By the academic year 2010-11 all English schools had to operate as ‘extended schools’ (DfES, 2005). The notion of extended schools in the UK is not new (c.f. Henry Morris Village Colleges of 1930s, Plowden Report, 1967)) and has emerged from a desire to make closer links between schools and their neighbourhoods or communities, often linked to community regeneration (Cummings et al., 2004; Dyson and Raffo, 2007). As such, they have represented grassroots, ‘bottom –up’ responses by schools or communities to local need. However, New Labour’s intention that all English schools provide a core offer of extended services by 2010 (either individually or in federations) presented a ‘top-down’ approach that posed challenges for school leadership, not least because of the requirement for schools to work with a range of services and service providers traditionally beyond their remit. The model draws on the US experience of ‘full service extended schools’. Pertinent to the understanding of extended schools are assumptions about community and communitarianism, social pedagogy and acknowledgement that ‘schools cannot compensate for society’ (Bernestein, 1970). To date, there is limited research on the implications for school leaders of such policy enactment in a climate of flux and change and the UK, as Local Authorities continue to develop integrated Children’s Services through systemic reorganization. For schools this suggests an additional range of competing priorities. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the process of policy enactment in relation to ‘extended schools’ and the role of leadership in negotiating the contested space between school aims and purposes, Local Authority/area priorities and central government policy objectives.
The paper draws on current understandings and reinterpretations of school leadership with specific reference to notions of system leadership (Hopkins (2007), Higham et al. (2009) etc ) (Hjern and Porter (1981) refered to the emergence of an ‘organisational society’ in which many important services are provided through multi-organisational programmes. To this end the ‘actors’ such as head teachers and service providers are involved in a ‘confounding set of relationships’ (ibid:227). Analysis of the ‘administrative imperative’ behind the legislation authorising the programme, the national, regional, and local actors, helps define the pool of organisations within the task environment of the programme thus demonstrating how programme and organisation rationales interact. System leadership reveals a powerful combination of practices and interactions that demonstrate the complexities of leadership in a shifting and changing educational landscape that resonates with school systems not only in the UK and USA but also across Europe.
Bernstein, B. (1970) 'Education Cannot Compensate for Society'. New Society, 15 (387), pp. 344-347. Cummings, C., Dyson, A., Papps, I., Pearson, D., Raffo, C., Tiplady, L. and Todd, L., (2006) Evaluation of Full Sercive Extended Schools Initiative, Second Year: Thematic Papers, Nottingham, DfES Publications Cummings, C., Dyson, A., Muijs, D.,Papps, I.,Pearson, D, Raffo, C., Tiplady, L., Todd, L. and Crowther, D (2007) Evaluation of Full Service Extended Schools Initiative: Final Report, Nottingham DfES Publications DfES (2005) Extended schools: Access to opportunities and services for all. A Prospectus. Nottingham: DfES Publications. no. 10408-2005). Higham, R., Hopkins, D and Patthews, P. (2009) System Leadership in Practice, Maidenhead, OUP Hjern, B. and Porter, D.O. (1981) Implementation Structures: A New Unit of Administrative Analysis in Michael Hill (ed) The Policy Process: A Reader, Hemel Hemstead, Prentice Hall Hopkins, D and Higham, R. (2007) Systems Leadership: Mapping the Landscape, School Leadership and Management, Vol. 27, No. 2, April 2007, pp. 147_166 Power, S., Campbell, C., Robertson, P., Sammons, P., Elliot, K. and Whitty, G. (2003), National Evaluation of New Community Schools: Case Study Report. London: Institute of Education. Warmington, P., Daniels, H., Edwards, A., Leadbetter, J., Martin, D., Middleton, D., Brown, S., Popova, A. and Apostolov, A., 2009. Learning leadership in multiagency work. In: Forbes, J. and Watson, C., eds. Service Integration in Schools. Sense Publishers. Weiss, C.H. (1998) Evaluation. 2nd ed. New Jersey, USA: Prentice Hall.
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