This thesis is an ethnographic study over an 8 year period of the leadership and management strategies involved in school improvement. The study takes place in a residential special school for pupils with BESD. The research specifically explored whether it is possible to distinguish between leadership and management activities, explores the role of the head teacher in relation to leadership and management and looks at change management against the context of school improvement. The methodology involves the interrogation of key documents covering the period from central government, local government agencies and documents produced by the School. There is a focus on identifying specific leadership approaches, matching actions to the National Standards for Head Teachers, matching change management actions to models defined by the Audit Commission. Use is made of document analysis methodologies in particular verb use to explore these matches. Findings suggest that the concept of leadership has been exploited commercially, and that leadership is defined by what an individual perceives it to be. That there is lack of clarity within central government about leadership in terms of its role and in education it has been used politically as opposed to practically. That models of leadership and management could not be clearly identified from the documents analysed. That it was not possible to identify many leadership actions through verb analysis. That verb analysis predominately identified administrative and management based actions. The findings suggest that head teachers should be able to model leadership strategies which are responsive to changing circumstances. That for change to be effective, the process needs to be considered, manageable, incremental, meaningful and owned. That Ofsted needs to measure the effectiveness of school leadership and management from an outcome based perspective which is derived from the National Standards for Head Teachers. The thesis provides a rational from which head teachers faced with leading a failing school can measure their thinking
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