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School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Professor Carl Bagley

Bagley, C. (2006). School choice and competition: a public-market in education revisited. Oxford Review Education 32(3): 347-362.

Author(s) from Durham


In 1993 the UK Economic and Social Research Council funded the Parental and School Choice Interaction (PACSI) Study into the marketisation of education, conducted by the author along with Philip Woods and Ron Glatter of the Open University. The findings from the PACSI study highlighted the localised and complex nature of markets in education and reported the ways in which senior school managers adopted a variety of strategies to respond to the local competitive arena in which they found themselves. In more than ten years since this study the UK Government has changed from Conservative to Labour and policy discourses on choice and competition have been situated alongside those of collaboration and partnership. In this shifting policy landscape the paper utilises analytical tools and findings from the original study to revisit one of the case study areas and examines the market environment in which senior school managers find themselves today. The findings reveal a stronger ‘parent as consumer’ marketing orientation and responsiveness on behalf of schools and an environment in which competition and rivalry has intensified and continues to discursively predominate.