Asking the ‘right’ questions: the constitution of school governing bodies as apolitical
(2016) Journal of Education Policy, 31 (2), pp. 161-177.
School governing bodies in England have considerable powers and responsibilities with regard to the education of pupils. This paper draws on an analysis of policy and on qualitative research in the governing bodies of four maintained schools. It explores two policy technologies through which education and the work of school governing bodies are constituted as apolitical. Firstly, it considers the move to recruit governors with (unspecified) ‘skills’, rather than those with a representative role who might provide diverse perspectives. Secondly, it considers the technology of ‘prescribed criticality’, through which ‘effective’ governors are provided with the ‘right’ questions to ask. The paper argues that the operation of these policy technologies has significant implications for possibilities for democratic engagement in schools. © 2015 Taylor & Francis.
democracy; education policy; Foucault; policy technology; school governing bodies