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Academies: Diversity, Economism, and Contending Forces for Change

  • Philip A. Woods
Part of the Marxism and Education book series (MAED)

Abstract

The focus of this chapter is the UK government’s academies programme in England and the contending forces that characterise this key policy aimed at bringing about transformational change in education.1 First, a brief outline is provided of the programme’s policy context, where the concern is to create more enterprising public institutions exposed to and involving new private players in education. Second, the academies programme is discussed, with particular attention being given to the developing pattern of sponsorship. Third, in the context of an emergent governance system of ‘plural controlled schooling’, two competing hypotheses are put forward: one suggesting that, despite an emphasis on innovation and diversity, academies tend to converge around an instrumentally driven, business-orientated model of entrepreneurialism and educational priorities; the second suggesting diversification, where meanings and practice show significant variations, including opportunities for progressive change. This second hypothesis looks for the degree to which new openings emerge in the programme, creating spaces for educational alternatives nurturing broader understandings of human potentiality and personal capacities for self-determination. The chapter concludes by drawing attention to the deficit in democratic accountability and the importance of the system’s underlying philosophy.

Keywords

Charter School Network Governance Convergence Hypothesis Educational Priority Plural System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Anthony Green 2010

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  • Philip A. Woods

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