The responses of local education authorities to changes in their functions: a study of in-service education and training.
The Open University.
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This research is about the politics and policy processes of education. The focus is on central Government policy relating to INSET and the political activity and responses of LEAs to new policy developments. LEAs have a statutory duty to provide efficient and sufficient schooling. This entails a concern for the professional quality of teaching. To meet this responsibility LEAs traditionally employed advisers, maintained teachers' centres and secured provision by sending teachers on INSET workshops/courses. During recent years, however, changes in the funding of LEAs and the introduction of specific grants significantly impacted on the organisation and delivery of INSET. This research ascertains the INSET provision in a sample of five LEAs; identifies the similarities and differences between these authorities in their responses to the changing funding mechanisms; and examines the underlying rationale for the variation in INSET provision. The research methodology is underpinned by an eclectic ethos. Concepts are derived from theories of organisations and policy implementation.A range of data collection techniques are employed. The research concludes that the responses to change adopted by the five LEAs in the sample are different in several important respects. Each LEAs INSET policy greatly depends on the authority's size, resources, history, culture, commitment and avenues of communication. Even where similar structures have developed, disparities in the mode of operation are evident. By way of representing the full range of responses to change which characterises each LEA, the researcher uses a spectrum. All of the LEAs in the sample sought to establish a 'partnership' with schools in regard to INSET. However, in each case, associations are framed according to a distinct set of values. At one end of the spectrum is an hierarchical association; at the centre a association which is complementary; and at the other end an enterprise association with schools.
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