Social justice in education: Breaking down the barriers

Written by: David Anderson | Published:
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In a recent seven-part series, school leader David Anderson took an in-depth – and at times uncomfortable – look at the stark disparities and inequalities within the English education system, considering the many barriers we face to real social justice. This download includes all seven articles and the author's inspiring call for change...

The pandemic has shone a light on disparities within the English education system. Many have suggested that this is our ‘Build Back Better’ moment. But what might a ‘better’ and more socially just and equitable education system look like?

The English education system is segregated and stratified, with well-defined hierarchies of schools. It maintains privilege for the most advantaged in our society at the expense of the disadvantaged. School leaders and teachers are overwhelmingly pre-occupied with high-stakes accountability measures, and do not have the freedom to challenge the status quo.

Yet the levels of disparity between the winners and the losers in our schools are under the spotlight like never before. Is the pandemic giving us the chance for a fresh outlook on how we want society to view education – and do we as a profession have the courage and conviction to create something better?

In these pages, deputy headteacher David Anderson explores how the English education system is set up to create an uneven playing field through seven interlinking areas:

  • Equity in the system
  • Competition vs collaboration
  • Resources and funding
  • Policy and the policy-makers
  • School admissions
  • Assessment
  • Accountability

He suggests, by looking at alternative solutions from educational thinkers and other countries, how the teaching profession could and should push for something so much better for our society and for our young people...

David's original articles were written and published during 2020 so some details in this download, for example about the current government cabinet, will not be fully up-to-date.


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