This project was a qualitative longitudinal research study into cultural and structural change in an English secondary school. The schools’ consistent underperformance led to its conversion to “academy” status as part of a development under the Labour administration of 1997-2010. The Labour policy for academization was designed, first, to challenge the culture of underachievement in areas of high deprivation and, second, to encourage schools to play a part in local community regeneration. Our research began at the point of conversion to academy status, and we have subsequently visited the school each year to interview senior leadership, teaching staff, and a sample of pupils to investigate their views on continuity and change within the institution and the impact on their own roles. Wider context for the research has been provided by annual publicly available performance data and academy documentation. In this case study report, we consider research design and some methodological issues that we encountered during the data collection. We show that establishing a relationship based on trust is a particularly important ingredient between researchers and participants in qualitative longitudinal research if the project is to yield rich and interesting data.