How do school governors understand the values and ethos in their different schools?

Cummins, Esther ORCID logoORCID: (2022) How do school governors understand the values and ethos in their different schools? In: BERA Annual Conference 2022, 6-8 September 2022, Liverpool, UK.

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Abstract / Summary

The role of a school’s governing body is strategic, holding the headteacher to account for the financial and academic success of the school. Commonly, supporting documents outlining the responsibilities of the governors reference their support and development of the school’s ethos; the Department for Education’s guidance states that effective governance includes “ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction” (DfE, 2020, p13). The widespread documentation available through local government, dioceses, organisations, and charities intertwines ethos with vision, mission, and culture, yet the nebulous term of ‘ethos’ is not clarified nor defined.

A school community is a social organisation that demands interaction, communication, and connection. Individual and collective identities impact how the culture of belonging develops, what is consciously and unconsciously agreed, and how people make connections. Bourdieu and Wacquant argued that finding the social environment that aligns with a person's experiences, "…is like a 'fish in water': it does not feel the weight of the water and it takes the world about itself for granted" (Bourdieu and Wacquant, 1992, p127). My research focuses on this social environment, and how individuals understand the ethos in their different settings.

When considering a school environment, a stakeholder's unfamiliarity with a school ethos in relation to expectations and norms may lead to a disconnection between him or her and the community. Drawing upon my doctoral research, this paper explores and critiques the way stakeholders discuss their school’s ethos. I intend to examine the ways in which stakeholders discuss the ethos in their schools, using I will look at the stakeholder’s personal motivations and consider the ways in which they discuss their values in relation to those of their schools.

As I draw on discussions from school community members of different types of school (primary, secondary, faith, academy, and community) who have different roles (administrator, teacher, headteacher, and governor), I intend to identify any feelings of harmony or discord. Through this research, I will draw attention to key questions that are important for teacher educators to consider; how a school’s ethos might impact the experiences of a student teacher, and how student teachers choose the ‘right’ school for them to work in during their first years of teaching.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: Education
Courses by Department: Academy of Innovation and Research > Research
Depositing User: Esther Cummins
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2023 11:18
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2023 11:18


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