School governor regulation in England’s changing education landscape

Baxter, Jacqueline (2017). School governor regulation in England’s changing education landscape. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 45(1) pp. 20–39.



The changing education landscape in England combined with a more rigorous form of governor regulation in the form of the Ofsted 2012 Inspection Framework are placing more demands than ever before on the 300000 volunteer school governors in England. School governors who, in many cases, are directly accountable to the Secretary of State for Education. Using a form of Goffman’s frame analysis and drawing on theory that indicates that head teachers and inspection reports are highly influential to the ways in which governors make sense of their environment and accountability, this paper traces the development of a system which is highly specific to England, in order to evaluate to what extent present governor regulatory accountabilities can be seen as conflicting or in harmony with head teacher and inspector understandings of the role. The paper concludes that there is considerable evidence that the current regulatory framework combined with conflicting and often contradictory head teacher and inspector understandings of governance is giving rise to what Koppell terms ‘Multiple Accountabilities Disorder’ and that this is creating tensions in the system of education governance and regulation in England.

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