Developing resilience as a policy strategy: the impact of policy as mediated by Ofsted

PhD Thesis

Forbes, P. 2019. Developing resilience as a policy strategy: the impact of policy as mediated by Ofsted . PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University School of Teacher Education and Development
AuthorsForbes, P.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification nameDoctorate of Education

In this thesis I argue that education policy, as mediated by the schools’ regulator, aims to achieve the policy strategy of developing resilient school leaders and teachers from a neoliberal perspective; and perpetuates the racism that, for recent critics, is so entrenched in educational, political and legal systems (DeCuir and Dixson, 2004; Taylor, 2016; McCoy and Rodricks, 2015).

My argument is founded on an analysis of the discourse contained within Ofsted’s annual reports using van Dijk’s (2016) Sociocognitive approach to critical discourse studies and a lens provided by Critical Race Theory, drawing on work from leading authors in this field. By analysing the annual reports covering the period 2013 to 2018, I consider how the discourse generated by two Ofsted administrations has potentially influenced the development and maintenance of resilience in school leaders, teachers and learners. In particular, I examine how this contributes to the development of meaningful identity, ‘a powerful source of resilience’ (Beauregard et al, 2017, p. 114), as a crucial part of the ‘a never-ending marathon’ of transformational change (Teach First, 2018, p. 13).

My analysis offers three findings. First, it reveals a tension between Ofsted’s mediation of policy, and the government’s stated objective of reforming education to allow every child to ‘shap[e] their own destiny, and becom[e] masters of their own fate’ (DfE, 2010, p. 6). Second, it supports the notion that membership of the in-group is dependent on the property of whiteness and compliance, rather than resilience. Finally, echoing recent critical studies in this field, it highlights the way the regulator has failed to hear the voice of subordinated peoples and is guilty of acts underpinned by interest convergence and differential racialisation.

KeywordsEducation policy; Leaders and teachers; Neoliberal perspective; Racism
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Deposited15 Jun 2020
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