CSPACE Seminar - The Governance of Outstanding Education in England
This session is part of the CSPACE Research Seminar Series 2019/20. Seminar sessions are open to students and staff from Birmingham City University and other education institutions. These seminars are co-led by our staff, students and external scholars with the aim to engage researchers, practitioners and students with our most recent research findings, practices and methodologies.
You are warmly invited to join us for a CSPACE Research Seminar that will take place on 18 September.
Paper 1: Teacher Governor Roles in the governance of Outstanding General Further Education Colleges in England
Presenter: Dr. Abdulla Sodiq, Lecturer in Education Studies, Birmingham City University
This paper aims to explore Academic Staff Governor (ASG) roles at three Outstanding Further Education colleges in England. Uniquely, the research focuses on types of ASG activities; ASGs’ professional and power status and the understanding of the role. The study draws upon relevant literature to identify concepts related to governors’ roles and activities. An interpretivist stance is used to collect predominantly qualitative data through a combined methods approach, and to engage with ASGs and external governors. During fieldwork, qualitative and quantitative evidence from six semi-structured interviews, 35 questionnaire responses, observations of 8 governance meetings and governance documents were analysed. Findings suggest that ASGs’ insiderness - their affiliation with other groups and decision-making circumstances - may influence their governing activities.
Activities rooted in operational settings such as professional-information giving were highly valued by other governors, while there were uncertainties about the benefit of having managerial staff as ASGs. The research also identified ASGs’ relatively low power status which in turn may affect their professional status. There was evidence indicating uncertainty amongst the college staff regarding the role of an ASG in the colleges’ boards. As a result of the study, to aid understanding and to conceptualise an ASG’s role in FE colleges, ‘The 3 RaPs Framework’ and ‘The Restricted Professional Model’ of an ASG have been developed. For relevant practitioners, organisations and policymakers, the research recommends clear and specific role descriptions for ASG posts; action to develop ASGs’ professionality as teachers and to allow more opportunities for ASGs to act as governors. Finally, further research opportunities are identified in order to research ASGs’ professional profiles in the FE sector; ASGs’ personality characteristics; clarity of ASG role in educational governance; the role in high performing and underperforming colleges; and the role in the wider global educational governance.
Paper 2: Embedding Democratic Engagement in School Leadership: comprehensive schooling structures in an academised system
Presenter: Dr Andy Allen
This paper describes how a gaping democratic deficit has emerged in the English schools system as both local authorities and school governing bodies have been degraded by academisation. In arguing that a comprehensive school can only be truly comprehensive if it is based on democratic principles, the authors make the case for re-establishing democracy in state education by developing democratic governance structures at school level, and nesting these in a system of Local Education Boards.