Mapping school types in England

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The number and range of school types in England is increasing rapidly in response to a neoliberal policy agenda aiming to expand choice of provision as a mechanism for raising educational standards. In this paper, I seek to undertake a mapping of these school types in order to describe and explain what is happening. I capture this busy terrain from different perspectives: legal status; curricular specialism; pupil selection; types of academy; and school groupings. The mapping highlights the intersections between the current reform agenda and the historical diversity within the English school system to show the dialogue between past and present. Borrowing the geological metaphors of faulting and folding, I argue that long-established school types are not buried under sedimentary layers of reform, but are thrust into the present where they are discursively re-imagined through neoliberalism. Finally, I conceptualise the landscape holistically through the lenses of locus of legitimacy and branding, where I argue that current structural diversification policies enable the enactment of interests other than educational through transferring responsibility for education and related assets away from public and towards corporatised or religious actors and institutions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)799-818
JournalOxford Review of Education
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2015

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