NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1047006
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 27
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0963-8253
Evidence, Policy and the Reform of Primary Education: A Cautionary Tale
Alexander, Robin
FORUM: for promoting 3-19 comprehensive education, v56 n3 p349-375 2014
Here, at "FORUM's" invitation, is the text of the 2014 Godfrey Thomson Trust public lecture at the University of Edinburgh. Its backdrop is the centralisation of educational decision-making in England since 1988 and the power and patronage exercised by the Secretary of State. Taking as examples recent policies on childhood, curriculum and standards of pupil achievement, and referring to the evidence and experience of the Cambridge Primary Review, the article revisits and tests the claim that in England educational policy is now more problem than solution. While making necessary distinctions between policy as promulgated and enacted, and while showing that across a diverse canvas some policies have been better conceived and received than others, the article identifies three tendencies that all too often divide policy from truth and the prospect of effective and sustainable action: policymakers' selective use of evidence; the prior but as yet under-investigated mediation of that evidence by government officials as well as its more familiar distortion by the press; and the Manichaean narratives of progress, its architects and its enemies to which too many policymakers remain addicted.
Symposium Books. P.O. Box 204, Didcot, Oxford, OX11 9ZQ, UK. Tel: +44-1235-818-062; Fax: +44-1235-817-275; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A