23 SES 14 B JS, From Welfarism to Neo-Liberalism. Conceptualising The Diversity of Leadership Models in Europe.
Symposium Joint Session NW 23 with NW 26
It is now over thirty years since the beginning of sustained attempts by modernisers and reformers to overhaul England’s education system. Since that time a thirty-year permanent revolution of educational reform and re-disorganisation (Pollitt, 2007) has been unleashed on schools, further education colleges and, more recently, universities. One of the key aspects of this reform process has been a focus upon leadership both as a practical means of securing reform within educational institutions (Hall et al, 2013) and as an ideological tool intended to assist the evisceration of educational welfarism. This paper traces the development of educational leadership within England as a contextually configured phenomenon shaped by both the New Public Management and an ideologically dominant neo-liberalism in which public spaces are increasingly being replaced by the private and the privatised (Clarke and Newman, 1997) in the field of education. It will be argued that within this context the normal and normalising discourses of leadership have acted as a veil mystifying the reform process (Hall, 2013) and the anguish associated with the loss of a welfarist education system and its rapid replacement by private forms of provision. The implications of these changes for educational leaders, teachers and the institutions within which they work will be analysed through the lens of those discursive tools, such as distributed leadership, that have been deployed as part of this dramatic shift. To conclude this paper the incomplete nature of the neo-liberal attempt to eliminate educational welfarism in England and concomitant affordances for the emergence of alternative educational futures, including those relating to leadership, will be examined in relation to some of the absurdities, ironies and paradoxes that have become increasingly visible in this context in more recent years.
Clarke, J. and Newman, J. (1997) The Managerial State, Power, Politics and Ideology in the Remaking of Social Welfare. London: Sage. Hall, D. (2013) Drawing a Veil over Managerialism: Leadership and the Discursive Disguise of the New Public Management, Journal of Educational Administration and History, 45 (3), 267-282. Hall, D., Gunter, H., and Bragg, J. (2013) The strange case of the emergence of distributed leadership in schools in England, Educational Review, 65 (4), 467-487. Pollitt, C. (2007) New Labour’s re-disorganization: hyper-modernism and the costs of reform, a cautionary tale, Public Management Review. 9(4): 529-543.
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