Final words
Whole school visions
Pages 12

Imagining the possibilities of education is inevitably shaped by the realities of the present and the mythologies of the past. Fundamental structures of schooling are seemingly impossible to shift at anything more than an experimental level. Progressive ideologies of education have existed since the idea of state education was first envisaged, epitomised by William Godwin’s warning of the invidious intentions of the establishment in perpetuating, through mass schooling, its position of authority (Godwin, 1793). Near the end of his life, the philosopher and educationalist, John Dewey, remarked on the seemingly impermeable and resistant nature of the institutions of schooling in spite of logical and research based arguments for reform. He noted how changes that did occur were merely ‘atmospheric’ and had not ‘really penetrated and permeated the foundations of the institution’. The ‘fundamental authoritarianism’ of schooling survived unscathed (Dewey, 1952: 129-30, in Kohn, 2000: 7).