School leadership in English sponsored academy trusts: a phenomenological study of how primary school headteachers experience their relationship with their trusts

Mansell, Christopher (2021) School leadership in English sponsored academy trusts: a phenomenological study of how primary school headteachers experience their relationship with their trusts. EdD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

The research within this thesis examines the phenomenon of school sponsorship in English primary schools, considering its impact on headteacher leadership. Academy sponsorship commenced at the start of this century when the Labour party permitted businesses to run a few secondary schools in challenging areas but was reimagined by the coalition government in 2010 into a much larger initiative; therefore the phenomenon is relatively recent. Whilst a contemporary concept, sponsored academies are often seen as a continuation of decentralisation of education through site-based management, while concurrently increasing the accountability on schools; a phenomenon mirrored globally. My research does not examine if sponsorship ‘works’, as it does not consider if these schools lead to ‘improvements’, rather the intention was to elicit the perspectives of primary school headteachers to examine how they experience and understand the phenomenon of school leadership in the context of sponsored primary academies. Relationships with sponsors were explored by utilising a phenomenological methodology. Eleven headteachers of primary sponsored academies were interviewed using a semi-structured interview method with the findings further developed through discussions with a group of school leaders in a focus group. The findings resulted in the development of new conceptual frameworks focussing on autonomy and accountability, leading to reflections on the trust that sponsors have in their headteachers. The thesis concludes with a reflection on the insights the research could afford the profession and policy makers and the potential limitations of the research.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (EdD)
Supervisors: Stevenson, Howard
Fuller, Kay
Keywords: School sponsorship; School leadership; Academisation; Academies (British public schools); Elementary schools
Subjects: L Education > LA History of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Education
Item ID: 63908
Depositing User: Mansell, Christopher
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2021 04:40
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 04:40
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/63908

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