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Preparing for Government: Education policymaking in the Labour Party

McCaig, Colin (2000) Preparing for Government: Education policymaking in the Labour Party. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

PhD thesis McCaig 2000.pdf
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This thesis sets out to examine changes to the policymaking structure and practice of the Labour Party during the 1994-1997 period, and to link these changes to the adoption of new policies. The leadership of new Labour has used its enhanced autonomy to move closer to the Conservative Party on a number of key education and training policies. The thesis uses manifesto and documentary analysis to illustrate policy movement, and interview evidence with policy actors past and present to trace the changing relationship between the party and the policy community. The thesis concludes that new Labour can best be understood as a synthesis of three elements; changing policymaking practices since the 1980s; the intellectual acceptance of globalisation, flexibility and market forces, which can be dated from the 1987-1989 policy review; and moral authoritarianism, introduced since the accession of Tony Blair to the leadership and the appointment of David Blunkett as shadow education spokesperson in 1994. The thesis identifies two main currents of thought within the Left‟s educational discourse, egalitarianism and meritocracy, and concludes that new Labour has succeeded in presenting its new policies within the boundaries set by such a broad ideology. In educational terms, the new Labour Government has continued the centralisation of power within the Department for Education and Employment. Other key themes for new Labour include an enthusiasm for employer imperatives in education, institutional diversity in state education and centrally determined pedagogy. In post-compulsory and higher education, the costs and benefits will henceforth be the responsibility of the individual, not the state or employers. The thesis suggests that new Labour is characterised by cultural change rather than structural reform, because its adoption of Conservative positions in education and training has limited the opportunities for radicalism.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Labour Party; widening participation; higher education; education policy
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Politics (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.605182
Depositing User: Dr Colin McCaig
Date Deposited: 07 May 2014 11:18
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 11:16
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/5657

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