The question in the headline is the title of a new book published by UCL IOE Press. It’s written by Doug Martin and based on research in four North of England schools and communities. But the question is also one that should be asked today, for it raises an issue at the very heart of education. What is the identity of the school? What is it for?
Education in England since the 1988 Education Reform Act has been dominated by four themes: governance, choice, regulation and performance. Local authority control has been replaced by self-government and, with the rise of academies and free schools, a direct contractual role for central government; parents have been given, at least on paper, increased say over which school their children attend; a national curriculum and national inspection agency have been introduced and endlessly wrangled over; while examinations have proliferated, with endless picking over schools’ performance. What has emerged is a particular idea of schools: as exam factories, judged on grade productivity; and as businesses competing in an education market place for the custom of parent-consumers.
But something happened for a few years at the start of the century that complicated this Read more ›