A ‘pivotal moment’? Education policy in England, 2005

Alan Dyson, Kirstin Kerr and Mel Ainscow

in Social Policy Review 18

Published by Policy Press

Published in print June 2006 | ISBN: 9781861348449
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303459 | DOI:
A ‘pivotal moment’? Education policy in England, 2005

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This chapter argues that the Labour government reached a pivotal point in its third term, in relation to its two long-standing objectives of raising educational performance, while also reducing social class differences in attainment. It observes that evidence on progress towards these objectives in 2005 was mixed, with some indications that measurement of pupil performance in terms of test and examination results had produced some perverse effects and social inequalities in educational outcomes had increased rather than decreased. It argues that the 2005 Schools White Paper proposed two somewhat contradictory mechanisms for attaining the objective of excellence and equity. It points out on the one hand, that there is the mechanism of parental choice and reliance, again, on the quasi-market to produce improved educational standards and performance.

Keywords: Labour government; educational performance; social class differences; pupil performance; test and examination results; 2005 Schools White Paper; excellence and equity; parental choice; reliance

Chapter.  5880 words. 

Subjects: Social Research and Statistics

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