The Creation of Lymescroft School: An Ethnographic Study of Some Aspects of a School Merger

Draper, Joan (1992). The Creation of Lymescroft School: An Ethnographic Study of Some Aspects of a School Merger. PhD thesis The Open University.



The creation of a new school through the amalgamation of three smaller schools is an imposed change which has an impact upon everyone involved. This ethnographic study of the new 'Lymescroft School’ was carried out by a practising teacher who had taught for many years at one of the merged schools. After presenting an outline of various theories regarding the nature of change and the important concept of 'status passage', the role of teacher-researcher is explored. The main ethnographic work of the thesis consists of the descriptive analyses of a number of discrete status passages and transitional experiences with in the informal culture of the school, undergone by four sets of participants - Fifth Year pupils, Fourth Year pupils, a group of teachers, and two small groups of ancillary staff. All went through multiple formal and informal status passages, many of which involved sex and gender issues, particularly where participants moved from a single-sex to a mixed school. The social interaction which took place within this context is broadly examined, and found to comprise a number of temporally linear transitional stages. A comparative analysis of the data reveals that these stages were structurally similar, and comparable to patterns of change in other areas of society. A substantive theory of transition is formulated, which has wider implications for the formal theory of change. This in turn informs policy with regard to any future similar transitions.

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