chapter  5
17 Pages

Educational governance in England STePHeN J . BALL AND CAROLINA JUNeMANN

Introduction The contemporary history of education policy in England does not lend itself to simple generalisations. It can certainly be rendered as a neoliberal narrative of markets and choice, and the entry of new providers that together can be linked to the import of business methods of management and leadership into the running of schools. The mandating of markets and management are also related together through the techniques of performance management and Michael Barber’s (2011) ‘deliverology’ methodology – which link classrooms directly to the minister’s desk via benchmarks, output measurement, performance standards, and league tables. The emphasis here is on objective standards of reasoning, and policy and institutional decisions taken by experts. Concomitantly, the central state here is both giving up and taking on responsibilities. A second history can be rendered in relation to this with an emphasis on, an albeit weak, version of localism, and a ‘. . . desire among politicians and others to devolve decision making power down to local communities and citizens’ (Parvin 2012: 17), increasing corporate interest in education as a profit opportunity, over and against a new centralism; that is the concentration of powers in the hand of the secretary of state, the contracting of schools directly by the Department for Education (DfE), and various degrees of enthusiasm by ministers to frame if not specify the school curriculum. There is, as Skelcher (2000), points out an important ‘vertical dimension’ to modes of deconcentration and to network governance in England. Within both of these histories, local government and local democracy are the losers.