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.

1979–1987: The Introduction of Competition into Education

1979–1987: The introduction of competition into education
  • A ‘free market’ in education
  • The redistribution of power from ‘producers’ to ‘consumers’
  • Control of the ‘outcomes’ of education
  • The education of children with special needs


Chapter 4 is concerned with the period from 1979 to 1987, ending just prior to the Education Reform Act of 1988. The chapter begins by setting out the political context within which policy was decided, and also the context within schools and colleges at the time. Subsequently there is a detailed consideration of the role of the Education Secretaries Mark Carlisle, Keith Joseph and Kenneth Baker who were in office during this time and of the development of education policy under their leadership. Kenneth Baker was interviewed for this book ...

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