School inspectors: shaping and evolving policy understandings

Baxter, Jacqueline (2017). School inspectors: shaping and evolving policy understandings. In: Baxter, Jacqueline ed. School Inspectors: Policy Implementers, Policy Shapers in National Policy Contexts. Accountability and Educational Improvement. London: Springer, pp. 259–275.




As chapter one explained, the factors at play in the implementation of public policy are not limited to the complex, confounding and often competing values that jostle with one another when education policy is formulated, but may also variously come to light depending upon the lens through which the process is viewed. In this the final chapter I move to examine what understandings the country studies in this book reveal about the impact of policy subsystems in education and inspection policy, and the role of the inspectors within this. In so doing I examine how far the implementation of inspection policy can be said to convene to a model of ten preconditions necessary to achieve perfect implementation (Hogwood and Gunn, 1984). I then move to examine the part played by inspectors in variously framing the idea of policy implementation as: evolution; learning; coalition; responsibility and trust, (see Lane, 1987, p.532, in Ham and Hill, 1984, p.108), and to what extent inspectors can be said to be ‘coalition workers’ in influencing inspection policy. The chapter concludes that the work of inspectors is a key element within policy implementation and formation within the governance process and should be seen as central to any future research which investigates accountability from a governance perspective. It also concludes that it forms an important element within research into intended and unintended consequences of inspection policy.

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