ARK and the revolution of state education in England
Ball, Stephen J.
- Publisher: Education Inquiry
This paper addresses some recent changes in the landscape of state education in England. In particular, it focuses on the way in which Academies, state-funded independent schools introduced by New Labour and now being drastically extended and taken further by the Coalition government, are contributing to the ongoing and increasing blurring of the welfare state demarcations between state and market, public and private, government and business; and are pointing up the shift in the role of the state from ‘‘directing bureaucracies’’ to ‘‘managing networks’’ (Smith 1999). Academies have been contracted out to a wide range of sponsors (entrepreneurs, business, charities, faith groups) and removed from local authority control (they are funded directly by central government). They involve a deliberate attempt to promote a new set of values and modes of action in public education, enterprise and competitiveness in particular. The paper will look closely at the case of one multi-academy sponsor, the charity Absolute Return for Kids (ARK), which was founded by a group of hedge fund managers and is rapidly expanding its involvement in state education in England (and in the USA, India and Uganda), taking up positions and roles previously reserved for the state itself and bringing new practices and methods to bear upon education problems.Keywords: education policy, governance of the education system, new philanthropy, academy schools, ARK(Published: 16 September 2013)Citation: Education Inquiry (EDUI) 2013, 4, 22611, http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/edui.v4i3.22611