Teachers' perceptions of accountability and professionalism in newly created specialist schools

Hutchin, Roger (2008). Teachers' perceptions of accountability and professionalism in newly created specialist schools. EdD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000fd4a


This study aimed to determine the nature of teachers' views on to whom, how, and why they felt accountable, as a school adopted specialist status.

Two case study schools were identified who had recently achieved specialist school status. Two sets of questionnaires were issued to teachers in both schools with an interval of twelve months between them. A series of interviews were also carried out with a stratified sample of teachers.

Results showed that the specialist school status made little difference to teachers’ perceptions of accountability. The primary target for teachers’ accountability was the pupil followed by subject colleagues and line managers. Governors and local authorities, although acknowledged as being teachers’ employers were not identified strongly as targets for accountability. Teachers expressed a dominant feeling of professional accountability in their relationships with stakeholders, and considered themselves to be part of a teaching profession. Business involvement in state education was regarded with strong suspicion by all. The research therefore poses questions about the government’s aim to devolve more power to governors and headteachers, and to involve businesses in raising standards in schools. It also raises concerns about how effective leadership can combine greater accountability to the school’s leaders without losing the benefits of teachers’ sense of professionalism.

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