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Title: Target setting : the response of LEAs and primary schools
Author: Harris, P. B.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2001
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This research presents the results of an exploratory field study tracking the response of two local education authorities and eight of their primary schools to the British government's statutory target setting policy and ambitious national targets for eleven year-olds in literacy and numeracy. Target setting is a controversial policy being used by the government as a critical lever in their crusade to raise standards but it is enmeshed in a polarising shift of power in education and governmental politics. The study presents evidence demonstrating the inter-related effects of policy response at three levels within the education hierarchy: LEA, school, and classroom. Evidence is based largely on 87 semi-structured interviews staged over 15 months with 71 different post-holders. Interviews were supplemented by qualitative and quantitative data from multiple sources: headteacher survey, documentary evidence, site visitations, and attendance at training conferences, meetings, and key events. Two analytical tools were developed and used to interrogate and interpret the data collection: a conceptual framework for policy analysis that cross-tabulates power (use of influence) and commitment (acceptance of influence); and a typology of headteacher leadership style. These tools helped identify how different responses to policy were linked to individual or organisational action and highlighted the assumptions and mechanisms that underpinned that linkage. Findings indicated how target setting impinged on political realities and philosophical subtleties that affected LEA and school ethos, professional commitment, classroom practice and pupil performance. The research indicates successes and failures connected to target setting policy and implications for its future role in large scale school reform in Britain.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available