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Education Policy [Paperback]

Ian Abbott , Michael Rathbone , Phillip Whitehead
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
RRP: 22.99
Price: 19.53 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

12 Nov 2012 0857025775 978-0857025777
'A splendid read. Via interviews with several Secretaries of State for Education and a supporting analytical commentary, Education Policy provides a fascinating insight and historical appraisal of English policy rationale'
-Dr David Kitchener, Reader in Education, University of Bolton

'This book should be compulsory reading, not only for people interested in the history of education policy but also for policy makers, to remind them of what has gone before'
-Dr Andrew Townsend, University of Nottingham

From Butler to Balls and beyond, this essential book illuminates educational issues in England and Wales since WWII, drawing on extensive documentary evidence. Inside you will find in-depth interviews with former Secretaries of State for Education and other key decision-makers, including:

- Ed Balls

- David Blunkett

- Michael Gove

- Alan Johnson

- Ruth Kelly

The interviews cover the historical context of their period of office and the lasting legacy of their policies.

This is a must-read for Masters-level students on Education courses and PGCE programmes, and will be valuable to undergraduates studying modern history and social policy.

Ian Abbott is Director of the Warwick Institute of Education.

Mike Rathbone was previously Director of Continuing Professional Development in the Institute of Education.

Phil Whitehead is the course leader for the secondary PGCE (Teach First).

All are at the University of Warwick.

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Education Policy + The Education Debate (Policy and Politics in the Twenty-first Century)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd (12 Nov 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857025775
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857025777
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 17 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 601,757 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


'Everyone who has been to school has a view on education. For a chosen few, that experience can become a vision. Education Policy, via interviews with several Secretaries of State for Education and a supporting analytical commentary, provides a fascinating insight and historical appraisal of English policy rationale. A splendid read'
- Dr David Kitchener, Reader in Education, University of Bolton

'In charting the history of education policy this book acts as a reminder to all that the education policy of any given era does not exist in a vacuum, but rather that whilst it might promote a particular ideal of education it does so in a context with embedded traditions and beliefs derived from prior generations of policy. I think this book should be compulsory reading, not only for people interested in the history of education policy, but also for policy makers to remind them of this inheritance and of what has gone before'
-Dr Andrew Townsend, University of Nottingham

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible, biased and misleading 7 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As a historian of education, I hoped this would be a swift, accessible summary of the numerous education ministers who have occupied the post since the 1944 Education Act. I was particularly attracted by the advertised 'in-depth interviews' with former ministers, which I thought would be a genuinely useful resource. However, I cannot recommend this book, for numerous reasons. Firstly, the 'in-depth interviews' simply aren't present; the blurb seems to be referring to a few scattered quotations, largely from speeches which are publicly available anyway, so do not represent a new resource. This is incredibly misleading on the part of the publishers - I'm going to give the authors the benefit of the doubt and assume they weren't involved - and essentially amounts to false advertising. Secondly, the book is poorly and sloppily researched. The brief sections on early education ministers such as Florence Horsbrugh are laughable, even though her time in the post was relatively brief, and the authors seem to believe it is appropriate to quote the Oxford DNB as their only source for several figures! It is also badly-written, making potentially interesting subjects such as David Eccles's time in office and his famous wish to 'open up the secret garden of the curriculum' dull as ditchwater. Thirdly, I found it ideologically biased. The section on Michael Gove at the end is, love him or hate him, simply inadequate. The book swallows the party line that schools and teachers are being given greater autonomy and that Gove is 'committed to raising the performance of the poorest group of school pupils and to provide increased opportunities for all pupils to achieve academic success' without presenting any alternative viewpoints, or, indeed, any evidence. Read more ›
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Politics of children 16 Nov 2013
By W. Rodick TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It's strange, I know, but I don't think of education as being part of the welfare state. Only the opening paragraph of chapter one 'The Postwar Consensus' drove it home. Education is provided by the state free of charge. In 1944 it became compulsory to the age of fifteen.

These facts are just what it takes to engage me in the money-driven-madness of today's system. History lights the way forward. 'Education Policy' by Messrs Abbott, Rathbone and Whitehead is an attempt at objective overview. And by objective I mean words themselves being chastised. 'The ranking of pupils according to the notion of 'ability'' being one such notable insight.

The book does itself have a definite progression from one chapter to the next and is not a detached history text. If it has a fundamental flaw it is the inability to see outside the political system. Young humans and how they are best served is a different world. This book likes the current Coalition government.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Limited but useful 4 Nov 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is discursive rather than analytical, and it gives a fluent description of education policy, both as it was planned and how it turned out, over the past seventy years. If it has a weakness, it changes in tone with the passage of time. So far as I can judge, up until about the eighties it is a good, sturdy, impartial account; after that, it becomes less decisive (perhaps because it is too early to judge) and less critical of some figures who are simply allowed to speak for themselves without contradiction. This may be inevitable in a book which is giving a continuing history. It means that while it is probably very useful for adults, who will themselves have lived through some of the more recent events, it may be insufficiently analytical to serve A-level students on its own. But it is certainly arguable that, given the facts admirably set out here, those students could and should look at other texts too and marry them together to reach their judgement.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable tour through Education Policy 31 Oct 2013
By Andrew Dalby VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was worried that this was going to be a very dry "facts" telling of how education policy has developed over the last fifty years, but the authors have managed to make it very readable even though there is a lot of content. It covers all of the major educational acts since the second world war and all of the education ministers that implemented them. It is a bit sketchy for the post war period and the biographies of some of the ministers are very limited but it improves as you get closer to the present. Sometimes it also needed better editing when people are mentioned as having the same background who have not been mentioned before and were actually minister 10 years later! It was nice to know about the Black Papers that have now become my follow on reading as I had not heard of them before.

One of the other reviewers complained about the use of interviews as materials, saying that they were not used in the book. I did find that they did refer to the interviews - not perhaps as extensively and systematically as they could have not there were quotes from Kenneth Baker, Estelle Morris, Ed Balls and Michael Gove and much to my own surprise I actually found myself agreeing with something that Gove said for the first time ever. It is a shame that often the policies they produce in practice are shaped by political expediencies rather than the beliefs they actually hold.
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Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Education policy is something that has affected us all, and some of us more than once in our lives; as schoolchildren, students, parents or education professionals. This book is not a critique of current policy, but a look back on how policy has changed since the 1944 Education Act that raised the school leaving age to 15.

It's broken down into chapters covering each of the periods from 1944 to 2010 bookended by major changes in policy and/or society; 1944 and Butler's Act through to 1960 and the onset of the major changes in society itself, including the end of the 11 plus, that took place in the 60s. Each subsequent period is well covered, with pen portraits of the education secretaries of the period and Acts of Parliament that impinged on or formed educational policy outlined.

For anyone wanting to reference a particular period the way the chapters are structured is extremely helpful, with a conclusion and further reading for each. Bullet points at the start of each chapter helpfully cover the major events of that time, so that you can instantly recap that 2007 -2010, which covered the final part of the New Labour project was the point at which post-14 reform was introduced.

It's as up to date as it can be, with a brief commentary on the effects on policy of Michael Gove and the Coalition Government; no doubt this will be updated in any future editions.
For anyone needing a concise readable guide to the last 70 years in education in the UK it would be hard to better this. It is well researched, with enough detail to give a clear understanding, but necessarily trimmed down to the essences of each era. Essential reading for post-graduate Education students / trainee teachers and a very interesting read for current practitioners. Recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
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My mother was a teacher back in the days when dinosaurs still ruled the eath. She had a degree in botany and on her first day at a new school was told that they were lacking a... Read more
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting snapshot of education policy
Useful if prosaically written overview of key trends and developments in education policy split into 3 key areas of post-war education up until the coalition and Gove. Read more
Published 10 months ago by M. C. Cresswell
4.0 out of 5 stars Good potted history.
This book gives a good potted background history of education policy in the last few decades. Easy to read, not heavy. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Andy O'Boogie
5.0 out of 5 stars Salient and very readable
For anyone studying education at any level from Cert Ed to Masters I can highly reccommend this book, it is no mean feat to be able to summarise the highly complex legislative... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Mr. A. C. Thorne
3.0 out of 5 stars Good overview of post world war 2 British education policy
This book provides a good quick survey of education policy since World War 2. It is descriptive rather than analytical and as such it provides good solid background for further... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Phillysound2
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent guide to the morass of policies..
Terrifying to behold, this book collates various policies inflicted on the education sector over the past few decades. Read more
Published 12 months ago by M. W. Hatfield
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute must
I am a (mature) first year Education Studies student, desperately seeking books to help me navigate my way through the myriad of British Education Policy. Read more
Published 20 months ago by vincentr
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