Affective recovery from special measures

White, Linda (2020) Affective recovery from special measures. EdD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

This thesis focuses on the emotional responses of a small group of educational professionals to their inner city primary school (Raval Primary School[1]) serving a socio-economically disadvantaged community being placed in ‘special measures’. Its specific interest is in how teachers might recover from the negativity and low morale associated with school failure. The study took the form of a ‘co-operative inquiry’ led by me, which generated qualitative data about the affective responses and critical reflections of two experienced teachers, a support worker and three newly qualified teachers as they came to terms with how they felt about their school being judged as ‘failing’. The thesis also charts and draws on my own experiences as a volunteer consultant (2010-2012) and later member of the school staff (2012-2013). The theoretical lens for the research principles and data analysis is provided by the literature of emotion and school leadership and teaching together with critical social policy literature. The co-operative group in Raval Primary aimed to reflect collaboratively upon and use the negativity and vulnerability often associated with school failure to support positive recovery.

The findings confirmed the necessity for recognising negative feelings about school failure and for a relational approach characterised by: respect for all members of the school community; patience and long-term commitment to build trust and authentic contact over time; provision of time and space for those affected to tell their stories by facilitating engagement with the issues; reflexivity in relation to difficult experiences; and, power-sharing. This is an approach that, while acknowledging the importance of strategic school improvement in the form of operational planning and data systems, also recognises the high significance of the affective experience of working in a school that has been placed in special measures and how negative emotions are shaped by regulatory systems and managerial relationships. Nevertheless, the thesis argues for the adoption of a person-centred approach to improving failing schools.

[1] The school's name has been changed in the thesis to 'Raval Primary School'

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (EdD)
Supervisors: Harris, Belinda
McLean, Monica
Keywords: Special Measures, Leadership, Teaching, Failing School, Disadvantage, Power, Emotion, Recovery, Trust, Well-being
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary education
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Education
Item ID: 59572
Depositing User: Townsend, Lynn
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2020 04:40
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2020 04:40
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/59572

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