Educational systems around the world now understand that school change is dependent on the understandings and skills of those that lead them. There is an increasing understanding that school change is more effective when it is locally designed to suit specific histories and conditions, and that school-based research makes an important contribution to successful reform. However there are relatively few books that address how local research can complement larger scale evidence to produce successful school redesign. This book fills this gap.
The authors begin by detailing the need for and power of inquiry led change. They discuss common arguments and reasons for school reform, covering the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand, Canada and Europe and outline the role of leaders in designing, planning, steering, managing and evaluating change.
Then by using actual examples of school leaders’ use of systematic inquiry in schools in England, North America, Israel, and Australia they provide a well theorised and practical guide to the use and conduct of systematic change-oriented inquiry. The examples chosen show ‘warts and all’ perspectives on the practices of inquiry based reform and offer hopeful and optimistic narratives, without prescribing one-best solutions and generic approaches that never fit individual situations well. Firmly founded on a strong theoretical foundation the authors’ pragmatic advice
recognises the messy everyday reality of schools
avoids a simplistic tool-kit approach to both organization change and to practitioner research
encourages school leaders and researchers to develop a repertoire of approaches to inquiry
links classroom and program based research to school improvement
elaborates a range of research-based change strategies