The Coalition government's programme for education is a fundamental challenge to the idea of social justice. It has provoked widespread opposition. A wave of student militancy has swept through the universities. Local campaigns against academies and free schools have mobilised parents and teachers.
This is the emerging and contested terrain which this book explores. It situates it in a longer timespan_-the New Labour period as well as that of the Cameron government.
The book brings together leading critics of neoliberal education policy. Nico Hirtt outlines the European Union's policy for the school system. Richard Hatcher examines the Coalition's policy of increasing supply-side autonomy in the school system through academies and free schools. Lisbeth Lundahl outlines the characteristics and consequences of independent 'free schools' in Sweden. Stephen Ball and Carolina Junemann uncover the role of corporate philanthropy in the reform of state education. Pat Mahony and Ian Hextall report on their research in progress into Labour's Building Schools for the Future programme. Pat Thomson explores the dimension of the local, contrasting Labour's rhetoric of local empowerment with the reality of centralised governance and the threat to the existence of local authorities posed by the Coalition. Alasdair Smith provides an account of the anti-academies movement. Martin Allen and Patrick Ainley focus on upper secondary schooling and the collapsing youth labour market. Jacky Brine analyses the role of the EU in the construction of a welfare to work discourse, adopted by Labour and extended by the Coalition. Kevin Courtney reflects on the torrent of policy innovation which teachers have experienced for more than twenty years, and the place that they might occupy within a broad trade union opposition. Joyce Canaan explores the possibilities of the English student movement. Ken Jones poses the question that will dominate the remainder of the Coalition government's period of office: will the experience of unprecedented cuts in public services give rise to effective opposition and resistance?
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