Naming, framing and shaming: the role and function of the legacy media on education and inspection policy in England.

Naming, framing and shaming: the role and function of the legacy media on education and inspection policy in England.



The role of the media on international education policy has been recognised for some time now (Anderson, 2007); not least in terms of the often powerful impact it exerts not only on education policy but on public service policy more generally (Hall, 1997; Wallace, 1994; Wallace, 1996). Education inspection is now employed by a number of countries both within and outside of Europe, to govern complex education systems (Ozga, Baxter, Clarke, Grek, & Lawn, 2013) In England in common with other OECD countries (see Rönnberg et al, 2012), school inspection is the focus of a great deal of media attention, particularly since the inception of the current inspectorate, Ofsted, in 1992. Since The Conservative /Liberal coalition took power in 2010, the media has increasingly been used to criticise the extent to which the inspectorate is being used to fulfil the government’s education agenda; raising questions about the extent to which its judgements can be said to be impartial (Baxter, Rönnberg, & Ozga, forthcoming). This paper draws on media discourse theory (Negrine, 2013) to employ a case study approach to examine the ways in which Ofsted is used to frame debate on The Academies project  (Parliament, 2010) Sampling from 3 national newspapers: The Times, The Guardian and The Telegraph the study analyses 160 articles on inspection which make indirect and direct reference to the act. Using a framework for media analysis , it explores how media coverage of inspection within the period 2009 to 2014 is framed in terms of the act (Baxter, Ozga, & Rönnberg, Forthcoming ) .The research questions examine: how the media shape their coverage in order to appeal to the public; what news values are employed in order to colour and condition stories in ways that make them acceptable and persuasive to the public; and finally : how news stories are cognitively framed in order to create links between education policy and public understandings. The paper concludes that in linking inspection to this policy, the media exert considerable influence upon the ways in which this policy is understood and received by the public.

‘All that matters now is , the media , the media , the media’ Prime Minister Tony Blair on his election to Leader of the Labour Party.

Author: Professor Dr Jacqueline Baxter

I am Professor of Public Policy and Management at The Open University Business School - Department of Public Leadership and Social Enterprise and Chair on the MBA programme. My interests lie in the areas of education leadership, management and accountablity and the digital teaching of business and law.

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