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The English schooling context has seen radical and rapid reform in recent times with the processes of devolution or deconcentration of centralised school governance, on the one hand, and the instating of ever-increasing and rigid external accountabilities, on the other. These reforms driven as they are by neo-liberal and neoconservative ideologies have created a new kind of ‘system’ of schooling in England, one that is ‘heterarchical’ in governance, increasingly complex in its overlap, multiplicity and asymmetric power dynamics, but one that remains strongly tied to and regulated by the reductive and narrow measures of ‘success’ imposed by the state. Against this complex and changing backdrop, what constitutes quality and equitable schooling has been transformed. This special issue explores these concerns and, in particular, focuses on how the current demands of the English schooling context construct student achievement and identity, teachers' work, conceptualisations of knowledge and pedagogy, and school organisation and collaboration. The issue has a strong equity focus. Many of the papers to this end focus on how teachers and schools are navigating through the demands of current policy reform to mobilise spaces of possibility for equity and good schooling. In this paper, we provide a context and framework to set the scene for the subsequent papers in the issue.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Journal Article

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