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School development planning: A study of competing agendas

Leggett, Bridget M. (1995) School development planning: A study of competing agendas. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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The focus of this study is on school development planning, the centre-piece for devolution in Western Australia. The thesis explores the way in which the policy requirements evolved within the Central Office of the Ministry of Education, the stated intentions for the policies, and contrasts these intentions with the policies' operation in, and impact on, one senior high school, the Focus School.

It is argued that the discursive practices associated with school development planning represented a major shift in the discourses of Central Office, a shift which was not echoed in the Focus School by 1992. Further, that devolution has allowed, if not caused a divergence of the discursive practices of Central Office and secondary schools, to the point where different discourses may be operating.

The thesis explores the discourse/s of Central Office and the Focus School through an examination of the language and logic, the procedures and practices, the organisational structures, the power relations, the assumed meanings and the underlying values which surround school development planning. The analysis is organised around three agendas associated with school development planning: school improvement, accountability and participative decision-making.

The analysis suggests that the single, curriculum based discourse which linked Central Office and school practices prior to devolution was still the dominating discourse in the Focus School at the end of 1992. In contrast, in Central Office, political imperatives and the importance attached to particular notions of accountability and specific management forms had produced a different set of discursive parameters. It is suggested in conclusion that acceptance of the legitimacy of different discourses may be more productive than an assumption that secondary schools and Central Office can, and should, share the one common discourse.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Sciences
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Harris, Patricia and Collins, Cherry
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