Educational reform: an ironic perspective

E Hoyle, M Wallace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


This article adopts irony as a frame for understanding some of the consequences of the reform movement in the UK. A distinction is drawn between the ironies that are endemic in all organizations and rooted in ambiguities and dilemmas, and the ironies that specifically flow from the disjunction between central policies and the contingent circumstances of individual schools. A further distinction is made between the ironies of policy and the ironies of practice, the latter characterized by the strategies used by headteachers and teachers as they adapt policy to practice and as they represent these adaptations as fulfilling accountability requirements. A case is made for principled infidelity as a component of temperate leadership and management which acts as an antidote to overwhelming policy initiatives and the excesses of managerialism to which these give rise.
Translated title of the contributionEducational reform: an ironic perspective
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9 - 25
Number of pages16
JournalEducational Management, Administration and Leadership
Volume35 (1)
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007

Bibliographical note

Publisher: SAGE


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