“Lazarus” school rising: Finding renewed hope with a “little help from our friends”

Andrew Bills, Amy Hamilton, Ben Wadham

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This article examines the nature of sudden and sweeping organisational change when a public secondary school facing closure reframed the ideological components of schooling, finding renewed hope and direction for the future. It also attempts to explain how organisational change can take place through university-led action research, activating school community support to
become a science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) school, securing funding sustainability, political and bureaucratic support, and a new regional school and university partnership. Finally, it seeks to understand how teachers and leaders make sense of their new STEAM organisational identity and how they are reflecting upon this in their new work ahead. This single bounded case study used a “sequential transformative strategy” involving an initial phase of action research reframing schooling purpose as a STEAM school. This was followed by semi-structured teacher and leader interviews hermeneutically analysed, constituting a two part project with a theoretical lens of social science theory. The theoretical perspective of Meighan’s component theory informs the analysis of the two methodologies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-87
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Educational Leadership, Policy and Practice
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2020


  • reframing pedagogy
  • organisational change


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