Notions of Quality Education through an Educational Policy–the Reflexive Case Study of a Collegial School Network in Malta

Mifsud, Ian (2020) Notions of Quality Education through an Educational Policy–the Reflexive Case Study of a Collegial School Network in Malta. PhD thesis, University of Lincoln.

Notions of Quality Education through an Educational Policy–the Reflexive Case Study of a Collegial School Network in Malta
Mifsud, Ian - PhD - Education.pdf - Whole Document

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Item Status:Live Archive


This research qualitatively delves into claims on quality education through policy-mandated collegial school networks in Malta. I set to ask how this organisational arrangement can serve as a vehicle for quality education, how can contextually relevant and stakeholder considerate definitions of quality education be construed, and how are these networks in Malta perceived as impacting stakeholders’ notions of quality education. The voices of policy makers, educational leaders, educators, parents and students, intertwined with my own distinct yet complementary reflexive contributions, are given centre stage to unravel variables determining the perceived and/or actual impact of the educational policy. I concluded that collegial school networks require specific characteristics to benefit definitions of quality education construed through a composite organic framework. In view of this, common gains and losses reside alongside contested divergences on the impact of collegial school networks in Malta as impacting stakeholders’ notions of quality education.

After introducing the research and its context, including myself, the literature review contextualises the study within the milestones of Malta’s educational system, focussing on reforms mostly related to the research. It explores the quest for quality as an enigmatic and contested priority for education. An exposition of the contextual definitions, multiple applications, intended benefits and potential pitfalls of the pivotal concept of school networks interlaces with the claim for quality. Interests served by education also emerge as the running thread particularly when discussing the role of stakeholders. The enhanced appreciation of the interpretations and inferences of the themes being studied and how these dynamically interrelate in educational policy and quality education enabled the identification of critical elements, forming the basis for the field research.

Morphing around my intimate experiences, setting an autoethnographic backdrop throughout the research and exposing extensive ethical considerations, I rely on a case study of one specific school network in Malta from an interpretivist paradigmatic position. The research employs semi-structured one-to-one interviews with designated educational leaders within the network, namely College Principal and Heads of School, and focus groups with teachers, students and parents. Other high-level interviews were held with critical figures in educational policy development in Malta, specifically, the Minister and Shadow Minister for Education, the President of the Teachers’ Trade Union, the Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of Malta and an officially recognised representative of Employers as another key stakeholder. In Vivo and Initial Coding of the transcribed data, evolved into Theoretical and Axial Coding delineating a structure serving both the presentation of findings and the theoretical framework for the discussion and conclusions.

The limitations of the study include my intricate involvement and the extended temporal component, paradoxically characterising its unique contribution. Conclusions drawn reveal complex intra- and inter-related constituents of the Multidimensional Chromosomic Structure of Quality Education, also serving as the theoretical framework. Whereas generalisability of the study has restrictions, emerging recommendations may support the integrity of educational policy development and implementation, whilst creating the space for further research in the area.

Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Education
ID Code:44797
Deposited On:05 May 2021 10:49

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