Structural Reform

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The Structural Reform of Schooling RIG has emerged from a programme of small scale research projects funded by BELMAS over the period 2011-2013. The focus of the group’s work is on the radical changes taking place in England but it is hoped that this RIG will also explore issues around the structuring and restructuring of school systems on a cross-national comparative basis. Members of the group are interested in a range of issues around structural reform, including:

  • the range of types of schools that emerge in response to different local conditions
  • the governance arrangements that are established and the accountability patterns that these imply (this is a common interest with the Governance and Governing RIG)
  • the relationships between different types of schools, and the local and national structures that emerge in terms of their potential for competition and/or for collaboration/support – especially implications for the ‘middle tier’
  • the types of leaders and leadership that emerge and the motivations that drive these.

Over the last three years topics of meetings have included:

  • ‘Schools working together: researching trusts, federations and alliances’
  • ‘Free schools: what do we know? what do we need to know?’
  • ‘Teaching schools: where are we now?’
  • ‘The leadership and management of co-operative schools in a challenging policy landscape’
  • ‘Executive headteachers: key players in emerging school landscapes’
  • ‘Evolving schooling structures: the contribution of small-scale studies’
  • Special issues on the research projects have been published in Educational Management Administration and Leadership (Vol. 42 no. 3, 2014) and Management in Education (Vol 29, no. 1, 2015).

Benefits from participation will include:

  • Membership of a community of learners engaged in advancing understanding of policy and practice in relation to the restructuring of schooling
  • The opportunity to identify and explore the relationship between theory and practice as this pertains to the structure of education systems
  • The opportunity to collaborate or correspond with colleagues engaged in similar studies, research or activity
  • Participation in future events specifically covering issues related to education policy and organisation


Dr Catherine Simon – Bath Spa University

Dr Mark Gibson – Oxford Brookes University

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