Law, Education, Politics, Fairness

England's extreme legislation for education reform

Paperback / softback, 254 pages, 240 mm x 169 mm
1 Jul 2013
Institute of Education Press

Price: £26.99

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How does legislation shape education, and how is it applied as a policy tool?

This book analyses how and why England has had so much law-based education reform in the last three decades, and focuses on the period from 2000 to 2011. It looks at the politics and mechanisms of education policy, the reforms that fuelled it and were fuelled by it, and the figures and organizations involved in it and who bear its impact.

Based on more than a hundred in-depth face-to-face interviews with senior legislators, policymakers and educators, Dan Gibton presents many perceptions of the law, of the legislation process, and of what those involved saw as covert or overt agendas in its planning. He shows how alliances and identities shifted over the decade as governments and initiatives changed, and analyses their impact on education in England.

Aimed at policymakers, academics, and students of all social-science backgrounds, this book will have a very wide appeal. While the book’s primary field is education, it also comprehensively covers law and sociology. This will appeal to a broad range of higher education students, as well as those interested in a basic legal knowledge of educational reform in national and international contexts.

  • Dan Gibton

    Dan Gibton is a tenured Senior Lecturer at the Constantiner School of Education, and Adjunct Lecturer in the Faculty of Law, at Tel-Aviv University. He was visiting research fellow in the Policy Studies Group and at the London Centre for Leadership, both at the Institute of Education, University of London.

CONTENTS: Foreword (Geoff Whitty); 1. Introduction: Why study law-based education reform in England, and how to do so; 2. Law-based education reform: The term, its origins, and its context; 3. Law-based education reform from theory to practice: Three cases; 4. From social democracy to neoliberalism? From the Education and Inspections Act, 2006, to the Education Act, 2011 (they’re not what you think); 5. The map of prominent figures in law-based reform, their views, and the roles they play; 6. Ideology and politics, past and present, in law-based reform; 7. Tinker, tailor, soldier, spy: Four cases and four key figures in law-based reform; 8. The unique driving force of ‘superheads’ in law-based reform; 9. Legislation’s role, short- and long-term impact, and governance; 10. Think tanks, local government, and the career cycle of players; 11. Is legislation the remedy for school reform in England? Conclusion, afterthoughts, and insights on fairness and equity; Appendix: The methodological–conceptual framework and the structure of the study; References; Index of subjects and names.

... offers key theoretical and empirical insights into the role and implications of the use of legislation as a tool of education reform ... it provides an engaging and well-informed exploration of the divergence between the world of education as seen through the lens of public legislation, and the operation of the schools system, under the influence of policy reform, on the ground.

Professor Neville Harris, University of Manchester

The field of law-based education reform has received insufficient attention as a framework for the analysis and understanding of education policy. This is no longer the case with this riveting account of the interplay between legislation and education policy in England. The book is a must-read to understand the emergence of the most contested education policies of our time.

Professor Ellen Goldring,