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Independent Schools’ Association Conference, 26 May, 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Independent Schools’ Association Conference, 26 May, 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 Independent Schools’ Association Conference, 26 May, 2009

2 Sociology of Curriculum ‘How a society selects, classifies, distributes, transmits and evaluates the educational knowledge it considers to be public, reflects both the distribution of power and the principles of social control’. (Bernstein, 1971, p.47) ‘From this point of view, differences within and change in the organization, transmission and evaluation of educational knowledge should be a major area of sociological interest’. (Bernstein, 1971, p.47) ‘Formal educational knowledge can be considered to be realized through three message systems: curriculum, pedagogy and evaluation’. (Bernstein, 1971, p.47)

3 Research: Two Major Contributing Factors to Student Learning and Achievement Out of school: SES background of students: Bourdieu – ‘cultural capital’ and Coleman et al. (1966). School: teacher pedagogies: Newmann and Associates (1996): ‘authentic pedagogy’ – improve academic outcomes; Lingard et al. (2003) ‘productive pedagogies’ – improve academic and social outcomes. School: variance in student performance attributable to schools – around 5%-10%, attributable to teacher classroom practices – 35%-55% (Townsend, 2001:119)

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5 Policy Borrowing, Policy Learning Comparative Education. Beyond borrowing: globalized policy discourses; emergent global education policy community. Human capital approach: education (expressed as quality and quantity of human capital) central to national economic competitiveness; related, growth of international comparative data on student performance (PISA and TIMSS). Pursuit of this agenda: different approaches – Anglo-American versus Scandinavian, East Asian developmental state, Chinese ‘market-socialism’ approaches. Anglo-American: neo-liberal approach through restructuring of the state, new accountabilities/audit culture, public/private partnerships, private finance initiatives, market ‘reforms’, parental choice, school improvement, focus on early years. Soft policy convergence, but vernacular ‘national’ responses. Learning for educational leaders/teachers includes policy learning.

6 The UK Need to disaggregate the UK: post Blair (1997): devolved parliaments in Scotland and Wales, Scottish parliament more powerful than Welsh assembly, also Northern Ireland; education/schooling a devolved power (always the case in some ways in Scotland) Thus in relation to schooling, need to talk about England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Scots: England a negative reference society, also for Welsh; strengthened with rise of Scottish Nationals and Plaid Cmyru; case of Northern Ireland. The location of all, including the UK within Europe as well and the Lisbon Declaration, 2000: goal, Europe as the strongest knowledge economy on the globe by 2010: EU educational indicators in relation to this and the rise of a European Educational Space, despite the ‘subsidiarity’ argument.

7 Scotland and England Positives and negatives: learning, warnings. Positives: mainly Scottish and negatives: mainly English. Respect amongst teachers and policy makers, particularly in Scotland, for the Queensland system of school-based, teacher moderated upper secondary assessment; considerable knowledge and awareness of the New Basics and associated reforms. In both - big policy push: improving quality and quantity of education provided for all young people; requires a focus on improving outcomes for young people from poor families (social justice purposes), all within a human capital framework.

8 Comparison: Schooling in Scotland and England ‘ To summarise differences from England, there is a broader conceptualisation of educational purposes, a much less prescriptive take on curriculum and pedagogy, acceptance of the professional voice in policy-making (including the strong place of local authorities), and very little promotion of the parent as consumer. This follows directly from continued adherence to comprehensive organisation of schooling and to the principle of common provision that it represents’. (Jenny Ozga, 2005, p.5)

9 Scotland 1696: Education Act: world’s first Education Act by a national parliament: a school in every parish, a fixed salary for the teacher and funding; first literate society; 1980s/90s: no discourse of derision of teachers (cf England, Thatcher) McCrone Report (Teaching Profession for the 21 st Century, 2000): good salaries, high respect, preparation and correction time for primary teachers comparable to that of secondary teachers (22.5 hours contact for all teachers in all sectors per week). Chartered Teacher approach: university study linked to ‘promotional position’ and high salary. Masters degree. Scottish Qualification for Headship: university–based, Local Authority select candidates. Masters degree. Comprehensive system, academic curriculum, still mixed ability teaching: 4 % in private sector: constant for past 50 years (3 % primary, 5% secondary)(25% in Edinburgh). Low between school variation in performance (primary) (PISA) – similar to the Scandinavian countries. Structure: diffuse, not centralised: Scottish Executive Education Department (SEED) and 32 Local Education Authorities; HMIE; Scottish Qualifications and Authority (SQA) (exams); Teaching and Learning Scotland (curriculum and syllabuses); General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS)(mutual recognition of Australian qualifications); The Educational Institute of Scotland (1847: first teacher union, 80% membership).

10 Scotland contd. Policy documents and reforms seem to respect teacher professionalism and inclusion of the professional voice in education policy making: e.g. A Curriculum for Excellence (‘successful learners’, ‘confident individuals’, ‘responsible citizens’, ‘effective contributors’) and Assessment is for Learning (as, of, for learning); McCrone implementation. Policy focus on those not in education, employment or training (NEET), Ambitious Schools. England as a major ‘reference society’: Scotland’s negative ‘other’; positive reference societies: northern European social-democratic polities. No top-up fees in universities. Applied Educational Research Scheme (AERS).

11 Lessons from Scotland Status of teachers: professional standing (history, Scottish Enlightenment) Trust of teachers Chartered Teachers; Scottish Qualification for Headship Comprehensive schooling system (in government schools, school choice and market discourse by and large absent) Academic curriculum Inspection: formative, supportive, improvement focused not punitive Targeted equity approach: NEET focus Many layers of educational policy making European rather than North American focus

12 England Thatcher/Conservative education project: : discourses of derision of teachers: attacked so-called ‘provider-capture’ in education policy; introduction of national testing, publication of test results (SATs) and public exam results (GCSE and A levels) and National League Tables, as part of creation of a quasi-market in schooling; National Curriculum (Education Reform Act, 1988); weakened Local Authority input and strengthened central bureaucracy (DfES, now Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF)); school reform/improvement movement - improvement to be achieved through high stakes testing (new forms of accountability), league table, parental choice and competition between schools; neo-liberal approach. Blair ( ), Brown (2007-): built on and modified Conservative Project through Third Way discourses; motivation positive re enhancing quantity and quality of schooling with social justice focus; policy as numbers as part of audit culture and school improvement agenda; huge investment in long term in infrastructure; hybrid neo-liberal response.

13 England Goals appropriate now: better quality, enhanced retention and more equity, motivation good, but policies won’t achieve desired goals. English exceptionality, leading the world in the policy as numbers approach with consequent effects on teachers, their practices and professionalism. Engagement with Europe and OECD not as strong or as significant as in Scotland. Look more to North America, across the Atlantic.

14 England: structures and policies Centralising control/power to DfES, DCSF; weakening of LEAs; strong OfSTED (Inspectorate, punitive linked to audit culture). Headteachers as spearheads of reform (National College for School Leadership): ‘develop excellent leadership to transform children’s achievement and well-being’, receiving annually the targets from the DCSF.

15 Centralising power, audit culture and deprofessionalising teachers Steering at a distance through policy as numbers as part of the ‘audit culture’; standards agenda driven by targets and school improvement focus. Significance/effects of Standard Assessment Tests (SATS) linked to National Curriculum taken at end of Key Stage 1 (age 6/7 Yr2), Key Stage 2 (age 11/Yr4), Key Stage 3 (age 14/Yr 5/6) in English, Maths and Science: on pedagogies, curriculum, teachers, students, streaming and rejection of mixed ability teaching. Role of GCSE (the Gold Standard, number of A-Ds) and A levels as well in audit culture, accountability of schools: ‘triage approach’. Effects of this policy as numbers and target/test driven school improvement agenda: de-professionalising of teachers: transfer of authority from professional expertise to standardised testing instruments, thinning out of purposes of schooling, pressures on children and young people, teaching to the test, culture of performativity. SATS scores and GCSE achievement up cf OECD PISA. Policy focus on literacy and numeracy: the Literacy Hour: implies teacher pedagogies: deprofessionalising.

16 The next stage in policy as numbers Making Good Progress: How can we help every child to make good progress at school? (DCSF, 2006): being trialed in 10 LEAs from Concerned to develop ‘even better ways to measure, assess, report and stimulate progress in our schools’.(p.1) ‘It asks whether – without compromising the framework of tests, targets and performance tables which have helped drive up standards so sharply over the past decade – we could adapt the system to support a focus on progress as well as absolute attainment’.(p.2) If Making Good Progress became national policy: target setting for schools would involve attainment and progress targets. Also a new individual student focus, blocks in progress – funding support for individualised extra tuition/tutoring. (Sophisticated measures: value added, contextual value added) Reconstitution of Principals’ work and teachers’ work (individualised and personalised programmes for students: new individualism)

17 Restructuring of DfES to Department of Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) Legislation: Every Child Matters (2003), Children Act, 2004 Education reconstituted as a Children’s service: working across home, children’s centres, early years’ provision, schools, extended schools and communities This policy requires collaboration; joined-up policy, joined-up professional practice, inter-agency and inter-professional working (social workers/teachers etc). Conflicting policy goals: parental choice, school competition as a way of improving outcomes versus collaboration/sharing etc.

18 Lessons from England De-professionalisation of teachers through specificities of the audit-culture and policy as numbers. Mistrust of teachers. Policy in its reductive effects means schools cannot meet their policy goals. Significance of inter-agency and inter-professional work. Significance of the early years focus and school community relationships and post- compulsory and higher education agenda (School Leaving Age to be raised to 18 years by 2015). Implications of privatisation/competition in government sector. PISA understandings and other international comparative data: extent of Gini coefficient (measure of inequality) and extent of differentiation of schooling provision linked to strong social class/school achievement correlations with school performance (Green et al., 2006) English exceptionality should remain just that: a warning. Warning: watch the flows of ‘policy entrepreneurs’ from Blair/Brown UK to Australia.

19 Finnish Model: policy learning, not borrowing ‘Good schooling systems’, that is, achieving high equity and high quality, Finland cf Anglo-American school reform model (high stakes testing, mistrust of teachers, improvement in test scores but…). Finnish schooling: teachers: high status for teachers, teachers well respected, reasonably well paid, highly qualified (Masters degrees), professional autonomy within frame of intelligent accountability. No high stakes testing. Pedagogies: teacher centred, but also intellectually demanding. Only government schools: ‘all attend the same school’. SES: low Gini Coefficient of social inequality and ethnic homogeneity.

20 National Policy Developments National level: recognition of the research realities presented at the outset (SES background and teacher pedagogies), but also new accountabilities and testing. NAPLAN: Masters Report (2009) – recommendations. Need for test literacy, but… Most effective long term response for enhancing test outcomes: enhanced quality of pedagogies, mediated through ‘teacher professional learning communities’ and school leadership.

21 Negative Potentials in National Developments Testing and accountability: potential to forget social purposes and to reduce academic purposes to test scores results and improvement. Accountability: to give an account: broader definition than test results and different directions of accountability (horizontal, vertical).

22 Conclusion Policy learning; must be aware of context, must recontextualise insights to local cultures, histories and politics. Policy learning sometimes requires that we see developments elsewhere as warnings. Julia Gillard, the federal Minister, has it correct, I think, when she says that socio-economic or social class variables (parental income, education, occupations, cultural capital, social capital, aspirations) and teacher practices (pedagogies) are the most significant determinants of student learning and outcomes from schooling. Correct but how ought we respond to that recognition? How ought the federal and state governments respond to that recognition in policy and funding terms? Some lessons from the UK, more from Scotland than England. How will testing and accountability agenda work in relation to the broad policy mix and to national curriculum?

23 Must remember that old aphorism… ‘data isn’t information, information isn’t knowledge and knowledge isn’t wisdom’

24 References: Scotland OECD (2007) Quality and Equity of Schooling in Scotland. Paris: OECD. Scottish Executive Education Department (2007) OECD Review of the Quality and Equity of Education Outcomes in Scotland: Diagnostic Report. Edinburgh: SEED. Lingard, B. (2008) ‘Scottish Education: Reflections from an International Perspective’ in Tom Bryce and Walter Hume (3 rd edit) (eds) Scottish Education. Edinburgh: The University of Edinburgh Press. Paterson, L. (2003) Scottish Education in the Twentieth Century. Edinburgh: The University of Edinburgh Press.

25 References: England/UK Ball, S.J. (2007) Education plc Understanding private sector participation in public sector education. London: Routledge. Ball, S.J. (2008) The Education Debate. Bristol: Policy Press. Beckett, F. (2008) Will they ever learn? The Sats fiasco reveals all that’s wrong headed about Labour education policy, The Guardian, July 18. Lingard, B., Nixon, J. and Ranson, S. (2008) ‘Remaking Education for a Globalized World: Policy and Pedagogic Possibilities’ in Lingard, B., Nixon, J. and Ranson, S. (eds) Transforming Learning in Schools and Communities, London: Continuum, pp.3-33.

26 References Green, A., Preston, J. and Janmaat, J.G. (2006) Education, Equality and Social Cohesion: A Comparative Analysis. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan. Lingard, B., Hayes, D., Mills, M. and Christie, P. (2003) Leading Learning: Making Hope Practical in Schools, Buckingham: Open University Press. Newmann, F. and Associates (1996) San Francisco: Jossey-Bassey. Townsend, T. (2001) ‘Satan or Saviour?’ An Analysis of Two Decades of School Effectiveness Research’, School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 12 (1):


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