Policy development as a process of renewal in a school community: A thesis


Anthonisz, Denis. (1994) Policy development as a process of renewal in a school community: A thesis [Thesis]. https://doi.org/10.26199/5cc24a9e448a4
AuthorsAnthonisz, Denis
Qualification nameMaster of Education (MEd)

This thesis documents the development of a Behaviour Management Policy in a primary school. Its broader scope explores the concept of renewal; a school community engaging in an activity of school improvement which reflects the needs and wants of that community and is geared towards satisfying the global needs and requirements of that community. As such renewal concerns itself with the possibility of change in the perceptions and attitudes of the various stakeholders in a school community. The policy making exercise was generated by a committee equally representative of staff and parents and this research explores whether it is possible for a renewal process such as this to be 'owned' by the whole school community.

This study was informed by the literature relating to Behaviour Management. Renewal involves an openness to change. Hence the literature on change was explored and revealed that effective change takes place in a collaborative culture which creates a climate conducive to change. Renewal encompasses a broader perspective than change, being a holistic process managed in a planned and systematic manner. The literature suggests that if renewal is to be an authentic expression of action based on choices made in a reflective environment, the culture of the school needs to be collaborative, the community relational and the leadership service centred. A relational community and a collaborative culture can only find expression in its fullest sense if it is enriched by parental involvement which approaches partnership in reality not just in rhetoric. The literature indicates that parent participation can in fact approach the ideal of partnership and empower parents to work effectively in the policy making process with equal status to that of staff members on the committee.

Consequently, the following emerged as the major research question. - What are the appropriate processes a Catholic school uses when engaging in renewal?

Because the study focussed on a renewal project generated by a committee equally representative of staff and parents, the research question needed to be informed by two sub questions. - What structures and processes enable a representative sub group of staff and parents to generate a renewal project and be legitimised in their action by the school community?
- Is it possible for staff and parents in such a sub group to be equal partners as leaders in a renewal process?

A case study approach was considered appropriate to report on the global perspectives of a renewal project and thus address these research questions. The procedure utilised for policy deliberation was one of Action Research, more specifically aligned to the process of reflective deliberation as proposed by Bonser and Grundy (1988).

The research concluded that :

Bonser and Grundy's {1988) process of reflective deliberation was a suitable vehicle for a representative sub group generating a process of renewal if the community orientation of the school, its culture, the collaborative processes in operation and the leadership in the school are conducive to renewal.

It also found that a representative committee of staff and parents can generate a renewal project and be legitimised in this action by the school community if that community values renewal and if collaborative structures are in place which inspire confidence in that committee.

Parental participation in the leadership of renewal can be a reality if parental involvement is an integral component of the school community's culture. The process of reflective deliberation is pertinent to the needs of empowerment of teachers and parents on a committee leading a renewal process to equal partnership.

Keywordsschool policy; behaviour management; Catholic school; parents and teachers
PublisherACU Research Bank
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.26199/5cc24a9e448a4
Final version
Publication dates01 Nov 1994
Additional information

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