• ‘It’s about portraying that we are organised …’ A case study looking at identity changes within one Free school’s Physical Education and School Sport (PESS) programme.

      Williams, Gareth; Burrows, Adam; Williams, Dean; University of Chester; St John Rigby College; Edge Hill University (Taylor and Francis, 2021-05-20)
      This research looked at changes made towards PESS at one of the first Free schools in England. Opened by parents as a new institution within an unfamiliar setting, the school had to contend with limited resources for an ambitious programme based upon a full complement of examination courses and an emphasis on prestigious team sports. A single case study methodology revealed that subsequent changes in identity stemmed from staffing changes, alongside a shift in personal philosophies towards a more inclusive ideology. Research participants agreed that ‘too much’ had been attempted ‘too soon.’ Using Goffman’s concept of ‘impression management’, changes are explained by the analysis of a team ‘performance’ communication to parents, identified by interviewees as key policy actors in the life of the school. This approach has been successful in justifying change, a finding that will help to understand the extent to which parental expectations are managed at Free schools.