The relationship between welfare and the state has undergone a steady process of reconfiguration over the past two decades and 'managerialism' has played a key role in this process. In education, parents are now seen as consumers and schools as small businesses, their income dependent on their success in attracting customers within the competitive local markets. What kind of schools are the reforms producing? What impact are they having on school culture and values? What are the social justice implications of applying a business model to the provision of schooling? In The Managerial School Sharon Gerwirtz draws on in-depth interviews with teachers in a range of secondary schools and close observation of actual practice to try to answer some of these questions. Having presented the evidence, she argues that New Labour's 'third way' for education is a contradictory mix of neo-liberal, authoritarian and humanistic strands that is not in any real sense a new educational settlement.
This empirically based account of the last two decades of education 'reform' offers a unique insight into the effects of managerialism on schools and a hard-hitting analysis of the inherent tensions in a system that undoubtedly perpetrates social injustice.