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‘A no go area’: exploring the constructed reputation of a primary school

Golamhossen, Louise Anne (2020) ‘A no go area’: exploring the constructed reputation of a primary school. Doctoral thesis (EdD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

This thesis presents insights and understandings about the constructed reputation of Daisybank Primary School by critically exploring current perceptions of Daisybank and the influences that have played a role in such a construction. Insights from four participants’ perspectives challenge my thoughts and encourage self-reflection. Using a constructivist grounded theory approach, as well as a transformational learning lens, I engage with the concept of a constructed reputation at a deeper level. I look beyond the context of Daisybank and raise my head above the parapet and rhetoric of neoliberalism. In doing so, I engage with some of the deeper and more substantial issues surrounding the complex concept of reputation and its construction. Such a journey has put me in a position where I now not only understand the key influences behind the constructed reputation but I am also able to highlight the negotiating space within them. Seeing that my own emancipation lies with my own conceptions both of responsibility in leading and towards how I view Daisybank, has brought about changes in my views of what school and education mean to me and to others. By considering the work of Lacan (1977), I recognise how easy it is to become entangled into a fantastical image of what a school should be in order to attain a good reputation. However, this thesis shows how headteachers can learn how to swim within a neoliberal market and swim with a focus on the horizon and beyond. It concludes that it is possible to co-construct a reputation from attuned dialogue with a school community. It highlights that it is paramount that school and education remain more than the restricted definitions placed on them within a neoliberal context.

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