Who controls education in the UK

Preschool and elementary school

Sally Tomlinson

To person

Ph. D .; Professor and Senior Research Fellow, Department of Educational Studies, University of Oxford, 15 Noreham Gardens, Oxford OX2 6PY, England / UK.
Email: [email protected]

The time policy of the school system in Great Britain is changing enormously. Large areas of childcare and the school system have been privatized.


In the past twenty years, education has become a main political issue and a marketable, contested raw material that is seen as a decisive instrument for securing productivity and national competitiveness in the globalized world. The British school system, its time policy and the reform to a competitive, market-oriented system contrast with other European school models, especially the German one. [1] In Britain, there has been a steady stream of initiative and interference from government for both the Conservative government from the late 1980s and New Labor since 1997. Comprehensive reforms have enabled day-care centers (preschools) as well as elementary and secondary schools to increasingly compete with one another and have been partially privatized, with the state still having control over teaching content, performance evaluation, pedagogical aspects, school supervision and teacher training.

The formerly decentralized system is now heavily centralized. At the same time, there are repeated attempts to anchor educational principles in the larger framework of childcare and social responsibility. In this context, support programs for the age group up to three years of age, children's centers, advanced training courses aimed at parents on questions of upbringing as well as schools expanded to include after-school care centers are proposed, which would lead to the restructuring of the school day.

With the expansion of childcare offers and an extended school day, mothers in particular should be given access to the labor market. All adults - whether male or female, young or old - are increasingly valued as human capital, which is why they must be prepared for the world of work, encouraged to work and, if necessary, also forced. The earlier costs of the welfare state are considered too high and cannot be sustained in the competition of the global market economy; Education, once a pillar of the welfare state, is now viewed in Great Britain as a preliminary stage to economic life. [2]

In the following sketch, the main focus is on the "Every Child Matters Agenda" developed in 2003. [3] This calls for the regional merging of schools, youth welfare offices, health and social services and relies on the children's services departments to be created by the local authorities, in which the school offices are also to be integrated. Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced in July 2007 a network of institutions in which the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) would be renamed the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and a department for research, universities and qualifications (Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills / DIUS).