The New Right believe in Marketisation (schools competing like businesses) and Parentocracy (parental choice) and they are well known for introducing league tables, GCSEs and OFSTED in the UK as part the 1988 Education Reform Act.
This post covers the underlying principles of New Right thought and should be read along with this post on the 1988 Education Act which outlines specific New Right education policies
The New Right is closely associated with Neoliberalism, and this post (Neoliberalism and the New Right – An Introduction) covers the similarities and differences between them.
Underlying principles of the New Right
They believe the state (government) cannot meet people’s needs.
The most efficient way to meet people’s needs is through the free market – through private businesses competing with each other.
Economic growth is an important overall goal – to be achieved by allowing individuals the freedom to compete with each other.
Key ideas of The New Right on Education
The New Right created an ‘education market’ – Schools were run like businesses – competing with each other for pupils and parents were given the choice over which school they send their children to rather than being limited to the local school in their catchment area. This lead to the establishment of league tables
Schools should teach subjects that prepare pupils for work, Hence education should be aimed at supporting economic growth. Hence: New Vocationalism!
The state was to provide a framework in order to ensure that schools were all teaching the same thing and transmitting the same shared values – hence the National Curriculum
Evaluation of New Right ideas on Education
Competition between schools benefited the middle classes and lower classes, ethnic minorities and rural communities ended up having less effective choice – refer to the handout criticising the 1988 Education Act
Vocational Education was also often poor – refer to the HO on Vocational Education
There is a contradiction between wanting schools to be free to compete and imposing a national framework that restricts schools
The National Curriculum has been criticised for being ethnocentric and too restrictive on teachers and schools
The Neoliberal and New Right view of education
You might also like the mind map below – a more up to date summary of neoliberalism and the new right
If you like this sort of thing, then you might like my sociology of education revision notes bundle – which contains the following:
- 34 pages of revision notes
- mind maps in pdf and png format – 9 in total, covering various topics within the sociology of education
- short answer exam practice questions and exemplar answers
- how to write sociology essays, including 7 specific templates and model answers on the sociology of education