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Title: An interpretive case study of distributed leadership in a Welsh primary school
Author: Powles , Andrew
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2013
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Title - An Interpretive Case Study of Distributed Leadership in a Welsh Primary School Background - This paper explores the model of distributed leadership operating within a Welsh primary school from the perspective of a selection of staff working in the school. The school was chosen because the head teacher had stated that the school operated a model of distributed leadership, a model which is advocated in the Welsh School Effectiveness Framework (NAW, 2008). In order to investigate "How is leadership distributed at Fox Primary School", the research design of this dissertation explores the distribution of leadership throughout the environment and people of the organisation. To address the overarching research question two specific research sub-questions are addressed in this dissertation. These are: 1. Who performs leadership roles at Fox Primary School? 2. How is leadership coordinated and aligned at Fox Primary School? Methods - Data collection took place in three phases. Phase one consisted of the collection of internal documents, including school improvement plans and staffing structures, and external reports by Investors in People and Estyn in order to gather a environmental context in which the staff who work in the school operate. Phase two consisted of individual semi-structured interviews with the head teacher, deputy head teacher, school business manager and a teaching assistant. Phase three consisted of a focus group interview with three class teachers, the school business manager and a teaching assistant. The interview and focus group data, which were gathered to explore the perceptions of leadership operation in the school, were analysed using Nvivo 9 software. Conclusions - The research concluded that, based on the perceptions of a sample of staff from within Fox Primary School, the practice of distributed leadership is less than expected, given the head teacher's initial statement that the school operated a model of distributed leadership, and that its implementation is constrained by the requirement that the school meet externally imposed aims relating to pupil outcomes in literacy and numeracy. This conclusion is based on key findings which indicate that the focus of leadership activity is influenced by Government; that the role of the head teacher remains significant even through leadership is distributed; that opportunities for enactment of distributed leadership between governors and staff is limited; and that staff vary in their perceptions of the value and opportunity for informal leadership by parents. However, it was found that the alignment and coordination of leadership is supported through a combination of traditional hierarchical structures and novel flattened structures for curriculum development. The curriculum development structures and the school's school improvement planning processes support the distribution of leadership throughout the school community, although the foci of the school improvement plan are significantly influenced by Government.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available