‘Joined-up thinking’? Inter-agency partnerships in Education Action Zones SAL LY P OW E R
In June 1998, twenty-five Education Action Zones (EAZs) were announced as the ‘standard bearers in a new crusade uniting business, schools, local education authorities and parents to modernise education in areas of social deprivation’ (DfEE 1998). Many claims have been made about the policy which has been identified as a ‘forerunner for the future delivery of public services in the next century’ (Byers, cited by Rafferty 1998: 4). Some of these claims centre on experimentation, some on standards. Others concentrate on the potential of zones to involve public-private partnerships, while others see in them the possibility of a new more inclusive politics of education. In this chapter, though, I want to concentrate in particular on the extent to which zones embody the New Labour preference for ‘joined-up thinking’.