This book draws on the lessons from one of the most intensive periods of educational reform in any country during recent times. The post-1997 English experience, under a New Labour government, is used to illustrate the opportunities and challenges associated with attempting to develop a world class education system. Such reforms are fiercely contested - and often polarized - with proponents stressing the opportunities created, while others reveal the erosion of professional values. Contributions from UK and overseas researchers, including Andy Hargreaves and John Smyth, reflect on the implications for those concerned with developing education systems across the globe.
Focusing on the challenges of radical reform in key areas - including variation in educational achievement; accountability and standards; linking school and community policies; workforce reform and choice and diversity - the book includes chapters on:
Accountability for School Improvement
Workforce-modelling and Distributed Leadership
Multi-agency Work and Children’s Services
The Education and Poverty Link
Initial Teacher Education
Drawing on the framework developed by New Labour to assess the approaches to and outcomes of interventions and the extent to which policies can deliver promised transformations - but going much deeper and wider than this - the authors present a critical account of reform by studying examples of policies, and conceptualizing the interplay between policy, practice and research.
With contributions from leading international commentators, this book will be of interest to researchers in education, education policy and school leadership.
Chapter 1: A decade of New Labour reform of education
Helen M Gunter and Chris Chapman
Chapter 2: Labouring to Lead
Chapter 3: Accountability for Improvement: rhetoric or reality?
Daniel Muijs and Chris Chapman
Chapter 4: Control and response in primary school teacher’s work
Chapter 5: Raising standards: what is the evidence?
Joanna Bragg and Bill Boyle
Chapter 6: School leaders: meeting the challenge of change
Gillian Forrester and Helen M Gunter
Chapter 7: Remodelling and Distributed Leadership: the case of the School Business Manager.
Chapter 8: Initial Teacher Education: a(nother) decade of radical reform
Chapter 9: New Provisions of Schooling:
Denis Mongon and Chris Chapman
Chapter 10: Networking a more equitable educational future? Rhetorics and realities
Andy Howes and Jo Frankham
Chapter 11: Personalized Learning:
Mel West and Daniel Muijs
Chapter 12: Swing, Swing Together: Multi-agency work in the new children’s services
Alan Dyson, Peter Farrell, Kirstin Kerr and Nadine Mearns
Chapter 13: New Labour and breaking the education and poverty link: a conceptual account of its educational policies.
Dave Hall and Carlo Raffo
Chapter 14: Using research to foster inclusion and equity within the context of New Labour education reforms
Mel Ainscow, Alan Dyson, Sue Goldrick and Kirstin Kerr
Chapter 15: Debating New Labour Education Policy
John Smyth and Helen Gunter
Chapter 16: Reflections on Reform: Perspectives and challenges
Chris Chapman and Helen M Gunter
This book will contain all new material and it is focussed on an issue that is relevant, current and contestable. The work will be founded on a rich body of evidence drawn from an extensive research program. It will be a welcome addition to the field that ought to be "de rigeur" reading for policy makers, leaders and students of policy in England and internationally.
The scholarship is likely to be high quality. I am familiar with the work of Christopher Chapman and his scholarship is exemplary. The contributing authors are well respected in the field.
I would judge the scholarship to be on a range from excellent to adequate. The proposal is for an edited book and there is bound to be some variation in experience but given the editors these should be confined to the range indicated.
The conceptual frame for this proposal is good. The aims and rationale are strong and clear.
This book is likely to be bought by participants on masters and advanced courses of professional study, as well as by other academics.
The international relevance of examining educational policy in the UK is explained well in the proposal, but it does not come across clearly in the individual chapter outlines. It will be important for contributors to address international implications of UK education reforms. A lot of international readers will still be concerned with the impact of decentralisation and the challenges presented by devolution of financial responsibility. I wonder if aspects of this could be included? The introductory chapter would be the best place, but that chapter seems over full already.
The two international contributors, Andy Hargreaves and John Smyth do not seem to be adding very much although they have enormous potential to do so. Would it be better if they wrote separate chapters rather than being partnered by one of the editors? For example the opening chapter which is ostensibly written with Andy Hargreaves contains a lot of different things including the introduction of the rest of the book. Could the editors consider separating out the practical aspects of stating aims and purpose and outlining the structure of the book and leave Andy Hargreaves to author the first substantive chapter setting the international tone for the rest of the book? The final chapter is probably easier to co-author. Presumably Helen as editor will be drawing out major themes and learning and John Smyth will comment on them.
[The above comments have all been addressed in the final cut – AC]