Recent policy emphasis on market mechanisms to drive up the performance of education systems has resulted in rising fees and increased competition in Higher Education (HE) in England, and in the creation of different types of self-governing state funded schools run independently of municipal authority in compulsory schooling. University sponsorship of Charter Schools in the US raises issues which this article examines in relation to university sponsorship of academies in England. The article provides a quantitative overview of university sponsorship of academies over the last decade and explores how the policy context has shaped the discursive construction of sponsorship by the institutions concerned. Different patterns of sponsorship linked to institutional position and differentiated discourses of ‘sponsorship’ consistent with ‘academic entrepreneurship’ are identified. The discursive function of sponsorship is argued to extend to a legitimation of the policy itself reflected in increasing government pressure on universities to sponsor academies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDiscourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2017

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education on 13/06/2017, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/01596306.2017.1338248


  • Charter Schools
  • academy schools
  • university sponsors
  • academic entrepreneurship
  • English education policy

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