Towards a relational conceptualisation of school autonomy

Year: 2019

Author: Savage, Glenn, Gerrard, Jessica

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In this paper, Savage and Gerrard will draw upon dominant political and sociological theories of ‘autonomy’ to consider the extent to which such theories are generative for understanding contemporary ‘school autonomy’ policies. In doing so, they will argue that school autonomy policies privilege liberal political rationalities of autonomy, freedom and self-governance, while at the same time obscuring other ways of thinking about autonomy. They argue that a more generative way of understanding autonomy in relation to schools, and the relationships that so-called ‘autonomous schools’ have with parents and local community members, is to challenge the liberalism that infuses current policies in favour of an understanding of autonomy as relational, bounded and context-specific.