Educational policies in many countries seem to be concerned with making schools more effective. All of this can create tensions, however, not least as a result of different perceptions of what effectiveness means and how it can be achieved. And, as Davies (1996) argues:

In my own country, the election in 1997 of a new Labour government further highlighted the types of tensions that can occur. Two words seem to stand out from the new government’s education agenda: ‘standards’ and ‘inclusion’. For those who are committed to the development of forms of schooling that can reach all learners this emphasis appears to present few problems. Our work is driven by a desire to provide high quality learning opportunities for all children and young people. So, it seems, our moment has come and we have to take the opportunities that all of this seems to provide.