This study examines the policy change and continuities in the delivery of public education services both preceding and following the election of the Labour government in 1997. These involve the changing relationship between local and central government and the development of an enhanced role for the private sector in the management and delivery of education services. The study considers the limitations and possibilities of these developments and their implications for governance and performance through critical policy analysis and consideration of key texts, government publications and contemporary interviews with individuals within the policy process.\ud \ud The study is divided into chapters dealing with the context of the research in key literature and issues of change and continuity in national education policy. It includes a critical description of the approaches to the inspection of local education authorities and an illustrative example of government intervention in an LEA leading to the outsourcing of services. Through interview material, the policy analysis is grounded in the experience of individuals who are enacting ‘modernisation’ and also commenting on its effects. There is also a consideration of the evidence of the impact of outsourcing on school performance in a number of authorities.\ud \ud In addition, the study considers the implications of these developments for future strategy in relation to the development of local authorities in the light of the Children Act (2004).\ud \ud It suggests that the readiness of local authorities to adopt the changes needed to enact the Children Act (2004) forms a contrast to their limited adherence to the local government reforms prefigured elsewhere by central government. This reflects the strength of concepts such as the well-being of children as agents of change, in contrast to the diffuse theoretical underpinnings of the third way
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