Based on interviews with key actors in the policy-making process, Stephen Ball's book attempts to map the changes in education policy and policy-making in the Thatcher decade. The focus of the book is the 1988 "Education Reform Act"; its origins, purposes and effects. The author looks behind the scenes at the priorities of the politicians, senior civil servants and government advisors who were influential in making changes. There are direct quotations from senior civil servants at HMI and three former secretaries of state, which provide insights into the way in which policy is made. The book focuses on real-life political conflicts, examining the way in which contemporary education policy is related to the ideal of society projected by Thatcherism. It looks in detail at the New Right government advisors and think-tanks; the industrial lobby and the DES, addressing current issues such as the National Curriculum, national testing, and City Technical Colleges. Stephen Ball sets these important issues within a theoretical framework which illuminates the whole process of policy-making. This book will be of interest not only to educationalists, but also to policy analysts and political scientists.
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