The next big thing in school improvement

Becky Allen, Matthew Evans, Ben White

Research output: Book/ReportBook - authored


This is a book about educational fads, why they arise, and how we might learn to live with them.

Those working in schools are subject to perpetual waves of novelty in the name of school improvement. And yet, in the long term very little actually changes. Big ideas come and go, leaving only faint clues as to their existence. The trouble is that the appealing stories that take hold will never solve the fundamental problems of modern schooling. The school system is too complex, too diverse, and too uncertain to be fixed by any Big Idea. Before too long, the Next Big Thing replaces the Last Big Thing.

The Next Big Thing in School Improvement brings together the unique perspectives of a policy analyst, a headteacher, and a classroom teacher, to explain why it is that the school system often resists our attempts to improve it. Drawing on the recent history of English education policy, a variety of disciplinary traditions, and the emerging field of complexity science, the authors present a new take on why the school system behaves in ways that defy our attempts to change it.

This is a book about finding a better way to improve our schools. It is not the Next Big Thing, but it does explain why there will inevitably be one, and what to do when it arrives.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationWoodbridge, UK
Number of pages200
Publication statusPublished - 22 Oct 2021


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