Exploring How Performativity Influences the Culture of Secondary Schooling in Scotland


Peace-Hughes T (2021) Exploring How Performativity Influences the Culture of Secondary Schooling in Scotland. British Journal of Educational Studies, 69 (3), pp. 267-286.

This paper explores the effects of performativity on the culture of a Scottish secondary school, Lochview High School. This is set against a backdrop of the Scottish education policy context which in recent years has been heavily focused on reducing the poverty-related attainment gap, namely through the Scottish Attainment Challenge (SAC). The analysis of the empirical data is supported by a cultural and ecological framework which emphasises the interwoven and complex nature of the school system. In particular, the paper provides a critique of accountability and performative agendas which often run counter to other national agendas, such as the SAC. Through observations, staff interviews (teachers and senior management), and student interviews, task-based activities and group discussions, the data suggests performative and accountability measures are inextricably woven through the education system within which Lochview is situated. Despite this, Lochview provides a case study of a school which successfully navigates competing agendas. However, it is not without its struggles, but the school community often finds rewards and benefits in the positive school culture which develops as a result of responding to the local community’s needs.

Education; Performativity; School context; School culture; Accountability

British Journal of Educational Studies: Volume 69, Issue 3

FundersEconomic and Social Research Council
Publication date31/12/2021
Publication date online05/08/2020
Date accepted by journal20/07/2020
PublisherInforma UK Limited