Mrs Thatcher’s first flourish: organic change, policy chaos and the fate of the colleges of education

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This paper revisits the abolition of the colleges of education in England and Wales, specialist providers of teacher training which were effectively eradicated in the years after Margaret Thatcher’s 1972 White Paper Education: A Framework for Expansion. Its central argument is that the way in which change was enacted thereafter represented a significant break with the model of policymaking which had held sway since the end of World War Two. Whilst more far-reaching change would come after Mrs Thatcher’s ‘conversion’ to neo-liberalism later in the decade, the fate of the colleges of education was, I argue, an important if largely overlooked episode in the history of education – especially in terms of violating the collaborative relationship between central government and local authorities which had, until that point, dominated education policy in post-war Britain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-368
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Studies
Issue number3
Early online date10 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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