Do you find it difficult to keep up with the pace of change in education policy? This essential book takes an historical perspective to illuminate current educational issues. The authors draw on documentary evidence to describe, record and analyze education policy in England and Wales since the Second World War.

Inside you will find in-depth interviews with a number of former Education Ministers, and others who were directly involved in the development and implementation of education policy. Key decision-makers such as David Blunkett, Ed Balls and Michael Gove are asked to discuss the historical context of their period of office and to consider the lasting legacy of the policies they have been responsible for.

This is a must-read for graduate students in education courses. It will be a valuable resource to undergraduates studying modern history and social policy, as well as international students who wish to gain an insight of the English education system. From Butler to Balls and beyond, this book provides a unique insight into the impact and legacy of education policy.

1944–1960: The Postwar Consensus: Education for All?

1944–1960: The postwar consensus: Education for all?
  • The religious question
  • Private schooling
  • The role of the state, the LEAs and the teaching profession
  • The eleven plus, selection and streaming
  • The drive towards comprehensivisation


Following the end of the Second World War there was a desire by all political parties not to return to the problems of the 1930s and to introduce widespread social and economic reconstruction. The 1944 Education Act recognised the importance of education in raising living standards and enhancing social mobility. Secondary education to 15 was made compulsory, and free school meals and milk were introduced with a range of other welfare services. Children were segregated at the age of eleven by ability and aptitude into grammar, technical and modern schools. However, ...

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