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Title: Gaining, sustaining and reclaiming : a narrative study of the lived career experience of women secondary head teachers
Author: Coulton, Sally
ISNI:       0000 0004 7429 3299
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2014
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This is a study of the life and work history of nineteen serving women secondary head teachers based in one Local Authority, written by a colleague woman secondary head. The head teachers lead in a range of maintained schools including mixed and single sex comprehensive schools together with single sex selective schools. Some of the schools are in areas of extreme socio› economic disadvantage; others are in more affluent areas. Some are almost entirely mono-cultural; others are culturally diverse. The head teachers have between five and twenty years of headship experience almost exclusively within the same Local Authority. The study explores the lived experience of these women in order to answer a number of questions around gender and leadership. The key themes which are examined are: pathways to headship; catalysts and inhibitors to career progression; managing work and home and coping with school leadership in an era of increased politicisation of schools under the current government. The difficulty in recruiting school leaders has been highlighted by National College for School Leadership (2005), NAHT annual reports and Thomson (2009). The age profile of head teachers, together with the proportion of teachers leaving the profession within the first five years means that the talent pool from which to recruit is diminishing. The role of the head teacher has become more pressurised as schools are challenged to deliver year on year improvements. The removal of the Ofsted 1 ’satisfactory’ category with the ’requires improvement’ label, has left many heads facing the loss of autonomy as academy chains, initiated by the previous Labour government, have expanded to dominate the educational landscape feeding on the scraps left by those schools floundering under the new inspection regime. This has been a significant shift since 2008 when this study was undertaken and it would be interesting to go back to those head teachers still in post to examine their perceptions of the present system and ask them to consider whether they would want to embark on headship now. This will be revisited in the postscript.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available