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An analysis of Independent Schools Inspectorate reports to assess the state of school libraries in the independent secondary school sector in England and Wales

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Purpose ‐ This research paper is part of a PhD research project into the management of secondary school libraries in the independent sector in England and Wales. It aims to demonstrate one method of providing qualitative evidence of library provision in such schools. Design/methodology/approach ‐ This research paper uses the inspection reports of independent schools by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) as a qualitative source of information about the provision of school library services within the independent secondary school sector in England and Wales Findings ‐ The reports indicate that there is a wide range of quality in independent school libraries, just as there are in those schools run by local education authorities. Research limitations/implications ‐ This paper outlines just one method of assessing the state of school libraries in independent secondary schools. Other methods are being used in the wider PhD research project. Practical implications ‐ Because independent schools are by their very nature self managed and independently run, the use of ISI reports provides an autonomous, external appraisal of individual schools which will contribute to providing a clearer picture of the whole sector. The research will eventually provide practical advice and guidance to school library practitioners as well as the wider school librarianship and independent school sectors. Originality/value ‐ The use of inspection reports as a qualitative appraisal of independent schools will be original. While the general school library sector is researched, there has been very little done specifically on independent secondary schools, which educate 7 per cent of the secondary school population in England and Wales.
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Keywords: England; Private education; Reports; School libraries; Secondary schools; Wales

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2006

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