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QUASI-MARKET REFORMS AND VOCATIONAL SCHOOLING IN ENGLAND AND WALES: an economic analysis

Peter Davies () and Nick Adnett ()

Working Papers from Staffordshire University, Business School

Abstract: The creation of a quasi-market in England and Wales schooling has changed pupil, parent and school behaviour in a way which has reinforced the dominance of traditional, academic schooling. We summarise the results of research into this quasi-market behaviour, with particular emphasis upon the upper secondary age group. Whilst schools now face greater incentives to respond to consumer choice, we argue that only certain groups of consumers have been effectively empowered by these reforms. Schools thus respond only to the wishes of a sub-sample of consumers. In effect, they receive a signal which is biased against the provision of quality vocational schooling. We link this analysis to changes in structure of contemporary labour markets and the attempt to gain credibility for a national system of vocational qualifications. Our analysis concludes with proposals which seek to improve the quality of the information flows between parents, schools and the labour market.

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