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

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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

Bibliographical note

Andrew Bills EdD lectures in leadership policy, politics and practice at Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia. Framed by the epistemologies of critical sociology and phenomenology,his research agenda seeks a more equitable, personalised and progressive education system that offers more opportunity for all students, particularly those living with disadvantage.
Email: Andrew.Bills@flinders.edu.au
ORCID: 0000–0002–3347–6123
Amy Hamilton EdD is a practising visual artist and associate professor in visual art and arts education at Flinders University. She has extensive experience developing curriculum and teaching visual art from primary school to the tertiary level. Recent research from a visual art perspective includes camouflage in the military and Chinese adoption.
Email: Amy.Hamilton@flinders.edu.au
ORCID: 0000–0002–7367–7480
Ben Wadham PhD is a sociologist in the College of Education, Psychology and Social Work at Flinders University. He has published on school disadvantage, masculinity and sexuality among secondary students, and violence among students at school. Ben is the HDR coordinator in Education and the Director of the Doctor of Education.
Email: Ben.Wadham@flinders.edu.au
ORCID: 0000–0003–3915–5259


  • reframing pedagogy
  • organisational change

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