23 SES 09 A JS, New Public Management and the Modernisation of Education in Europe
Symposium, Joint Session NW 23 and NW 28
The UK state was an early adopter of the New Public Management with key actors subsequently playing the role of global ambassadors encouraging and celebrating the adoption of NPM. One sign of the extent of the reach of NPM within the UK public sector has been that debates in recent years have increasingly focused not so much upon its existence but upon whether or not it has been superseded by other more refined or developed incarnations of this phenomenon. In this context it is unsurprising that in England, that part of the UK where the rolling out of NPM has been least mediated by localised resistance, the education sector has been subject to changes amounting to a permanent revolution of educational reform and modernisation. This process has given rise to a range of tensions not least those associated with the role of leadership in securing change within educational institutions operating within an environment dominated by markets, metrics and managers. Such discursive tensions are the subject of this paper which seeks to offer a critical account of this febrile educational policy context.
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