A case study of two schools: identifying core values conducive to the building of a positive school culture Description
The case study I have chosen to review is drawn from a qualitative research article entitled: A case study of two schools: identifying core values conducive to the building of a positive school culture. As the title indicates, the paper was based on two case studies. Both case studies however are closely related and similar in many ways. The focus of the studies is based not so much on a particular issue of school culture but rather successful implementation. Analyzing the success and methodologies in these case studies does provide insight with regard to how to deal with issues of school culture and its implementation. There is particular focus on school-wide values, and the role of leadership in positive school culture.
There are two schools involved in this case study both of which are primary (elementary) schools in England. Both schools are in the same general region of the country and are located in ethnically, and culturally diverse communities. Each school has received several formal recognitions on both the local and national level for innovative practice, improvement, and effectiveness.
The first school introduced in this study is Victoria School (pseudonym). Victoria School is considered large with over 700 students. It is an inner-city school located to the north of a major city. The student body is local most coming from within 5 minutes walking distance. At the time of the study there were over 30 teachers working at the school with 18 teaching assistants (standard in English classrooms), and a small number of administrative staff. The student body at Victoria School is primarily English as a Second Language (ESL) with most students coming from a Pakistani or Bangladeshi family background. It is unclear if there is a special ESL program to accommodate this characteristic of the student body. Approximately one quarter of the students are identified as special education pupils. The socio-economic status of the students varies however it was known that over half were eligible for free meals at school. It is also reported in the study that while there was some financial deprivations for some students family support was quite good. Victoria school had been experiencing a steady trend of improvement under its head teacher (principal) that had been in his position at the school for over 10 years. Some of the projects attributed to the success of the school and head teacher which have received major media attention are: Excellence and Enjoyment and Creativity, Remodelling, ICT (computer technology), Out of Hours Learning, the Speaking and Listening and Exercise Project.
The second school in the study goes by the pseudonym Copse School. Copse School is only two miles from Victoria Schools and shares many of the same characteristics. It is similar in population size and physical characteristics. It is also multiethnic however more diverse than Victoria school. Most of the families of the students have origins in India, or Pakistan, with smaller but significant proportions rooting from Bangladesh, Caribbean, Far East, and Eastern Europe. Less than three percent of the students are of white British heritage.75 percent of the students are ESL. Again in this case it is unclear whether there is a focused ESL program to accommodate this. One third of the student population are considered special education. Similar to Victoria school, over half of the students are entitled to free school meals (although there are some families who are far from financially deprived as well). The initiatives Copse School had become renowned for include: Specialist Teaching, the Playtime Project, Advanced Mathematics, Out of Hours Learning and the Music and Sixes and Sevens Project.
Both schools indeed had a very healthy and sustained school culture at the time of the study. The article focuses on the...