Market madness: condition critical

Principal of NewVIC shows how the marketisation of education leads to a loss of choice and diversity.

Eddie Playfair

IMG_3878Market madness: condition critical

From Forum vol.57, no.2, 2015

The condition of English education is critical. It has been weakened by pathological marketization and is in desperate need of treatment to restore it to health. In this article, I try to diagnose the disease, describe some of its symptoms and effects on various parts of the system and finally I offer two possible prognoses for the patient; a turn for the worse and the start of a recovery.

1. Key processes of marketisation

Commodification

If education is seen as a commodity; something which can be consumed and traded, then schools, colleges, universities and the courses they offer all enter the market. What were previously thought of as life-long social interactions and developmental processes become tradeable things with tangible exchange value. Thinking this way inevitably changes the relationship between students, teachers and institutions. Students become consumers, demanding that education ‘delivers’ outcomes…

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Published by: @wonderfrancis

Francis Gilbert is a Lecturer in Education at Goldsmiths, University of London, teaching on the PGCE Secondary English programme. He also teaches the Creative Writing module on the MA in Children’s Literature, which is run by Maggie Pitfield and Professor Michael Rosen. Previously, he worked for a quarter of a century in various English state schools teaching English and Media Studies to 11-18 year olds. He has, at times, moonlighted as a journalist, novelist and social commentator. He is the author of ‘Teacher On The Run’, ‘Yob Nation’, ‘Parent Power’, ‘Working The System -- How To Get The Very Best State Education for Your Child’, and a novel about school, ‘The Last Day Of Term’. His first book, ‘I'm A Teacher, Get Me Out Of Here’ was a big hit, becoming a bestseller and being serialised on Radio 4. In his role as an English teacher, he has taught many classic texts over the years and has developed a great many resources to assist readers with understanding, appreciating and responding to them both analytically and creatively. This led him to set up his own small publishing company FGI Publishing (fgipublishing.com) which has published his study guides as well as a number of books by other authors, including Roger Titcombe’s ‘Learning Matters’ and anthology of creative writing 'The Gold Room'. He is the co-founder, with Melissa Benn and Fiona Millar, of The Local Schools Network, www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk, a blog that celebrates non-selective state schools, and has his own website, www.francisgilbert.co.uk. He has appeared numerous times on radio and TV, including Newsnight, the Today Programme, Woman’s Hour and the Russell Brand Show. In June 2015, he was awarded a PhD in Creative Writing and Education by Goldsmiths.

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