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Title: Free school Policy Enactment in two case-study schools : motivation, vision and reality
Author: Pagden, Louise
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 5462
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2016
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In 2010 the DfE introduced 'The Academies Bill which established 'Free Schools' and invited parents, teachers and trusts to apply to set up new state-funded (but relatively independent) schools. There are now over 300 open in England. However there is little empirical evidence on the set-up process and the problems and opportunities encountered by the governing bodies. This study aims to address this gap .. This thesis examines the extent to which Free schools' visions are reflected in reality. The thesis focuses on two case-study schools: one championed by a consortium of churches and a fourth-sector organisation; the other spear-headed by parents. The study is longitudinal in nature and the data have been collected over two years: the first set of data was collected in the year prior to the schools opening and the second set at the, end of the first year of operation. The data were gathered through 13 semi-structured interviews (with members of the two steering groups) and analysed using a variety of methods. School documentation, including policies and web-literature has also been analysed. The data have been mapped onto an adapted version of Bronfenbrenner's ecosystem model. This focuses on the connections and influences between different groups and organisations .The thesis compares and contrasts the views of governing body personnel in the set-up period with their experiences once the school is open. The results highlight the pressures that act upon free schools which either facilitate or prevent their vision from becoming a reality. Key actors' influences are examined, including the government (local and national), parents, community and the staff within the school. The study reveals that, despite relative freedom, both schools' visions remain relatively traditional. However, the elements of their visions which were intended to set the schools apart from their mainstream counterparts have been more difficult to achieve in reality.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available