‘Reporting without fear, or favour’: HMI 2000-2010, and oral history

MOSS, Clive (2017). ‘Reporting without fear, or favour’: HMI 2000-2010, and oral history. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00091


This thesis contends that the methodological approaches taken in exploring education inspections in the last twenty years are largely unhistorical and result in a particular view that contrasts current school inspections unfavourably with previous approaches, as a result of the particular methodoligical stances adopted, often analysing teachers’ experiences of inspections using Foucauldian and performativity theoretical frameworks. Even studies with a more-historical bent tend to present Her Majesty’s Inspectors (HMI) as belonging more to a less-destructive golden age of ‘professional relationships’. The evidence bases for the hypotheses tend to omit, to treat as incidental, or to dismiss as misguided the views of inspectors, particularly the experiences of HMIs. The literature suggests also that the office of HMI effectively ceased to exist by the year 2000. This research set out to locate previously unavailable evidence about the work of HMIs after 2000 and to consider what that evidence revealed about the nature of the role at that time, using the method of oral history. The research looked at the experiences of a small group of former HMIs, who were active in the period 2000- 2010, through semi-structured, recorded interviews, subsequently transcribed and analysed thematically, to see what the HMIs’ recollections reveal about the prevailing debates, and to contribute to the growing body of literature about the value of oral history as a distinctive branch of historical method. The study argues that, throughout the period, HMIs operated as independently minded individuals, who sought to transcend their particular circumstances, in order to sustain a sense of the purpose and values which they considered underpinned the office. It demonstrates also that oral history evidence is as valid and useful as any other historical source, notwithstanding some distinctive contigencies and limitations associated with it.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Coldwell, Michael [0000-0002-7385-3077]
Additional Information: Director of Studies - Michael R. Coldwell
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00091
Depositing User: Justine Gavin
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2018 10:31
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 02:06
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/22418

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