Technologies in rational self-management: Interventions in the ‘responsibilisation’ of school governors

Wilkins, Andrew. 2019. Technologies in rational self-management: Interventions in the ‘responsibilisation’ of school governors. In: Julie Allan; Valerie Harwood and Clara Rübner Jørgensen, eds. World Yearbook of Education 2020: Schooling Governance. Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 9781138362635 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

A key driver of market education experimentation in England since the 1980s has been a focus on improved conditions for school autonomy and devolved management through greater privatisation management of education services and public-private partnerships, reduced local government bureaucracy and oversight, and maximum delegation of financial and managerial responsibilities to school leaders and governors. In 2010 the scope and scale of these reforms were enlarged significantly through the expansion of the academies programme which led to large numbers of schools operating outside local government jurisdiction. The roll back of local government made possible and encouraged by these reforms has not only given rise to concerns over a regulation gap but intensified scrutiny of the role of school governors. Worried that some school governors are ineffective at holding school leaders to account for the educational and financial performance of schools, government and non-government actors and organisations have intervened in various ways to promote new forms of institutional reflexivity and professionalisation designed to embed self-governance and mitigate ‘governance failure’. In this chapter I examine how school governors are called upon to take responsibility for various strategic-management priorities against the background of receding government control, while at the same time appear to be implicated in various technologies of rational self-management that strengthen the continuation and exercise of government control. An additional, related focus of the chapter therefore concerns the contradictions and vagaries of these reforms, namely the contraction and expansion of state power or what is described as ‘decentralised centralism’.

Item Type:

Book Section

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies


3 October 2019Published

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Date Deposited:

05 Nov 2019 16:09

Last Modified:

05 Nov 2019 16:11


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