This book offers a unique record of the realities of parental choice and competitive pressures on schools. On the basis of research involving thousands of parents and eleven secondary schools monitored over several years, it sets out: * empirical findings on parents' preferences and experience of choice, how schools respond to competitive pressures, and local dynamics of quasi-markets * theoretical implications for understanding quasi-markets in education and the public interest * implications for educational policy, if schools are to be more responsive and inequalities lessened The book provides insights into whether pressures for choice and diversity are in the greater public interest, or if they benefit only the few, and suggests a notion of the public-market as a model for analysing public services.
'This book is a significant contribution to our learning since it reports on one of the most in-depth studies of the marketisation of education … it is an important contribution to the literature.' - Journal of Educational Studies
'The book not only offers crucial insights into the positive and negative effects of market-like pressures but goes some way to suggest how policies might be modified to make choice, diversity and other market elements more appropriate to a public service and to ensure parity of opportunity. This book is well written and is of considerable value to anyone interested in the issue of parental choice and how the 'market' has affected schools.' - School Leadership and Managment