23 SES 09 C, Governing By Inspection I: A European Inspectorate?
Symposium, Part 1
This symposium reports on current funded research into Inspection regimes in three national education systems- Sweden, England and Scotland – which explores the role of inspectors in governing education. The research so far has investigated how inspectors in Europe share, communicate and build knowledge and influence across national boundaries and through the Standing International Conference on Inspection (SICI), with particular emphasis on how the three countries in the study interact with SICI and with each other. Our theoretical resources support analysis of the development of the ‘performance-evaluation nexus’ (Clarke 2009) at a moment of particular tension in the governing of education in Europe between performance monitoring through target-setting, indicators and benchmarks, and the turn to self-evaluation and ‘light touch’ regulation that expresses a ‘softer’ governance turn, and a concern to promote self-regulation as the best basis for constant improvement (Lawn 2006). Inspection offers a key location for the exploration of these governing tensions: and the three national systems offer a range of contrasting approaches to inspection, all of which are in a significant state of development and change. There is a continuum from the centralised and highly regulatory policy space of Ofsted in England, now increasingly focused on narrow versions of inspection, to Sweden, where inspection was reintroduced in 2003, and which seems to be caught between an advisory and a more regulatory role, to Scotland, which is currently developing models of self-evaluation and promoting them throughout Europe and beyond (Grek and Ozga 2012), while extending inspection to include mentoring, support and development across the curriculum. We draw on (a) a critical policy sociology approach (Ball 2006) to understanding governing through inspection in comparative contexts and (b) an interdisciplinary approach to governance understood as linked to the crisis in governability and the emergence of tensions within and between centralised and decentralised administrations, and de-regulation and the growth of regulatory instruments within and across nation states. Governance is also understood as linked to knowledge (Ozga, Grek and Lawn 2010), and the Inspectorate is understood as a governing resource in managing the tension between saturation of information and evidence-based policy-making and as combating the perverse effects of audit and performance management (Strathern 2000, Power 2003)
Methodologically, we focus our enquiry on the incidence and management of the ‘tension in governance’ between performance management and self-evaluation, or between hard and soft governance that is encapsulated in inspection, with particular attention to the ways in which these tensions play out in the relation between ‘judgement’ and ‘evidence’ in the inspection process. We make extensive use of policy text analysis, and we are carrying out extensive interviews with key system actors at all levels. The research is underpinned by an understanding of policy as discourse, where policy texts carry definitions of problems, reference particular forms of evidence, and produce ‘knowledge’ of particular kinds to guide the implementation of policy solutions (Fairclough 2003).
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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