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Restorying ‘our school’: mapping a school improvement counternarrative through place, space, and the light of local knowledge

Walker, Emma ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4494-8093 (2019) Restorying ‘our school’: mapping a school improvement counternarrative through place, space, and the light of local knowledge. Doctoral thesis, York St John University.

Text (PhD Thesis)
WALKER EMMA FINAL THESIS.pdf - Published Version
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This research focuses on exploring school change as experienced by students and teachers in an English, coastal secondary school. Following a series of external inspections, the school was deemed to be ‘failing’ and under government legislation was required to move out of Local Education Authority control to become part of a multi-academy trust. The study takes place over a two-year period during which the school was navigating this transition.

The current articulation that government intervention is freeing up schools to act as autonomous sites of self-improvement, is placed within broader debates surrounding how change is mandated, enacted and monitored. It is argued that through policy and the relentless standards agenda, a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach has resulted in a paucity of context for those living and working in schools. Education and schooling are thus becoming ever more de-contextualised and de-historicised.

Through narrative inquiry, this study creates a three-dimensional inquiry space which listens to and explores the stories told and lived of education. The teacher and student narratives recognise and place value on schooling as an experience grounded in conceptualisations of space and place as interrelational and plural. Attending to 'local ways of knowing' creates a multi-contextual approach which re-casts the change agenda and maps a school improvement counter-narrative which mobilises local agency.

The thesis concludes with a critical engagement in debates linked to the possibilities for schools. Restorying educational change as a craft of place as meeting place, working by the light of local knowledge (Geertz, 1983), gives us hope for a re-imagined future.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Status: Published
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
School/Department: School of Education, Language and Psychology
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/4723

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