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.

1960–1969: A Decade of Social and Legislative Innovation

1960–1969: A decade of social and legislative innovation
  • Comprehensivisation
  • The Newsom Report
  • The Plowden Report
  • Educational priority areas
  • Curriculum


In this chapter we will examine some of the tensions that have remained at the forefront of the education debate in England and Wales. The 1960s saw a continuation of the postwar consensus in education policy and practice, but tensions began to emerge, particularly with the widespread discontent with the process of selection of children at age 11, streaming, particularly in primary schools, the inadequacy of a ‘secondary modern’ education and the ‘creaming’ off of bright and more able pupils by the grammar and independent schools. The negative influences of social class and neighbourhood on attitudes to schooling, aspiration and achievement gradually entered the ...

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