Tag Archives: social justice

Academy schools, collaboration and social justice

Jodie Pennacchiapost by JODIE PENNACCHIA
Doctoral Researcher, University of Nottingham

Academies are “shape-shifters”[i] and the ways that this policy has shifted over time has important implications for social justice in education. What began as a targeted policy to draw investment into struggling schools in deprived communities shifted to a policy of universal applicability under the Coalition government. They created a streamlined conversion process and pushed ‘Good’ and ‘Outstanding’ schools to the front of the queue for academy status. Continue reading Academy schools, collaboration and social justice

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The challenge of shaping socially responsible teachers

Carmen Mohamedpost by CARMEN MOHAMED
Assistant Professor, Primary and Early Years’ Education, The University of Nottingham

If, as a community of social justice advocates, we recognise that all is not well in education can those of us engaged in training teachers create new ways of working together to act upon solutions? Many of us are engaged in research activity which is deconstructing how inequalities are perpetuated through policy and practice in schools in the UK, however, research can be a lonely and isolating business and it is only through reading published books and articles that we are able to build on each other’s ideas. Continue reading The challenge of shaping socially responsible teachers

Repeat performance: Special education, lower attainers, race and class

Sally Tomlinsonpost by SALLY TOMLINSON
Department of Education, University of Oxford

National governments believe that higher levels of education and skills are necessary for successful international economic competition and all young people are expected to invest in their own human capital, learn new skills and compete with each other in stratified education systems and uncertain job markets. As education systems have expanded so too have the ‘industries’ dealing with those who have difficulty in learning to required levels, fail to achieve to constantly raised qualification levels, or acquire one or more of the ever-changing labels bundled into the ‘special education needs/disability’ category. Continue reading Repeat performance: Special education, lower attainers, race and class

Education and equality: A critique of the ‘poverty of aspiration’ agenda

Kim AllenJon Rainfordpost by JON RAINFORD & KIM ALLEN
University of Bedfordshire and Manchester Metropolitan University

A recent post on this blog by Penny-Jane Burke referred to the idea of ‘raising aspirations’ as a central motif of government higher education policy. This discourse of ‘raising aspiration’ endures within recent higher education policy as well as the government’s social mobility agenda and is far from new. It is not only a routine feature of national policy. It also permeates the institutional policies of the full spectrum of higher education institutions. From traditional, elite institutions such as Oxford to newer ones such as Plymouth or Bucks New University, many continue to use the term raising aspiration in promotional material. Continue reading Education and equality: A critique of the ‘poverty of aspiration’ agenda

Respecting Young People’s Informal Learning

Jocey Quinnpost by JOCEY QUINN
Plymouth Institute of Education, Plymouth University

The framework for discussing education and social justice is often limited to the formal settings of nurseries, schools, colleges and universities. However, significant learning takes place beyond these confines: at home, in communities, at work and leisure, through activism and volunteering, in arts and popular culture, in nature and via digital media. Continue reading Respecting Young People’s Informal Learning

The construction of student worth in policy enactments – past and present

Meg Maguirepost by MEG MAGUIRE
Professor of Sociology of Education, King’s College London

In the long-standing policies that have centred on grouping children, selecting some for ‘special treatment’ either because they have ‘learning difficulties’ or because they are ‘high ability’ or some such rhetoric of inclusion/exclusion, there is a pattern of continuity, albeit one that shifts its form and some of its practices. Let me start with some examples of these policy workings from the past to illustrate these practices. Jackson and Marsden’s study of eighty-eight working class children demonstrated powerfully ‘how savagely and sadly a school system can become a tenacious self-fulfilling prophecy, cutting talent down in the search for the chosen few’. Continue reading The construction of student worth in policy enactments – past and present

Social Justice and Evidence-Based Education

Ruth Boyaskpost by RUTH BOYASK
Plymouth University

‘We all share a moral purpose – liberating individuals from ignorance, democratising access to knowledge, making opportunity more equal, giving every child an equal chance to succeed,’ said Michael Gove at last week’s Education Reform summit. This week Nicky Morgan has succeeded Michael Gove, also retaining her post as Minister of Women and adding to it responsibility for Equalities. Evidently those of us involved in the Respecting Children and Young People project share good intentions with the former and current Secretary of State for Education. Continue reading Social Justice and Evidence-Based Education