Current discourses on the self-management of schools incorporate particular understandings of notions such as democracy, participation, choice, community and society. The problem is that the meaning in context of these notions is quite variable and is influenced by the importance, and perception, of other powerful organizing concepts including those of efficiency, accountability, responsibility and authority. In a period in which educational debates have become characterized by neo-conservative and New Right thinking, and by the marginalization of socially democratic themes which had become partially institutionalized in the work and thinking of many education workers during the 1970s and 1980s (Angus, 1992; Apple, 1991), we have seen the incorporation of all the terms mentioned into a rather simplistic slogan system of market efficiency and quality control of schools.