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An investigation into the inter-connectedness of trust, community engagement, school leadership and educational outcomes in English secondary schools

This thesis investigates potential connections between the development of social capital and education outcomes in English secondary schools, and particularly the influence of leadership on these. The investigation is underpinned by four themes emerging from a review of literature as gaps in current knowledge: • how social capital is activated and developed, and the role of school leadership; • whether the development of social capital can be separated from socio-economic status; • understanding the role of young people in relation to social capital in a school • examining the balancing and reconciliation of competing stakeholder demands. The resulting enquiry adopts a long-term case study approach, over two years, in three schools. It uses mixed methods, including semi-structured interviews with a range of internal and external stakeholders, attitudinal surveys, and scrutiny of relevant school documents. Drawing on grounded theory, the research methodology takes as its starting point each head’s own perception of their intent, and seeks understanding of the process and effects of change in their context. The analysis is influenced by insights from complexity theory in rejecting simple models of linear causation, drawing instead on concepts of emergence, connectedness and feedback to aid understanding. Empirical findings, whilst showing clearly the importance of context, also indicate some common strands of importance across each case. These suggest emergent new insights into the nature and place of students as leaders, blended models of connected leadership that extends beyond the school, and a more organic model of organisational growth. Those findings are crystallised into a possible theoretical model for a next stage of school improvement. This addresses the importance of families and communities in supporting the personal and social development of young people and enhancing their motivation for learning. These conclusions are, at this stage, necessarily tentative and opening up avenues for further enquiry, for which suggestions are offered.
Date January 2014
CreatorsGroves, Malcolm
PublisherUniversity of Warwick
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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