"Successful" Schools as agents of inner-city school transformation in England

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  • Bristnall Hall Academy


Sponsored academies are independent state-funded schools that are unique in England's state school system in that they have an external sponsor. This paper involves two case studies in which 'successful' school s are sponsors for academy schools and are new agents of non-selective schooling. The study is part of a qualitative nested case study of ten academies which aims to investigate the motivations of sponsors, the leadership roles of the sponsor and academy principal, and how the ethos and vision of academies have been realised. This paper discusses the findings from five interviews of key players in the creation of two academy schools. 'Successful' schools that are sponsoring academies are generally those that are selective by examination entrance and/or private fees. Analysis shows a range of motivations for the sponsors and different tensions and relationships between the principals and sponsors. Both academies have utilised the high status branding of their sponsor as a key to transformation. The relationship is unusual in one case in that there is a degree of symbiosis between the headmaster of the 'successful' school and the principal of the academy. The research does not seek to evaluate the success of the initiative. The paper concludes that ethos and vision are at the heart of sustainable school transformation; further work would need to be undertaken to evaluate the long-term success of these academies.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-16
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Studies in Educational Administration
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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