Re-shaping the borders for policy research : The development of specialist sports colleges in England.

Year: 2001

Author: Penney, Dawn, Houlihan, Barrie

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper addresses the complexities of the policy location of Specialist Sports Colleges (SSCs) in England and the issues that arise for educational research. Attention focuses upon the 'dual policy location' of Specialist Sports Colleges, that are now formally established as part of the Department of Education and Skills' (DfES) Specialist Schools Programme but also the Department of Culture, Media and Sport's strategy for sport, 'A Sporting Future for All' (DCMS, 2000). The paper outlines the parallel but distinct agendas established for the Specialist Sports Colleges and points to the tensions that may arise in curriculum development in SSCs as teachers attempt to embrace multiple policy agendas. It is argued that SSCs are sites where there is a particular need for policy research to explore the ways in which different agendas are positioned, and in particular, who and what defines the discourses that are ultimately privileged in school curricula and teachers’ pedagogical texts. Exploring these issues is identified as demanding that the borders of educational research are extended beyond educational arenas to engage with increasingly complex policy networks and with changing policy relations at a national and local level.