Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Free schools : the role of Conservative and Liberal political thought in shaping the policy
Author: Hilton, Adrian
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Restricted access.
Access from Institution:
'The landscape of schooling in England has been transformed over the last five years' (House of Commons Education Committee, 2015:3). More than half of secondary schools in England have become academies, independent of local authorities and funded directly by central government. The programme was begun by New Labour in 2002, and by the time they left office at the 2010 General Election 203 academies had been established. The policy was considerably extended between 2010-2015 by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition, and 'Free Schools' were introduced by Education Secretary Michael Gove: that is, schools 'set up in response to what local people say they want and need in order to improve education for children in their community' (DfE, 2013/2015). By the time of the 2015 general election, there were 4,674 newly-sponsored or converter academies and 252 'Free Schools', representing 64% of secondary school students (47% of all state school students), and 51% of secondary schools (32% of all state schools). This research argues the hypothesis that there is a high degree of philosophical continuity on this policy across the main political parties in England. It also analyses the extent to which the policy-makers invoke historical expressions of conservatism and/or liberalism in their articulation of that convergence. Drawing on past associations with politicians, the principal expositors and key architects of the 'Free Schools' policy were interviewed, and these transcripts have given insight into how the themes of policy are conceptualised and understood. The data suggests that there are convergent philosophical views across the main political parties, and agreement on the course of history of the policy. There are, however, ethical concerns about the pace of reform, the primacy of the 'market', and the extent to which democratic public goods are consistent with schools that are 'free'.
Supervisor: Gearon, Liam ; McLean, Iain ; Sammons, Pamela Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Free schools--Government policy--Great Britain ; Education and state--Great Britain ; Education--Philosophy ; Great Britain--Politics and government--2010-