WP51 Rituals of order, blame & redemption: Coping with failing in a working class school

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This paper is about the current regime for the regulation of primary schools in England, and how this regime shapes discourses about success-and-failure, social class and the allocation of blame.? Within the current wave of educational reforms in England, the National Curriculum has established an order: a set of standards that all pupils must meet, and national testing at ages 7, 11 and 14 to hold schools accountable to those standards.? Aggregate attainment scores are published annually in the form of ?league tables? that rank schools according to pupil achievement, clearly identifying the system?s many ?imperfections?.? This state of affairs frames and propels public rituals of blame allocation, in which the Office of Standards in Education (OFSTED, the Inspection Agency) plays a critical role.? I explore these dynamics in a case study of how teachers in one working class school coped with their alleged under-performance, and in particular their experience of an OFSTED inspection that gave them the (failing) mark of ?serious weaknesses?.