Different systems, different identities: the work of inspectors in Sweden and England

Baxter, Jacqueline (2017). Different systems, different identities: the work of inspectors in Sweden and England. In: Baxter, Jacqueline ed. School Inspectors: Policy Implementers, Policy Shapers in National Policy Contexts. Accountability and Educational Improvement. London: Springer, pp. 45–69.

URL: http://www.springer.com/gb/book/9783319525358

Abstract

School inspection has formed part of both English and Swedish approaches to governing education for some time now. But latterly due to the neo liberal drive for educational excellence, both countries have remodelled their inspector work-force. Using Jacobsson's theory of governance as a regulative, meditative and inquisitive activity, this chapter investigates the effects that these shifts have had on the operational work of inspectors. Drawing upon interview data with inspectors and head teachers from both systems combined with documentary analysis we examine how the remodelling of the workforce in both countries has impacted on the ways in which inspectors carry out their work. The chapter concludes that inspection operating within a neo liberal framework of regulation must constantly shift and evolve in order to remain credible. It also points out that these shifts in themselves create tensions around the role and operational work of inspectors in both countries.

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