Market mirages and the state’s role in professional learning: the case of English mathematics education

BOYLAN, Mark and ADAMS, Gill (2023). Market mirages and the state’s role in professional learning: the case of English mathematics education. Journal of Education Policy.

Boylan-MarketMiragesState's(VoR).pdf - Published Version
Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (874kB) | Preview
Official URL:
Open Access URL: (Published version)
Link to published version::


Using a theoretical framework of policy assemblage, we analyse current primary mathematics teacher professional development in England, in the context of a transnational policy of mastery in mathematics influenced by East Asian practices. As well as the increased discourse of marketisation, and school and teacher autonomy, there has also been a paradoxical process of greater state influence over the content and form of professional learning. This paper maps the mathematics mastery market to show how marketisation and competition form a mirage that masks state-market assemblage. An analysis of these assemblages illuminates the state’s role in fostering a market whilst also operating as an actor in this market, in this case in mastery professional development. Within the mastery market, tensions arise between the phenomena of replication and isomorphism and differentiation of ‘offers’ that develop affinity groups and networks. Thus, we extend previous descriptions of the hierarchy, markets, and networks, and the roles of state funded actors within teacher professional development by identifying the importance of multiplicity of logics, assemblage as a process of labour, and the dynamic nature of relationships and activity. Resources to support teacher professional learning are mobilised in competitive processes with apparent choice hiding state direction.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1301 Education Systems; 1303 Specialist Studies in Education; 1605 Policy and Administration; Education; 3902 Education policy, sociology and philosophy
Identification Number:
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2023 15:41
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2023 16:02

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics