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BERA Bites Part of series: BERA Bites

BERA Bites, issue 2: Educational leadership: Are our schools fit for the future?

The BERA Bites series presents selected articles from the BERA Blog on key topics in education, presented in an easily printable and digestible format to serve as teaching and learning resources for students and professionals in education. Each collection features an introduction by editors with expertise in the field, and each article includes questions for discussion, composed by the authors, prompting readers to further explore the ideas and arguments put forward in the original articles.

This second collection in the BERA Bites series offers contemporary insights into educational leadership research, addressing the central question, ‘Are our schools fit for the future?’

Two articles offer responses to the 2016 education white paper that pull no punches, and set up some important themes explored throughout this collection: governance, accountability, recruitment to the profession, and nationalisation versus regional variation. The latter theme is explored in relation to regional patterns of teacher recruitment, turnover and retention; and to the particular challenges facing schools in socioeconomically deprived coastal areas of England. Other articles offer critical case studies of a system in flux – not just in England and the UK but in Israel and Sweden too. Our contributors critique the effectiveness of Ofsted and make recommendations for how a more ‘just, valid and reliable model of inspection’ can be delivered; argue that the different ways in which individual school subjects are governed in different countries should be taken into account by international measures of pupil performance; and, relatedly, make the case for further policy-to-practice research into curriculum development within and across national systems.

They explain the complexities of school decision-making about academisation through an illuminating case study, and why we should worry about a lack of criticality and democratic engagement in school governing bodies, despite their vital importance. And, they trace and the changing role of entrepreneurship in education – reflective of a political shift towards a business model that affects all aspects of educational provision in England and beyond – and offer an account of collaborative leadership within and across schools as a solution to the changes in support offered nationally.


Editorial / Alison Fox

1. The 2016 education white paper: A response / Chris Husbands

2. The ‘nationalisation’ of schools / Tim Brighouse

3. Recruitment, Retention and Region: The three ‘R’s’ challenging school performance in England / John Howson

4. Understanding the challenges for ‘coastal schools’ in England: Is it time to consider the position of all sequestered schools? / Tanya Ovenden-Hope

5. The research evidence for and against Ofsted / Frank Coffield

6. School subjects: A missing piece in research on school governance? / Johan Prytz

7. What do ‘skills’ mean for school governing bodies? / Helen Young

8. Academisation: as straightforward as it sounds? / Stephen Rayner

9. Entrepreneurship education can reproduce social inequalities / Iván Diego, Catherine Brentnal and Sibylle Heilbrunn

10. Entrepreneurial school leaders / Sue Robson