A fundamental shift has taken place in the relationship between images of the past and educational policy making. In the 1930s and 1940s, a shared public past was incorporated in State policy to denote gradual evolution towards improvement in education and in the wider society. This consensual image has become fractured and less comforting especially since the 1970s. In particular, it has divided into a largely alienated or estranged public past, and personalised images of a reassuring and nostalgic 'private past'. This privatising of the past has exerted an increasing influence in education policy in the 1980s and 1990s, reflecting the concurrent trend towards an emphasis on 'choice and diversity' in education.
Keywords history  private  society  public  policy  diversity  choice
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DOI 10.1111/1467-8527.00037
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