On 4th October, MIE is hosting a short visit from Professor Martin Thrupp, now of the University of Waikato, New Zealand, and a former convenor of the BERA Social Justice SIG while based first at Kings College London then IoE. Martin’s interests are in education policy sociology with a particular focus on how policy plays out in schools in diverse contexts, and on the politics of education research. He is the author of Schools Making a Difference: Let’s be Realistic! (1999, Open University Press), Education Management in Managerialist Times: Beyond the Textual Apologists (2003, Open University Press, with Rob Wilmott) andSchool Improvement: An Unofficial Approach (2005, Continuum).
His current work is concerned with the implementation of “National Standards” – standard tests and performance tables – in New Zealand schools
Martin will be giving a seminar on the National Standards work from 4 to 5.30pm in room AG3/4, followed by drinks for whoever would like to continue the conversation. He will also be available from lunchtime onwards on the 4th if anyone would like to meet or catch up with him.
Details about the seminar are posted below. Please do come and support this event, and circulate details to your students and professional networks (no need to book).
Forced to play or playing to win?: New Zealand schools and the introduction of National Standards
The recent introduction of National Standards in reading, writing and maths in primary schools is probably New Zealand’s most controversial and contested education policy for decades. Opposition to National Standards has been fuelled by awareness of the adverse effects of high stakes assessment in England and elsewhere but the Key Government has claimed that New Zealand’s approach is different and more benign. The Research Analysis and Insight into National Standards (RAINS) project has been researching the lived impact of the National Standards policy and associated developments in six diverse primary schools since 2011. This seminar will review the background to the research, what the RAINS project has been finding and how it might add to our understanding of the impact of national assessment systems. The responses from schools to New Zealand’s National Standards seems to illustrate that little policy pressure is needed before teachers will embrace problematic reforms they are highly critical of. The way New Zealand teachers may be ‘doing it to themselves’ speaks to the subtleties of performativity and the complexities of teachers’ professional identities.