By Bronwen Cohen, Peter Moss, Pat Petrie, Jennifer Wallace
Read Online or Download A New Deal for Children?: Re-forming Education and Care in England, Scotland and Sweden PDF
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Extra resources for A New Deal for Children?: Re-forming Education and Care in England, Scotland and Sweden
In a contemporary comparison then, Britain appears increasingly liberal. Britain is an example of regime shifting or, perhaps, stalled ‘social democratization’. (p 87; emphasis added) The UK’s turn to a liberal welfare regime in the late 1970s was accompanied by shifts in economic and political regimes, again in a particular liberal direction. Economically, the 1970s have been described as marking the end of the dominance of a ‘Fordist’, or paternalistic, type of capitalism to be replaced, at least in the English-speaking world, by a capitalism variously characterised as ‘flexible’ (Harvey, 1989), ‘free market’ and ‘disordered, anarchic’ (Gray, 1998), ‘short termist’ (Sennett, 1998) and ‘neo-liberal’.
Swedish parents receive generous benefits such as 13 months’ parental leave paid at 80% of earnings and up to 60 days of leave per year per child (up to the age of 12 years) available to care for sick children and at a comparable benefit level. They also have an entitlement to early childhood and school-age childcare services for children from 12 months of age – and, as we have seen, are charged low fees when using these services. Furthermore, viewed broadly, the social democratic welfare regime has been highly successful, not least in areas such as poverty reduction, in which liberal regimes are still struggling, and as yet failing, to achieve significant results: Criticism of high taxation is placed into perspective when one takes the achievements into account.
The state’s role was reduced to providing more general guidance and support for development and research (Broberg and Hwang, 1991). The same process occurred with schooling. In the early 1990s, when local authority influence over education was being reduced in England and, to a lesser extent, in Scotland, Swedish local authorities were given full responsibility for schools, including the employment of schoolteachers. This local responsibility, combined with responsibility for pre-schools and school-age childcare, facilitated the integration of schools and school-age childcare services, and closer relations between pre-schools and schools.