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The Great Debate? Free, Studio and Co-operative Schools

Authors:
  • MaCTRI (MEaP Academy Community Training & Research Institute)

Abstract

Clennon uses Callaghan’s 1976 Ruskin College Speech, which initiated ‘The Great Debate’ in education, as a framework for exploring some of the ethical and philosophical implications of the Free School, Studio School and Co-operative School models. The chapter traces the inception and development of these models and their educational and social impacts on wealthy and deprived communities. Clennon also draws attention to the marketised sector within which these models sit and examines whether the involvement of the market serves to raise universal standards of attainment or the reverse.
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Alternative Education and Community Engagement: Making Education a Priority
Pre published copy
Chapter 5
The Great Debate?
Free, Studio and Co-operative Schools
by
Ornette D Clennon
In this chapter, I will explore the themes from The Great Debate about education,
which were initiated by James Callaghan’s Ruskin College speech (Callaghan , 1976). I
will present both sides of the debate using as examples, our community partners’
interpretations of the Free School, Studio School and Co-operative School. On one
hand, I will discuss an Arnoldian ideal of education that is explicitly geared towards
effecting social change. This model of education is the driving force behind one of
our community partner’s vision of his Free School. On the other hand, I will present,
perhaps a more contemporary view of the role of education as being (mostly) about
equipping students with the tools to navigate their way through the employment
market. One of our community partners involved in setting up a Studio School in
Manchester, very much takes this view of the role of education. Our partners from
the Co-operative Movement take a similar view to our Studio School partner but
appear to take the middle ground between education for social change and
education for employment, with the introduction of their unique social contract.
Education as a model for Social Change
Free Schools
In our community conversations, one of our community partners who has set up a
Free School, often tells us how flexible the interpretation of the Free School Model
can be. Dr Shamim Miah’s Free School, Collective Spirit, in Oldham
i
seems to run
along similar cultural (and implicitly political) lines to elements within the
supplementary sector, as described in Chapter 2, only that his school is government
funded and as a result, is bigger and better resourced. Collective Spirit currently
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boasts a 1:15 teacher to pupil ratio. Shamim’s vision very much hails from the
Arnoldian perspective of education as being able to address social inequality.
Shaping his vision of what a Free School means to him, two main areas of thought
come out of Shamim’s conversations with us; The Role of Institutionalisation and
Cultural Capital.
The Role of Institutionalisation
The over-riding concern for Collective Spirit Free School, as for the supplementary
schools we spoke to in our other conversations, was an integration of learning about
cultural heritage and academic achievement. Our partners believe that this
combination has the power to form a counter narrative to the perceived curriculum-
agenda of mainstream schools. Shamim said that this mix of heritage-learning and
academic achievement inspired him to set up his Collective Spirit Free School in
Oldham which is based on the American education-for-social-change model of the
Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) Charter Schools. Shamim’s vision of the social
and emancipatory role of education is inspired by the pioneering work of the US
community activist, Geoffrey Canada. Tough (2008) reports on Canada’s efforts to
transform the lives of children living in inner city Harlem. Tough describes how
Canada addresses socio-economic factors that lie outside of direct educational
provision and embeds his educational ideals within these issues. Fundamentally,
Canada is interested in not just individual change but a type of institutional change
that creates new local ‘institutions’ based on holistic education provision and
community problem solving. Canada’s philosophy is reminiscent of Matthew Arnold
in terms of his belief that education is the ultimate route out of poverty.
When discussing our UK Free School model in this chapter, I will focus on its US KIPP
Charter School inspiration rather than on the European models closer to home, as
this will tie in more closely with Shamim’s vision. I will now briefly look at different
forms of institutionalisation that have been variously used as vehicles to address
social and educational inequality through education.
The UK’s Institutional attempts to deliver Social Change through Education
In the UK, this transformative view of education has at times been discussed and
delivered by institutions and seemingly more recently informed by Plowden’s
Education Priority Areas (EPAs) that recommended geographic redistribution of Local
Authority resources. Plowden (1967) outlined a vision for schools that involved
parents more in their children’s education and she recommended that schools
should become “community schools” (p. 44), where they should act as community
hubs of learning that open outside of the normal school day. The Plowden Report
was mainly concerned with primary and nursery schools, as was the 1997 Labour
Government’s area-based Sure Start programmes, which in effect became the direct
descendents of Plowden’s earlier EPA recommendations (The National Archives,
2009). Even though the efficacy of the Sure Start Programmes has been challenged
(Education Today, 2007; Ward, 2005), NESS (2008, p. 5) concludes that
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For the time being, it remains plausible, even if by no means certain, that the
differences in findings across the first and second phases of the NESS Impact
Study reflect actual changes in the impact of SSLPs resulting from the
increasing quality of service provision, greater attention to the hard to reach
and the move to Children’s Centres, as well as the greater exposure to the
programme of children and families in the latest phase of the impact
evaluation.
The quote above is interesting because it does imply that earlier phases of the Sure
Start Programme were hampered by it not reaching the people who needed it the
most (Ward, 2005). However, NESS (2010, p. 6) later found
the possibility that the value of Sure Start children’s centres is improving, but
greater emphasis needs to be given to focusing services on improving child
outcomes, particularly language development, if school readiness is to be
enhanced for the children served.
Perhaps, with the Sure Start Programme we can see the limits of institutionalising
social change through education, especially as the programme has since faced
significant cuts under the Coalition since its inception under Labour (Beckford, 2011);
(Butler P. , 2013). Are the well-intentioned but mixed successes of the Sure Start
Programme down to delivering a service based on a top down “deficit” model, as
discussed earlier by Abbott (2013a)?
The US Community-organised attempts to deliver Social Change through
Education
Are the communities themselves better placed to deliver social change through
education? If we look to the US KIPP Charter School movement which on the surface
looks more community focussed (as in not dependent on local school district
funding), especially if we use Canada’s Harlem social initiative as an example, can we
perhaps learn how education services could be delivered from the bottom up? The
first thing to notice about this model of educational provision is that it exists within
an entirely marketised educational economy based on competition. I will expand on
the market’s significance later. The Charter School receives between 80 to 90 percent
government funding but with no strings attached (i.e. no local school district
interference and no unionised teachers) about what they can teach or how, as the
co-founder Feinberg says, “It's about people making the difference. It's not about the
curriculum, it's about the delivery of that curriculum” (Smith, 2005). In order for the
schools to completely match state funding they fundraise for the remaining 10 to 20
percent. This deregulated model focusses on what it calls “discipline”. Discipline
takes the form of a contractual agreement between children, parents and the
teachers and it clearly states that the children will go to school to learn and that this
expectation must be supported by the parents. These agreements are known as
“Commitment to Excellence Contracts(Lack, 2009, p. 139). This means that children
and families amongst other things commit to long schools hours typically from
7.30am to 5pm (Smith, 2005). Shamim also emphasises discipline, which in his
school is also expected of both students and teachers. This discipline seems to
resemble a form of institutionalisation
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:
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Regardless of the socio-economic background of the child, if you have
actually put the relevant systems in place, you can bring about the child’s
change. That’s the first emphasis they put on. The second emphasis they
actually put on is discipline and they are very very strong in that yeah. So in
the discipline, if the child comes in they have to be in the spirit of learning
because otherwise if they are not in the spirit of learning, they will distract
other kids from also learning as well. So, they put great emphasis on learning.
And, the third and perhaps the most fundamental one is have longer school
hours (Miah, 2013, p. 2)
An important point to note is that these schools are not community run or founded
by parents unlike the UK aspiration for Free Schools (Okolosie, 2014). So, already
questions around grass roots delivery versus top down administration (not state in
this case but business or market franchise) already begin to appear. However, whilst
the Commitments to Excellence contracts and the longer school hours are
acknowledged to
sometimes
produce higher results than neighbouring state schools
(Rotherham, 2010), there would seem to be a significant growing critique about the
underlying ethos of KIPP’s
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“discipline” and its processes of institutionalisation
iv
v
.
The Institutionalisation of the Market and its attempt to deliver Social Change
through Education in the US
I would like to briefly discuss the “discipline” element of the KIPP model to see
whether it is actually creating fundamental social change. Within a marketised
education system the KIPP Charter School that opens for longer is in effect
conveying the message that only ‘more work can overcome pervasive structural
inequalities. The emphasis on ‘more’ work almost certainly negates the responsibility
of the mainstream system to educate its young people efficiently. So Abbott’s
(2013a) view that there is an underlying cultural narrative of ‘deficit’ and ‘blame’ that
defines communities from economically deprived areas becomes a worrying reality.
The market is an important factor here because this ‘work harder’ ethic is emblematic
of an individualism that puts social change firmly on the shoulders of the individual
irrespective of the structural inequalities they might actually face. This means that
ultimately, only the few, by their almost superhuman efforts of ‘hard work’, can
possibly make it through a competitive market that is designed to maintain
structural inequality and profit (Coburn, 2004). This very much implies that it is the
amount (not quality) of time spent working that is in some way representative of
one’s individual dedication and personal ethics, which goes hand in hand towards
the building of an elevated status within a neo-liberal paradigm. Spring (2003)
argues that this neo-liberal work ethic can be found to hail from the ethos of the 19th
century Puritan work ethic in the US.
But why is this ‘work harder’ ethic so important? The ‘work harder’ ethic which is
most associated with Charter Schools (and much of the US public school education
system) is part of what Finley (2003, p. 1) identifies as a “hidden curriculum” founded
on militarism. Finley (2003) explains that much of this hidden curriculum is built on
militaristic values that promote discipline, hierarchy, centralization of authority and
obedience in the education system. DeVall, Finley and Caulfield (2002 as cited in
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Finley, 2003, p. 2) go further to suggest that the ideology of militarism is “one that
privileges power, domination, control, violence, superiority, hierarchy,
standardization, ownership, and the maintenance of the status quo”. For an example
of how this militarism manifests itself in the control of student behaviour, Lack (2009,
p. 139) writes about KIPP practices he observed that included students being
stripped of the privilege of wearing their KIPP shirts or being lined up against the
walls of the hallway like soldiers while being lambasted by an angry teacher” as a
consequence of breaching their Commitment to Excellence contracts. In a school
context, Fogarty (2000, p. 85) writes that this hidden curriculum in education, is for
the “bonding of youth to the society at large” in so doing, promoting “nationalism,
and thus militarism…" Cuban (1993, p. 250) concurs when he observes that the
purpose of this institutional militarism is to prepare students for the “participation in
social, bureaucratic, and industrial organizations”. Brown (2003) makes the
interesting point that freedom and privilege tends to characterise schools that the
wealthy send their children to whilst this culture of discipline and militarism only
tends to pervade schools that serve economically deprived areas. This again feeds
into the narrative of an indolent economically deprived community needing more
discipline in order to overcome its structural challenges. What I find interesting here
is what is percevied as “school attractiveness” in this context. Parents in these
communities are undoubtedly signing their children up to Charter Schools through
choice. However, I have to ask whether this is a genuine choice; because what are the
real alternatives available to them? Do they continue to send their children to their
local public schools where they appear to do less well or do they send their children
to schools where they appear to attain greater academic success? This would appear
to be a Hobsonian choice, where militaristic education that works (to an extent) will
perhaps, be always chosen over a public school education that is deemed to be less
effective. I will return to this idea of freedom when discussing the UK Free School
model, as it presents an interesting inversion to what is being presented here.
If we look at the US’ (Western) social values (conveyed by these underlying
nationalistic and militaristic ideals) to which education is supposed to bond young
people, we see that ideas around capitalism, the free market, efficiency and
individualism play major roles. In briefly questioning just one aspect of the Charter
School ethos, we can see that there is a hidden curriculum that promotes an
underlying expectation of students to comply with a neo-liberal agenda, which does
not actively promote social change. Lack (2009, p. 135) descibes this as a clash
between, “
social mobility
and
social efficiency
as opposed to
democratic equality”
,
where he sees Charter schools increasingly delivering for the private good rather
than the public good. Labaree (1997, p. 41) goes further to describe this as an eternal
clash for successive US education reformers between “unfettered economic freedom
which “leads to a highly unequal distribution of wealth and power” and in turn
“undercuts the possibility for democratic control” and a democratic control that can
restrict the market (economic freedom) and limit “individual liberty” to the ultimate
detriment of democracy. Although I have some sympathy with Labaree’s basic
premise, I have to ask why he feels that it is not possible for democratic control to
create or encourage the environment for more equitable wealth distribution within
the market (if indeed we need a market in every sector
vi
)? This view of the KIPP
strengthening rather than challenging structural inequalities is further compounded
by the fact that Charter Schools are allowed (and indeed have) to raise their own
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funds from private benefactors. This means that Canada’s Harlem initiative is only
successful largely because he is able to raise sufficient funds needed to sustain his
holistic social programme, a facet of the market against which schools from the
public state sector cannot compete. So, just by briefly examining this one of five
important principles of the KIPP Charter school movement
vii
, we can see that what is
often perceived and celebrated as a positive form of institutionalisation (raising
aspiration and attainment through Commitment to Excellence contracts and ‘hard
work’) in a neo-liberal environment can ultimately lead to a market-led form of
institutionalisation that perpetuates the very same structural inequalities it was set
up to alleviate.
The Institutionalisation of the Market and its attempt to deliver Social Change
through Education in the UK
Here, in the UK, our Free School Model in the UK came out of the 2010 Academies
Bill that allowed the top performing Ofsted-ranked ‘outstanding’ schools to become
academies and opt out of Local Authority control (Politics.co.uk, 2004 - 2013). Like its
US Charter School counterpart, Academies and Free Schools are funded directly from
the state without any Local Authority interference and are non-selecting but unlike
Charter Schools, Academies and Free Schools actually receive full central
government funding. In the 2010 Academies Bill, Free Schools were referred to as
“additional” schools and these schools could apply for academy status on the
proviso that sufficient consultation was carried out to ascertain community need and
that there was not a duplication of local mainstream school or academy provision. In
many respects we have an even more extreme example of institutionalisation of the
market within our education sector, as the funding and approval of Free Schools fall
under the
direct
control of the Secretary for Education. This marks a centralisation of
government control under the veneer of a decentralising market. The notion of
“increasing local choice for parents” (National Audit Office, 2013, p. 5) so that they
could set up their own local Free schools in areas of educational need did not appear
to come from a governing principle of addressing social or “educational inequality”
(p. 5) because of what seems to be the opposite trend of “Free Schools’ pupils are
[being] less likely to be entitled to free school meals than pupils in neighbouring
schools” exacerbated by many Free Schools that are “sited some distance away from
where the proposer group originally identified parental demand” (National Audit
Office, 2013, p. 42). ROTA (2012, p. 6) echoes these concerns with “many free
schools being established with the aim of improving education in deprived urban
areas are not fully benefiting socio-economically disadvantaged communities,
among which BAME communities are overrepresented”. If we also observe that only
less than 5 per cent of Free Schools are actually founded by parent-led groups
(Vaughan , 2013) and more than five times that amount are being opened by existing
academies and mainstream schools that are “disproportionately represented in
wealthier areas” (Francis & Wong, 2013, p. 14), this aspiration of giving more control
to parents and communities increasingly begins to sound hollow. Here, Brown’s
(2003) talk about freedom reveals an interesting inversion with the US system upon
which we have modelled many of our Free Schools. It is
our
Free Schools which seem
to be characterised by freedom and privilege where there is an “over-emphasis on
traditional curriculum approaches and “‘traditional’ subjects, such as Latin and
Classics which risks “social, cultural and ethnic segregation” (ROTA, 2012, p. 6).
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Cultural Capital as a battle ground for identity
ROTA picks up on an interesting point about the Classical curriculum that in many
ways goes to the heart of the critique of Free Schools (and the Independent sector in
general). Many of our flagship-Free Schools seem to be characterised by the belief
that by emulating the curricula activities of Independent (private) schools, a better
education will be provided. This would appear to be where the building of Cultural
Capital
viii
through a creative or classical liberal curriculum is at its strongest. Toby
Young who founded the West London Free School said:
We were also told that because of the classical liberal curriculum we would
only attract rich, white children with educated, middle-class parents. Actually,
50 per cent of our intake have English as an additional language, and 35 per
cent are black, Asian or minority ethnic. A quarter of our pupils are eligible for
free school dinners. (Petre, 2012)
Even though there is the potential for Free Schools to successfully reflect the
multicultural areas in which they can be located, there is still the matter of the
underlying message such a classical liberal curriculum conveys, especially for its
BAME students. It is important to note that within the classical liberal curriculum
there is a similar “hidden curriculum” that Finley (2003) identified in the US school
system. In a British context, the militarism Finley describes is replaced by
(Post)Colonialism where, as discussed earlier in Chapter 1, Gilroy (2005, p. 434)
explains the occurrence of this dominant discourse as a “melancholic
ix
attachment to
its [Britain’s] vanished pre-eminence”. As this Victorian classical liberal curriculum
x
is
suffused with a colonial melancholic attachment, it, possibly, cannot help being
prone to keeping the status quo of the British class system from whence it came.
Considering the military exploits of both the US and the UK both currently and
historically, it is perhaps no coincidence that they both share discipline and
militarism as over-arching “hidden” curricula, albeit aimed at opposing classes of
people:
What is unusual about our school isn’t that we have strict rules, but that we
enforce them. Quite often in school they will have an elaborate code of
conduct, but they just won’t enforce it, and that sends a very bad message to
children. We have just as many challenging children as the local community
schools but they know we have a fairly strict code of conduct and we are not
frightened to enforce it. (Petre, 2012)
It would appear as though the creative curriculum has been subsumed into a
classical liberal curriculum that routinely includes the learning and the practicing of
the arts because, “a school that excel[s] academicallyis also considered to excel in
extracurricular activities. As top heads and teachers already know, sports clubs,
orchestras and choirs, school plays, cadets, debating competitions, all help to build
character and instil grit (Gove, 2014). Interestingly, the creative curriculum, clothed
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in its classical roots, has now become a kite mark of quality that the present
government wants to export across all schools. However, like its US counterpart, the
government does not quite regard these activities that “build character and instil
grit” as being necessary core curriculum activities, so it proposes to allow all schools
to extend their opening hours in order to accommodate them. Gove (2014) hints at
the capacity that these activities have to build valuable Cultural Capital that has long
since been enjoyed by the independent (private) sector.
However, much of the curricula in both mainstream and Free Schools do not
sufficiently recognise the value of integrating the cultural histories and identities of
its multicultural communities, beyond an apparently tokenistic celebration for one
month a year. Shamim picks up on this point:
So in other words, there is one kind of universal truth and I guess what I’m
basically saying is that it is not perennial, basically every individual will come
with their own understanding and their own truths and I’m more interested in
ensuring that their experiences and their understanding is basically
considered as part and parcel in the way which we actually go through the
process of schooling. Because there are so many children that basically go
through the education system without actually recognising that their heritage
is not reflected in the curriculum and I think that’s a travesty.’ (Miah, 2013, p.
5)
Shamim believes that the UK school curriculum is guilty of unconsciously being
shaped by a Post-Colonial view of the world and that this is damaging to the cultural
self-esteem for many of its BAME young people.
Cultural Capital and Social Change
Can the process of building Cultural Capital, via a creative curriculum in our
mainstream and parent-led Free Schools help to facilitate social change? Shamim
strongly believes so because through the provision of not just heritage-related but
also sport, arts and humanities-related activities after 3.30pm in the school day,
involving qualified youth workers and other professionals, Collective Spirit aims to
further increase the life chances of its students by offering a broader educational
range of activities and experiences. Collective Spirit serves a school population that is
one third white, Pakistani and Bangladeshi, so this will be interesting to watch over
the years. A question left to ponder is: Will this process of building Cultural Capital in
a school that is multicultural and where white students are in a minority match the
Cultural Capital gained in more privileged homogenous communities
xi
? I will discuss
the implications of this question in the final chapter.
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Education for a livelihood
Studio Schools
Robert Croll who is another community partner of ours, has been involved in setting
up a Studio School in Manchester that is inextricably linked to work and training.
Studio Schools also came out of the 2010 Academies Bill (www.parliament.uk, 2010)
where:
They are not extensions or conversions from existing provision, but are new
14-19 Academies, typically with around 300 pupils. Studio Schools offer
academic and vocational qualifications, but teach them in a practical and
project-based way. Study is combined with work placements with local and
national employers who are involved in the school. (DfE, 2011, p. 3)
Studio Schools, like Free Schools, are funded directly from the government (i.e. no
Local Authority interference) and have total freedom over their curricula
arrangements, meaning that they do not have to follow the National Curriculum.
Studio Schools Trust (2011b, para. 1) explain that “the name ‘Studio School’ comes
from the concept of the Renaissance studio, prevalent in Europe from around 1400
to 1700, where working and learning were integrated. Robert describes a school
model whose curriculum is delivered to meet the employment needs of local
business and enterprise and where the Studio School seems to be a form of school-
based apprenticeship. The Studio School champions the idea of personalised
learning that nurtures the learning needs
xii
of the student whilst still being relevant
and useful to prospective employers.
Enterprise Education and Studio Schools
Studio Schools Trust (2011a) write about their CREATE curriculum framework which
underpins Studio School learning. Students learn how to communicate their ideas
effectively, how to relate to others in collaborative settings, how to develop and
implement ideas, how to transfer their skills across family, community and work
settings and how to develop research and thinking skills and emotional intelligence
(reflexivity). The Studio School model arose out of the enterprise education agenda
for schools. DfE (2011, p. 3) defines enterprise education as:
Education for economic well-being and financial capability aims to equip
students with the knowledge, skills and attributes to make the most of
changing opportunities in learning and work. Through their learning and
experiences inside and outside school, students begin to understand the
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nature of the world of work, the diversity and function of business, and its
contribution to national prosperity. They develop as questioning and
informed consumers and learn to manage their money and finances
effectively.
Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education has been taught in schools
since 2000 and enterprise education is taught as part of the economic strand of this
subject cluster. However, up until now PSHE has not been a statutory part of the
National Curriculum but currently, there are calls for its statutory inclusion into the
National Curriculum as part of the latest review of the National Curriculum and PSHE
(Gillie, 2012). Perhaps as a consequence of its non statutory status, a series of Ofsted
reports found that enterprise education provision in schools via the teaching of
business and economics was often patchy because often the teachers were not
specialists in these areas and also crucially because there were inconsistent links to
actual local businesses (Ofsted, 2005; Ofsted, 2008; Ofsted, 2011). In order to
address these concerns the previous Labour administration in 2008, wrote a white
paper,
Enterprise: Unlocking the UK Talent
that called for a more integrated
approach to enterprise education that reached across the primary, secondary and
tertiary education sectors (GOV.UK, 2008). With this in mind they launched a
National Enterprise Academy and a National Skills Strategy aimed at increasing
participation in appenticeships and Higher Education and the development of new
University Technical Colleges specialising in vocational and applied study for 14 to
19 yr olds (Gillie, 2012). In this busy year of prioritising enterprise education, the
previous government also introduced a secondary curriculum which, as key strands
in PSHE, included the teaching of economic wellbeing and financial competence
(Gillie, 2013). As part of its efforts to include statutory provision of enterprise
education in the National Curriculum, the present government also initiated the
Enterprise Champions Programmes in 2011 which made it easier for schools to run
their own businesses (Gillie, 2012).
Social Mobility and Enterprise
The present Studio school model of provision can be seen as an important
conclusion of the enterprise education odyssey begun in earnest by Labour’s
landmark 2008 White Paper,
Back on track: A Strategy for Modernising Alternative
Provision for Young People
where they set out their plans for pilot studio schools.
The then government believed that these schools would provide an “innovative
enterprise-based curriculum designed to motivate students not engaged by a
traditional, academic curriculum” (DCSF, 2008, p. 51).
However, there is an interesting conundrum brought up by this model about the
function of education. Is education about the exclusive preparation for
employment?
xiii
Or is education about learning for learning’s sake and personal
development? In reality there does need to be a balance to be struck between these
two extremes. Perhaps, in a perceived mainstream education system that appears to
favour academic achievement at the expense of the vocational, having a potentially
vocationally inclined education provision could be seen as a good thing. However, I
believe that it is time that we start to start think about how we can bridge the
(imaginary) divide between the academic and the vocational in the way that a real
11
“Renaissance” school model would encourage. With the important emphasis on
developing employment skills, is the Studio School model at risk of educating young
people to be only able to fit into a certain job/industry or role in society for which
they are exclusively educated/apprenticed
xiv
? Even though employers complain that
school leavers seem ill-equipped for the workplace, do we want to educate our
young people for only one trade or do we want to educate them with skills of
knowledge acquisition and critical thinking
xv
? The implicit bias I attach to this
question is that certain young people from less privileged backgrounds could run
the risk of being educated only to fit into a section of society that is destined for
neither leadership nor influence over the dominant power structure, whilst the
converse is true of other forms of educational provision aimed at the socio
economically fortunate.
In the context of other types of educational provision, such as a liberal Classical
Education, questions around the status quo in the British class system have to be
asked. I would suggest that whilst it is undoubtedly true that not all types of
education will be suited to everyone, I am inclined to think that setting up
segregated areas of learning especially within the secondary sector cannot be the
answer to promoting social mobility. If the virtues of an expansive Independent
education are so great, why are they not being fully promoted in more vocational
learning, so that vocational students can also benefit from a more expansive (and
liberal) education? Proponents of the Studio School model would argue that this is
the case with their “broad and balanced” (DfE, 2014, p. 12) curriculum. The NUT
(2014, p. 9) writes about its perception of there being no detail about
…what constitutes a “broad and balanced” curriculum. In effect, the agreement
gives the Secretary of State the power to decide on this question, rather than
providing clear guidance and a framework for holding schools to account.
It seems likely that studio schools will be able to follow a more narrowly
vocational curriculum. At Barnfield Business Academy, for example, Key Stage
5 pupils will only be able to study an Extended Diploma in Business. The idea
that students attending studio schools should have progression routes into
higher education as well as apprenticeships and employment routes may not
be served by this narrow curriculum
This is where the conceptual divide between the academic and the vocational
becomes socially pernicious. On their Working with Employers page, the Studio
Schools Trust (2011) writes that their curriculum “will allow them [their students] to
develop the skills and experience they need to succeed in their local labour market.”
This aspiration implies a narrowing of curricula activity that is dictated by local
employment markets rather than a broadening of learning opportunities geared
towards a globalised knowledge economy. To make this point more explicit, the
education of young people from privileged backgrounds is not pegged to their local
(geographic) economies. In fact, it could be said that their education is, in reality
pegged to their global, cultural capital-based economies.
It is not to say that those with vocational qualifications cannot find success in the
market but it will only be by their
individual
efforts. In many respects the DfE’s (2011)
12
description of enterprise education is quite telling, as it openly admits to educating
young people to be effective consumers, in other words to be inculcated into a neo-
liberal paradigm that favours individualism over collectivism. Looking through a
Foucaldian lens, Peters (2001, p. 62) describes this process as the responsibilisation
of self”, which as stated earlier, negates the need to address the consequences
structural inequalities. As also suggested previously, this is problematic because it
promotes the concept of a Social Darwenism or social engineering where only the
socially strongest and fittest and those born with most cultural capital will prevail in
the market, as epitomised by the KIPP “work harder” ethic. However, the playing
fields for such market competition are hardly level. Francis & Wong (2013, p. 16)
underpin this reality with their observations that
cultural capital provided via educational experience and well-resourced
networks provides middle-class families with knowledge of ‘the rules of the
game’, understanding of the way the system works and the hierarchies
therein, and confidence in liaising with the school….while working-class
parents are also concerned with school quality in identifying a location for
their children, they more often have to opt nevertheless for the local school.
There would appear to be a theme of ‘localism’ (as discussed earlier with choice or
“school attractiveness”) running through this discussion whether it be in the context
of middle-class parents being able to afford to send their children to schools out of
their
local
area by having the economic capital to be able to move house; or whether
it be families from less privileged backgrounds being forced to find
local
schools
attractive because of their lack of economic capital; or whether it be schools that
provide vocational training for access to
local
employment markets. The geographic
concept of what is local and to whom, seems to represent a wider cultural issue
around a lack of social mobility that is implied by, “the social distinction already so
prevalent in the English education system.” (Francis & Wong, 2013, p. 16)
Co-operative Schools and self-help
The National Commission for Cooperative Education
xvi
write that co-operative
education is “a structured educational strategy integrating classroom studies with
learning through productive work experiences in a field related to a student’s
academic or career goals.” (Groenewald, 2004, p. 17) In the UK, this model of work-
integrated learning emerged in 2004 from a project run by the Co-operative Group
and Co-operative College. They set up a network of eight Co-operative Business and
Enterprise Colleges because they felt that the government’s enterprise in education
agenda was not sufficiently representative of the Co-operative model of enterprise
(The Schools Co-operative Society, 2014).
One of the main forms of Co-operative school is the Co-operative Trust School that
is Local Authority maintained but is supported by a charitable Trust and has adopted
the Co-operative values and governance. The other form is a Co-operative Academy
which has opted out of Local Authority control but has also adopted the Co-
operative values and governance. Both types of schools can stand alone or form
clusters of Co-operative Trust Schools or Academies but not a mixture of the two,
due to their funding arrangements. It would appear that the modern beginnings
xvii
of
13
the Co-operative School very closely resembled the Studio School model of
enterprise and work-based learning but with the vital addition of the Co-operative
branding in terms of its values.
xviii
Proponents of the Co-operative movement will say that their values are firmly based
around the tenets of social justice (The Schools Co-operative Society, 2014).
Although, holding social justice as a fundamental value cannot be argued with, I
can’t help but wonder about the Co-operative enterprise, itself (its business arms)
and what it represents in a wider neo-liberal context. In one of our community
conversations about education, a local member of our communities brought up an
interesting question exploring the implications of a school curriculum that exists
within a neo-liberal (business sponsored) context when she connected the issues
around ‘equality’ as opposed to ‘freedom’ in relation to cultural representation in a
possible Co-operative school curriculum:
….capitalist organisations talk about freedom but not about equality and if
you link that to what counts and what’s acknowledged as important comes
from school and one of the things to me is the lack of representation in the
curriculum of diverse communities….
The context of this statement was asked in the (implicit) wake of the Mary Seacole/
Michael Gove debacle
xix
. However, the question points to a deeper anxiety about not
just how much influence a community could really exert over a Co-operative
curriculum, which partly follows the National Curriculum in the core subjects
(especially if the schools are Local Authority maintained
xx
), but through cultural
recognition/contestation (as exemplified through the Seacole example) how much
room there would be for the inclusion of a critical pedagogy that highlighted
structural inequalities in society.
Here’s the rub. The Co-operative movement was set up to look after the welfare of
its workers’ rights, in essence to fight inequality and to promote social justice
through self-empowered community action. However, in a neo-liberal society built
on the dictats of the market, can the Co-operative (or any business, for that matter,
operating within a capitalist paradigm), still hold
entirely
to its original values of
social justice? If we take the schools who convert to Co-operative Academy status as
a means of opting out of Local Authority control in order to share resources with one
another within a cluster due to a perception of insecurity over their maintained
status, could the reasons for taking the Co-operative route sometimes seem
practical” (Mansell, 2011) rather than philosophical? I am particularly intrigued by the
Co-operative Schools’ emphasis on the value of self-help. Of course, this can be
traced to its Victorian social change origins but as has been discussed, this reliance
on the
individual
, albeit in this case, on a Co-operative cluster of schools, negates the
need to change social inequality more broadly. Seen in this light, the reliance on the
‘co-operative’ for empowerment or social justice is really about setting up alternative
competition within the market. As the market thrives on competition this serves to
further strengthen its raison d’etre. Even though the Co-operative branding of social
justice is strong and unlike the Studio School model, global citizenship is a strong
component of the Co-operative curriculum (so the limiting aspects of ‘localism’,
apply less), it still runs the risk of promoting social inequality in very much a similar
14
way to Studio Schools, as its brand of social justice will only be achieved for its
members and not for those outside the co-operative
xxi
.
Our community member’s question feeds right into this thought, as we have to ask is
it really in the Co-operative’s or any business’ vested interests to employ workers
who are critically aware of the structural inequalities in society AND in their own
companies? If the answer is yes, then how high would the potential (economic) cost
be to the business if they employed a work force who had an acute awareness of and
displayed active resistance against structural inequalities, especially in the work
place?
xxii
How would this affect the company’s bottom line? These questions
obviously point to a much bigger debate about the role neo-liberalism has in
(re)producing social inequality (See Chapter 1), however, when the Co-operative’s
ethos is transferred into an educational context, these important questions about the
underlying neo-liberal power structures need to be re-addressed
xxiii
. Is the Co-
operative model of educational provision fundamentally about training up workers
to fit into its own vision of the workplace in a neo-liberal paradigm of Co-operative-
branded
social justice or is the model about genuinely producing subjects (in this
case, workers) who recognise “ideological forms in which men become conscious
of…conflict and fight it out”?
xxiv
Conclusion
In the Great Debate which started this chapter, two roles for education were
proposed: Education as a model for Social Change and Education for a livelihood. I
deliberately contrived these concepts as opposing poles on a spectrum of
Educational purpose. However, after briefly exploring some of the ethical and
philosophical implications of the three school models which could be thought to
exemplify these positions with the Co-operative School Model sitting somewhere in
the middle, it is clear to see that these three models, in their own ways potentially
serve to re-enforce class distinctions and limit social mobility. I would suggest that
the fact that these types of schools are driven by the market that thrives on
competition and as a result, segregation, illustrates its ultimate unsuitability for
delivering equitable educational provision
for all
. As I have outlined in this chapter,
competition will tend to exacerbate structural inequalities by its over-reliance on the
efforts of the “individual”. Competition, to have any form of meaning, must have
elements of failure (or loss) intrinsic to its paradigm. So a market philosophy that
believes that competition is the
only
mechanism for driving up standards must
(secretly) already acknowledge that it cannot deliver the same high standards for
everyone
xxv
, meaning that it is actually complicit in the knowledge that losers (and
winners) are essential to its existence. In other words, it is in the market’s own
interest to create losers in order to produce its winners. I am not entirely sure that
this is a satisfactory philosophy to follow when deciding on how best to deliver the
highest standards of education to
all
of our young people.
Is there another way? In the final chapter, I will explore the beginnings of an
alternative approach to achieving social change through education based on co-
operation and effective multi-agency working.
15
‘hidden curriculum’, 4
‘localism’, 12, 13
‘more’ work, 4
‘work harder’, 4
“additional” schools, 6
“educational inequality”, 6
“Renaissance” school, 10
19th century Puritan work ethic, 4
2010 Academies Bill, 6, 9
Abbott, 3, 4, 16
academic achievement, 2, 10
Academies, 6, 9, 12, 21, 22
Althusser, 16
Arnoldian, 1
Bacon, 16
BAME communities, 6
Beckford, 3, 17
Bio power, 22
Bourdieu, 17
Brown, 5, 6, 17
Butler P., 3
Cadwalladr, 17
Callaghan, 1, 17
Canada, 2, 3, 5
capitalism, 5
Charter School, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
classical liberal curriculum, 7
Coburn, 4, 17
Collective Spirit, 1, 2, 8
Colonialism, 7
Commitment to Excellence Contracts, 3
competition, 3, 12, 13, 14
control, 4, 5, 6, 12, 13
Co-operative Academy, 12, 13
Co-operative Business, 12, 22
Co-operative College, 12
Co-operative Group, 12
Co-operative Movement, 1
Co-operative school, 12, 13
Co-operative School, 1, 12, 14
Co-operative Trust School, 12
CREATE, 9, 21
creative curriculum, 7, 8
Cuban, 5, 17
cultural capital, 11, 12
Cultural Capital, 2, 7, 8
cultural heritage, 2
deficit, 3, 4
democratic control, 5
DeVall, Finley and Caulfield, 4
DfE, 9, 11, 17
direct control, 6
discipline, 3, 4, 7, 17, 22
Discipline power, 22
domination, 4
education for employment, 1
education for social change, 1
Education Priority Areas (EPAs), 2
Education Today, 2, 18
employment market, 1
Enterprise Colleges, 12
Enterprise Education, 9, 18
Feinberg, 3, 21
Finley, 4, 7, 18
Fogarty, 5, 18
Foucaldian, 11
Foucault, 18, 22
Francis & Wong, 6, 12
Fraser, 18
free market, 5
Free School, 1, 2, 5, 6, 7
free school meals, 6
freedom, 5, 6, 9, 13
Geoffrey Canada, 2, 22
Gillie, 10, 18
Gilroy, 7, 18
Gove, 8, 13, 18, 21
Groenewald, 12, 18
Hegel, 19
hierarchy, 4
Hobbes, 19
individual
, 2, 4, 5, 8, 11, 13, 14
individualism, 4, 5, 11
institutionalisation, 2, 3, 4, 6, 22
Johnston, 19
KIPP, 2, 3, 4, 5, 12, 19
Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP), 2
Labaree, 5, 19
Labour Government, 2
Lacan, 19
Lack, 3, 19
liberal Classical Education,, 11
local
, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13
Local Authority, 2, 6, 9, 12, 13
Lyotard, 19
market, 3, 4, 5, 6, 11, 13, 14
market franchise, 4
Marx, 19
16
Matthew Arnold, 2
melancholic, 7
Miah, 1, 4, 19
militarism, 4, 7
National Audit Office, 6, 20
National Curriculum, 9, 10, 13
neo-liberal, 4, 5, 11, 13, 14
neo-liberalism, 14
NESS, 2, 3, 20
NUT, 11, 20
Ofsted, 6, 10, 20
Okolosie, 4, 20
ownership, 4
Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE),
10
personalised learning, 9
Peters, 11, 20
Petre, 7, 20
Plowden, 2, 21
Politics.co.uk, 6, 21
power, 2, 4, 5, 11, 14, 22
privilege, 5, 6
profit, 4
Rawlinson, 21
resistance, 14
ROTA, 6, 7, 21
Rotherham, 4, 21
Ruskin College, 1
Sampson, 21
school attractiveness, 5, 12
Secretary for Education, 6
Smith, 3, 21
social change, 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 13, 14
Social Change, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 14
Social Darwenism, 12
social engineering, 12
social inequality, 1, 13, 14
Social Mobility, 10
social mobility., 11, 14
Spring, 4, 21
standardization, 4
status quo, 4, 7, 11
structural inequalities, 4, 5, 12, 13, 14
Studio School, 1, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13
Studio Schools Trust, 9, 11, 21
superiority, 4
Sure Start programmes, 2
The Charter School, 3
the Coalition, 3
The Great Debate, 1
The National Commission for Cooperative
Education, 12
The Role of Institutionalisation, 2
The Schools Co-operative Society, 12, 22
Toby Young, 7
Tough, 2, 22
violence, 4
vocational qualifications, 9, 11
Ward, 2, 3, 22
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http://www.theguardian.com/society/2005/dec/01/childrensservices.childprot
ection
www.parliament.uk. (2010, July 29).
Academies Act 2010.
Retrieved February 7, 2014,
from Parliament UK: http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2010-
11/academieshl.html
i
Greater Manchester
ii
Foucault (1977) also identifies discipline power and bio power. Discipline power and bio power are
about getting people to internalise norms for themselves so that they self-regulate their relationship
to those norms. Bio power works in terms of population controls (birth rates, death rates etc).
Foucault says that discipline is a tool (instrument) of power, as he observed in his study of the penal
23
system where the discipline of a prisoner through lock up times, meal times, exercise times, visiting
times, work, etc subjugates the prisoner into accepting the system/power for herself. This discipline
could be considered to be a way of describing the process of institutionalisation. For Foucault, this
discipline is also a form of generating knowledge because he argues that not only does this discipline
create a new individual whose mind set has conformed to new routines and expectations (or how
the individual becomes institutionalised) but the way in which the discipline is dispensed (who
delivers it, how is it assessed, how can it be modified) generates a whole new classification of
‘knowledges’ associated with this discipline. This can obviously be applied to education where the
education-discipline turns subjects into students, to conform to the regime of a school or college,
whose data about being students is collected and classified to create new knowledge about the
student (school league tables, individual performance indicators, school reports, exam results etc)
whose officials are created especially to manage this new knowledge - teachers, learning mentors,
teaching assistants, educational psychologists, etc etc. This is important because if the discipline
turns the "student" into a "customer" then that would have a lot to say about the changed
instrument of power (the market) and the new ‘knowledges’ and officials that would be needed
to mediate it. See Chapter 1 about New Public Management (NPM). Roberts (1998) writes about
how the commodification and marketisation of education especially Higher Education was predicted
by Lyotard (1979[1984]) in his book The Post Modern Condition: A report on Knowledge. For full pdf
access to The Post Modern Condition and a wider discussion about a marketised education sector,
see Chapter 4
iii
Knowledge is Power. Although attributed to Bacon (1597), Hobbes (1558 - 1679) wrote “scientia
potentia est” (knowledge is power) in his work De Homine, where he meant that having knowledge
and education will improve life chances.
iv
Foucault (1977) says that Power is not in anyone place or person, he, in fact rejects the supremacy
of what he calls "juridical" power, that kind of power that sits above everyone and makes
judgements of right and wrong - like the law, for example. He says this power is destructive, as it can
only define what is right or wrong through punishment (real or potential, as a reward implies
punishment if not deserved). Foucault says that power is negotiated through relationships - person
to person, as it were. This means power (he calls them power fields or knowledge-power) are about
how well you align yourself to someone else with an (influential) agenda you share. For example, if a
"police officer" were to have power over a "criminal", the criminal has to firstly recognise that he is a
criminal (wrongdoer) and then allow himself to be subjugated (controlled) by the policeman
(meaning that the “criminal” has to align himself to the “police officer’s” law enforcement agenda).
So the criminal also has power to make the relationship work (this echoes Althusser (1970) who says
that what we are called into being (hailed) by, as in, what we recognise as referring to ourselves,
actually forms our consciousness as social beings (subjects), this itself comes from the Hegelian
dialectic (meaning the active resolution between an argument and a counterargument) of Slave and
Master (Hegel, 1977) - is it actually the slave with power over the Master, as it is the slave who
validates the Master as master by allowing himself to be "mastered"? Hegel argues in the end that
both are interdependent on each other and both of their realities are incomplete without each
other!). The law, for example, only has power because various agents along the Foucaldian power
field chain have aligned their interests to it, in order to reproduce its effect in their immediate
relationships until it gets to the relationship between “police officer” and "criminal" (imagine an
unintended disruption in the line of power relationships where the “criminal” might not be a
criminal so doesn't respond to that tag although the “police officer” is trying to hail him into being
through this tag could this be a form of resistance? See note iv)
v
For Foucault the implicit notion of resistance comes from disrupting the alignments of the power
relationship chain - which is an interesting concept because it begs the question of how we could
mount such resistance (this idea is sometimes referred to as ‘agency’)? Would it be possible to do
this at an individual level or would we need to work at an institutional level? What sort of
24
institutions would we need to work with? As an institution, does the media already do this (disrupt
alignment)? Or do we see the media as trying to ‘put right’ the misalignments in the power
relationship chains? Or does the media do a bit of both? Is the media a "discipline" of power (an
institution) in itself? Althusser (1970) would call it one of the state apparatuses, although Foucault
would disagree with him, because he sees power as more diffuse than having an actual apparatus
but there is an argument for thinking about the sum of the Foucauldian knowledge power
relationships in the media comprising a "swarm", (his term) and becoming in actuality an apparatus,
albeit consisting of mini power chains all acting in concert, effectively producing an apparatus,
although not necessarily controlled by the State although recent UK government/media relations
might start to point to the beginnings of tighter government controls (Gilbert, 2013)
vi
See Chapter 1 about discussion around New Public Management (NPM)
vii
KIPPs’ five founding principles are: high expectations, choice and commitment, more time, power
to lead, and focus on results (Lack, 2009) .
viii
Bourdieu (1984) talks about ‘habitus - a kind of ‘club’ or institution (he uses the word
“disposition” meaning a (habitual) result of an organising action or structure that makes decisions
about what is in and what is out, in terms of taste and distinction - a sort of local or domestic version
of Foucault’s juridical power. However, it doesn't quite sit above the subject like juridical power; it
works at the level of Foucault’s discipline power (institutionalisation) by being able to create its own
norms but still managing to maintain the role of ‘juridical’ arbiter. Bourdieu's habitus classifies its
own knowledge and decides what is of value according to the normalisation or legitimacy
making powers it has conferred upon itself. From this, Bourdieu talks about cultural capital. This is
capital that is shared by members of a habitus (or field) that enables them to better negotiate their
way through the various power relationships that they are engaging in (for example, having received
a specific type of cultural capital through having gone to a public (independent) school, you will be
better able to understand and communicate the specific value system of an organisation which
already shares your cultural capital if you had a job interview with them). Bourdieu even talks about
habitus as being able to convince those outside of its ‘club’ that they do not fit in or even want to try
to fit in so that they don't try - much like the Foucauldian process of mediating Power through
institutionalisation.
ix
“Melancholic attachment” is a specific Freudian reference (and later discussed at length by Butler
J. (1997)) that describes a state of unrequited love, where the “lover” realises he cannot attain love
from his “object”, so instead of mourning the loss of his “object” (and moving on) he redirects his
love of his “object” towards himself. However, he knows that his self-directed love (narcissism) is
only a pale substitute for the true “object” of his affections, so he becomes melancholic in this
realisation of his loss that he refuses to mourn (or let go of). Even though he cannot attain love from
his “object” and has to supply it to himself, he is still attached to the idea of his unattainable
“object” and this attachment to this idea of this “object” colours everything he sees around him,
sometimes manifesting itself in extreme frustration or even hate. Butler J. (1997, p. 168) describes
this process of self-directed love as the lover” (ego) “turn[ing] back upon it[him]self” and says that
the lover is actually defined by this process and would not exist without his melancholic
attachment, implying that he needs to manufacture this loss (or create the myth!) in order to define
his true identity for himself! This has interesting connotations when this framework is applied to the
psyche of a nation.
x
See Chapter 4
xi
Cadwalladr (2013) writes about the power of Cultural Capital and the habitus in which it lives when
talking about Oxbridge.
xii
In his video, Geoff Mulgan talks about “non-cognitive skills, the skills of motivation, resilience”.
These skills also seem to be important to educators in the Supplementary School sector. One
community member says that she had been left unmotivated by mainstream education:
25
The role that education played in my life, I sort of think that something was missing when I
went to school, I think they taught me, you know, how to be very good at reading and
writing which is a numeracy, but, I don’t feel that my aspirations were encouraged or
developed or… you know, to reach my full potential
xiii
Which can lead to a marketisation or commodification of education. (See Chapter 4) Sampson
(1922, p. 4) said that Education is a preparation for life not merely livelihood”
xiv
This is a very similar question to the role of Co-operative Schools, both models being geared more
towards the vocational and work placement side of study.
xv
One community member hints that he found that education that had developed his critical
thinking was important to him:
I never thought I’d say this to be honest, I didn’t, because I went through this racial thing,
the sexist thing, all kinds of stuff was going on, but it taught me and it has given me a
platform to speak, and also encourage that all people can get there as well.
xvi
An international organisation emerging from the “the World Council and Assembly on Cooperative
Education”, which “was founded in 1983 to foster Co-operative Education and other Work
Integrated Learning programs worldwide” (WACE, 2014)
xvii
The first Co-operative “school” was the Co-operative College, Stanford Hall in Loughborough in
1919. Shaffer (1999) gives a thorough account of the emergence of the international Co-operative
Movement including its 1844 UK beginnings with the Rochdale pioneers.
xviii
Self-help - Encouraging all within the organisation to help each other, by working together to gain
mutual benefits. Helping people to help themselves. Self-responsibility - To take responsibility for,
and answer to, our actions. Democracy - To give our stakeholders a say in the way we run our
school. Equality - Equal rights and benefits according to their contribution. Equity - Being fair and
unbiased. Solidarity - Supporting each other and those in other co-operatives. These principles are
put into action in the following way: Voluntary and open membership, Democratic member control,
Member economic participation, Autonomy and independence, Education, training and information,
Co-operation amongst co-operatives, Concern for community (The Schools Co-operative Society,
2014)
xix
Rawlinson (2013)
xx
If academies are part of a hub of schools that have converted to Co-operative trusts formed in part
in reaction to a perceived weakness of Local Authority influence and resources, this in turn prompts
questions about the just how specific one of these hub schools could be, in tailoring their curriculum
provision to meet the needs of one of its communities.
xxi
We potentially have a similar situation to Free Schools where only parents with the cultural capital
and ‘push’ will be actively able to participate in the democratic governance structure of the school.
This asks serious questions about the types of communities Co-operative schools can operate in with
their aspirations of community stakeholder involvement. This question becomes even louder when
discussing Co-operative clusters of schools covering different communities.
xxii
The Co-operative’s answer to this would probably be that its values of social justice and
democratic modi operandi would prevent it from having any structural inequalities that led to any
social injustices. Perhaps, the Co-operative would ally itself to Fraser’s (2007, p. 27) concept of
“parity of participation”. However, can any system or company be really immune from hidden
structural biases which are designed to maintain the status quo of profitability? Perhaps a better
(although equally loaded) question would be: what systems of accountability does a
system/organisation have in place to really root out self-serving structural biases, at the expense of
its bottom line (especially companies that do not operate directly in the public sector)?
xxiii
Johnston (2007)
26
xxiv
Marx (1970, p. 21)
xxv
This idea of the ‘market-drive’ strongly reminds me of Lacan’s (1979 [1973])“jouissance”, which is
the ultimate form of never having enough or the belief that there must be something better
elsewhere (across the horizon) which all drives lead to, definitely an all roads leading to Rome
concept. However, for Lacan, what makes “jouissance” ultimate and essential is its position as a
quasi -Platonic Ideal against which all other desires are measured due to its relationship with death,
which is its ultimate satisfaction. Lacan sees this as the defining factor behind the formation of the
self. I see this “jouissance” as what constitutes the self-preservation of the subject (ironically, I am
casting the market as the “subject” in this context) preventing it from being totally cannabalised by
power or Power, (in this context, in relation to the market, Power could be interpreted as
collectivism) a sort of living in “jouissance” right up to the moment of death, thus somehow imbuing
existence with a hyper real vitality that is circumscribed by its impending end thus making the fight
for its existence all the more urgent (i.e. why NPM and the concept of market-led economics is so
difficult to shift). I have just inadvertently described this “jouissance”-journey towards death as a
(Freudian) death drive. However, Lacan characterises this journey as not being driven towards death
but being driven by death. I recognise Lacan’s nuance as describing a foreknowledge of death and its
ultimate satisfaction and this foreknowledge being carried as a present-knowledge driving Lacan’s
(1998 [1975]) superego, which acts as a regulator of needs and desires and is also the inefficient
gatekeeper of “jouissance” towards its much-welcomed future satisfaction. This is applicable to the
market, as it is driven by its foreknowledge of loss as an intrinsic state of future satisfaction. Why
satisfaction? Satisfaction because the market knows that it has to make a loss (somewhere in its
playing fields) in order to register a profit, as it essentially lives in a binary existence between the
two, the one defining the other.
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