Before 2010

This is archive material from before the 2010 general election, when the Conservatives came to power. We have kept it for reference, but please remember that it refers to policies and events under the previous Labour government.

Tuesday 21 October 2008

Selling Academies: local democracy and the management of ‘consultation’

Hatcher, R. (2008) Selling Academies: local democracy and the management of ‘consultation’. Journal of Critical Education Policy Studies 6:2, 21-36. Available at



Academies (state schools owned and run by private sponsors on a non-profit basis) are a key element in Labour’s education agenda. Proposals to set up Academies, in most cases by taking over existing schools, have provoked local campaigns of opposition in many areas. Replacing a Local Authority with an Academy entails a process of consultation. Sponsors, acting in partnership with the Department for Children, Schools and Families, and the Local Authority, are faced with the problem of how to manage the consultation process. This paper is based on a case study of one such process as experienced by teachers, school students and parents campaigning against a proposed Academy. It identifies the strategies employed by its proponents and situates them in the context of current debates about participation and local democracy. It concludes that Academy consultation processes are best understood as instances of state-driven governance networks designed to construct compliance and marginalise dissent.

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