Modernising School Governance examines the impact of recent market-based reforms on the role of governors in the English state education system. A focus of the book concerns how government and non-government demands for ‘strong governance’ have been translated to mean improved performance management of senior school leaders and greater monitoring and disciplining of governors. This book addresses fundamental questions about the neoliberal logic underpinning these reforms and how governors are being trained and responsibilised in new ways to enhance the integrity of these developments.
Drawing on large-scale research conducted over three years, the book examines the impact of these reforms on the day to day practices of governors and the diminished role of democracy in these contexts. Wilkins also captures the economic and political rationalities shaping the conduct of governors at this time and traces these expressions to wider structural developments linked to depoliticisation, decentralisation and disintermediation.
This book addresses timely and original issues concerning the role of corporate planning and expert handling to state education at a time of increased school autonomy, shrinking local government support/oversight, and tight, centralised accountability. It will appeal to researchers and postgraduate students in disciplines of education, sociology, political science, public policy and management. It will also be of interest to researchers and policy makers from countries with similar or emerging quasi-market education systems.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1 A Genealogical Enquiry 2 Rituals in Truth-making 3 Situated Neo-liberalism 4 Expert Publics 5 Business Ontology 6 Repopulating the Middle
Andrew Wilkins is Senior Lecturer in Education Studies at the University of East London. He is a member of the ESRC Peer Review College (2012–2019), Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA), co-convenor of the BERA SIG Social Theory and Education, and Associate of the Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change, University of Glasgow.
*** Awarded joint-second prize by the Society for Educational Studies (SES) for books published in 2016. ***
"Andrew Wilkins’ work has already challenged some of the comfortable platitudes of the world of school governing: drawing attention, for example, to the "democratic deficit" in English schools that is still not recognised by some leading proponents of governance"
Nigel Gann, Education consultant and Director of Hamdon Education
"Andrew Wilkins has made a major contribution through his forensic analysis of school governors as local regulators of an increasingly dysfunctional education market. The privatisation turn in education reforms from the 1980s onwards has had major implications for the type, role and contribution of school governors, and Wilkins captures this brilliantly. The project clearly puts the need for democratic renewal further up the agenda, where the ordinary citizen is losing out to preferred experts."
Professor Helen Gunter, Sarah Fielden Professor of Education, University of Manchester
"Andrew Wilkins' work on governance is required reading for anyone who wants to understand the government's most significant education policy: the academies scheme."
Warwick Mansell, Guardian columnist and NAHT and Cambridge Primary Review Trust blogger
"In this perceptive study of the changing role of school governors in England, Andrew Wilkins provides a timely analysis of emerging governance patterns in the modern state and the thinning of the notion of democratic accountability."
Professor Donald Gillies, Dean of the School of Education, University of the West of Scotland
"Andrew Wilkins delivers a considered treatment on school provision and governance in contemporary England with a particular emphasis on the ways that policy logics of accountability, responsibilisation and business become entangled, and in that entanglement produce and/or reinforce regimes of veridiction. The analysis is surehanded and sophisticated, and weaves together political science, sociology of education, policy studies and governmentality theory. It has an international appeal as much of what Wilkins outlines here is recognisable or emerging in many countries around the world. This book is essential reading for academics, postgraduate students and educational professionals interested in education policy, governance and the privatisation of public education."
Greg Thompson, Associate Professor of Education, Queensland University of Technology
"I have to say that this is not the book I expected - I was hoping it would be addressing governors themselves, and helping them to bring their own governance in line with the present-day requirements. This is, however, a far more scholarly work...That in no way detracts from the value of the book, which examines the impact of recent market-based reforms on the role of governors in the English state education system...I will be interested, as a Clerk to Governors in several schools, to know what impact it will have on day-to-day governance in schools."- Sarah Brew, Parents in Touch
"Modernising School Governance gives a sophisticated account of the complex and contradictory landscape of England’s school system through examining the area of school governance... the book brings sharply into focus how the study of school governance can be a powerful lens for conducting critical analysis of school system reforms and the wider political dynamics these are situated within." - Natalie Papanastasiou, Journal of Education Policy