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Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain: Lifting the veil on primary academisation

Ward, Trudi Nicola (2023) Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain: Lifting the veil on primary academisation. Doctoral thesis, York St John University.

Text (Doctoral thesis)
Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain - Lifting the veil on primary academisation.pdf - Published Version
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This research will examine the impact academy conversion has had on a primary school in England, relived through the eyes of the school’s Headteacher. It will consider the process of transformation as a journey, beginning with the plans, hopes and intentions of the school leadership team as they first considered a change in legal status through to the lived in reality of running an academy and how this compares to the initial promised freedoms and optimistic hopes.

Using the film ‘The Wizard of Oz’ as a vehicle to drive the narrative onwards, the characters and their story are interwoven with lived-out experiences and unpacked through an autoethnographic methodology. This process of reviewing academisation through the lens of research participator offers a new contribution to a growing field of research into the impact of government academy policy on the English education system. Viewing the journey from state school to academy through the uneasy psychoanalytical bedfellows of Lacan and Jung enables underlying tensions and powerful archetypal imageries to be explored but not resolved.

Threaded throughout the thesis is a recognition of the presence of neoliberal policy behind current Department for Education (DfE) policy (the man behind the curtain) alongside a critique of the quasi-religious rhetoric spun around the push for schools to ‘convert’. This thesis aims to raise more questions than those it answers, recognising the tension that always already exists between those who believe in the existence of one truth and those for whom truth is a relativist matter.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Status: Published
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
School/Department: School of Education, Language and Psychology
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/8874

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