Returning Education to the Public Service
Policy Press, an imprint of
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Preface and acknowledgements vi
- 1The emptiness of English public policy 1
- 2Where it all begins: the tasks for Education and others 14
- 3Governance change in England 23
- 4Middle tier functioning, standards, places and school ecosystems 38
- 5But society won’t wait: the communities around the school and the role of local government 48
- 6More muddle: English Education’s unstable assemblage 63
- 7Wider parallels: limitations at the top 78
- 8The construction of central governments that find it all too difficult 85
- 9Re-democratising and re-politicising 101
- 10Conclusion: Beginning to return English schooling to the public service 115
Preface and acknowledgements
I have many colleagues, friends and others to thank for the writing of this book.
The area of research on which it draws has interested me for more than two decades, arising as it does out of long professional experience. During that time, there have been many people to whom I have gone back to discuss my thinking as it develops or who have just had tremendous influences on it: readers will recognise Geoff Whitty, Stephen Ball, Andrew Pollard, David James, Ray Shostak, John Simpson, Steve Ward, Diane Reay and many others. My particular thanks are due to Ray Shostak and Alan Stubbersfield for their trustworthy comments on early texts.
For the most recent phase of the research, from 2017, I must also thank the Head of the School of Education at Bath Spa University, Kyriaki Anagnostopolou, for her continuing trust that secured some of the School’s REF funding (repeatedly when I continued to obtain more interviews without much warning). This enabled me once again to obtain the excellent services of Suzanne Lawrence in providing near perfect transcripts. I was able to use them straight away without the need for substantial editing or indeed interpreting. In particular at Bath Spa, I must also thank Professor Charlotte Chadderton, who became my line manager in my latter years at the university, and now the ‘sponsor’ for my Visiting Research Fellowship, for her continued encouragement and support.
Now that I have become honorary rather than salaried, I can also thank all my colleagues and ex-colleagues retrospectively at Bath Spa for their friendship, good company, academic stimulation and challenge. But I must also thank all the students I taught over my decade at the university who have more than played their part, even while not being aware of it, in the development of the thinking evidenced in this book. As much of the content of this book naturally relates to topics in the undergraduate and master’s policy modules I authored and taught, their lively and direct challenges in seminars (before lockdown of course) have often made me rethink not only how I present my arguments but also question aspects of my conclusions.
Finally, I would like to thank all my interviewees – more than 30 new ones in this latest phase – for their frankness and openness in responding to my questions about how things work and in particular how they thought about it. Following early requests, I said I would not seek direct quotations from interviewees and so you will see none here. I hope my (hence) reported speech still conveys the breadth and directions of their views, within the context of their respective roles and powers. If this has made the book seem