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Organisational Leadership and Change in an Urban Institution

Haughton Cameron, Ruthline Elorine (2016) Organisational Leadership and Change in an Urban Institution. EdD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

Jamaica’s education system has long been known to be two-tiered (traditional and non-traditional); the vestiges of a colonial past. This is a case study of an upgraded/non-traditional Jamaican secondary school located in an inner-city urban centre, here named Tree of Life High School (TLHS, pseudonym). The TLHS had a reputation for academic underperformance and indiscipline, however was reported to experience a transformation. The purpose of the study was to examine the perceived factors which led to the improvements at the school from multiple perspectives- namely principal, teachers and students. Challenges and facilitators of organisational transformation were explored, as well as the prevailing culture of the TLHS pre- and post-intervention. The study was qualitative in nature, utilizing semi-structured interview and focus group discussion. The data was collected during the period of a work week and a day spent at the research site. Twelve teachers were interviewed, including the principal, vice principal, six senior teachers and four junior teachers employed to the institution for a time period spanning between nine and thirty-four years. Three groups of students participated in the focus group discussion. The groups comprised of a male only, a female only, and a mixed group of students, all from fourth to sixth form who had been attending the institution for a period of four to six years. The case study addressed the following questions: 1) What factors might have contributed to (or are contributing to) the transformation of the TLHS? 2) How do teachers describe the climate of the TLHS over the last ten years? 3) What were some of the challenges encountered as the staff and students embarked on this transformation route and how were those challenges resolved? 4) What are the strategies and policies that were put in place by the principal as they relate to the goals set for the school? The prevailing culture of the TLHS over the ten-year period under review was that of academic underachievement, indiscipline and low morale. There was, however, a discernible positive shift in the school climate during that period. The perceived factors which gave rise to the TLHS’ transformation were principal’s leadership style, teacher professional development, teacher job satisfaction/teacher morale and improvements in the disciplinary environment. Attention to participative leadership, staff development, school infrastructure, literacy and discipline were all strategies employed by the principal to effect school improvement. The improvements that marked the TLHS experience can serve as a model for informing best practice for non-traditional high schools.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.736521
Depositing User: Mrs Ruthline Elorine Haughton Cameron
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2018 11:12
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2018 09:52
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/19597

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