Tom Bisschoff & Mark Gibson

Project Summary

Leadership of Academy Schools in England: Sponsors and the realisation of the Ethos and Vision

The project seeks to increase the knowledge base of Leadership around the Ethos and Vision
of an Academy. Academies are unique in the England school system in that their governance
is controlled by an external Sponsor. The Sponsor creates the initial proposal for an Academy,
the Expression of Interest. This document includes a section on the Ethos and Vision for the
Academy. The pivotal role of the sponsor necessitates an inquiry into what is the motivation
to get involved in a school. The sequential research questions are:
1. What motivates an Academy Sponsor?
2. How do the Sponsor and the Principal see their roles in the realisation of the Ethos
and Vision?
3. How are the Ethos and Vision realised in an Academy?

The project will follow a multiple case study methodology covering five academies in the
West Midlands specifically exploring Academy leadership with regard to the implementation
or realisation of the Ethos and Vision. The methods to gather data will be ten interviews with
the Principal and a Sponsor Representative in five Academies. The interview data will be
supplemented by observation notes and analysis of documents on the Ethos and Vision and
subsequent minutes of meetings to bring that to fruition. The data generated will be analysed
using a constant comparative method of analysis.

(Tom Bisschoff, University of Birmingham, and Mark Gibson, North Wolverhampton Academy)

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