David Eddy Spicer

Project Summary

First links: Exploring the interplay of authority and professional learning in the formation of an academy chain

This study explores authority as an aspect of control in the initial stages of the formation of a chain of newly-converted academies. Recent education reforms in England have identified school to school support as the cornerstone of school improvement initiatives in a radically devolved system of schooling. Understanding the dynamics of control in school-to-school relationships becomes increasingly critical as patterns of provision of schooling proliferate and the links amongst the state and schools becomes increasingly complex. Of particular concern, the processes of school pairing and the dynamics of control in the initial stages of building relationships between schools remain little understood. The proposed study explores control in school-to-school support as an interactional process of negotiating authority across the levels of institution, organisation and person. This perspective highlights the ways in which school-to-school ties may be viewed as explicitly pedagogical relationships. The relationship is pedagogical not in the usual sense that one associates with teacher-and-pupil but in a more expansive sense of establishing institutionally-conditioned relations that place one organisation in a leading role as transmitter and others in supporting roles as acquirers. The research frames pedagogical relations in terms of the realisation and recognition of institutionally-derived patterns of authority.

(David Eddy Spicer, University of Bath)

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