School Governing, what’s the story since Trojan horse?

Since the Trojan Horse Affair made headlines in March 2014 the pace of change in education governance has, it would appear, become increasingly frenetic.

In light of recent turbulent times in politics , and post Brexit, Jacqueline Baxter, author of School governance, asks what has changed in terms of the democratic governance of education in England ?

BaxterThe Trojan Horse Affair in 2014 left an indelible mark on the education system in England, with profound implications for leadership, management and governing of education.

The affair which provoked a number of subsequent inquiries into radicalisation in schools, also resulted in a raft of measures introduced by the government in order to counter extremist views in schools and to ensure that British Values are firmly embedded in the system. The affair also left government with some very pressing questions about the state of school governance and accountability in England.

Since then we have had a change of government, a vote to exit the EU and a leadership crisis in both government and opposition parties- one that at the time of writing, is still not fully resolved. Continue reading ‘School Governing, what’s the story since Trojan horse?’

“I don’t see scholarship and activism as distinct” – Plenary at the ASA highlights need for activism, resistance among scholars

Fresh from the American Sociological Association annual conference in Seattle, author and academic Jessie Daniels questions whether there should be a distinction between scholarship and activism or whether the time for retreat to the academic ivory tower is well and truly over….

Daniels_headshot2Academic sociologists sat in silence, many openly wept, as a video of a macabre scene in an American jail played in the plenary session of the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Seattle on Saturday.

The video, pulled from a surveillance camera, shows five people covered head to toe in white protective jumpsuits, similar to cleanroom suits in semiconductor factories. The people in the white suits surround a naked, slightly built, Black woman, and with steady deliberation, end her life.

“Black women are never seen as damsels in distress,” Kimberle Crenshaw, critical race scholar and law professor at UCLA and Columbia, explained. “Rather, we are seen as something that must be controlled.” Continue reading ‘“I don’t see scholarship and activism as distinct” – Plenary at the ASA highlights need for activism, resistance among scholars’

Does social mobility leave us nowhere to go?

Graeme Atherton, author of ‘The Success Paradox: why we need a holistic theory of social mobility’ and director of the National Education Opportunities Network (NEON), the professional organisation for access to Higher Education (HE) in England. 

In today’s guest blog Graeme suggests the broken contract of ‘social mobility’ expected in the US and UK lies at the base of the attraction felt by many towards the anti-establishment messages delivered by the likes of Donald Trump and Brexit…

AthertonStagnating social mobility in both the UK and the US is well documented.

The stifling of opportunity for many to move up the economic ladder, and to bequeath such chances to their children has been apparent some time now in the UK and US. Internationally comparative research shows that compared to countries such as Canada and Sweden, British and American children are significantly more likely to have their income dictated by what their parents earn.

This apparent stagnation in social mobility is now beginning to shape not just the views of the policymakers but also the voters. The emergence of the unlikely anti-establishment triumvirate of Trump, Corbyn and Sanders owes much to the frustration people feel regarding the opportunities available to them. The Brexit vote, while a consequence of a conflation of factors coming together, undoubtedly was to some extent an expression of this frustration. Continue reading ‘Does social mobility leave us nowhere to go?’

Can we be fair to Russian athletes in Rio?

The recent doping scandal surrounding the Russian Olympic team has brought debate about banned substances in sports competitions, and the consequences of being caught using these substances, to the global stage. 

Nic Groombridge, author of Sports criminology, discusses who should really be held accountable in this situation and what should be done in the future to discourage doping. 

Nic GroombridgeFamously George Orwell claimed:

“Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence: in other words it is war minus the shooting.”

The last phrase is routinely cited but it is worth considering some of the context. Orwell was writing in the wake of visit by a Soviet Union football team he only calls ‘the Dynamos’ (actually an augmented Moscow team, see this more upbeat account). He mentions cricket, boxing, swimming and even cock-fighting but writes with a distant disdain for his subject (see Beck, 2013 on Orwell’s own sporting endeavours). Continue reading ‘Can we be fair to Russian athletes in Rio?’

Remember Rwanda: Should rape be accepted as an ‘inevitable by-product’ of war?

Author and academic Brenda Fitzpatrick writes a personal and powerful post about her experiences in Rwanda, what she saw and the stories she was told by survivors of ‘tactical rape*’ in the immediate aftermath of the conflict in 1994.

A Rwandan refugee camp in Zaire, 1994 Credit Wikipedia

A Rwandan refugee camp in Zaire, 1994 Credit Wikipedia

Ngara, 1994. I stood on the bridge dividing Rwanda from Tanzania. In memory, the bridge was high above the water line, but I am no longer really sure.

I watched the constant flow of bodies, torsos and unmatched limbs drift, get caught in eddies and slowly turn on down the river. I had not registered earlier that black bodies turn grey when bloated.

I had come from Zagreb where a priest had shrugged, ‘It is war madam. Rape happens.’ I had asked him about rumours (later proven to be true) of rape camps and widespread rape of Bosnian women and girls. His reply was a chilling acceptance of this violation as somehow inevitable. Not good enough!! Continue reading ‘Remember Rwanda: Should rape be accepted as an ‘inevitable by-product’ of war?’

How we learn to be old and other thoughts on age and ageing

With only a month to go until The New Age of Ageing publishes we’re all getting quite excited at Policy Press as we prepare the book to go to press.

In the meantime authors Caroline Lodge, Eileen Carnell and Marianne Colemancan have been busy posting their thoughts and insights on the subject of the book, how it has informed their thoughts on and personal experiences of age and ageing, over on the Bookword blog.

In case you haven’t caught the blogs already we thought we’d share a few tasty snippets with you in the excepts below…

Learning to be old (first published in July on Bookword)

There are three authors of New Age of Ageing. Caroline Lodge asked the other two to reflect on what writing the book meant to each of them. This month, on her return from holiday, Eileen writes about three important contradictions, conundrums and challenges about ageing. Continue reading ‘How we learn to be old and other thoughts on age and ageing’

As pension ages rise, what are our prospects for working longer?

In March of this year the UK government began its long-term review of state pension ages, with a number of commentators predicting large increases in the age of eligibility. David Lain, author of Reconstructing Retirement, sets the context for this review by considering wider changes to retirement policy.

David Lain 4It is commonly said that retirement is changing, with people increasingly expecting to do some form of paid work after ‘retirement’ age.

Sara Rix from AARP, for example, reports perceptions from the US that Baby Boomers will ‘reinvent and/or revolutionise retirement… they will… combine work and leisure in new and more rewarding ways’.

Increasing employment

In reality, however, it is arguably governments that most want us to ‘rethink’ retirement. In my view UK and US governments are actually seeking to reconstruct retirement, by increasing employment at age 65+ and dissolving the notion fixed retirement ages. They are doing this in two ways. Continue reading ‘As pension ages rise, what are our prospects for working longer?’


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