An Examination of the Theoretical Basis of the Academies Act 2010

Mason, Alistair and Webb, Thomas and Campbell, David (2022) An Examination of the Theoretical Basis of the Academies Act 2010. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

[thumbnail of 2022MasonPhD]
Text (2022MasonPhD)
2022MasonPhD.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs.

Download (2MB)


Reform of the education system in England is a popular political activity, with changes to ‘improve’ education featuring on most governments agendas. In 2010 the Coalition Government enacted the Academies Act to introduce greater choice and competition within the schools’ system, in the expectation that this would drive improved performance. The Act ostensibly relied on Caroline Hoxby’s theories on competition within education to underpin the changes it implemented. However, this Thesis will explore whether the Act is consistent with Hoxby’s work and whether the Act can be said to be underpinned by academic theory. It will ultimately demonstrate that the introduction of the Act is not supported by academic theory and as a result, it would have been more efficient for the Government to work with the pre-existing system to drive improvement. This Thesis will demonstrate that the Act fails to incorporate key features of Hoxby’s work and so the Government could not rely on Hoxby to underpin the Act. However, the system produced by the Act was, unintentionally, consistent with the work of Albert Hirschman and so a new system as set out by the Act could be underpinned by Hirschman’s work. The Act however altered the existing schools’ system, rather than creating an education system from scratch. As such, using the work of Ronald Coase, this Thesis will demonstrate that the implementation of the Act was not the most efficient use of public resources open to the Government. As a result, the decision to implement the Act cannot be underpinned by academic theory. This discussion demonstrates the importance of careful consideration by Government of academic work before implementing new legislation to ensure the best use of limited public resources.

Item Type:
Thesis (PhD)
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
26 Apr 2022 08:40
Last Modified:
05 Feb 2024 00:20