Developing a discourse for CPD leadership in the secondary school sector in England

PhD Thesis

Field, C. 2010. Developing a discourse for CPD leadership in the secondary school sector in England. PhD Thesis University of Kent
AuthorsField, C.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification nameEdD

This study was founded upon an assumption that the discourses of leadership and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in England are different, and that leading CPD in England is complex and difficult to manage. The overall goal was first to develop a shared understanding of concepts of CPD leadership which underpin the complexity, and second to assist overcoming the confusion. Both the assumption and the stated goal emanate from the researcher’s own professional position.

The researcher is professionally active in the field, as a provider of CPD, and also as a representative of the University sector. As chair of the Universities’ Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET) CPD committee, the researcher has lobbied for academically accredited CPD. This presupposes a respect for teachers’ criticality and a reflective approach to Government proposed policy.

The work examines policies and practices of CPD since 2000. Significant organisations (e.g. General Teaching Council for England, Training and Development Agency for Schools, National College of Leadership for Schools and Children’s Services) have based their work on a number of concepts which have contributed to a confusion and complexity for leaders of CPD tasked with shaping practice. The initial literature review showed how concepts associated with CPD leadership are emerging, and that therefore any research could not be based upon a static focus. The study explored concepts of educational leadership, noting the emphasis on individual styles, behaviours and performance of leaders. This analysis contrasted with findings that CPD is more focussed on the collective effort of professionals.

The study is based upon professionally focussed research. Findings varied according to different stakeholder groups’ attitudes and tacit understandings. The methodology adopted was essentially qualitative and consisted of approaches and techniques associated with phenomenology, action research and grounded theory. Although the term ‘discourse’ is frequently used, it is in the sense of ‘discourse analysis’, rather than of ‘discourse theory’.

Outcomes of the work were the identification of four dimensions, which may be seen to drive CPD leadership, and which served to provide an underpinning framework to help the analysis of the research. The uncovering of nine variables, which determine the emphasis contained within different approaches to CPD, served as finer detail to aid CPD leaders. These perspectives were developed into a survey tool, and served as stimuli for interviews.

Use of the survey and interviews provided data sets for close scrutiny, leading to a visual representation of different stakeholder perspectives, and indications of how and why each group differed from others. The findings also showed areas of agreement and shared understanding.

The work ends with a consideration of how identifying the concepts and perspectives underpinning a CPD initiative can assist CPD leaders in shaping their behaviour and practice.

Publication process dates
Deposited21 Aug 2013
Output statusUnpublished
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