This Introduction provides an overview of the distinctive contribution of the late David Raffe to educational research in the UK and internationally over a 40-year period. His wide-ranging research on post-compulsory education and training systems was enriched by the development of conceptual distinctions that have become part of the lingua franca of sociology and the study of education reform. David’s particular style of scholarship focused on the improvement of education systems through collaborative working; historical and comparative analysis and the processes of policy learning. In particular he argued that both researchers and policy actors should understand the specificities of their own national contexts rather than simply engage in ‘policy borrowing’ from other contexts or countries. The Introduction also outlines how the various contributors to the journal have engaged with David’s scholarship, and demonstrates the continuing relevance of his intellectual legacy to understanding today’s turbulent political and policy world. © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
- education and training systems
- policy learning
- system improvement
- youth transitions