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How is the professionalism of supply teachers constructed in contemporary times?

Facchin, Tavia Ann (2016) How is the professionalism of supply teachers constructed in contemporary times? Doctoral thesis (EdD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

This thesis critically explores perceptions of professionalism around supply teachers. Investigating contemporary education policy as experienced by, and formed about, those working on the margins of education offers significant insights into how notions of identity and status (including my own as a supply teacher) are perceived during times of change. The onset and continuing impact of the 2008 recession, combined with the 2010 election of the first coalition government in the UK for decades, set the research against a dynamic socio-economic backdrop that saw changes introduced throughout the public sector, including education. Changes to education policy in both school provision (the introduction of academies and free schools) and workforce remodelling, provide the context for the research, as drivers of education centred around productivity, efficiency and alleged freedom of choice become the norm for stakeholders in education. A qualitative and interpretive approach via semi-structured interviews enabled the collection of rich data whilst post-structural theoretical concepts were drawn upon to further analyse the data in an attempt to understand the dynamics, and contribution, of power and knowledge in the formation of discourses circulating around the supply teacher. Exploring notions of professionalism from the margins offers important critical insights into the discursive positioning of supply teachers with regard to professional identity. An investigation of how individuals negotiate the discursive gap highlights how supply teachers get bound up in the complexity of numerous and often competing discourses at both macro- and micro-level. From this, the thesis aims to highlight how, despite their marginal positioning, supply teachers remain an important part of the wider teaching cohort.

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