Get off my bus! School leaders, vision work and the elimination of teachers

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In this paper, we argue that school leaders are removing those who embody or vocalize alternative conceptualizations of educator. It seems as if Collins’ call in his 2001 book Good to Great to get the right people on the bus is being taken very seriously by school leaders seeking to raise standards. This is achieved by eradicating ‘inadequate’ teaching, and implementing the leader’s ‘vision’, which we argue consists in silencing and potentially removing professional voice, knowledge and contributions. We present data from nine headteachers who talk about their vision and vision work, and in deploying Arendtian thinking, we think the unthinkable about how teachers can be rendered disposable and are disposed of. Arendt’s political thinking tools help us to consider how, through routine practices, current models of school leadership enable totalitarian practices to become ordinary.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-417
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Leadership in Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2015


  • workforce
  • teachers
  • school leadership
  • vision
  • Arendt
  • Collins
  • totalitarianism

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Policy@Manchester


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