Policy processes, professionalism and partnership: an exploration of the implementation of 'Teaching Scotland's Future'

Beck, Anna Dorothy (2016) Policy processes, professionalism and partnership: an exploration of the implementation of 'Teaching Scotland's Future'. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information: https://eleanor.lib.gla.ac.uk/record=b3287090


The aim of this research was to explore the implementation of the recommendations from a recent teacher education policy in Scotland, ‘Teaching Scotland’s Future’ (TSF; Donaldson, 2011), in ‘real time’, as the policy was alive and continuously evolving.

Shortly after the publication of TSF, the Scottish Government set up a partnership model, the National Partnership Group (NPG) to refine and begin to implement a number of its recommendations in partnership between key organisations in Scottish education. The membership of the NPG consisted of representatives from these key organisations, as well as a small number of individual teachers. The NPG, its structure, membership and the multiple ways in which it operated, was the main focus of this research.

Taking a critical policy analysis approach, this research set out to investigate the representation and participation of actors within the policy process and identify the voices that were not heard within the NPG. The research employed elements of actor-network theory (ANT) to conceptualise the participation of institutional actors as a process of ‘interest translation’ and drew on literature in the area of policy networks and democratic network governance in order to examine the processes by which the NPG operated. The data used in this research consisted of interviews conducted with members of the NPG and documentary evidence in the form of minutes of meetings, policy documents and press releases.

Drawing mainly on the perspectives of actors central to the process, this thesis highlights the complexity and subtly of the policy processes at work. On the surface, the development of a partnership model was regarded as evidence of the government’s apparent commitment to collaborative and democratic policy-making. However, this research shows that underneath this ‘simulacra of order’ lay great disorder: divergent institutional interests, unequal power relations, strategic institutional positioning and a conservative network culture that favoured the participation of some actors over others. Of even more concern was the exclusion and restriction of the voice of the teaching profession. The non- involvement of teacher unions and restriction individual teachers in the policy process sits at odds with the overall policy vision set out in TSF: the development of teachers as ‘agents of change’ who can shape and lead educational change. The thesis concludes that there is a significant tension between the overall intentions of the policy agenda and the process that was designed to implement it and calls for a new model of policy-making where disorder and divergent interests can be brought to the fore in a way that allows the voice of the teaching profession to be heard.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Scottish education, education policy, policy process, teacher education, actor-network theory, policy network, network governance.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > L Education (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Conroy, Prof. James and Donaldson, Prof. Graham
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Dr A D Beck
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-8560
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2017 13:29
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2017 09:43
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/8560

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