Values-Led Leadership in England’s Secondary Schools

TASKER, Claire Louise (2023). Values-Led Leadership in England’s Secondary Schools. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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This study explores values-led leadership in England’s Secondary schools. The research took place between 2021 and 2022 and focused on headteachers’ leadership. In the context of a growing headteacher recruitment and retention crisis, my working hypothesis from the outset was that establishing a place for values-led leadership was one way to address this crisis and that values-led leadership is an approach that will lead to greater success for all in schools. Consequentially the research questions were designed to explore the extent of a place for values-led leadership and to enable descriptions of the enactment and impact of values-led leadership in England’s Secondary schools. The approach taken through-out was informed by Layder’s (1998) adaptive theory. The adaptive theory approach led to a focus on studies that identified leaders who are driven by values rather than government directives/ agendas. I noted that the leaders in these studies were typically in higher performing schools. This led to the hypothesis that such schools are more conducive to values-led leadership. Other literature detailing successful leadership in keeping with a values-led approach, for example Hill et al.’s architect and work on the power of connective and distributive leadership (Harris, 2013; Armstrong et al., 2018), informed the research tools and data analysis. It also provided theory to adapt and develop. The study used a phased mixed methods approach. Firstly, a national survey of 30 headteachers. The survey data served to explore the place for values-led leadership in English schools and to identify two schools for the qualitative case study element. The case study element took place over a period of three months - data was collected about the leadership behaviours of two headteachers using semi-structured interviews with a range of staff. This data allowed me to add to and develop extant descriptions of values-led leadership and its impact in schools. A key finding of the study is that the ‘place’ for values-led leadership is influenced by the current accountability regimes (notably Ofsted). In this context, the study ends with descriptions of the positive impact of values-led leadership and an outline of a set of conditions needed for values-led leadership to thrive. I note that there is an incompatibility with the conditions needed for this approach to school leadership and the accountability measures in the early 2020s.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Coldwell, Michael [0000-0002-7385-3077] (Affiliation: Sheffield Hallam University)
Additional Information: Director of studies: Prof Mike Coldwell
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 10 May 2024 16:03
Last Modified: 11 May 2024 02:01

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