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DSA in Conversation With: Prof. Anne West & BELMAS AGM

Where: NCVO Building, Regents Wharf, 8 All Saints St, London N1 9RL & Online
Date: Tuesday 18th June 2024
Time: 1pm-4pm
Price: Free for all BELMAS members with lunch included

About the Event

The Distinguished Service Award (DSA) Advisory Panel are a group of people who have been awarded BELMAS’ highest accolade. They provide field insight, policy members and guidance to the BELMAS Board and staff team.

As part of their role and expertise, they hold annual ‘DSA in Conversation With’ events which allow BELMAS members to tune into a conversation between the DSA and leaders within the field.

For the inaugural conversation, we welcome Professor Anne West from the London School of Economics who will discuss ‘Reforms to School-Based Education in England Since 1988: Continuity and Change’, with our current DSA Chair, Professor Helen Gunter.

This event will also include the BELMAS AGM; an opportunity for the Trustee Board to be transparent and accountable to the membership. Here, we will present the audited accounts for 2023, alongside a series of reports. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions to the Trustee Board.


1pm: Arrival & Lunch
1:15pm: BELMAS AGM
2:30pm: Break
2:45pm: DSA in Conversation with Anne West
4pm: Depart


Prof. Anne West Biography

Anne West is Professor of Education Policy in the Department of Social Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Prior to joining the LSE as a researcher in 1990, she worked in the Research and Statistics Branch of the former Inner London Education Authority. Her research focuses on education policy and reform in England and in comparative perspective and has been published in a wide range of academic journals (e.g., British Journal of Educational Studies, Oxford Review of Education, Research Papers in Education, Journal of School Choice, Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis). In 2015 she held the Fritz-Karsen Chair at Humboldt University in Berlin and from 2014 to 2019 she was a member of the French Conseil national d’évaluation du système scolaire. She has recently been awarded a Major Research Fellowship by the Leverhulme Trust to carry out a research project addressing school admissions and school choice in comparative perspective.

Conversation Abstract

The session will focus on the extent of continuity and change in school-based education in England from the late 1980s onward when the 1988 Education Act was passed. Since then, there has been a raft of policy reforms, with more recent legislation and policy having fundamentally changed the landscape of schooling. With academisation, control has shifted from local government and individual school governing bodies to central government, regional directors and (private) academy trusts.

Whilst there has been broad continuity for state maintained schools (e.g., statutory school governing bodies, national curriculum, admissions) this is not the case for academies where academy trusts determine the governance of schools in the trust, the curriculum and admissions, albeit within certain parameters. In addition, schools that are part of multi-academy trusts are no longer legal entities and have less autonomy than maintained schools. Notwithstanding these changes, at a macro (national) level there has been continuity with a focus on school performance and inspection with potentially serious consequences for individual schools.

My research – with colleagues – has focused on policy development and change over time, including the role played by political ideas, and policy outcomes (e.g., fragmentation of the school system, the locus of control), alongside implications for policy and governance. The research also raises normative questions regarding who should control schools and what role should be played by local and central government. Our research methods have varied depending on the particular research questions we have sought to address and have included quantitative and qualitative analyses, documentary analysis, policy analysis and analysis of legislative provision.


AGM Documents

  1. Agenda
  2. Minutes from the last meeting
  3. Chair’s Report
  4. BELMAS 2023 Audit
  5. Vice-Chair Finance & Resource Report
  6. Executive Officer Report
  7. EMAL Editor-in-Chief Report
  8. MiE Editor-in-Chief Report

If you would like to submit a question for the Trustee Board, please do so through our form by clicking the button below:

Submit a Question to AGM


Ticket Information

This event is free to BELMAS members and is limited to 40 in-person tickets. To ensure you receive your free ticket, please log in on the BELMAS website before booking.

Please only claim a ticket if you are committed to attending.

There are unlimited spaces for online attendance.

Tickets will become available at: 9am on Monday 8th April 2024.

Registration will close one week before the event at: 4pm (UK) on Monday 11th June 2024.


Ticket Information

Joining instructions for online attendees and directions for in-person attendees will be sent out a week before the event, so please keep an eye on your inbox for these. We look forward to seeing you in June.

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