Educational Policy and Practice - Comp. Q.

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What is Educational Policy?

"A bit like an elephant - know it when you see it   

but it's hard to describe." (Cunningham, '63).

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Policy is:

  • a plan of action.
  • used by government and political parties to influence.
  • dynamic and value-laden.
  • a process which a political system handles a public problem.

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"Educational policy-making has become highly politicised."

(Olssen et al, 2004).

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Why is policy important?

critique of education.
~ informed judgements.
~ professional engagement.
values.
opinions.
ideas.

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Dynamic Policy

  • conflict between policy makers and policy implementers.
  • interpreted differently through different levels (FILTER).
  • policy is complex to put into practice.
  • policy itself can be complex to understand what it's saying.
  • after filtered down, the outcome of the policy is different from the intentions.

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"Policy is both text and action... it is what is enacted and intended."

Bell, 1994.

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Models of Policy Making

Top/Down -> made at high level and carried out by schools. No feedback from implementors.                        Clear and stable objectives. Solid outcomes which are not symbolic. (i.e. see the                      results).

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Bottom/Up -> starts in the classroom and slowly becomes policy. Relies on supportive

                    management structures to support their staff.

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Directed Collegiality/Change Sandwich -> a mix of top/down and bottom/up. Feedback and

                                                            discussion at all levels required.

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AiFL - ££££'s spent on it but not alot of change.

Good example of top/down and change sandwich 

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Pre/Post Devolution

PRE -> no official view. Unofficial view that it was mostly                 top/down and very little collegiality.

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POST -> politics taken a more noticable importance on                     education. Education policy largely devolved                         before Devolution (seperate education system).

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Implementation of Policy

Who:

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National.

    Local Authority.

        School - SMT.

            School - teachers.

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Filtered through the levels. Each level has different interpretations and different values.

IMPLEMENTATION IS NOT EASY DUE TO THIS.

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Making Policy

3 Steps:

- problem identified.

- policy making process put into gear.

- political process begins.

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Rein, 1983.

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Ideologies

Different people have different ideas about what society should be like.

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2 ideological forces:

  • POLITICAL.
  • EDUCATIONAL.

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"a framework of values, ideas and beliefs about the way society is... how resources should be allocated..."

Hartley, 1983.

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