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A sociological analysis of educational change: the introduction of comprehensive secondary schools in England and Wales

Piper, John S


John S Piper


Following a review of the sociological literature concerning the relationship between education systems and the wider society, a model of institutional change is presented and developed in terms specific to education, and decision making in educational policy. The model identifies a sequence of inter-related capacities, the emergence and activation of which are crucial to the development of processes of institutional and systemic change in education. The need to account for the performance of these various roles in the process focusses attention upon the structural position, perceived interests, and ideological preconceptions of the groups involved in the for­mation of education policy, and upon the framework of rules and constraints within which processes of change take place. The interpretative and explana­tory utility of the model is tested in an analysis of the process of change towards the introduction of comprehensive secondary schools in England and Wales. An historical survey of the process is followed by a more detailed and sociological analysis of the groups and organisations involved in an initiatory or supportive capacity, and also those whose involvement has been of a conservationist or restrictive nature. This analysis utilises both contemporary and secondary material, and the discussion is initially in terms of a fourfold classification of groups involved in processes of change in education. Attention is subsequently given to a detailed case study of the process of comprehensive reorganisation as it has involved one Local Education Authority, and one school within it. An assessment of the utility of the model in empirical analysis is offered, and future related study and research is suggested.

Publication Date Jan 1, 1975
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For access to the hard copy thesis, check the University Library catalogue.

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