McKenzie, M. & Aikens, K. (2020). Global education policy mobilities and subnational policy practice. Globalisation, Societies and Education, DOI: 10.1080/14767724.2020.1821612.


Drawing on data from three levels of education policy-making in Canada, in this paper we identify variegated interactions of global circulations of sustainability discourses in education in relation to priorities and responses at subnational levels of government, including provinces and territorial ministries of education, local school divisions, and schools. Understanding ‘scale’ as mutable and practiced vs. fixed, we discuss instances of policy recoding or mutation when global UN priorities have been shifted to reflect language or priorities suited to education ministries and school divisions; as well as examples of policy immobility, where subnational education bodies did not engage with UN sustainability approaches. Cases of policy amplification are also highlighted, in which school division policy priorities appeared to increase the influence of provincial policy. In some cases, intentional efforts of ‘rescaling’ seemed to influence policy responses, such as through processes of school division amalgamation, or the growing attempts to relocalise policy in Canada’s north. We draw on data from across six Canadian provinces and territories and 10 school divisions to better understand the mobilities of sustainability in education policy in relation to subnational policy practice, including via topological influences such as policy actors and certification programmes.