‘Warehouse, commodify, shelter, juridify: on the political economy and governance of extending school participation in England’

Fergusson, Ross (2014). ‘Warehouse, commodify, shelter, juridify: on the political economy and governance of extending school participation in England’. In: Farnsworth, Kevin; Irving, Zoë and Fenger, Menno eds. Analysis and debate in social policy, 2014. Social Policy Review (26). Bristol: The Policy Press, pp. 47–64.

URL: http://www.policypress.co.uk/display.asp?K=9781447...

Abstract

This chapter focuses on some key points of contestation around important historical legislative moments which secured multiple successive increases in the required age of compulsory schooling in England. The first section begins this work by exploring the principal political-economic and governance rationales for increasing or maintaining the age of compulsory participation. This framing is then taken forward by a more detailed selective historical review of the ways in which political-economic rationales have shaped competing positions on participation policy that have variously advanced, slowed or attempted to subvert efforts to raise the minimum school leaving age. The emerging analysis is then applied to the policy reforms of the 2008 Education and Skills Act which provided for compulsory participation in school, work or training up to the age of 18, and their post-financial crisis dilution under the coalition government in 2011. In doing so the analysis identifies central points of legislative contention, and their likely effects on post-16 participation in significantly altered political and economic conditions. The analysis leads to a review of the mooted importance of governance rationales for understanding extended participation, and to some concluding comments on the ways in which the political choice between criminalising legal minors and neglecting the needs of some of the most vulnerable of them has been constructed.

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