Back to the future: The development of educational policy in England
This article argues that educational policy in England has passed through four main stages in the last three decades. The first three phases, Social democratic, Resource constrained and Market, all contain elements which now inform the Excellence phase which is being pursued by New Labour. This phase combines a determination to improve the quality of pupil learning with a much more interventionist set of strategies than has been witnessed in recent years. This set of policies has inherent weaknesses. Some of these are derived from the partial incorporation into current policy of the concept of the educational marketplace; others are associated with the concept based for New Labour educational policy, the school effectiveness movement; and yet others derive from an inadequate understanding of the nature of leadership and management in schools which leads to an over-emphasis on the role of the school principal. The article concludes by suggesting alternative forms of leadership which might be more appropriate for schools in a rapidly changing society.
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