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Policy on School Diversity: Taking an Existential Turn in the Pursuit of Valued Learning?

Philip A. Woods and Glenys J. Woods
British Journal of Educational Studies
Vol. 50, No. 2 (Jun., 2002), pp. 254-278
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3122313
Page Count: 25
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Policy on School Diversity: Taking an Existential Turn in the Pursuit of Valued Learning?
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Abstract

This paper develops a 'conceptual map' by which to chart contemporary developments in policy on school diversity. In part this has been prompted by the prospect in England of (private) Steiner schools becoming more closely involved in mainstream state-funded education. Whilst generated principally by policy developments within the UK, the conceptual thinking may also have wider applicability. We conceptualise diversity in the context of a differentiating public domain and a concern with existential questions which, arguably, persists in educational policy even where narrow 'performative' criteria are dominant. Four diversity models are outlined and a policy path over time suggested in relation to these. We suggest that this may be leading towards diversity policy which affords greater recognition to different conceptions of valued learning and encourages co-operative exploration of these, though it is acknowledged that there remain strong contrary pressures.

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