A policy sociology reflection on school reform in England: From the ‘Third Way’ to the ‘Big Society’

Lingard, Bob and Sellar, Sam (2012) A policy sociology reflection on school reform in England: From the ‘Third Way’ to the ‘Big Society’. Journal of Educational Administration and History, 44 1: 43-63. doi:10.1080/00220620.2011.634498

Author Lingard, Bob
Sellar, Sam
Title A policy sociology reflection on school reform in England: From the ‘Third Way’ to the ‘Big Society’
Journal name Journal of Educational Administration and History   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0022-0620
Publication date 2012-02
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/00220620.2011.634498
Volume 44
Issue 1
Start page 43
End page 63
Total pages 21
Place of publication Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom
Publisher Routledge
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Formatted abstract
This article presents a policy sociology reflection on Bernard Barker's book, The Pendulum Swings: Transforming School Reform. The book represents Barker's attempt to intervene in education policy during the lead-up to the 2010 UK general election and is framed by what he imagined might be possible under a new Conservative government. Barker draws inspiration from the Red Tory communitarian position articulated by Phillip Blond. In hindsight, we are less sanguine about these possibilities in the context of the Coalition government and its ongoing response to the ongoing financial crises. Indeed, what has emerged is a rearticulated neo-liberalism in the guise of ‘Big Society’ rhetoric. We agree with Barker's critical deconstruction of the five illusions underpinning New Labour schooling policy, but argue for a broader agenda of redistribution, both in social policy and with respect to schools. Policy needs to recognise and support teachers and good pedagogies, and we also see a pressing need to rethink richer forms of educational accountability. All of this must be located within a politics that pursues a new social imaginary. Nonetheless, we commend Barker's contribution towards post neo-liberal thinking in respect of school policy, specifically in England, but with relevance to other locations and systems.
Keyword Education policy
School reform
Big Society
New Labour
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Education Publications
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Created: Wed, 28 Mar 2012, 14:39:15 EST by Claire Backhouse on behalf of School of Education