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ERIC Number: EJ1062397
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0305-4985
What Happened to the Beacon Schools? Policy Reform and Educational Equity
Smith, Emma
Oxford Review of Education, v41 n3 p367-386 2015
This paper considers the impact of the Beacon schools initiative on the social and academic characteristics of secondary schools in England. The Beacon schools programme ran from 1998 to 2004 and epitomised the (then) Labour government's focus on school improvement through diversity, collaboration and partnership. This paper looks at variation in the academic and social characteristics of the 322 secondary Beacon schools over a nine-year period. The findings show that Beacon schools were among the most advantaged state schools in England and while they continue to outperform the general school population, the data suggest that the performance gap has decreased and there is little evidence that Beacon status conferred an advantage on schools, in terms of standard measures of academic success. The Beacon school initiative exemplifies some of the key issues with policy based education reform. First, its emphasis on collaboration provokes tensions between schools that are increasingly in competition with each other. Secondly, clearly defined and measurable medium and long term outcomes for the initiative were not prescribed, thus making it difficult to determine the efficacy of the intervention. Finally, that the initiative did not appear to have any appreciable effect on the social and academic characteristics of the Beacon schools raises issues about the usefulness of externally prescribed interventions and the potential that they have to make a real difference to educational equity.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education; Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)