Academy schools and entrepreneurialism in education
Woods, Glenys J.
The academy schools programme in England is presented by Government as the means by which increased diversity and private participation in the provision of public education can be used to solve educational and wider social problems. The entrepreneurial features of academy schools are examined, through a study of the sponsors and the ethos, values and specialisms of academies. Data on 58 academies (open or in development), gathered from secondary sources, are analysed. Four types of entrepreneurialism are used to review the findings and it is found that business entrepreneurialism strongly features as a normalising presence, with forms of cultural and social entrepreneurialism also apparent. Public entrepreneurialism is represented but is less evident than the other forms. The emerging pattern of participation in the academies programme suggests that existing structural advantages in the fields of business and the church are being replicated and strengthened, and so academies are predominantly being constructed as sites intended to enhance the growing influence of private versions of entrepreneurialism. It is also recognised, however, that academies represent an unfolding programme and that how it develops over time is subject to complex national and local factors, including the agency of groups and individuals differently positioned in their fields.