The ‘independent state school’ and its aftermath: implications for the processes and structures surrounding school leadership

Glatter, Ron (2020). The ‘independent state school’ and its aftermath: implications for the processes and structures surrounding school leadership. School Leadership & Management (Early access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13632434.2020.1814236

Abstract

The education system in England, along with the leadership and management of its schools, has changed dramatically over the past fifteen years, heavily influenced by key features of the private school sector. However, in this article, it is argued that the strong policy focus on autonomy and diversity was in fact an accentuation of the historical tradition of the English system: secondary heads and their staff having much more autonomy and schools being more diverse than is generally the case elsewhere. In order to contextualise any analysis of the current politicised, centralised school system in England, it is important to first understand how the marketized and semi-privatised arrangements came about. This article questions whether, despite being constantly subjected to policy change and reorganisation, any improvements in either academic outcomes or equity issues could be claimed. It then asks how socially just current educational provision could claim to be, with its distorting accountability measures and emphasis on the individual school rather than the system as a whole. It highlights key implications for system design, encompassing both processes and structures, surrounding the leadership and management of schools across England.

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