Over half of England's secondary schools are now academies. The social and cultural outcomes prompted by this neoliberal educational model has received less scrutiny. This book draws on original research based at Dreamfields Academy, to show how the accelerated marketization and centralization of education is reproducing raced, classed and gendered inequalities. Urbanderry is a socially and economically mixed borough where poverty and gentrification coexist. The book sketches out the key features of Dreamfields' ethos before reflecting on the historical trajectories that underpin how education, urban space and formations of race, class and gender are discussed in the present. Academies have faced opposition for their lack of democratic accountability as they can set their own labour conditions, deviate from the national curriculum and operate outside local authority control. The book examines the complex stories underlying Dreamfields' glossy veneer of success and shows how students, teachers and parents navigate the everyday demands of Dreamfields' results-driven conveyor belt. It also examines how hierarchies are being reformulated. The book interrogates the social and cultural dimensions of this gift that seeks to graft more 'suitable' forms of capital onto its students. The focus is on the conditions underlying this gift's exchange with children, parents and teachers, remaining conscious of how value is generated from the power, perspective and relationships that create the initial conditions of possibility for exchange. Dreamfields acts as a symbolic and material response to the supposed failures of comprehensive education and public anxieties over the loss of nationhood and prestige of empire.
Building new narratives:
academies, aspiration and the
Children who come from unstructured backgrounds, as many of our children
do, and often very unhappy ones, should be given more structure in their lives.
So it means that the school in many ways becomes a sort of surrogate parent to
the child and the child will only succeed if the philosophy of the school is that
we will in many ways substitute and take over where necessary … Therefore we
want staff who commit themselves to that ethos. It’s not a nine-to-five ethos; it’s
an ethos which says
to sixth-form college.
Many middle-class parents recognised their innate ‘worth’ on the educationmarket, and their ability to manipulate this market. Middle-class students’
favoured status connects to their parents’ position of value to form a circuitous
route of privilege. As Ball (2003) points out, this preferred position must be
struggled for; efforts must be made to secure their child’s position on the conveyor
belt. Veronica described how a group of middle-class parents at her daughter’s
primary school actively strategised to gain
from A to B, that’s what the school’s doing. The school’s taking the children
from one position and getting them to the other. And if a wheel falls off, that can
hinder, so what we need to be sure of is that in every single aspect of this school,
the academy works. Every aspect of the school works. (Mr Davis, SMT)
This chapter describes how Dreamfields responds to narratives of failure, the
demands of the educationmarket, and anxieties over national decline explored
in Chapters 1 and 2. Dreamfields is disciplined through a variety of practices to
In this broad sweep, Mayo explores dominant European discourses of higher education, in the contexts of different globalisations and neoliberalism, and examines its extension to a specific region. It explores alternatives in thinking and practice including those at the grassroots, also providing a situationally grounded project of university–community engagement. Signposts for further directions for higher education lifelong learning, with a social justice purpose, are provided.
In 1960–62, a large number of white autochthonous parents in Southall became very concerned that the sudden influx of largely non-Anglophone Indian immigrant children in local schools would hold back their children’s education. It was primarily to placate such fears that ‘dispersal’ (or ‘bussing’) was introduced in areas such as Southall and Bradford, as well as to promote the integration of mostly Asian children. It consisted in sending busloads of immigrant children to predominantly white suburban schools, in an effort to ‘spread the burden’. This form of social engineering went on until the early 1980s. This book, by mobilising local and national archival material as well as interviews with formerly bussed pupils in the 1960s and 1970s, reveals the extent to which dispersal was a flawed policy, mostly because thousands of Asian pupils were faced with racist bullying on the playgrounds of Ealing, Bradford, etc. It also investigates the debate around dispersal and the integration of immigrant children, e.g. by analysing the way some Local Education Authorities (Birmingham, London) refused to introduce bussing. It studies the various forms that dispersal took in the dozen or so LEAs where it operated. Finally, it studies local mobilisations against dispersal by ethnic associations and individuals. It provides an analysis of debates around ‘ghetto schools’, ‘integration’, ‘separation’, ‘segregation’ where quite often the US serves as a cognitive map to make sense of the English situation.
normative. This chapter draws
out a few key conclusions and reflects on more equitable approaches to education.
Changing urban culture?
Although Dreamfields’ ‘oasis in the desert’ was allegedly built to transform urban
children, Dreamfields has also become a haven for Urbanderry’s middle classes,
changing urban culture in unanticipated ways. Besides grafting cultural capital
onto students, it actively seeks out those who already have the capitals it requires
to excel in the educationmarket. Chapter 7 concluded that this reiteration of
middle-class hegemony gives ‘oasis
dominating common patterns of behaviour occurs in many
fields of endeavour under twenty-first-century global free-market c onditions. Mass
higher education is no exception. The Bologna Agreement is a prominent example
of European governments moving towards a common structure for degrees and
for quality assurance. Internationalisation of the higher educationmarket puts
pressure on some non-European nations to approximate the same arrangements.
EU policies and EC funding induce approximation if not harmonisation: in
research collaboration and industry partnership; in free
The audit era and organisational learning
– benchmarking and impact
The increasing internationalisation of higher educationmarkets has led to a surge
in interest in the development of the measures which allow universities to measure
themselves against each other, and to claim a relative pre-eminence of one kind or
another that they can then use in marketing. ‘League tables’, as they are sometimes
described, have proliferated in the last decade.
At this point, there are no fewer than thirty noteworthy rankings, ranging from
broad rankings of national
the role of the state and leaves everything to the market.
Blame for failure is to be apportioned on to the individual rather than the
state’s inability to provide the right structures for effective learning to take place
at different stages of a person’s life. Many aspects of LLL are marketed as consumption goods, especially university extension study units recognised within the
European credit transfer system (ECTS). Several learning opportunities are therefore provided at a price through the establishment of an educationmarket.
The discourse also made its