In recent decades, governing practices in education have become highly contradictory: deregulation and decentralisation are accompanied by re-regulation and increased centralisation, contributing to considerable governing tensions in and across different national systems and within the emergent European education policy space. On the one hand there is the persistence of performance monitoring through target-setting, indicators and benchmarks, and on the other, the promotion of self-evaluation and ‘light touch’ regulation that express a ‘softer’ governance turn, and promote self-regulation as the best basis for constant improvement.
Drawing on research undertaken into three national systems, this edited volume explores the attempts to manage these tensions in Europe through the development of inspection as a governing practice. Inspectorates and inspectors offer key locations for the exploration of governing tensions, positioned as they are between the international, the national, and the local and institutional, and with responsibility for both regulation and development. All three national systems offer contrasting approaches to inspection, all of which have changed considerably in recent years.
Governing by Inspection positions inspection in the framework of changing education policy and politics, and in a period of intensive policy development and exchange in Europe. It will be key reading for academics, researchers and postgraduate students in the fields of education, political science and social policy.