
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis outlines issues and theoretical outcomes from two case studies conducted in similar yet contrasting highly disadvantaged communities in the north of England, UK, comprising a secondary school and its feeder primaries in each community. The methodological approach was essentially interpretive/phenomenological, aiming to make a contribution to knowledge through the use of qualitative methods. The research outcomes encompass both dilemmas and extremely problematic practical issues concerning leadership and practice in these schools/communities, particularly: The nature of leadership required; The fragility of leadership; The need for idealism and pragmatism; The difficulties associated with adopting child-centred approaches; The difficulty yet leadership necessity of working with parents and thesurrounding community; Raising horizons and expectations; The political leadership task involved in work with other agencies locally; and Raising and maintaining a school's reputation. The thesis also reports noteworthy differences between the approaches to the education process in these two similarly deprived communities, and then outlines examples of perceived effective practice in context, with potential wider application to other similar contexts. Finally, aspects of a Subversive School Leadership approach are explored. This way of working involves boundary crossing, building networks and operating in a complex micro-political environment. These networks, it is argued, need to operate for the benefit of local people, especially children attending school, with child-centred values being essential to providing a positive response to their needs. School leaders are viewed as most effective where they feel able to subvert external policy imperatives to meet the needs of local children in a way that meets colleagues' collective values. Contribution to knowledge is claimed for the "reality check interviews" employed in the research and the Subversive School Leadership concept.
Supervisor: Simkins, Timothy ; Aspinwall, Kath Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available