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Title: The determination of certainties within 14-19 educational reform policy in England during the period 2001-2005 in order to explore the possibility of reform in the future
Author: Lally, Paul Graham
ISNI:       0000 0004 5990 2850
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2016
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This research provokes a different set of perspectives on education policy. It observes that in England education is so connected to ideas of knowledge and identity that it operates at two levels. The first level is rational and concentrates upon institutional and organisational behaviour. The second level is linked to a system of beliefs which enable us to demonstrate knowing and understanding. The categorical mistake often made in educational policy analysis is to try to apply first level thinking to second level problems. This research applies a conceptual framework which looks at policy formulation of 14-19 education reform in the period 2001-2005 based around the Tomlinson report. It also subjects this analysis to questions derived from the thinking of Gramsci, Bourdieu and Wittgenstein on such second level thinking. Readings of educational purpose by governments as a tool for economic and social purposes are exposed as elements of Bourdieu’s misrecognition. Indeed the purpose of education that emerges is about raising standards and operating a system based on choice and institutional autonomy. The danger in such a system is that means have become ends and there is no connection between the actions taken by government and their stated aims. Government policy can be reduced to a series of self-evident statements which rely upon belief rather than rationality. The research concludes that although education reformers in England can envisage transformational reform they are impeded by doxastic beliefs from articulating the means to implement such reform. As a result education in England is likely to continue its cycle of misremembered reform through further attempts. The proposal made here is that fundamental reform can only be made by working through such beliefs on an individual basis. The specific solution advanced here is taken from the Tomlinson and involves introducing a transformed vocational education system for those aged 16 and over. This research offers four new understandings. It presents a new approach to the research of educational policy based upon philosophical assumptions about knowledge and identity. It services that approach through a new analysis based upon a conceptual framework drawn from Williams’ tensions around purpose, change and democracy. Secondly it deploys such assumptions and analysis in a specific historical period which demonstrates the conceptual limits upon change within 14-19 reform. In doing this it also draws out new understandings about the ability to identify change propositions and the profound difficulty in translating them into change processes. The final claim of this research is that it seeks to tackle how transformational change in education might occur within the limits that are identified here.
Supervisor: Pike, Mark ; Hayward, Geoff Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available