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Title: 'Who pays the piper ...' : an investigation into the effects of managerial and market based school accountability measures on independent school teachers' practice
Author: Hyde, Daniel Phillip
ISNI:       0000 0004 7660 410X
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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The past forty years have seen an intensification of managerial and market-based accountability in education. Research studies have found that state school teachers have changed their practice to adapt, often to the detriment of their capacity to realise their professional aims. However, there is a dearth of research considering how accountability processes play out in the independent school sector. Through qualitative semi-structured interviews with teachers from three case study schools in the UK, each representing a different type of independent secondary school (a traditional academically selective 'Great School', an academically selective former state-funded school and an under-subscribed 'Recruiter School'), this research investigates their professional aims, and the barriers they face in their attempts to realise them. The teachers interviewed all stated they wished to achieve two main aims: to ensure pupils' academic progress and to make lessons enjoyable. Three other aims were held by many of the teachers: to promote independent learning dispositions; to ensure pupils have a deep understanding of their subject, and; to inculcate a love of life-long learning. The teachers describe experiencing similar tensions to those experienced by state school teachers documented in the existing research literature. However, the driver of these tensions is felt to be pressure from fee-paying parents, rather than managerial target-setting. The amount of pressure exerted by parents was not felt equally across all three schools. This latter finding is considered through a Bourdieusian lens. It is suggested that upper-middle-class parents, who share a school's habitus and doxa, are less likely to exert pressure on teachers to ensure their children's academic success. In contrast, more aspirational or newly middle-class parents rely on their economic rather than social or cultural capital to ensure their child's future success, and therefore intervene more aggressively as clients in the marketplace to seek advantage. This kind of parental pressure has intensified as competition for university places (and graduate jobs) has increased. However, the teachers interviewed perceive that the recent changes to the A Level examination system in England may help them to achieve their professional aims, thereby to some extent counteracting some of the negative effects of parental pressure they have experienced in recent years. However, this thesis suggests that more fundamental reform - specifically the introduction of a more 'intelligent' form of accountability - is needed to support the realisation of teachers' professional aims and raise the professional status of teaching.
Supervisor: Gewirtz, Sharon Josie ; Tlili, Anwar Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available