Education Management in Managerialist Times: Beyond the Textual Apologists

Education Management in Managerialist Times: Beyond the Textual Apologists

Education Management in Managerialist Times: Beyond the Textual Apologists

Education Management in Managerialist Times: Beyond the Textual Apologists


This closely argued and lively polemic is recommended for all policymakers and practitioners concerned with educational leadership and change BJET

Thrupp and Willmott have produced a very important book regarding knowledge claims around issues of policy and practice. I will be recommending my masters and doctoral students to read the book so that as practitioners they may relish the opportunity to engage with issues of knowledge production. Thrupp and Willmott's book is directly relevant to every day practice in teaching and learning across the educational system, and it should be required reading for all training programmes because it enables trainees to know and understand the knowledge structures that are being used to control their work and identities. BJES

"... will stir a lot of debate and be seminal to debates about the direction of education management for some time to come." Mike Bottery, Hull University

"...a genuinely readable and accessible book that critically engages with school management literature." InService Education Journal

This important and provocative book is not another 'how to' educational management text. Instead it offers a critical review of the extensive educational management literature itself.

The main concern of the authors is that educational management texts do not do enough to encourage school leaders and teachers to challenge social inequality or the market and managerial reforms of the last decade. They demonstrate this problem through detailed analyses of texts in the areas of educational marketing, school improvement, development planning and strategic human resource management, school leadership and school change.

For academics and students, Education Management in Managerialist Times offers a critical guide to existing educational management texts and makes a strong case for redefining educational management along more socially and politically informed lines. The book also offers practitioners alternative management strategies intended to contest, rather than support, managerialism, while being realistic about the context within which those who lead and manage schools currently have to work.

This controversial new title brings a new insight to the educational management debate.


Since the late 1980s there has been a phenomenal increase in the publication of educational (especially school) management books. Arriving at a rate that no one can really keep up with, academic bookshop and library shelves now groan under the weight of recent texts on school self-management, school change, school leadership, school improvement, strategic human resource management in education, educational marketing and the like. the remarkable growth of this literature, what Helen Gunter (1997) refers to as the 'education management industry', reflects at the most immediate level the desire by school leaders and others for practical guides to running schools in an era of devolved management. More generally, it reflects the dominance of managerialism in education and wider public policy (Clarke et al. 2000). Management has clearly become the solution of our times.

Yet despite the apparent popularity of education management texts, in this book we argue that this literature is harmful because of the way it fails to challenge existing social inequalities and the way it chimes with managerialist policies that will only further intensify existing inequality. This is by no means a new argument: work on this theme has been done by other academic writers like Lawrence Angus, Stephen Ball, Jill Blackmore, Gerald Grace, Helen Gunter, Richard Hatcher, Roger Slee, John Smyth and Gaby Weiner as well as ourselves. However, this book builds on this corpus of work to rehearse the argument against the education management literature more comprehensively than ever before. in essence, we see much of the education management literature helping to redefine school management and leadership along managerial lines and hence to build the inequitable, reductionist and inauthentic 'managerial school' (Gewirtz 2002) and 'performing school' (Gleeson and Husbands 2001). We think this is barking up the wrong tree and that much of the literature should be permanently retired. Instead, what is needed are education management texts which are more genuinely educational, more politically astute and more committed to social justice and which send those messages unambiguously to both practitioners and policy makers.

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