Within a context of global reform agendas that promote economic ideologies in education the discourses surrounding 'school failure' have shifted from 'individual risk' to 'a nation at-risk'. Enhancing the quality of schooling through improving educational outcomes and standards for all, and thereby reducing 'school failure,' is simultaneously constructed as enhancing both social justice and a nation's economic advantage in the global marketplace. Within this broader context, this research explores the complexity of issues related to policy for students at educational risk through an analysis of the Education Department of Western Australia's 'Making the Difference: Students at Educational Risk Policy.' This research adopted a theoretical framework of a 'policy cycle' (that allowed for an exploration of power relations within the policy process. Primarily, consideration is given to the competing social and economic discourses found within the policy text and subsequent tensions reflected and retracted throughout the policy process from macro (system), to meso (district) and finally to micro levels within the schools and classrooms.
Asia and the Pacific