In order to investigate Scientific Management and the

education system it is important that the management structure of

education is identified. Education in England and Wales is

managed through a partnership between the Local Education

Authorities ( LEAs ) and Central Government, although as we will

see in chapter 2 the balance of power, influence and control is

moving towards central government. Scientific management relies

on direction and control by management and any suggestion that

these techniques are being used within the education system can

only be supported if the management structure of education is


Appendix 9 (figs. 1,2,3,4,5) shows the overall management

framework of education. In England and Wales central government

responsibility is through the Department of Education and Science

( D.E.S ) which covers all schools ( maintained and independent )

and higher education including the universities. At the head of

the D.E.S. is the Secretary of State for Education and two

Parliamentary Under Secretaries of State. These managers may

change with the government or can be moved to new posts and

consequently cannot be regarded as permanent. However, the Civil

Service who staff the D.E.S can be looked upon as relatively

permanent. This level of management is led by a Permanent

Secretary who is supported by three Deputy Secretaries each

having responsibility for ; Schools, Further and Higher Education

and Responsibilities for Teachers. This level of management also

contains a legal adviser who heads the legal branch and a senior

inspector who is in charge of Her Majesty's Inspectorate (H.M.I).

These people can be regarded as the "top management" as

defined by Fox (1971, p83)(Appendix 9 fig.1). They are in rather

a privileged position with command over resources, having the

power or control to shape the overall education system, referred

to as "corporate control" (Storey,J. 1989, p40) as they can

determine the industrial environment or even working conditions

of the entire structure. They set the priorities and targets for

the education system. The Education Reform Act of 1988 has

provided this level of management with the political framework

through which they can direct and control the entire system,

carrying out the wishes of the government.

The position of middle managers in education is more complex

and includes bodies such as the Assessment and Performance Unit

(A.P.U)(appendix 9, fig.2), the Schools Examinations and

Assessment Council (S.E.A.C)(appendix 9, fig.3), the Consortium

for Assessment and Testing in Schools (C.A.T.S)(appendix 9,

fig.3) and the National Curriculum Council (N.C.C)(appendix 9,

fig.1). According to Fox (1971, p83 ) middle managers may not

have the same goals as the top management but they rely on top

management approval and support. In simple terms they are

dependent on the top management for their directives and so are

under their control. An example of this situation has been seen

recently. C.A.T.S have developed Standard Assessment Tests in

Schools for Science, Technology and Maths having carried out

extensive and exhaustive pilot schemes throughout the country.

However, top management in the form of the Secretary for State

for Education, Kenneth Clarke (25th September 1991, News at Ten )

announced that the SATS were to be altered considerably and be in

the form of written tests and not prolonged assessment periods.

This would suggest that they do not entirely share the same aims

/ goals. C.A.T.S. developed the Standard Assessment Tests with

the aim of assessing a pupils ability and knowledge over an

extended period of time. However, the government have decided

that written tests are simpler and consequently easy to

introduce. This highlights a clear difference in aims of these

two levels of management.

Middle managers are more open to the day-to-day pressures of

the shop floor ie. the classroom floor and may suffer from

conflicting pressures from above and below ( Dalton.M. 1971.

p84). Bodies such as the N.C.C and S.E.A.C focus on

"organisational control" (Storey.J 1989, p.40 ), concentrating on

translating top management guide-lines into reality. For example,

the Secretary of State for education, through the Education Act

of 1988, set the N.C.C the task of providing "professional

advice" (N.C.C, 1989, p.11) on the school curriculum, not only

the National Curriculum. S.E.A.C were set the task of making

Standard Assessment Tests a practical reality.

Headteachers and school governing bodies can be regarded as

middle management also. Many of the policies set out by the

Education Act of 1988 have been set in motion by these middle

managers. School governors emerge from the Act with enhanced

powers and duties, with many of the functions previously

performed by the Local Education Authorities. Governors are

responsible for the conduct of the school although many

responsibilities rest with the headteacher. For instance, they

are responsible for the implementation of the National Curriculum

and must ensure that the school follows all directives relating

to it. Many other responsibilities have to be carried out by the

governing bodies and headteachers, all stemming from "corporate

policy" as determined by top management. These range from

financial control over spending and accounting for the schools

share of the L.E.As education budget, to responsibilities

regarding discipline including staff discipline.

Some of the increased responsibilities can be regarded as

"workplace control" (Storey.J,1989, p.40). They are concerned

with the organisation of routine work in such a way that they

satisfy top and middle management. These include "manning

levels, production runs and line speeds" (Storey.J, 1989, p.40).

Governing bodies can fix the times of school sessions, how many

hours a day the school is open and how the sessions are

organised. They school may feel that it is necessary for longer

hours, to cope with extra pupil / teacher work load. Many of the

shop floor decisions may be passed onto the Heads of Department

or even classroom teachers. This may include the construction of

schemes of work or lesson plans allowing for the practical

application and classroom appliance of the National Curriculum.

This normally falls into the hands of the Heads of Department or

subject coordinators (ie Technology Coordinator or Information

Technology Coordinator) who may be regarded as supervisors or

foremen. Often heads of department may have to act as shop floor

mediators between the middle management (headteacher) and the

classroom teacher.


This dissertation is concerned with determining whether

scientific management techniques (such as a reduction in worker

autonomy, the work study, the setting of tasks, and deskilling)

are now being used in education as a means of controlling the

content of subjects and the way subjects are taught. It is

possible that through scientific management the curriculum is

being manipulated or controlled. Definitions of the curriculum

vary according to the source and it is only quite recently that

the curriculum of a school has come to mean more than that which

the timetable indicates is taught in lessons. Kerr, for instance

argues that the term curriculum should be used in a much wider

sense and defines it as:

"All the learning which is planned or guided by the

school whether it is carried on in groups or

individually, inside or outside the school" (Kerr.J.F.

1975, p6)

This definition allows for the inclusion of extracurricular

activities along with aspects of the "hidden curriculum" as areas

which the school would like to promote. Numerous other

definitions of the curriculum exist including the National Union

of Teacher's:

"A complex of guided studies designed to encourage

literacy, numeracy and language, to develop academic

and practical skills and to nurture qualities such as

self reliance, integrity and enthusiasm" (N.U.T. 1975,


Whichever definition is chosen it becomes apparent that control

of the curriculum or at least a substantial influence upon it, is

of considerable importance to many groups ranging from the

government, local education authorities and teachers to

employers, publishers and pupils themselves. It is not surprising

that control of such an area has become an important issue only

in the last twenty years, for it is clear whoever controls the

curriculum can shape it to service their needs. They can decide

what is taught, in which type of institution it will be presented

and who is allowed access to which areas of knowledge. The

curriculum is now an area in which differing groups try to exert


Over twenty years tradition and consensus have meant that

many schools select similar types of knowledge, beliefs and

values which they transmit to pupils. External exams at 16 plus

have been controlled by the GCE and CSE boards and now the GCSE

examination boards, with the boards been responsible for both

syllabuses and examinations. The teachers are responsible for the

course work. Control of the syllabus has almost always been in

the hands of the exam boards and a major contributing factor of

this situation being the conservatism of teachers when faced with

the prospect of curriculum change or innovation. This is possibly

due because change may mean extra work as well as disturbing a

system which, whatever its faults, the teacher has become use to

and understands exactly what its demands on him/her are. An

interesting study is provided by Scarth (1984) in a study of

teacher's attitudes towards exams. He found that the teachers he

interviewed resented the restriction which the exam syllabuses

impose on their professional practice and very few of them were

concerned to initiate radical change in exam procedures - any

such changes tended to be administrative. In general it would

appear that teachers were too busy to think of radical change,

for not only are the classrooms a busy and time-consuming place

but schools in a wider context are as well. Furthermore, Scarth

found that teachers, in many respects, preferred the traditional

exam system as it aided classroom management.

The influence of the exam boards has been encouraged by

interested parties, particularly the Department of Education and

Science, and certainly the trend towards increased central

control has been well documented (see for example Lawton.D 1980,

1984). This has coincided with the belief that teachers have

already far too much influence and autonomy over curriculum


It is possible to argue that the 1944 Education Act gave the

teacher a considerable amount of control over the curriculum, for

although considerable powers were placed in the hands of school

governors and the Local Education Authorities, these tended in

practice to be devolved to the headteacher and his/her staff.

Under the Act schools were free to formulate any form of

secondary curriculum they chose with the governing body having

the responsibility for a "broad type of education" and "general

direction of the curriculum" (Butler.R.A. 1990, p4). By 1960 the

D.E.S started to exert influence. David Eccles (the Conservative

Minister for Education) gave ample warning of this when he gave

his famous speech concerning the "secret garden of the

curriculum" in which he argued for greater government interest in

the curriculum.

Early attempts by Central Government to gain control of the

curriculum failed due to teacher and Local Education Authority

(L.E.A) resistance. Indeed both the Department of Education and

Science and the L.E.As had little influence over what was taught

in schools with the individual teacher being able to determine

its nature. The Schools Council constitution in the early 1980s


"Each school should have the fullest possible measure

of responsibility for its own work, with its own

curriculum and teaching methods based on the needs of

its pupils and evolved by its own staff". (Salter.B and

Tapper.T 1981, p119)

In this way the curriculum policy of schools was initially

the product of classroom teaching, with the methods / techniques

of teaching and their content being under the control of the

classroom teacher and individual schools. This was one of the

central arguments in support of teachers' claim to

professionalism. This brings to mind the work of Braverman; just

as the craft worker once had control over the nature of his / her

work and the labour process, once the teacher also had similar

control. However, the 1980s saw a concerted effort by Central

Government to reverse this with what can be describe as Taylorist


Interference of a political nature increased with the Prime

Minister setting up the "Assessment of Performance Unit" in 1974,

to determine whether schools were doing enough to provide the

industrial society with school leavers who have the skills

industry could utilise. This was seen by Broadfoot (1979, p81) as

a potential back door method through which the curriculum could

be shaped. In general the 1960s and 1970s were decades when

teachers were criticised for sheltering behind their expertise

and accused of paying little attention to complaints made by

employers and parents about the curriculum. Increasingly it was

argued that curriculum development was too important to be left

to teachers alone. Instead the word "partnership" (to signify the

relationship between teachers and the D.E.S) was replaced by the

word "accountability". With the election of the Thatcher

government in 1979 and the appointment of Sir Keith Joseph as

Education Secretary the drift towards central control continued.

The 1970s saw a growth in comprehensive development with the

curriculum being a key issue. Many curriculum areas were

initiated such as; the National Curriculum Project, Nufield

Science, New Mathematics, Social Studies, 8 - 14 Humanities

Project and School Council initiatives. However, control was

limited with adoption of the above curriculum ideas being


The latter half of the 1980s and early 1990s saw Central

Government (top management) aiming to impose greater influence on

schools, raising teachers "awareness of control" (Shaw.K.E. 1990,

p271). Taylorism seemed to be raising its head:

"currently considerable pressure is building to have

teaching and school curricula be totally prespecified

and tightly controlled by the purpose of efficiency,

cost effectiveness and accountability" (Apple.M. 1988,


The imposition of the National Curriculum provided a rigid

framework and was assessment orientated, aiming at greater

standardisation of classwork. Control of the curriculum was

slowly passing from the hands of the teacher to central

authority. Furthermore, the national criteria for GCSE exams had

been the precursor for this action. The National Curriculum means

that teachers now have to follow specified procedures which

inevitably place constraints on most subjects. Besides this

teachers have had to face the imposition of Records of

Achievement (a detailed system of reporting on pupils to parents)

which puts further pressure on teachers who find they are losing

control over their use of time, while working. Often time is not

set aside for carrying out these new initiatives but it is

expected that teachers make time during lessons. Whether

curriculum guide-lines are from local or central authority, or

exam boards, they are seen as "constraining and mechanising

teaching" (Shaw.K.E. 1987, p788).

In recent years management in the form of central authority

has been strengthened. The industrial disputes of the 1980s

prompted the government to seek greater teacher/school

accountability. It appeared that industrial action justified

intervention by central government, even as far as to influencing

the teaching process within the classroom. As early as 1985 Sir

Keith Joseph had emphasised the view that there was a need for

more direct control of the work of teachers:

"I am concerned with the whole range of positive

advantages that would flow from applying to the teacher

force standards of management which have become common

elsewhere" (Sir Keith Joseph, 1988, p294)

Local Education Authorities have been put under pressure from

central authority especially with regard to financial support.

The Thatcher administration placed an emphasis towards a leaner,

more efficiently managed system, capable of changing to the needs

and requirements of the market place. It became necessary for

school managers (the middle management) to develop skills of

entrepreneurship and even market skills (such as publishing

booklets and leaflets to promote the school). The internal

management of the school has changed from that of trust,

responsibility and autonomy to one that would appear to following

Taylorist ideals of separating planning from execution. Moving

away from the ideas put forward by writers such as Fox (1974).

Decisions are taken largely by top and middle management, with

trust and good will replaced by tighter control and organisation.

One aim of "top management" is to control and prevent

certain types of behaviour by the workforce, such as the

withdrawal of good will or working to rule. In teaching, this may

extend to the refusal to supervise pupils during non-contact

time or the refusal to attend meetings. Top management in the

form of central government has resorted to contractualisation and

the imposition of conditions of service. Hours and duties have

become rigidly imposed, with directed time amounting to 1265

hours per school year. All this leads to less control by the

teacher over his/her work content, "separating planning and

execution" (Shaw.K.E. 1990, p274). The headteacher is now

required to have job specifications drawn up for all staff which

can detail and determine the tasks that are required of the

individual teacher. "The establishment of management as a

separate function ...with unique expertise and responsibilities a crucial first step in establishing control over the

workforce" (Littler.C and Salaman.G. 1982, p259).

Schooling is beginning more and more to mimic the market

place and in particular the industrial production line. Some

analysts (Marxist) may consider the as teacher suffering from

"formal subordination" with limited autonomy in the form of

his/her influence of the teaching process; this having been

further reduced. The teacher's role at work is beginning to

parallel his/her industrial counterpart.

The teacher equivalent of the work study, teacher appraisal,

is clearly adapted from its industrial equivalent, with central

authority consistently hinting that pay and promotion will be

related to this. Furthermore, politicians and other lay people

feel that the quality of a teacher's work can be determined by

the results his / her pupils gain. Exam results are one of the

public indicators of a teachers competence (Hargreaves, 1989,

p83). Accordingly top management aimed to employ strategies

similar to those used by industrial management to direct,

evaluate and supervise the labour process. Control was to be

exerted through the logics of industrial production and market

competition with appraisal taking its place amongst these.

According to Elliot (1989, p87) one of the most public and

political displays of the mistrust of teachers was the

publication in 1983 of Sir Keith Joseph's White Paper on

"Teaching Quality" (D.E.S. 1983). The overall model of the

management of schools was to be a "power coercive one" and the

paper legitimates managerial control over the collection,

analysis and release of data about each teacher's performance :

"employers can manage their teacher force effectively

only if they have accurate knowledge of each teacher's

performance" (D.E.S. 1983, paragraph 92)

This has similarities with Taylor's work study, as a methodical

study of an individual teachers work aimed at measuring his / her

efficiency and set targets for the future.

Appraisal of performance of the individual can be seen as

one of the first crucial steps towards control of the labour

process. In industry and commerce direct surveillance is seen as

essential if control of the labour process is to be secured. In

the education system the D.E.S have been developing what appears

to be control orientated appraisal . According to Kieron Walsh

(1990, p156) Sir Keith Joseph gave the impression that appraisal

was to discover and dismiss from service incompetent teachers and

that pay should be linked to performance. It should be remembered

that Taylor believed in economic reward as an incentive. The

development of appraisal can be seen as a managerial technique

involving not only self appraisal but also that of heads of

department and senior management (The Career Teacher, 1991, p1).

Kenneth Clarke in his draft regulation for appraisal emphasises

its use in the "management of school teachers", allowing for a

teacher's performance to be discussed with parents, L.E.A

officials and advisers. Furthermore it allows for the dismissal

and discipline of teachers (Clarke.K. 1991, p1). Taylor's work

aimed to highlight areas that could be made more efficient and

those areas of the labour process where changes could be made.

Appraisal may become a similar tool.

Teaching was once considered part of the public sector, but

with Local Financial Management, schools are adopting the rules

and habits of the market place. They have to compete in a

shrinking market place for pupils and so have had to adopt

industrial policies such as advertising and attempting to meet

the laws of supply and demand.

Much of Braverman's work related to skill at work and in

particular deskilling. He asked questions concerning workers

control over their tasks. Lane, (1985) applied Braverman's ideas

to clerical work, emphasising the deskilling debate. A discussion

of the nature of control in teaching cannot ignore this aspect of

Braverman or Taylor. This can be argued in two ways. Firstly,

have the skills teachers require to teach their

subjects/specialisms been eroded ? Secondly, have the skills that

pupils gain through a variety of subjects been reduced ? Any

dissertation assessing the nature of the control of teaching must

enter the deskilling debate. It could be argued that increased

control through the imposition of the National Curriculum has

forced teachers to re-skill in such areas as assessment

procedures and record keeping. On the other hand questions can be

raised over the skill content of National Curriculum subjects. Up

to recent years there has been little evidence of the

denigradation of skill with a vast improvement of teacher


At a national level the government have made the "Council

for Accreditation of Teacher Education" responsible for

overseeing the initial training of teachers, which includes

content of training courses. Just as Taylorist techniques aimed

to control the skill level of the worker and the labour process,

Central Government is attempting to do the same starting with the

way teachers are trained. This is an attempt to rationalise

teacher's work through influencing their role in the education

process from the start of their training.

The next two chapters will examine in more detail the

Education Reform Act of 1988 which forms the basis of the most

recent efforts by Central Government to gain direct control of

the education system. Specific reference and examples from a case

study into National Curriculum Technology and the Standard

Attainment Tests will be discussed in an attempt to identify

those Taylorist techniques that have been introduced into the