Action research at the policy and practice interface: the experience of a teacher governor

Linter, Rod (2001) Action research at the policy and practice interface: the experience of a teacher governor. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


This thesis is based upon a six-year research study, in which I have examined my own practice as a teacher governor. Using action research, it relates a singular example of the workings of a governing body at the interface of policy and practice through the experiences of a teacher governor seeking to raise wider awareness of these issues. The study was undertaken as a practitioner response to the 1988 Education Act and is set against a background of LMS, formula funding, open enrolment, league tables, OfSTED inspections and an emerging educational market place. The thesis describes a practitioner seeking to live out his educational values. It is the narrative of a teacher governor coming to terms with the demands of the market as he seeks to inform and develop the practice of fellow governors and promote school improvement. It relates my actions, my observations and reflections on those actions and the personal meanings that such enquiry has generated. It specifically describes policy at its point of impact and relates, in a singular context, the problems and dilemmas faced by those charged with its implementation (i.e. school governors). The newly ascribed authority of a governing body is examined against the wider background of an educational community, which is perceived to be increasingly divisive and parochial. Whilst the study is not generalisable in the positivistic sense, it offers a contribution to the current debate on schooling, values and change at a particular time and in a particular context. Essentially it is a personalised and value based response to educational reform generated by the belief that practitioner research should inform and contribute to the educational policy debate. As a result of this enquiry, I am able to make the following claims about my practice and research activity: Claim One This thesis makes an original contribution to the professional knowledge base of governance by critically examining the actions and meanings of a teacher governor working at the interface of policy and its implementation in practice. Claim Two This thesis evaluates joint teacher-governor action as a platform for school improvement and explores how a teacher-governor can contribute to fostering such collaboration. Claim Three This thesis demonstrates how an action research methodology can be used as an independent and critical fonn of enquiry to confront the value contradictions that a practitioner faced in an era of market focused education, in a particular school at a particular time. It describes an evidence-based, generative response, which is an authentic expression of a teacher's professionalism.

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