A Generation of Radical Educational Change : Stories from the field book cover
1st Edition

A Generation of Radical Educational Change
Stories from the field

ISBN 9781138941915
Published December 8, 2015 by Routledge
242 Pages

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Book Description

How much have teachers and their pupils benefitted from the top-down Westminster-led control of policy held in place by a powerful national inspection regime?

A Generation of Radical Educational Change: Stories from the Field is an exploration of the revolutionary impact of the greater and continuing involvement of central government in education policy-making which began in 1976 and was accelerated by the 1988 Education Act and subsequent legislation.

In the book, a dozen distinguished contributors from a wide range of sectors explain and reflect on how they worked to do their best for their schools, teachers and pupils in these years of great change. They understand the reasons, explained by Lord Baker in his early chapter, for a National Curriculum in 1988, and also the reasons for a more effective national inspection system. Yet their stories accumulate to become a powerful critique of the top-down policies of the last two decades. These policies have been too numerous, short-term, incoherent and partisan; governments have been indifferent to professional opinion and serious research, and have relied excessively on measurable outcomes and simplistic Ofsted judgments. Our current system is narrower and less democratic than it was, but evidence is hard to find that English pupils are doing any better in international comparisons.

The combined reflections in this volume are timely in these years of lively educational debate as are the suggestions for future policy. A Generation of Radical Educational Change is an invaluable read for current and aspiring headteachers, policy makers and those with an interest in education policy and how it evolves.

Table of Contents




Baroness Estelle Morris


Section 1 – Introduction: Setting the Scene

1. History and Overview of Changes -1976 to 2014

Richard Pring and Martin Roberts

2. The Revolution Begins

Kenneth Baker

Section 2 – Schools:

3. The Early Years

Wendy Scott

4. Primary Education: Can we escape the legacy of elementary education?

Tony Eaude

5. Secondary Education 1976-2015: a shire county view

Martin Roberts

6. A View from the Island – a very personal story

Kenny Frederick

Section 3 – Higher and Further Education:

7. Evolution of Teacher Training and Professional Development

Richard Pring

8. The Evolving idea of a University

Richard Pring

9. Vocational Education and Training’

Geoff Stanton

Section 4 – Accountability, Examinations, Qualifications

10. Assessment – the ‘need to do nothing

Tim Oates

11. Accountability and Inspection

Pat O’Shea

Section 5 – Reflection on Policy Matters

12. From "Optimism and Trust" to "Markets and Managerialism

Tim Brighouse

13. Schools: a shifting landscape

Margaret Maden

14. 1944-2015: Towards the Nationalisation of Education in England

Peter Newsam

Section 6 – Role of the Media

15. Peter Wilby: ‘Media and Education in the UK’

Education Correspondent; former editor, The New Statesman


16. Stories from the Field – Summarised

Richard Pring and Martin Roberts

17. The Way Forward for the Next Generation

Richard Pring


Major Education Acts and Reports



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Richard Pring is currently Professor of Education at Winchester University, UK, and was previously Director of the Department of Educational Studies, University of Oxford, UK (1989-2003).

Martin Roberts was appointed to the headship of The Cherwell School, Oxford, UK (1981-2002). At present, he is a member of the Academic Steering Committee of the Prince’s Teaching Institute.