chapter  1
14 Pages

Introduction and Overview

The passing of the Education Reform Act (ERA) in 1988 marked a strikingly interventionist phase in government policy compared with the post-war decades, characterized by central control of the content of the curriculum across the 5 to 16 age range in state-maintained schools. This was coupled with a deliberate weakening of the power of local government in educational matters through the enforced delegation of responsibility for management and budgeting to the schools themselves. The political agenda driving this legislation seemed to be based upon a belief, at least in part, in the power of market forces to drive up educational standards and a distrust of the influence of the educational establishment as 'trendy theorists " and of LEAs in the practice of education in schools (see Chitty, 1992 and Carr and Hartnett, 1995 for analyses of this political context).