Expectations of education: how one college is responding to the Education Reform Act 1988

Higgins, Malcolm John (1993) Expectations of education: how one college is responding to the Education Reform Act 1988. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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This study interprets the results of research into how one college met the challenge of change brought about by the Education Reform Act 1988, with reference to appropriate social research methodologies and a wide ranging review of relevant literature. The aim was to investigate how one college, well established in a traditional pattern, would respond to educational change stemming from a political culture which relocated emphases upon financial considerations, market forces and quality controls devolving from a business-like reorientation. A review of the college's aims and intentions, with an examination of the methods managers might adopt and options they might select in moving towards a business organisation, moved the research into a detailed investigation of sub-organisational micro-politicking. The research led naturally to an in-depth examination of the nature of management and management skills training within an educational institution, raising
questions about the cross-discipline transferability of educational/business skills. Interview and established techniques of
participant observation have exposed the lacunae between rhetoric, supposed practice and what has become the reality of change within the organisation. The research focuses upon the myth of 'professionalism' which, in the uncertainty of change, supports the new managerialism brought about by the Education Reform Act. An alternative strategy for educational change within the institution is suggested. The conclusion is a critique of educational management training within the organisation
and locates both micro- and macro-educational management preparation within some commercial systems with which it might seek to identify.

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