To investigate processes of political activity and decision-making

Aim

To investigate processes of political activity and decision-making with regard to an educational issue.

Evidence and reflection

A necessary basic strategy here is to focus on one issue and to trace the debates in the media and elsewhere. This could helpfully be undertaken with colleagues so that the workload is shared. The issue could be local or national.

Newspapers provide useful sources of easily retrievable information. Some, such as The Times, publish an index and this is particularly helpful. The BBC and Guardian’s websites are also particularly good.

Having gathered a variety of statements about the issue in question, an attempt should be made to classify them so that the competing positions are identified. From this point, it may be possible to gather policy statements directly from the participants, by letter, discussion, interview or library search.

Finally, the decision-point can be studied. Were the public arguments influential? What interests seem to have prevailed when decisions were taken?

Extension

Having studied an example of political influence on decision-making, it is worth taking stock of what has been learned. Did you feel that the debate reflected appropriate educational concerns? Could educationalists have made more constructive contributions?