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Title: System leadership : are system leaders in the English education system leaders of a profession or instruments of government?
Author: Cousin, S. A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 8498 0455
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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The focus is the activity of 'system leadership' (defined as 'leading beyond a single school'). System Leadership is a feature of the English educational system which is both under-theorised and open to differing interpretations. It is important for three reasons: the proliferation of such roles available to successful headteachers since the concept was introduced in 2003; its high-profile across the terms of New Labour and Coalition Governments; its adaptation by the Conservative Government elected in 2015. The research examines the nature of the concept through the lens of public sector governance in order to more critically examine its characteristics and impact. The reframing of the use of successful leaders from the public service professions as a 'policy steering instrument' has not been considered as part of the literature on governance mechanisms; nor as part of the literature on system leadership, which tends to adopt a normative approach to the concept. The study therefore addresses an important gap in current thinking about the relationship between school leadership and governments' approaches to governance. Insights into the roles come from interviews over the period 2009-2014 with system leaders, headteachers they support and those 'managing' this activity at a mediating or policy level; and analyses of policy documents and performance data. The diachronic view of a high-profile trend over a period of unprecedented radical change in the governance of the English education system offers new understanding of the use of governance instruments and professionals' responses to them. The challenge to adequately conceptualise 'system leadership', heralded for over a decade as the solution to school improvement, was highlighted by Higham, Hopkins and Matthews (2009). The study is therefore timely and important in offering a means of conceptualizing such collaborations, providing individual case studies to illuminate how policy becomes practice in a range of contexts and presenting models of system leadership practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available