The deregulation of the ‘delivery’ of health and physical education knowledge and its implications for schools: A case study from the not-for-profit sector

Year: 2016

Author: Enright, Eimear, Rossi, Tony, McCuaig, Louise, Macdonald, Doune, Hansen, Scott

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

As part of the ongoing liberalisation of state assets and state concerns, education and its practices have become fertile ground for ‘deregulation’, and increasingly players who might at one time have been seen as ‘outside’ the education system are free to deliver services, or knowledge or both to schools. In some instances these align with curriculum structures and knowledge and at other times they exist as ‘additional’ services that may be purchased to ‘enhance’ the life of a school and its pupils and to contribute to their overall wellbeing. Our interests are ultimately to understand whether such new arrangements and educational market-making genuinely serve the interests of children in schools. For the purposes of this paper we draw predominantly upon one case from the not-for-profit sector to understand the nature, extent and effects of networks that exist between an external provider –The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation- and other stakeholders to produce and reproduce forms of pedagogical health work and curricula in schools. Using data generated through a web-audit, discourse analysis of resource materials, interviews with key personnel, and observations of program delivery in schools, we map the network of provision, represent it through a schematic to communicate the associations between various actors (philanthropic, corporate, educational etc.) in the network, and consider the implications of various associations, partnerships and arrangements on the networked ‘health work’ taking place in schools.Findings reveal that now more than ever, teachers need to be prepared to recognise, map and critique the networks that support the external providers who enter their classrooms, and the networks they in turn become part of.