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Title: Private sector engagement in public sector education in England, 1997-2005 : an analysis of New Labour's policy with a focus on modernisation, competitiveness and the Private Finance Initiative
Author: Wood, Eric
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2006
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This thesis examines the philosophical drivers behind the education policy agenda pursued by the New Labour Government and will test the assertion that: Mrs Thatcher had a project. Blair's historic project is adjusting us to it. (Hall, S. 1998.14. p 28) The research considers the legislative policy, practice and continuities between Conservative and New Labour governments and critically analyses the 'Third Way'with particular reference to modernisation, competition and the restructuring of the welfare state in response to globalisation. The thesis also examines the growth of the private sector in state education, the development of the Private Finance Initiative in both policy and operational terms and draws conclusions about the implications for the governance of education of the trend towards a 'liberal state', where individual choice is perceived to be more effective and efficient than a model of governance based upon social values. The qualitative nature of this thesis includes consideration of the issues involved in the changing concepts of citizenship and consumerism within the evolving, redefined welfare state; examines the assertion by Marquand (2000) that incessant marketisation has generated a culture of distrust which has corroded the values of professionalism, citizenship, equity and public service and draws conclusions about accountabilities within a modern social democracy. The study includes an analysis of education legislation and a critique of policy intent in the broader context of societal impact. This incorporates an analysis of primary texts, government policy statements as well as Green and White Papers, compared and evaluated with contemporary research literature. Coupled with a case study of the Private Finance Initiative in Stoke-on-Trent the theoretical triangulation (Denzin, 1970) is combined with witness accounts of the 4 complex phenomena' associated with a Private Finance Initiative' (Adelman, 1980) and enabled cross cutting perspectives to be illuminated and the knowledge and understanding of modernisation extended. Such triangulation extends knowledge by clarifying meaning by the identification of different ways in which modernisation is perceived in both theoretical and practical terms (Silverman, 1993; Flick, 1998). The thesis considers within the reality of the case study the importance of the local democratic voice and local political actions in educational governance, including the political/professional/public interface. This leads to conclusions about the need for a modern social democracy to explore the concept of accountability to the citizen as well as the consumer of services within a framework of evolving local policy networks and emergent patterns of governance within state education. In essence this thesis examines whether it is a superficial assertion to equate the 'Third Way'with neo-liberalism (Marquand, 2000; Driver and Martell, 1998,2000; Giddens, 1998,2000) or that the plurality of 'Third Ways' have translated into operational definition, legislation and policies within a model of education which lacks a coherent and identifiable national drive and is therefore critically dependent upon local interpretation and local political response. It also reaches conclusions about the citizen - state relationship, the validity of the concept of the 'social investment state' and suggests constituent elements of a 'fourth way' as a contribution to the issue posed by Whitty, (2000), 'how can education best help reconstruct the social fabric and new concepts of citizenship - and who shall influence its design? (p 8).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: LB Theory and practice of education ; HG Finance