Andrew Adonis on Jim Callaghan and education

Quite a moving article in the Education Guardian by Blairite minister Andrew Adonis on James Callaghan’s speech to Ruskin College thirty years ago. Adonis highlights the clear importance of education to social justice, putting it at the heart of the Labour movement.

Particularly resonant was this quote from Callaghan’s education advisor:

"I said that what was worrying most parents was not the ideological structure of the system - grammar schools versus comprehensives - but [something] more basic: will their children be taught to read and write and to add up; [will they] be protected from bullying and intimidation; will basic educational skills and discipline be maintained and some social values inculcated?"
I have argued before on this site for the value of a decent local school, against the ideologically motivated extension of so-called “choice” – including the choice for faith schools.

So it grated when Adonis concluded that
A continued transformation of secondary education is needed to bring [higher and more equal educational achievement] about: hence trust schools, academies and the extension of specialist schools.”
To me, these are precisely ideological initiatives, which have showed no evidence so far of working to deliver better and fairer outcomes for Britain’s children.

See also: Andrew Brown on integrating schools
Previous: Blair's Thatcherism; Neo-liberalism's assault on civic culture
Update: Daniel on faith schools
Keywords: faith school, faith schools, education policy, socialism


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