AbstractsBusiness Management & Administration

An analysis of school improvement and effectiveness in the implementation of the national reform introducing comprehensive schooling to St. Peter’s School.

by Daren Scerri

Institution: University Of Leicester
Department: School of Education
Degree: Master's Degree
Year: 2015
Keywords: Education Leadership Management Change Schools
Posted: 06/01/2016
Record ID: 2063523
Full text PDF: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1a_xmZEGhapbnZxbG9may10cmM/view?usp=sharing


The research work disclosed in this publication is partly funded by the Malta Government Scholarship Scheme. The study investigated school-level structures and interventions that support learning in the new context of comprehensive schooling at St. Peter’s Boys Catholic School (SPS). Following the 2011 national reform in the transition from primary to secondary schooling which eliminated the age 11+ examination system, SPS started to enrol mixed-ability cohorts. To address this challenge, SPS invested in a new primary school and expanded its secondary section. The motivation behind this investment was student centred, in order to better address diversity through holistic education from a younger age and to have a more diversified curriculum which caters for the wider range of pupil abilities. Hence, the aim of the study was to analyse the effectiveness of the restructuring implemented by the school leadership in the move to becoming a comprehensive school, and also to assess the professional community’s degree of participation in this change. Such an analysis was significant to understand the direct and indirect effects of school-level interventions on learning. It also investigated whether collaboration between the School Leadership Team and the professional community is an important factor for the successful implementation of new systems. Researched school-level effectiveness factors and themes deductively identified through preliminary interviews were used to guide the evaluation of current practice. This evaluation was subsequently used to suggest further improvement planning and appropriate support to the professional community. Since the study involved both the School Leadership Team (SLT) and the larger professional community, a mixed-methods approach employing a case-study with the SLT and a survey with the professional community was utilised. Findings indicated that a distributed leadership style, good working conditions, a culture which promotes staff collaboration and initiative, the development of professional learning communities and interventions that improve learning opportunities, were highly influential for effective learning following the change to comprehensive schooling. However, mixed-ability pedagogy, pupil re-enforcement and parental involvement emerged as concerns which require a shared vision and further development.