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New publication | Inside the autonomous school: making sense of a global educational trend

Authors: Maija Salokangas, TCD & Mel Ainscow, University of Manchester


Education systems in many countries have experimented with the concept of the autonomous school. This takes a variety of forms, such as charter schools in the USA, academies in England, free schools in Sweden and independent public schools in Australia. Drawing on evidence from an in-depth, longitudinal study of more than ten years in one of the first English academies the book reports the school's remarkable progress over the first few years as an academy, followed by a subsequent decline. The book presents a rich, first-hand account of the impacts that various policies and practices had on the autonomous school.

Linking the analysis to wider research on autonomous schools the book points to both the potential and dangers of school autonomy initiatives, particularly when they are set within policy contexts that emphasise competition, high stakes testing and parental choice. More specifically, it reviews the extent to which these schools are fulfilling the promise of delivering: educational and managerial innovation; improvements in student attainment, particularly amongst learners from vulnerable groups; greater diversity of provision and, as a result, increased parental choice; and reductions in bureaucracy.

More information on the publisher Routledge website.