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Effectiveness, inequality and ethos in three English schools

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journal contribution
posted on 10.05.2010, 15:22 authored by Laura C. Engel, John Holford, Helena Pimlott-WilsonHelena Pimlott-Wilson
Many school effectiveness studies have focussed on schools serving disadvantaged communities. ‘Schools matter most for underprivileged and/or initially low achieving students. Effective or ineffective schools are especially effective or ineffective for these students’ (Scheerens & Bosker 1997: 96). Analysing how schools can improve in socially disadvantaged communities is essential. The nature of a school cannot, of course, remove social inequality or social exclusion, but it can have a significant positive impact (Sammons 2007). In a study of improving schools in disadvantaged settings, Muijs et al. (2004) found they focus on a number of factors: teaching and learning; enhancing leadership capacity; creating an information rich environment; creating a positive school culture; building a learning community; promoting continuous professional development; involving parents; and engaging external support. This study of three English schools supports Muijs et al.’s findings, but points also to the importance of an ‘ethos of inclusion’. It also draws attention to role of schools serving students with Special Educational Needs.



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ENGEL, L.C., HOLFORD, J. and PIMLOTT-WILSON, H.L., 2010. Effectiveness, inequality and ethos in three English schools. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 30 (3/4), pp.140-154.


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This article was published in the journal, International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy [Emerald Group Publishing Limited] and the definitive version is available at: