Book

Neoliberalism and Early Childhood Education: Markets, Imaginaries and Governance

Authors:
... Simultaneous to issues of ECT retention and attrition, there is growing concern that the agency of ECTs is being restricted due to neoliberal influences. Neoliberalism is evident in the increasing movement towards ECEC services being provided by private, often for-profit, corporations (Roberts-Holmes & Moss, 2021;Urban & Rubiano, 2014). This is particularly noticeable in the United Kingdom, the Americas, Asia, and Pacific nations, including Australia (Arndt et al., 2021;Chon, 2019;Lloyd & Penn, 2012;Penn, 2014;Sims, 2017). ...
... Reducing ECEC into a market-based logic reflects neoliberal concerns with economic wealth, whereby ECEC is regarded as an investment that can bring about high returns to the economy and society (Adriany, 2018;Lin & Jones, 2020). To secure such returns, scholars have noted increasing prescribed standards for teaching in ECEC and the reduction of teaching as a technical exercise (Moloney et al., 2019;Roberts-Holmes & Moss, 2021). Consequently, teachers' professional decision making is undermined (Osgood, 2006) and their agency is in tension with compliance (Rogers et al., 2020). ...
... Addressing the disjointed employment entitlements of ECTs requires the Australian Government to take responsibility for the sector, akin to public schools. ECEC as a public space opens opportunities for democracy, collaboration, and relationships built on trust (Roberts-Holmes & Moss, 2021). Within this space, ECTs may be able to recognise their agency and sustain their commitment to the profession. ...
Article
Full-text available
Issues of Early Childhood Teacher (ECT) shortages, recruitment, and retention are of concern in many nations, with ECT attrition being a contributing factor. Simultaneously, scholars argue that neoliberal influences are restricting the agency of ECTs. This article explores the relationship between ECT attrition and agency by re-examining narratives shared by four individuals who chose to leave early childhood teaching in Victoria, Australia. Through an analytical framework grounded in ecological systems, I delve into how agency was experienced in relation to the incidents that led participants to leave the profession at the individual, micro-, meso-, exo-, macro-, and chrono-systems. The findings suggest that upon entering the profession, participants had anticipated and found the need to advocate for their professional aspirations. Notably, their relationships with colleagues, particularly management and leadership, either afforded or constrained their agency. Other system factors influencing their agency, and reasons for leaving the profession, include the everyday busyness of teaching, educator-child ratios, and working conditions as defined by their employment entitlements. I argue that early childhood managers and leaders act as agency gatekeepers and concur with scholars who suggest a need to reimagine early childhood education and care as a public good, and to reconsider current hierarchical structures. This article aims to initiate further research concerned with the agency of ECTs and how they are or can be supported to not only remain but thrive within in the profession.
... At the moment, we seem very far from this vision. For example, Roberts-Holmes and Moss [43] discuss the impact of the neoliberal principles of competition, consumer choice and efficiency measures on the early childhood sector. Within this paradigm, political discourse avoids the topic of caring attitudes towards the young, old or vulnerable because it challenges the assumption of free, individual self-determination with its reminder of human frailties. ...
... As Rouse and Hadley [46] observe, neoliberal assumptions have been used to legitimise initiatives that promote 'school readiness', involving a shift towards education and an earlier introduction of formal learning at the expense of nurture. Early childhood is merely a transition stage enroute to the achievement of an identity as a 'self-mastering, self-interested and responsibilised subject' [43]. ...
... Despite this commitment to objectivity, his treatment of attachment assumed a narrow European/North American view of upbringing centring almost exclusively upon the conventional mother-child dyad and ignoring the role of alloparents. Similarly, the evidence of the benefits for children of love, care and play is mostly ignored by neoliberal governmentsin favour of a restrictive focus upon school-based competencies [43]. ...
Article
Full-text available
This paper places the pedagogies of love and care which typify the early years of practice in the context of evolution, arguing that, during an optimum window of development, young children are predisposed physiologically to benefit from the attention of multiple alloparents. This anthropological model of community stands in stark contrast to the individualistic and privatised notion of love in neoliberal cultures, indicating reasons why practitioners may be ambivalent about it. Moreover, it is argued that, whilst the notion of care is easily commoditised, the deeper concept of love, contextualised within wisdom and faith paths, is resistant to the money culture. In looking beyond neoliberalism at counter-cultural alternatives, alloparenting traditions suggest a way in which ECEC settings can establish themselves as models of social sustainability rooted in ‘philia’ and mutuality.
... Neoliberal imaginary and governance impacts education, outlining the possibilities of ECEC by offering specific images of the child, the educator, and the childcare centre while increasing standards of practice and regulation (Roberts-Holmes & Moss, 2021). As such, discourses of quality, assessments, school readiness, and interventions, among others, are deployed without a second thought (Roberts-Holmes & Moss, 2021). Subsequently, the educator utilizes prescribed practices preparing children to be school ready and eventually, a productive citizen applying their skills to secure economic prosperity for themselves and their country by providing a competitive advantage (Moss, 2019). ...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we, four students with diverse social locations, explore the development of preservice educators’ professional identities as political resisters. Through our experiences in an Ontario college, we found commonality in our emerging need to resist “alarming discourses” (Whitty et al., 2020, p. 8). By dissecting and analyzing the neoliberal narrative perpetuated by our educational institution, we refused the notion of being the good ECE (Langford, 2007). Rejecting the universalism and totalism of Western European curricular and pedagogical inheritances, we set out to create a space to embrace alternative narratives to critically question our role and the expectations of our profession in a neoliberal world. This space was used for ECEC advocacy and brought together our student community, creating an opportunity to mentor while fostering human connections from our stories. Through collaboration, we reaffirm the importance of building community and reciprocal mentorship for nurturing and developing political agency within our field. We are motivated to sustain this critical space, to serve as a place of resistance for other students who question “universal truths.” Education comes from more than the diploma received. Keywords: Early childhood educators, professional identity, resistance, student advocacy, post-secondary institutions, ethics of care
... Arguments for the provision of ECEC services might often be framed, therefore, within an equity agenda. But they can nonetheless be underpinned by the human capital model of early intervention that has become a global orthodoxy in education, and under which ECEC has been reduced to economic models of 'invest now, save later' (Campbell-Barr & Nygård, 2014;Moss, 2017;Moss et al., 2016;Roberts-Holmes & Moss, 2021). The use of the term 'global' signifies a trend towards a singular worldview on the social welfare function of ECEC services, embedded within which are limited (potentially even prescriptive) constructions of what ECEC services are for and what children should do within them. ...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The BERA Research Commission 2019–2020 sought to explore how the four nations of the UK negotiate the tensions, impacts and democratic alternatives perceived and experienced in early childhood education and care (ECEC) provision as consequences of the Global Education Reform Movement (GERM) (Sahlberg, 2012). The principal features of GERM have their roots in neoliberalism’s business and economic approach towards early childhood education. They are based upon strong neoliberal values and beliefs – namely competition, choice and calculation – and these have come to influence the ways in which we think about, talk about and do ECEC. Despite the powerful force of neoliberalism’s economistic values and beliefs, and its huge impact upon early childhood, this report discusses how it is resistible and is resisted, particularly in Wales and Scotland. This research commission responds to the concluding comments of the BERA–TACTYC review (2017, p. 119) concerning the lack of research into policy and the need to hear the ‘voices of members of the ECEC professional community […] in practitioner research, in independent academic research, and in critical analyses of policies and their effects’. Evidence from organisations representing the ECEC in the UK demonstrates the sector’s concerns, as well as signs of resistance and subversion. To capture local responses to concerns in the sector, the research team set up a series of one-day seminars in the four nations of the UK to debate key questions developed through discussions with local stakeholders. Local leads – Martina Street (Manchester), Shaddai Tembo (Paisley), Jane Waters-Davies (Swansea) and Glenda Walsh (Belfast) – played a central role in arranging venues, speakers and contact with delegates, with the support of the BERA office. Each event also benefited from the work of three early career researchers (ECRs): Katherine Gulliver, who supported each event; Nathan Archer in Paisley, Swansea and Belfast; Siew Fung Lee in Manchester. This final report describes the four events in more detail and summarises analyses of the focus groups, before concluding with some recommendations for next steps. The report also highlights research by an ECR whose work relates closely to the topic covered at each event. This research is captured in more depth in a series of posts written by the ECRs for the BERA Blog.
... Arguments for the provision of ECEC services might often be framed, therefore, within an equity agenda. But they can nonetheless be underpinned by the human capital model of early intervention that has become a global orthodoxy in education, and under which ECEC has been reduced to economic models of 'invest now, save later' (Campbell-Barr & Nygård, 2014;Moss, 2017;Moss et al., 2016;Roberts-Holmes & Moss, 2021). The use of the term 'global' signifies a trend towards a singular worldview on the social welfare function of ECEC services, embedded within which are limited (potentially even prescriptive) constructions of what ECEC services are for and what children should do within them. ...
Research
Full-text available
The BERA Research Commission 2019–2020 sought to explore how the four nations of the UK negotiate the tensions, impacts and democratic alternatives perceived and experienced in early childhood education and care (ECEC) provision as consequences of the Global Education Reform Movement (GERM) (Sahlberg, 2012). The principal features of GERM have their roots in neoliberalism’s business and economic approach towards early childhood education. They are based upon strong neoliberal values and beliefs – namely competition, choice and calculation – and these have come to influence the ways in which we think about, talk about and do ECEC. Despite the powerful force of neoliberalism’s economistic values and beliefs, and its huge impact upon early childhood, this report discusses how it is resistible and is resisted, particularly in Wales and Scotland. To capture local responses to concerns in the sector, the research team set up a series of one-day seminars in the four nations of the UK to debate key questions developed through discussions with local stakeholders. Local leads – Martina Street (Manchester), Shaddai Tembo (Paisley), Jane Waters-Davies (Swansea) and Glenda Walsh (Belfast) with the support of the BERA office. Each event also benefited from the work of three early career researchers: Katherine Gulliver, who supported each event; Nathan Archer in Paisley, Swansea and Belfast; Siew Fung Lee in Manchester.
... The growing vein of studies stressing the role of intelligence and parent ability as determining the educational outcomes of children (Marks & O'Connell, 2021) is but another example of the same sign of the times. The editors of this volume aptly point out how the individualisation of public responsibilities is typical for what has been labelled as the neoliberal era (Roberts-Holmes & Moss, 2021). The responsibilisation of parents seems to go hand in hand with a de-responsibilisation of the public domain. ...
... The 2). Their story existing as an ideology centred on the EYFS curriculum as one of lack, a reductive text whose image of the child is of a passive object (Robert-Holmes & Moss, 2021). In contrast, the alternative narrative(s) is a story of the 'rich' child coconstructing their learning (Ball, 2012;Dahlberg, Moss & Pence, 2013;Moss, 2018;Roberts-Holmes & Bradbury, 2016;Robert-Holmes & Moss, 2021), and although differing in degrees between themselves, the alternative narrative(s) exist more than the impoverished EYFS text in its neoliberal guise. ...
Article
Full-text available
The article is written in German (German abstract below). The thesis is that globally expanding practices of effective learning are incompatible with practices of music. The practice of effective learning makes the subject of music disappear. That is why music is in brackets in the title. The only thing that is learned is the practice of effective learning. This fact is made visible in the article by relating practices from a videotaped lesson and the result of an international discourse analysis on effective learning in an Analytical Short Film (ASF). What the Analytical Short Film shows is to be understood both as an articulation of a globally spreading practice and as an insight into it. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) Die These ist, dass global sich ausbreitende Praktiken effektiven Lernens unvereinbar mit Praktiken von Musik sind. Die Praxis effektiven Lernens lässt den Unterrichtsgegenstand Musik verschwinden. Darum steht im Titel die Musik in Klammern. Erlernt wird einzig die Praxis effektiven Lernens. Dieser Sachverhalt wird im Artikel sichtbar gemacht, indem Praktiken aus einer videografierten Stunde und das Ergebnis einer internationalen Diskursanalyse über effektives Lernen in einem Analytical Short Film (ASF) aufeinander bezogen werden. Was der Analytical Short Film zeigt, ist sowohl als Artikulation einer sich global ausbreitenden Praxis als auch als Einblick in diese zu verstehen.
Article
Previous research has shown that the importance of education for sustainability is acknowledged in Finnish early childhood education and care but not systematically put into practice. At present, curricula require considering social, cultural, economic and ecological sustainability in all activities. In this research, discourse analysis was used to examine Finnish personnel’s views on the ways in which social and cultural sustainability are taken into account and implemented in work with children. The participants consisted of 53 ECEC teams. The data were gathered through the Assessment tool for Promotion of Sustainability in ECEC (PROSUS). Based on the analysis, three constructions emerged which describe the sustainability work with children under 6 years old. Findings revealed the challenging nature of integrating social justice issues into pedagogy. The implications of this research point the necessity of strengthening personnel’s knowledge and understanding of social justice and emphasising children’s own agentative role in promoting sustainability work.
Article
Full-text available
Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC), like much of broader society, has entered the postdigital. The postdigital pertains to a moment in human history whereby practices and digital technologies are intertwined with the daily actions and interactions of people. As ECEC enters the postdigital, attention has been directed towards to understanding the implications of this particular social situation for young children’s learning and development. Drawing on sociomaterialism, contemporary explanations often describe the postdigital mostly in terms of children’s play as both ‘messy’ and ‘entangled’. This paper considers such descriptions a necessary starting point for further engaging with the implications of the postdigital for young children, their families and educators, including in terms of online safety, digital data privacy and protection, and the use of networked technologies by educators for supporting children’s learning. Drawing on the notion of modes of meaning-making from community of practices thinking (Wenger 1998) and aligning these with Jandrić's (2019) call for a collective intelligence for the postdigital through ‘we-act’, ‘we-learn’, and ‘we-think’, this paper proposes the examination of the contemporary literature concerning young children and digital technologies in terms of pedagogy, theory, and method. Three generations of research about young children and digital technologies are identified, leading to the current postdigital moment in time, in which pedagogy, theory and method suggest five new concepts for ECEC in the postdigital, these being convergence, subjectivities, social systems, networks and human experience. The deployment of these concepts in practice and research is examined, illustrating the emergence of a new collective intelligence for ECEC in the postdigital that remains responsive to the ongoing learning and developmental needs of young children over time.
Article
Full-text available
The early childhood workforce in England has experienced periods of policy attention and more recently policy neglect. During the past two decades (2000–2022) the extent of interest in workforce policy has fluctuated with episodes of investment followed by phases of disinvestment. Throughout this period, early childhood educators have been subjected to multiple, often conflicting and shifting demands upon them, which have evolved with varying political priorities. This paper builds on earlier analyses and exposes how neoliberal logic has been advanced in the intervening years and continues to permeate the terrain. Through a Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) of nine English early childhood workforce policies numerous, dominant, institutional discourses and reciprocal obligation are discerned. This analysis uncovers how policies of standard setting, credentialising and surveillance create discursive borders which are established and maintained to create the ‘ideal’ professional identities of early educators. It is contended that these conceptual and discursive borders delimit versions of professional identities and thereby curtail capacity to imagine and act beyond such boundaries. The paper concludes that identifying and naming these borders are important prerequisites for contestation of such institutional discourses and for asserting alternative subject positions.
Article
What are the concerns in the early childhood education and care sector about the global education reform movement? Dave Hancock summarises a recent report
At a time when national discourse in the USA centers the need for professionalization, regulation, and surveillance, this article emphasizes the ways in which neoliberal logics harm those working in early childhood education in the USA. While stakeholders at every level debate proposed solutions to the early childhood education crisis, largely related to furthering regulation, this article brings forward the voices of those doing the work and rejects the idea that neoliberal logics will lead us collectively away from a situation that they created. Guided by the tenets of critical qualitative inquiry, I use narrative inquiry to explore the stories of early childhood educators working in an underfunded, undervalued field. In this article, I highlight two resonant themes that spanned the participants’ narratives, which are related to the impacts of scarcity and surveillance in early childhood education spaces. Based on my findings, I make the claim that early childhood education professionals are strained by increased regulation and surveillance amidst an already toxic prevalence of scarcity of various forms, and that shifts to further regulate the field should consider the voices of the people working in these spaces.
Article
Full-text available
Teacher registration is increasingly utilised as a governance mechanism to audit teachers' work and drive professional practice. There is limited and mixed empirical evidence, however, as to whether registration drives teaching quality. Our study extends this limited empirical base by critically examining the policy trajectory in Australia to bring early childhood teachers into a uniform system of registration with primary and secondary teachers. Adopting a relatively novel methodology, the study intertwined a critical social policy framing with a national quantitative survey. Results showed that respondents perceived their professional self, followed by their workplace (colleagues and employer) as key influencers of quality practice, and neither agreed nor disagreed that teacher registration was beneficial. Findings problematise the need for, and benefits of, teacher registration. That early childhood teachers' practice and development was most driven by intrinsic motivation and, to a lesser extent, being employed in high-quality, not-for-profit, and preschool settings where other early childhood teachers are employed, suggests that more effective and progressive policy approaches to support quality early childhood education require an addressing of the contexts and conditions in which early childhood teachers work.
Article
Full-text available
This article examines the curriculum and pedagogies for ethical practice in a childcare centre in Vancouver, Canada. I draw on Smith’s new model of childhood to examine narratives and practices around the ‘responsible child’ in a context where child developmental theories continue to influence pedagogical decisions. I argue that the elevation of self-regulation strategies as a pedagogical approach narrows children’s sense of responsibility to a mere individual trait. In addition, it fails to cultivate children’s interdependence and multiple relationships with humans and more-than-human others. Self-regulation-centred pedagogies also reinforce neoliberal and colonial discourses of the child anchored in human exceptionality, choice, autonomy and rationality. This article proposes that pre-service and in-service early childhood education needs to support educators in doing the analytical, embodied and reflective work to shift from educational paradigms founded in neoliberal and colonial rationalities towards an ethic that acknowledges children and educators’ interdependence and that cultivates good relations with humans and more-than-human others.
Article
This article concerns itself with the potential for ateliers to disrupt conformist approaches to pedagogy in early childhood education and care. An illustration of the role of the atelier in amplifying the aesthetics of the experience of the educational project of Reggio Emilia illuminates how disruption of conformity can be activated through the pedagogical alliances that the atelier solicits, taking a broad view of such alliances to encompass correspondences between humans and materials. Insights are shared from a research project and installation, the Digital Investigations Atelier, a collaboration between academic-researchers and teacher-researchers who work with young children in a variety of education and care settings in Perth, Western Australia. Data that ‘glow’, which for some reason, possibly intangible, stood out, are shared to illuminate conceptual phases of aesthetics, alliances, and experimentation in the creation of the installation and its opening to visitors. The article contends that conventional pedagogies, those that yearn for the predictability of recipes by the minute and elevate neoliberalism’s longing for linearity, are devoid of aesthetics and experimentation, leaving little space for imagining correspondences. Instead, it is speculated that ateliers can be places of disruption, where pedagogical alliances can be re-imagined and remade through aesthetics and experimentation..
Chapter
Experiences at the beginning of life form the basis for funds of knowledge of the emergent learners. In playing, these earliest of years children are observing and investigating from what they find out for themselves, forming their own interpretation of the world which they experience. Even before speaking they begin communicating to others. Once they can talk, they will talk about what they do and ask questions. The majority of play activities, whether with everyday objects or human designed and constructed artifacts or toys, involve STEM actions which we seek to identify so that when formal learning is initiated such experiences, with particular reference to England.
Article
This paper interrogates the discourses of stunting in Indonesia and its links to early childhood education. Here, stunting is analysed via Foucault's work, with data stemming from a long‐term ethnography study and analysis of relevant policy documents in Indonesia. We argue the discourses of stunting have been regulating children, teachers and parents by acting as a form of biopower of governing rationalities. Focusing merely on the individual and nutrition aspects, the discourses overlook larger societal problems. In such a space, the children, teachers and parents become a site of the state's surveillance and are produced as docile bodies.
Article
Full-text available
Collaborative writing is well established in the humanities, but with little focus on how the writing relationship comes into being, including the power and relational dynamics at play. This is especially pertinent both when Black and “white” (sic) authors collaborate in writing about race, and in the process of writing collaborative autoethnographies. In this article the authors narrate, or rather “enact”, the movements of their coming together in order to write about race in the context of early learning and childcare. Linking their collaboration to the Deleuzian theory of becoming and Bakhtin’s dialogic imagination, they present a manifesto for anti-racist inquiry which decentres colonial tropes of individuation in favour of ‘staying with the trouble’ of identity and race. Throughout, they connect the inception of their research relationship to the politics of childhood and early years education in Scotland today.
Chapter
Full-text available
A partire da una elucidazione del rapporto tra pedagogia e politica, il contributo propone un'analisi dell'attuale rappresentazione dell'infanzia quale età della vita umana in cui investire economicamente ed educativamente per ottenere nel futuro un ritorno sull'investimento da un punto di vista economico, educativo, sociale e professionale. Tale rappresentazione, elaborata nell'ambito del discorso neoliberista, è alla base delle iniziative relative all'educazione dell'infanzia presenti nel PNRR. Tali iniziative vengono analizzate criticamente per proporre un superamento della visione privatistica d'infanzia ad esse sottese attraverso il ricorso alla pedagogia di Freire.
Article
The scientific and technological progress substantiates significant economic and social changes, and imposes specific requirements on the sphere of education, first and foremost, with regards to preparation of modern specialists. Actualization of such requirements is mediated by the state educational policy and corresponding administrative decisions and measures. The article examines the problems of Russian higher education in the context of proliferation of the ideas and practices of new public management (NPM). The theoretical framework of this research is comprised of the theory of human capital in its historical context and critical perspective. Special attention is given to the problem of adaptation of the sphere of education to the market economy and its values – competition, individualism, and social inequality. The scientific novelty lies in the fact that the theory of human capital is used for criticizing the methods and results of NPM in educational sphere. It is revealed that the effectiveness of education and its contribution to the economy remains low. The currently implemented model of public administration model in accordance with the concept of NPM has an ambiguous effect. On the one hand, the pursuit of making education open, modern, and economically justified; while on the other hand, the impact of noneconomic factors is neglected. The conclusion is made on the importance of the quality of administrative impact aimed at not only the output of education, but primarily, the development of human capital.
Article
Accepting that building a substantial preschool workforce can accelerate a nation’s transition to a knowledge society, China’s policy makers in 2010 announced that the size, qualifications and remuneration of the preschool teacher workforce would increase significantly by 2020. A body of literature has reported that the implementation of this policy has realised significant results. We adapt Marxist transition theory to ask how this success was realised and explain the sequence of steps taken to realise these advances. Data were collected following three timeframes based on national and local policy agenda. The participants included 24 preschool directors in 2012, 42 public servants in charge of local preschool management in 2016, and 7 public servants and 146 directors in 2019. We identify four steps in policy implementation and argue that the progress realised is largely due to the care with which the government has engaged its policy implementation strategy. This strategy has entailed identifying an overarching goal, undertaking a sequence of steps informed by experimentation, facts on the ground, listening to stakeholders and the resolute surmounting of interests that would restrain the reform process.
Article
Neoliberal thinking has increasingly shaped global and national policy incursions in early childhood education. Research has highlighted the power effects of such policies with consequences for pedagogy, provision and the professional identities of educators. Less well understood are educator responses to these policies. Whilst literature offers some exploration of resistance movements, little is known from empirical studies about how acts of resistance are enacted individually (and collectively) in the professional lives of early years educators. This article explores how English early childhood educators resist policy constructions of ideal professional identities. Using reconceptualized critical theory, this paper considers both neoliberal shaped demands on early educators and their resistance to these. Employing data from professional life story interviews (n = 16) by early educators in a range of contexts, narratives were constructed which document their responses to ECE policies. This paper draws on three of these narratives. A Critical Narrative Analysis reveals that educator resistances are not always large scale, collective or mobilized but are often expressed in atomized contexts through a dispersed network of actors. Individual responses included ‘micro resistances’ which were often local, quiet and invisible but multiple. The paper offers novel insights into c/overt resistances revealing educators’ complex, nuanced and subversive responses to discursive policy manoeuvres.
Article
Full-text available
There has been a re-politicisation of the professional identity of English Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) teachers following revisions to the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum. This move from play-based to more adult-directed teaching has been challenged by the sector. In an attempt to bring back the embodied nature of teaching this article turns to posthumanist and feminist materialist scholarship to articulate how place and space influence ECEC teachers’ perceptions of practice. It explores a field trip with ECEC student teachers to a nature reserve on the South Coast of England. We ‘walked-with’ each other to reimagine philosophical and policy expectations for teachers and children. During this trip we attended to the materialisation of place-space considering how social, cultural, and historical narratives entangle with, and impact on, perceptions of childhoods. These left ‘impressions’ on teachers’ bodies helping them reconsider their pedagogy with young children. The walkers developed their own understanding of the impact of place-space which, although materialised in the moment of the trip, resonated and connected to contemporary perspectives of young children. These moments provide sites to challenge existing policy and professional knowledge allowing for a more expansive view of posthuman post-professional ethical response-able practice.
Technical Report
Full-text available
This paper aims to stimulate policy debate by providing insights about what is known about auspice, or ownership, of child care services. It examines research and analysis associated with the challenges, impacts and risks of relying on market-driven, for-profit child care for achieving accessible, affordable, quality, inclusive, flexible and equitable provision of child care.
Article
Full-text available
The Author(s) 2021. Over the last 30 years, neo-liberalism has permeated early childhood, as all other aspects of life. Having introduced what neo-liberalism is, the article looks at some of its effects on early childhood education and care, including markets, imaginaries and governance. It argues that though neo-liberalism is a powerful force, it is resistible and replaceable – and that now is the time to be developing alternatives to existing policies, grounding them in ideas that contest neo-liberalism.
Article
Full-text available
This article examines how the policy of funded early years places for 'disadvantaged' 2-year-olds (FNP) in England reconfigures spaces within early childhood and care (ECEC) in new ways of working with young children. Using practitioners' interview data from early years settings in London, this article uses Foucauldian technologies of governmentality to shed light on how FNP responds to the problem of 'disadvantage' as new mobile modes of governance. The paper explores how practitioners reconfigure their established spaces to incorporate provision and practice suitable for 2-year-olds and the challenges practitioners face in implementing the policy. The analysis considers 'space as assemblage' by focusing on three key themes: dividing spaces through split rationality, dividing practices through othering and the reconfiguration of established ways of working. The themes trace how policy-driven technologies re-interpret ECEC in narrow and alternative ways by making a set of practices possible, engendering new pedagogical relationships. This article highlights the complex conditions of (im)possibility for 'doing' ECEC under austerity. When viewed in the broader context, policy reforms are increasingly reaching into ECEC as strategic spaces for new modes of governing, sustained by a global agenda in neoliberal education reforms.
Article
Full-text available
The Covid-19 crisis means that young children have had prolonged absence from nurseries, and lost the chance to interact with their peers. As Shadow Schools Minister Margaret Greenwood has told the Government, ‘Some will have lost parents, grandparents or other family members, while others will have simply struggled, like millions of others across the UK, with living in lockdown, unable to play with their friends’. This means that early years teachers and care workers need to focus even more than usual on children’s well-being and mental health. We argue that the DFE’s latest iteration of Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) is an unnecessary distraction at a time like this. Fortunately, the DFE has taken on board our concerns and those of others and has just announced that the RBA’s introduction is to be postponed for a year.
Article
Full-text available
Neoliberal policy technologies are spreading across the globe. Most go unrecognised and unopposed, but in some cases, they have provoked reactions and movements that reject or resist them. In this article we focus on one such movement of resistance, consisting of a network of families (the ‘opt out’ movement) that is boycotting the Standard Assessment Tests of primary education in Catalonia. We draw on exploratory research based on in-depth interviews with six of these families, as well as a review of articles, websites and documents produced by or about the movement. The participation of these families is examined in the light of Foucault’s notion of resistance in two different respects: resistance as a ‘tactical reversal’ and refusal as an ‘aesthetics of existence’. We begin with an outline of the global ideological context in which the Standard Assessment Tests are set, and then examine the background to the opt out movement’s resistance to the Standard Assessment Tests in Catalonia. This is followed by a Foucauldian analysis of this resistance, and then a description of the methodology used and the families interviewed. We make no significant empirical claims in the paper but rather seek to theorise certain paradoxes and tensions in relation to opting out and end with some remarks on the significance of the movement.
Presentation
Full-text available
There has been a fundamental shift in school governance in England, triggered by the rapid expansion of academies since 2010, which means nearly half the pupils in statemaintained schools no longer have a governing body as the legal decision making forum for their school. Instead, schools becoming academies have been formed into companies, limited by guarantee, working in a direct relationship with central government. Furthermore, the majority of academies are now in multi-academy trusts (MATs) which are multi-school organisations with one board of trustees. School governors typically now only have delegated tasks and responsibilities, with accountability having now been transferred to the trust which runs the MAT. The research reported here is drawn from interviews conducted with senior executives of MATs during the calendar years of 2017 and 2018. A key part of each interview was to examine the way in which governors were contributing across the trust. The data generally demonstrated schemes of delegation that allow individual schools to continue to have governance at the institutional level, albeit without the previous legitimatised power and accountability. The investigation did reveal some alarming aspects of school governance within trusts, however, which have the potential to allow behaviour that is illegitimate or immoral.
Article
Full-text available
This paper aims to explore how kindergartens in Indonesia become a space to negotiate local and global discourses. Informed by postcolonial theories, it seeks to identify a hybrid space that goes beyond the binary between South and North. Based on fieldwork in three different kindergartens in Indonesia, this paper illuminate different forms of negotiation adopted by the kindergartens. Two most pervasive global discourses found are related with child-centredness and neoliberalism. The kindergartens negotiate these discourses through a social aspiration, character building, and religious values discourses. The finding suggests how juxtaposed ideas continue to intersect with one another ECE.
Article
Full-text available
Policy makers are challenged to improve educational outcomes, manage scarce resources and secure public acceptance of their initiatives to provide quality, relevant and effective education. In making decisions they are pulled between competing ideologies about the process and purposes of schooling. This paper explores these ideologies and suggests tensions between them. The paper also suggests a way forward for those seeking to established evidence based, context sensitive policies and practices.
Article
Full-text available
Schooling and education are becoming increasingly globalized, and the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) has become the prime driver for global educational governance. PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) and its focus on league tables, country rankings and its celebration of "winners"; successful learners, successful schools and successful education systems influence educational debates and educational policy at a global scale. This essay presents details of the development of PISA and critical points of two categories. The first critique relates to the PISA project as such. These problems are inherent in the PISA undertaking, and hence cannot be “fixed”. The main point here is that PISA assumes that the quality of a nation's education system can be reduced to a single, universal and global metric – independent of that nation's history and culture, values and ideals underpinning the school system. The second category of critical points relates to some surprising and problematic results that emerge from analysis of PISA data: It seems that pupils in high-scoring countries also develop the most negative attitudes to the subject. It also seems that PISA scores are unrelated to educational resources, funding, class size, teaching time etc. PISA scores are also negatively related to the use of active teaching methods, inquiry based instruction and the use of ICT (Information and Communication Technology). Whether one "believes in PISA" or not, such problematic and challenging results need to be discussed. The essay ends by more directly addressing PISA as an instrument for governance: how the OECD through PISA and PISA-related projects globally exert power and influence on educational debates, policy and governance. The most important influence is the implicit epistemic governance: how PISA redefines and narrows the meaning and value of education.
Article
Full-text available
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has unveiled plans to move into the field of early childhood education through the introduction of the International Early Learning Study (IELS), a new comparative test of five-year olds that is being piloted in three nations. This article explores the dynamics of this new project and serves three purposes. First, we situate IELS within the OECD’s broader agenda in education governance, and with regard to its existing comparative assessments, namely the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Second, we identify the main commentaries and critiques of the OECD’s activity and assessments, specifically relating to PISA. In the concluding section we anticipate a possible future when such tests are established in the early childhood education sector and reflect on its possible impact. We argue that the advent of comparative testing of five-year olds heralds an attempt to introduce a new paradigm for early childhood education, one which stresses cognitive skills and children’s role as future sources of human capital.
Article
Full-text available
This report analyses how schools in England have interpreted and begun to respond to the government’s ‘self-improving school-led system’ (SISS) policy agenda, an overarching narrative for schools policy since 2010 that encompasses an ensemble of reforms including academies, multi-academy trusts (MATs) and Teaching School Alliances (TSAs). Based on a large-scale, four-year, mixed-methods study, the report asks whether or not the models of co-ordination and school support emerging locally since 2010 represent a genuine basis for an equitable and inclusive ‘school-led’ system. It explores the factors that support and hinder such developments as well as the implications for schools and school leadership. The analysis draws on governance theory to evaluate the reforms, which are conceived as an attempt to mix and re-balance three overlapping approaches to co-ordinating the school system: hierarchy, markets and networks. This shows that while one popular interpretation of the SISS agenda is that it requires inter-school partnerships to ‘self-organize’ their own ‘school-led’ improvement, this is in fact a partial account that underplays the dominant influences of hierarchical and market mechanisms on the thinking and actions of schools and school leaders and the networks they are developing. The report includes important new empirical findings, for example on the impact of MATs of different sizes and on the relationship between Ofsted inspection outcomes and levels of socio-economic stratification between schools. It also combines the perspectives of multiple case study schools across four different localities to provide rich insights into leadership decision-making and agency in the context of local status hierarchies and rapid policy-driven change. As a result, while focusing on changes in England, it provides a unique set of insights into how different governance regimes interact across different local contexts to influence patterns of schooling and school-to-school collaboration – insights that will have relevance for research and practice on school system governance more widely.
Article
Full-text available
This paper considers neoliberalism, not only as a set of economic principles, but as a form of governance with political and social consequences. It argues for considering neoliberalism as that which produces subjects, ways of behaving, and organization of social and economic life. It then relates such consideration to the analysis of early childhood discourses on fun and happiness and how these discourses might sustain possibilities for the creation of neoliberal subjects.
Article
Full-text available
The Global Education Reform Movement (GERM) is expanding internationally and reaching countries that seemed to be immune to this education reform approach until quite recently. Accordingly, more and more educational systems in the world are articulated around three main policy principles: accountability, standards and decentralisation. National large-scale assessments (NLSAs) are a core component of the GERM; these assessments are increasingly used for accountability purposes as well as to ensure that schools achieve and promote centrally defined and evaluable learning standards. In this paper, we explore these trends on the basis of a new and original database on NLSAs, as well as on data coming from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) questionnaires. In the paper we also discuss how different theories on policy dissemination/globalisation explain the international spread of NLSAs and test-based accountability worldwide, and reflect on the potential of a political sociology approach to analyse this globalising phenomenon.
Article
Full-text available
Purpose The aim is to investigate the (1) longitudinal development in mental ill-health and wellbeing from ages 11 to 14, (2) predictors of changes in mental health outcomes, and (3) sex and reporter differences. Method Data are taken from 9553 participants in the Millennium Cohort Study, with both mental ill-health (parent- and self-report) and wellbeing outcomes of the cohort members measured at ages 11 and 14. A range of childhood socio-demographic, human capital, family and wider environment risk and protective factors are investigated. Results Wellbeing has weak stability and mental ill-health has moderate stability between ages 11 and 14 and large sex differences emerge in all the mental health outcomes investigated, with girls experiencing lower wellbeing and greater symptoms of mental illness at age 14. Raw associations between outcomes, and differences in their predictors, indicate varying patterns emerging for parent- and self-reported mental ill-health, with parent-reported symptoms in childhood a poor predictor of both self-reported wellbeing and depressive symptoms in adolescence. Investigating the emergent sex differences in prevalences highlights childhood risk and protective factors at this age that are more salient in females, including family income, school connectedness, cognitive ability, whereas peer relationships and bullying were equally relevant for mental health development in both males and females. Conclusion Low–moderate stability of mental health outcomes stresses the importance of the transition period for mental health, highlighting an intervention window at these ages for prevention. Socio-economic status is associated with mental health development in females but not in males at this age, highlighting a sex-specific vulnerability of deprivation associated with poorer mental health in adolescent females.
Article
Full-text available
Juxtaposed with the emerging body of literature about datafication in schooling, this paper examines the increasing encroachment of data into the Japanese education system, in particular, the use of data associated with standardised academic assessments for governance purposes. In so doing, we use the Japanese ‘case’ to expose the possible limits of the existing English-language scholarship on this phenomenon. By providing a contextualised, descriptive account of how data is incorporated into the three layers of Japanese education bureaucracy (municipal, prefectural, national), we call into question the assumed universality of datafication in schooling and its effect as proffered by Anglo-American education policy scholars. Using the Japanese case, the study elucidates the ways in which the particular policy context of the Anglo-American countries, where datafication has been extensively studied, sets certain limits on the existing discussion and leaves underexplored certain questions that might be more relevant to countries and regions beyond Anglo-American education policy contexts.
Article
Full-text available
To cope with a low birth rate and an aging population, some East Asian countries have actively reformed their care systems for children and older people by adopting policies for the marketization of care services. This research aims to explore the recent implementation of marketization of childcare and elderly care services by the South Korean government, and to examine the outcomes of the implementation of such policies. Owing to the marketization of services, a number of positive and challenging results have been reported. Similarities and differences have appeared in the processes and outcomes of the marketization of care between child and elderly services.
Article
Full-text available
Education policy increasingly takes place across borders and sectors, involving a variety of both human and nonhuman actors. This comparative policy paper traces the ‘policy mobilities,’ ‘fast policy’ processes and distributed ‘policy assemblages’ that have led to the introduction of new computer programming practices into schools and curricula in England, Sweden and Australia. Across the three contexts, government advisors and ministers, venture capital firms, think tanks and philanthropic foundations, non-profit organizations and commercial companies alike have promoted computer programming in schools according to a variety of purposes, aspirations, and commitments. This paper maps and traces the evolution of the organizational networks in each country in order to provide a comparative analysis of computing in schools as an exemplar of accelerated, transnationalizing policy mobility. The analysis demonstrates how computing in schools policy has been assembled through considerable effort to create alignments between diverse actors, the production and circulation of material objects, significant cross-border movement of ideas, people and devices, and the creation of strategic partnerships between government centres and commercial vendors. Computing in schools exemplifies how modern education policy and governance is accomplished through sprawling assemblages of actors, events, materials, money and technologies that move across social, governmental and geographical boundaries.
Article
This report details fndings from a research study which explored headteachers’ views on the statutory assessments taken at the end of primary school, known as SATs. Data were collected through an online survey of headteachers with 288 respondents and in-depth interviews with 20 headteachers during March-June 2019. The key fndings are: 1. Primary headteachers in England view Key Stage 2 SATs as having a largely negative impact on the staff and pupils in their schools. 2. Headteachers’ concerns about SATs mainly relate to the high stakes they have for the school. This results in the need for Year 6 and in some cases the entire school to be organised in ways which maximise test scores, with effects on pupils, staff and headteachers. The impact of SATs is felt through a range of approaches to preparing for SATs. Many areas of school life are affected, including the curriculum, grouping and intervention strategies, provision of out-of-hours and holiday revision, and allocation of teachers and teaching assistants. 4. The approach taken to preparation varies in intensity, depending on factors such as the school’s previous results and Ofsted grade, position in the process of academisation, the attitude of parents and the size of the school. The differences in approach cast doubt on the operation of SATs as a ‘standardised’ test that can be reliably used to compare schools’ performance. As one headteacher commented, ‘It’s comparing who games best not who teaches best’.. Headteachers are concerned about the impact on children: 83% agree that ‘SATs have a negative impact on pupils’ wellbeing’. The main concerns relate to stress and anxiety, and the impact on pupils with SEND and those seen as ‘vulnerable’. Schools employ various techniques to help children manage and reduce the stress of SATs. 6. There are also serious concerns about the impact on staff: 99% of the survey respondents agreed that ‘SATs put pressure on teachers’, and 92% agreed that ‘SATs have a negative impact on teachers’ well-being’. The role of the Year 6 teacher has acquired increased signifcance and is prioritised in staff allocation. Headteachers themselves experience stress and anxiety related to SATs, particularly related to the possibility of losing their jobs if results go down. A considerable amount of headteachers’ time is taken up in supporting SATs preparation and making decisions based on the prioritisation of SATs results. 8. Recent changes to SATs are also seen negatively: 91% of survey respondents answered No to the question ‘In your view, have the changes made to the content of Key Stage 2 SATs in recent years improved the assessment?’. The division of children into those reaching an ‘expected level’, and those not, is seen as problematic, and the revised papers are seen as inappropriate by some. The additions to the assessment framework introduced in 2019 (the Multiplication Tables Check) and planned for 2020 (Reception Baseline Assessment) are seen by many headteachers as unnecessary, inaccurate and potentially damaging. 10. Many headteachers particularly object to the ways in which SATs results are used in a high stakes system of accountability through their links to Ofsted ratings and the negative comparisons they generate with other schools, as well as their impact on the children. As one commented, ‘There must be a better way to do it’. 11. Many headteachers accept some form of accountability is appropriate but would prefer more nuanced and complex systems of measuring their success which take into account schools’ different contexts and create less pressure than one week of tests. Many suggest using teacher assessment, either alone or alongside standardised assessments. 12. This research suggests SATs have farreaching and distorting effects on school organisation and the curriculum. As one headteacher put it, ‘With high stakes testing, the whole of the school’s activity is based around passing tests’.
Article
Surveys have revealed that teachers in England work far longer hours than their international counterparts, causing serious concern amongst both policymakers and the profession. Despite this, surprisingly little is known about the structure of and changes to teachers’ working hours. We address this gap in the evidence base by analysing four different datasets. Working hours remain high: a quarter of teachers work more than 60 hours per week during term time, 40% report that they usually work in the evening and around 10% during the weekend. However, contrary to current narratives, we do not find evidence that average working hours have increased. Indeed, we find no notable change in total hours worked over the last twenty years, no notable change in the incidence of work during evenings and weekends over a fifteen year period and no notable change in time spent on specific tasks over the last five years. The results suggests that policy initiatives have so far failed to reduce teachers’ working hours and that more radical action may need to be taken in order to fix this problem.
Article
The article analyses a market-based approach to early childhood education (ECE) provision and the growth of for-profit ECE provision, evidence about ‘quality’ and accessibility, and problems occurring when a need for private profit conflicts with the best interests of families and children. The issue of for-profit provision is set within the context of international developments and solutions in Europe, UK, US and Canada. Immediate steps that might be taken for a democratic system of community-based and public early childhood education in Aotearoa New Zealand are pinpointed. Overall, the article offers possibilities for asserting democratic values as a way towards alternatives in Aotearoa New Zealand’s early childhood education provision.
Article
Global education agendas frequently draw on the construct of ‘school readiness’, indexing the developmental trajectories of children to the expectations of school systems. Through in-depth ethnographic research in a village in Bihar, India, this paper examines how normative discourses of ‘school readiness’ govern family strategies for early childhood care and education (ECCE). To navigate the demandsof a competitive and socially stratified school system, marginalised families saw it as crucial for their young children to access multiple forms of educational capital: written literacy, discipline, and dominant caste-class codes. In the absence of functioning provision of ECCE by the state, the low-fee and low-quality private market of early childhood education was seen as a key site through which ‘school readiness’ could be secured. The paper illustrates how normative developmentalism in education, and the ‘hegemonic aspirations’ it enshrines, has entrenched the marketisation of ECCE and reinscribed forms of caste-class domination.
Article
Building on the work of others, this article sketches out what a Foucauldian ‘education’ might look like in practice, considers some of the challenges, paradoxes and (im)possibilities with which such an ‘education’ would face us, and indicates some of the cherished conceits and reiterated necessities that we must give up if we take seriously the need for an education that fosters an orientation to critique and curiosity. Three elements of Foucault’s ‘philosophical ethos’ that might be translated into educational practices are addressed: first, fostering a learning environment that encourages experimentation; second, enabling the development of an awareness of one’s current condition as defined and constructed by the given culture and historical moment; and, third, encouraging an attitude or disposition to critique – a focus on the production of particular sorts of dispositions that would be valued and fostered. All of this raises issues about ‘the teacher’.
Article
Marketised and privatised early childhood education and care systems are associated with increasing social stratification and elite formation affecting provision. Evidence from several EU and OECD member states illustrates public policies and strategies aimed at mitigating these dynamics. Practical solutions to such risks appear founded in transparent values and principles, agreed in national debates involving a wide range of stakeholders. Such a foundation can be found in alternative conceptual frameworks developed by Moss (2014) and Tronto (2013) which reimagine more equitable early childhood systems. Emerging evidence suggests that certain childcare business governance structures reflecting clearly articulated values and principles may also mitigate childcare market risks. Achieving transformative system change nevertheless remains challenging within rapidly changing policy environments.
Article
A longstanding problem in the teacher workforce, internationally and in the UK, is the continuing and substantial numbers of qualified teachers who leave the profession within five years. This paper uses data collected from a survey to the last five years of teacher education graduates of UCL Institute of Education (IOE) in London, to explore what originally motivated them to teach, and the reasons why they have left or may consider leaving in the future. We discovered that despite claiming to be aware of the challenges of workload before entering teaching, workload was the most frequently cited reason for having left, or for leaving in the future. The data spoke to the reality of teaching being worse than expected, and the nature (rather than the quantity) of the workload, linked to notions of performativity and accountability, being a crucial factor. This paper draws on a substantial new source of data and explores reasons for leaving in the context of reported initial motivation of individuals who have left teaching, individuals who are planning to leave and individuals who are planning to stay in teaching.
Article
After criticising the solutionist drift, this article argues for the need for three gestures, in order to build a more problematised Comparative Education: estrangement, that is, the ability to see the unknown and therefore to distance ourselves from what is already known; intercession, that is, the ability to perceive the importance of mediators; communication, that is, the ability to work in common with others, from different positions and perspectives. Based on these three gestures, the article argues for a Comparative Education that seeks to develop three lines of work: to build a science of difference, rather than a ‘solution’ that tends to homogenise educational directions throughout the world; to strengthen the public space, instead of contributing to the authority of experts; to revitalise the common, instead of yielding to the current fragmentation, in which we interact only with what is similar to us. The arguments are not limited to Southern Europe, as they intend to open up a set of general questions about the meaning of comparative work in education.
This colloquium argues that writings on leadership in the early years commonly assume a service ethos. The aim of nurseries and other early childhood settings is to provide a service for children and their parents, and the task of leadership is seen to be to find effective ways of defining and realizing this aim. But increasingly, and especially in English-speaking countries, early years childcare and education is viewed as an industry, as a specialized and speculative business. This has had major repercussions for the operation of services, especially in England where the various intermediary levels between individual nurseries and national or state policies, which have provided opportunities for discussion and exchange of practice, and a basis for negotiated standards for leadership, have been stripped out. Processes for accountability are badly eroded. Concepts of leadership are necessarily contextual.
Book
The Datafication of Primary and Early Years Education explores and critically analyses the growing dominance of data in schools and early childhood education settings. Recognising the shift in practice and priorities towards the production and analysis of attainment data that are compared locally, nationally and internationally, this important book explores the role and impact of digital data in the ‘data-obsessed’ school. Through insightful case studies the book critiques policy priorities which facilitate and demand the use of attainment data, within a neoliberal education system which is already heavily focused on assessment and accountability. Using an approach influenced by policy sociology and post-foundational frameworks, the book considers how data are productive of data-driven teacher and child subjectivities. The text explores how data have become an important part of making teachers’ work visible within systems which are both disciplinary and controlling, while often reducing the complexity of children’s learning to single numbers. Key ideas covered include: • The impact of data on the individual teacher and their pedagogical practice, particularly in play-based early years classrooms • The problems of collecting data through assessment of young children • How schools respond to increased pressure to produce the ‘right’ data - or how they ‘play with numbers’ • How data affect children and teachers’ identities • International governance and data comparison, including international comparison of young children’s attainment • Private sector involvement in data processing and analysis The Datafication of Primary and Early Years Education offers a unique insight into the links between data, policy and practice and is a crucial read for all interested in the ways in which data are affecting teachers, practitioners and children.
Since the 1990s, neo-liberal economics has profoundly altered the nature and delivery of early childhood education and care in both Australia and New Zealand through the creation of childcare markets. Accompanying the rise of the market has been a discourse of childcare as a commodity – a commodity marketed and sold to its consumers (read parents) as a private benefit. The stratifying impact of neo-liberalism in education policy has been argued by numerous scholars of education. Arguably, in both Australia and New Zealand, early childhood education and care is more commodified and subject to the market than any other area of education. Thus, the authors consider whether early childhood education and care has shifted away from being understood as a social good, a site for social cohesion and democratic practice – all of which the authors consider to be implicated in a conceptualisation of belonging appropriate to the project of early childhood education and care. This article considers the impact of neo-liberal policies on early childhood education and care in Australia and New Zealand, especially in relation to understandings and manifestations of ‘belonging’. The authors trace the impact of neo-liberalism in early childhood education and care policy and examine the ways in which the discourse of early childhood education and care provision has changed, both in policy and in how the market makes its appeal to parents as consumers. The authors argue that appeals to narrowly defined, individualised self-interest and advancement threaten understandings of belonging based on social solidarity and interdependence.
Article
This paper resists normative definitions of ‘creativity’ to argue that the concept is constructed by neoliberal discourses in education policy. The analysis is firstly centred on the Australian context, and this is further informed and complimented by a global perspective. Focusing on two pivotal policies, The Melbourne Declaration of Educational Goals for Young Australians and PISA 2012 Results: Creative Problem Solving, the paper argues that universal versions of creativity, such as those that align the concept with problem-solving or design endeavour, are a product of market logic. Using Foucault’s concept of homo economius, it traces how creativity is subsumed into discourses of workplace readiness and rapidly changing environments, and proceeds to identify how select and partial discourses of the concept, such as creativity as instrumental and determinable are supported, while there is a silence around alternative conceptualisations. The paper concludes with a discussion on how the discursive positioning of creativity by neoliberal themes and formations brings about real effects: certain work practices are valued more than others and particular student and teacher subjectivities are endorsed or demoted ‘in the name of’ creativity.
Article
Educationalists have been concerned with the labelling and treatment of children with mental health difficulties in the education system in England for some time. These concerns have centred on the role of policy in ‘othering’ such students as deviant learners. The unprecedented number of children suffering from mental illnesses, has forced policymakers to address children’s mental health difficulties. This has involved the identification of a sub-set of the school population experiencing ‘less-severe’ mental health issues, to be addressed through a suite of policy interventions delivered by whole-school approaches, but targeted towards children situated as mentally ‘weak’. Drawing upon a Foucauldian theory of governmentality that addresses children’s behavioural motivations, an in-depth analysis of a number of educational policy initiatives related to mental health is conducted, that it is argued are fundamentally flawed. This analysis is followed by a discussion of the performative culture of High Stakes Testing in contributing to children’s mental health difficulties. Here it is argued that a narrative of mental weakness serves to justify a neoliberal rationality towards the treatment of children for whom the performative logic assumed to motivate all learners, fails.
Book
Addresses what educators, young people, and concerned citizens can do to reclaim higher education from market-driven neoliberal ideologies.
Book
Undoing democracy : neoliberalism's remaking of state and subject -- Foucault's birth of biopolitics lectures : the distinctiveness of neoliberal rationality -- Revising Foucault : homo politicus and homo oeconomicus -- Disseminating neoliberal rationality I : governance, benchmarks and best practices -- Disseminating neoliberal rationality II : law and legal reason -- Disseminating neoliberal rationality III : higher education and the abandonment of citizenship -- Losing bare democracy and the inversion of freedom into sacrifice.
Article
St. Pierre examines poststructuralism by investigating the following terms: language; discourse; rationality; power, resistance, and freedom; knowledge and truth; and the subject. While understanding that terms like "poststructuralism" and "humanism" have no stable meanings, she distinguishes these two strands of thought. In general, humanism looks for the essence of a concept. Poststructuralism, however, notes that such a search inevitibly reinscribes power relations by fixing on one particular meaning rather than looking at how the concept works. It seeks to question the foundations that support many assumptions that support much of contemporary thought. For example, humanism bases its thought on the use of reason. While poststructuralism does not reject reason entirely, it does does recognize that reason is neither transcendent nor absolute. She also explores poststructuralism's relationship with feminism, which she believes is positive. Poststructuralism can complement feminism by questioning the basis for structures that dominate and marginalize women.
Book
This book tells the story of Sure Start, one of the flagship programmes of the last government. It tells how Sure Start was set up, the numerous changes it went through, and how it has changed the landscape of services for all young children in England. Offering insight into the key debates on services for young children, as well as how decisions are made in a highly political context, it will be of keen interest to policy academics, senior managers of public services and all those with a keen interest in developing services for young children.
Book
An examination of the spread, use, and recurrent dysfunctions of attempts to replace judgement based upon experience and talent with standardized measures of human performance, and to reward or punish that performance through remuneration, ratings and rankings. Also includes a checklist of how to combine metrics with judgement.
Book
Since the second edition of this book, the education debate has fiercened. Education policy must ensure economic productivity and competitiveness, but in recent years, debates about its contribution to the worsening of social inequality, particularly in relation to grammar schools, have become increasingly divisive. Ever-changing, stuttering policy can make this a field that’s hard to keep track of… a problem that this book solves. Along with extensive updates, this third edition includes a new introduction and updated examples and references throughout. Ball examines new areas of focus, including the emphasis on neuroscience, the increased interest of business in education and the impact of austerity and precarity. Unlike so many other books on education policy, The education debate doesn’t simply describe education policy, but captures key debates and themes in this fast-changing field.