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A case study in leading schools for social justice: when morals and markets collide

By Howard Stevenson

Abstract

Purpose – This paper explores how school leaders seek to promote social justice agendas within the context of multi-ethnic schools in England. \ud Design/methodology/approach – The paper draws on data from five case-study secondary schools in England. Qualitative data was derived from interviewing principals in each institution together with interviews with staff, students and members of the wider community. \ud Findings – Effective principals in multi-ethnic schools had strong values commitments to social justice and were able to articulate these values across and through the policies and practices in their schools. However, in some cases value commitments to equity and inclusivity could be challenged by the consequences of policies promoting school choice and the development of a quasi-market for school education. This could present school leaders with complex moral dilemmas that counter posed inclusion aspirations against performance in the local market. \ud Originality/value – School leadership committed to promoting social justice can be both supported and undermined by the context created by national policy initiatives. This paper highlights the need to ensure education policy is fully aligned with social justice objectives if it is facilitate, not hinder, efforts in school to challenge inequalities

Topics: L433 Education Policy, N224 Management and Organisation of Education
Year: 2007
DOI identifier: 10.1108/09578230710829937
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.lincoln.ac.uk:1283
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