From a very peculiar department to a very successful school: Transference issues arising out of a study of an improving school

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School improvement has often been considered as a whole school issue, in spite of the fact that many schools have individual departments which 'outperform' their intakes. What happens when the leader of a spectacularly successful department is appointed as the head of the whole school? Does the school as a whole replicate the progress made by the department, or is the impact of leadership dissipated or diminished by the change in the scale of the task? Does the department retain its momentum or lose impetus without the leader under whom progress has been made? The paper looks at these questions in the context of the recent history of a city comprehensive, and considers the implications of this case study for current leadership and school improvement initiatives. Recent policy initiatives in the United Kingdom such as 'Fresh Start' have focused on external interventions in troubled or 'underperforming' schools; in this case, there is evidence of 'improvement from within', and the paper seeks to elicit staff perceptions as to how this has been achieved. Particular attention is focused on transference issues, both within individual schools, and in terms of what insights into improvement more generally might be gleaned from the recent history of this school.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-439
Number of pages25
JournalSchool Leadership & Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004

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