Headteacher inspectors: boundaries, identity and the potential for system leadership

MORETON, Henry John (2015). Headteacher inspectors: boundaries, identity and the potential for system leadership. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Abstract

The relationship between headteachers and inspection is complex, especially for those headteachers who inspect. Since Ofsted, the government inspection agency, started its work in 1992 there have been few headteachers inspecting schools in England. However, soon they will comprise a significant proportion of the school inspection workforce. Knowledge and understanding about headteachers who inspect is limited, and their role in inspection is under-theorised. We do not normally hear the voice of inspectors, and even less about the headteachers amongst them and the thesis explores how a small sample of headteachers interprets their agency as inspectors. The study is informed by, and contributes to, the literatures on the developments within the English education system, the debate about the inspection of schools, headteachers’ changing roles, boundaries, identities, and system leadership. The approach to the thesis is qualitative. The study accesses headteacher inspectors’ views through 12 semi-structured interviews. Data collection and analysis spanned a five-year period which pre-dated the current drive to co-opt more headteachers as school inspectors. The analysis of the interview transcripts was through a process of induction. Several themes emerged from this inductive analysis of the data, the key ones being: what being inspected was like for these headteachers, why they chose to inspect and their experiences of inspecting, their relations with the teachers of the schools they inspect, especially their headteachers, with other inspectors, their governors and local authorities, and what they learn by inspecting. While the headteachers sampled vocalise the benefits of inspection and their part in it, they also express some ambivalence and this has implications for policy. The inductive analysis was then related to current developments in relation to system leadership. The key contribution of the thesis is to throw light on some of the implications of headteachers inspecting. It also raises the potential for headteacher inspectors, as a cadre, to contribute to the leadership of the English school system.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: Helen Garner
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2015 15:46
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2016 20:10
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/11012

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