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By David Bridges Professor of Education University of East Anglia School of Education; Terence McLaughlin Lecturer in Education and fellow of St Edmund's College Cambridge.

This selection of essays debates the appliance of industry rules to and in the context of schooling. The members are all top figures of their box, featuring their principles in an available type to the lay reader. all through, the academic and public coverage matters raised through the appliance of industry ideas to schooling are heavily tested.

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After all, that is what education is all about, surely? Chapter 5 Diversity in State Education: The Grant Maintained Option Rosalie Clayton The Government believes that school autonomy and parental choice —combined with the National Curriculum—are the keys to achieving higher standards in all schools. (Choice and Diversity: A New Framework for Schools, 1992) A decade of ricocheting national debate about the quality of education culminated eventually in a series of reforming Acts of Parliament which set out a national strategy intended to enhance the quality of primary and secondary education in England and Wales.

Hitherto, LEAs had managed admissions to schools under the provisions of the 1980 Education Act, designed to enable the problem of falling school rolls to be handled in a sensible way. The LEAs with their overview of demographic change and knowledge of school capacities, were empowered to fix limits to the number of pupils to be admitted to individual schools and to determine criteria for admission. This enabled the authorities to maintain enough schools to cope with anticipated pupil numbers, predicted to increase in the future, and to plan meanwhile for any necessary school closures or mergers to be properly programmed to match fluctuating school rolls.

Many LEAs did an excellent job but the nature and style of an LEA was a significant factor in determining the quality and values of its schools—in determining in fact what was available in the state-education market place. Since the education debate had concluded that schools were failing, it was inevitable that the finger should, to some extent, be pointed at the local authorities. The 1980s were the age of market forces and value for money. The customer, in the guise of both the parent and the pupil, was apparently being failed.

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