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To what extent does the head teacher’s value system influence the ethos of the Church of England voluntary controlled primary school

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posted on 2023-08-30, 14:27 authored by Gillian Holmes
The research stems from the researcher’s own experience of establishing an ethos in a Voluntary Controlled Church of England Primary School, and a desire to find out how other heads have developed theirs. Using a case study approach, the research asked heads to explain their personal values, and if and how they used these to establish their school’s ethos. The data generated has provided a detailed description of each school and multiple perspectives of the head teacher’s influence upon their school. The case consisted of six Voluntary Controlled Church of England Primary schools in rural Essex. Five semi-structured interviews took place in each school, one with the head teacher, followed by interviews with two teachers and two members of the support staff. An observation in each school looked for evidence of the ethos through all aspects of the setting, including the use of indoor and outdoor areas, the content of displays, and the interaction between the pupils and the adults. Each school’s most recent inspection reports from Ofsted and the Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools were scrutinized for references to school ethos, and values, which could contribute towards the data collected in each school. The analysis of the data supports research literature, which highlights the important role of an effective head teacher. The knowledge that has also emerged is the dichotomy faced by some head teachers: whether their personal values serve as a guide to the underpinning of their school values or whether they adopt professional values that support the Christian distinctiveness of the school, even when these are at variance to their own personal beliefs. These embedded values support the development of the ethos in their schools. This research has provided new insights into the development of the school ethos and encourages heads to reflexively consider how their personal values impact upon their school.



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