Policy Response Toolset
for equity and learning


Barriers to policy implementation

While policy response has the potential to engage all members of a learning community in ‘creative social action’ (Ball, 1998, p. 270), various barriers to policy implementation may disrupt this process. In 2013, the UK team of the European Policy Network on School Leadership (EPNoSL) conducted a study of the implementation of policy on school leadership for equity in Scotland (Bagley & Ward, 2013; Ward et al, in press). School leaders identified four reasons why they were not engaging with this policy:

policy documents are too ‘hard going and laborious’;
policy is perceived to be irrelevant, either ‘distant from my post and what it means in the context of my job’ or they are already doing this in their schools;
not enough time to engage with policy or implement it;
concerned about the lack of policy ‘ownership’ and the lack of consultation during policy development.

Sometimes, policy seems to be so far removed from school leaders’ everyday experience that its implementation is almost impossible, as in the example provided below.

Reflect on the case of 'Schools in Challenging Circumstances'

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© 2014 EPNoSL Project