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Marketisation Of Education. Is education now simply a system of franchises? Is our education system, a system of Kentucky Fried Education' Hargreaves (1989)?. Marketisation Of Education. Since the late 1980’s there has been a move towards using the principles of ‘the market’ in education.

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marketisation of education
Marketisation Of Education

Is education now simply a system of franchises?

Is our education system, a system of Kentucky Fried Education' Hargreaves (1989)?

marketisation of education2
Marketisation Of Education

Since the late 1980’s there has been a move towards using the principles of ‘the market’ in education


Marketisation Of Education

Market Principles

1. Increase competition between education suppliers.

2. Give customers product choice.

3. Regulate the product.

4. ‘Bad’ product will be eliminated by the market.

5. Result: greater efficiency and improved product and customer satisfaction.


Marketisation Of Education

1988 Education Act

As already outlined this act brought in the National Curriculum but it also brought in supply and demand factors


Marketisation Of Education

The end of catchment areas

Before 1988 parents sent their kids to the school allocated to their area.

After 1988 they could now choose where to go

Catchment areas still exist but this has increased competition between schools to attract students

Glossy brochures, publication of league tables, open days etc all adds to this


Marketisation Of Education

Introduced by the 1992 Education Act

Central school inspection organisation

Looks at the quality of teaching within schools

Publishes a report and sets out improvements


Educational Triage – The A-C Economy –

Gillborn and Youdell 2004

  • Schools categorise students according to the 3 categories on the right.
  • The grades A-C at GCSE are seen as the important focus for schools and time effort and energy is aimed at those students having the potential to get 5 GCSE’s at grades A-C

Will Bartlet 1993 Competition and selection

Schools arew under pressure to select more able (mainly MC students)

A good league position helps attract more good students

Cream skimming – means selecting higher ability students who gain the best results and cost less – Grammar schools like Churston are often labelled as ‘cream skimmers’

Silt Shifitng – off loading students with learning difficulties as they are expensive and get poor results


Parentocracy – David 1993

Rise of parent power

Parents have power to send their kids to the school of their choice

Parents have voting rights as governors

However the capacity to exercise choice is limited by social class both on the grounds of economic and cultural capital.

Fulcher & Scott say that in a parentocracy :-

Resources + Preferences = Choice

marketisation of education14
Marketisation Of Education
  • Criticisms Of Marketisation
  • Image becomes more important than substance, schools have to 'sell themselves'.
  • Educational resources are used for promotional campaigns. If education is a business, then we know what happens to less ‘successful’ products and underused and uneconomic factories.
  • A ‘top’ school can only stay on top if the product commands demand.
  • Successful schools will select those pupils who are most likely to achieve academic success and so further enhance the reputation of the schools and attract more pupils and more resources.
  • But what about those schools faced by the reverse spiral of fewer pupils, fewer resources, worse results? Source

Myth Of Parentocracy

  • Stephen Ball 1994
  • Marketisation appears to create a parentocracy i.e it gives parents free choice
  • But – it is a myth
  • All parents do not have the same freedom to choose where their children go to school

Myth Of Parentocracy

Sharon Gerwitz 1995

  • MC parents have more economic and cultural capital than wc parents and can take advantage of the choices available
  • They can afford bus fares to send them across town to ‘better’ schools
  • They move into catchment areas of ‘good’ schools
  • They attend church just to get their children into ‘good’ church schools
  • Consequently the cultural reproduction continues

New Labour Policies Since 1997

Reducing Inequality

  • Labour policies in this area include:
  • Education Action Zones – identifying deprived areas and providing more resources to help deal with problems
  • EMA (Educational Maintenace Allowance) payments to students from low income backgrounds to help them to stay on post 16
  • Proposal to raise school leaving to 18 by 2015
  • National literacy and numeracy programmes

New Labour Policies Since 1997

Promoting Diversity And Choice

  • Labour policies in this area include:
  • Secondary schools have been encouraged to apply for specialist status (85% of secondary schools now have this)
  • Academies have been introduced (200 planned by 2010)
  • Many of these were poor achieving Comprehensive schools. The idea has been to raise standards - the response has been mixed so far.


New Labour Policies Since 1997


  • Some see Post modern tendencies with trying to introduce a variety of school types but believe inequality has still not been addressed
  • Whitty 2002 sees EMA’s helping to keep WC students on at school post 16 but HE fees stop them going further
  • Selective schools and fee paying schools still exist – how can equality occur when they continue
  • Marketisation glosses over the underlying issues of inequality