Policy impact and policy process in transforming urban schools: A single school case study of the London Challenge

Vanessa Jane Ogden


School improvement research shows that sustained improvements in schools take time to achieve. Have education policies which pre-date the London Challenge had some effect on the rises in standards that we see now? What about other effects on policy as it is implemented, such as the role of the practitioner in the policy process? Where best to direct public resources is a key question for policy-makers; it is argued in this paper that more investigation of the London Challenge’s impact is required to identify more precisely which elements of the policy have had most positive outcomes. Such information will help to direct any expansion of the policy more effectively.

This paper addresses these questions by describing a small scale study, situated in one inner London comprehensive secondary school which was undertaken as an Institution Focused Study – a component of the doctorate in education programme. Because the study is small-scale, the findings have limited validity. Nevertheless, the study is a start in the process of testing the impact of the London Challenge on individual London schools. The study concludes that policy in education should consider carefully the mediating role of practitioners, especially school leaders, in the policy process since this is where much of the potential for transformative power in schools resides.


Secondary schooling

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ISSN 2049-9558
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