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How teachers’ individual autonomy may hinder students’ academic progress and attainment: Professionalism in practice

Day, Christopher

Authors

Christopher Day



Abstract

This article reports a 3-year case study of a primary school in England, in which a recently appointed principal attempted to build ‘collegial professional autonomy’ (Nordic Journal of Studies in Educational Policy, 2, 2015, 20) within a push to improve students’ progress and attainment. The research examined the tensions between staff who embraced the principal's agenda for collegially agreed change, and whose students’ academic progress and performance improved over a 3-year consecutive period when measured in terms of students’ entry-level attainment and socio-economic factors, and staff who asserted their right to ‘individual professional autonomy’ and whose students’ academic progress and attainment declined. The research: (i) challenges claims that reform necessarily results in school cultures of compliancy, de-professionalisation and the technicisation of teaching; (ii) raises issues concerning the pedagogical leadership of principals in a devolved, ‘self-governing’ school system; and (iii) questions teachers’ entitlements to individual professional autonomy where this is associated with students’ continuing academic underperformance.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2020-02
Journal British Educational Research Journal
Print ISSN 0141-1926
Electronic ISSN 1469-3518
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 46
Issue 1
Pages 247-264
APA6 Citation Day, C. (2020). How teachers’ individual autonomy may hinder students’ academic progress and attainment: Professionalism in practice. British Educational Research Journal, 46(1), 247-264. https://doi.org/10.1002/berj.3577
DOI https://doi.org/10.1002/berj.3577
Keywords autonomy; professionalism; principal pedagogical leadership; student progress and achievement
Publisher URL https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/berj.3577
Additional Information This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: [Day, C. (2019), How teachers’ individual autonomy may hinder students’ academic progress and attainment: Professionalism in practice. Br Educ Res J. doi:10.1002/berj.3577 which has been published in final form at
First published: 03 October 2019 https://doi.org/10.1002/berj.3577. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
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