An exploration of the notion of the ‘good enough school’

Chris James*, Izhar Oplatka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In many countries, expectations of schools are very high and rising, with increasingly serious consequences for schools if those expectations are not met. It is as if only ‘perfect schools’ will suffice – only then will all those with an interest in schools be satisfied. In this article, we argue that schools cannot be perfect and that indeed perfection is undesirable, for important educational/developmental reasons. We use the ‘good enough mother’ concept to explain and develop an alternative notion, the ‘good enough school’. We draw on a round-table discussion at the 2013 BELMAS Annual Conference in Edinburgh where we explained the concept and discussed vignettes of events in schools in relation to the ‘good enough school’ idea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-82
Number of pages6
JournalManagement in Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 23 Apr 2015


  • good enough school
  • school accountability
  • school inspection
  • school management
  • school organization


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