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System leadership as depoliticisation: Reconceptualising educational leadership in a new multi-academy trust

Courtney, SJ; McGinity, R; (2020) System leadership as depoliticisation: Reconceptualising educational leadership in a new multi-academy trust. Educational Management Administration and Leadership 10.1177/1741143220962101. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

System leadership continues to be constructed largely as a desirable, even normative, evolution of educational leadership, with critiques often focusing on implementation rather than principles. This belies its increasingly recognised role in processes of disintermediation, in which the ‘middle tier’ comprising local government is dismantled. In this article, we draw on interview and observation data from our case study research in a new multi-academy trust to argue that system leadership is better understood as a manifestation of, and mechanism for, depoliticisation. We present a reconceptualisation of system leadership in which its primary function is to enable and operationalise three forms of depoliticisation: governmental, societal and discursive. We conclude that system leadership as depoliticisation is a suite of professional practices with linked identities and dispositions that operationalises the state’s project to depoliticise education in England through multi-academisation, or the creation of multi-academy trusts.

Type: Article
Title: System leadership as depoliticisation: Reconceptualising educational leadership in a new multi-academy trust
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/1741143220962101
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1741143220962101
Language: English
Additional information: © 2020 by British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Multi-academy trusts (MATs), depoliticisation, educational leadership, system leadership, academisation, multi-academisation
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Learning and Leadership
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10111255
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