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Education, Education, Education: Reforming England's schools [Paperback]

Andrew Adonis
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 Sep 2012
Tony Blair said his three priorities were Education, Education, Education. Andrew Adonis played a decisive role in turning this slogan into a reform programme. This book describes his quest to transform standards and opportunities in England s schools, and his ambition to make English education truly world class. The reinvention of the comprehensive school was the central Blair project. In 1997 a majority of comprehensives were failing or seriously underperforming, with calamitous consequences for society and the economy. Academies replaced comprehensives by a radically new form of independent state school characterised by strong leadership and an ethos of aspiration, success and social mobility. Adonis tells the story of academies, from the germ of a reform idea in the late 1990s to the national movement for educational transformation they have become today. Wider and bolder reform are now imperative to make England s schools world class. Adonis sets out a manifesto for change, including higher salaries and better training and selection to make teaching the nation s most prestigious profession, and further radical innovation in the creation of new and better schools to tackle school drop-out and the challenges of the future. Andrew Adonis was a radical reformer at the heart of government for more than a decade. He explains how to mobilise government behind change. His book is optimistic about the power of politics to transform society for the better, and practical about the ways to make it happen.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Biteback Publishing (4 Sep 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849544204
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849544207
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 13.4 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 52,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'exhilaratingly unapologetic, well-sourced, highly readable and generally persuasive...Read it.' -- Martin Kettle, The Guardian.

'Buy the book. Buy it for your mother. Buy it for everyone you know. It is such a clear analysis of what went wrong with British schools and how to put it right.' -- John Rentoul, Independent Blogs.

'The particular joy of this book is that it doesn't merely recount the history: it pre-empts Labour's 2015 education manifesto' -- Adrian Hilton, RightMinds.

'David Cameron should make each of his ministers read this book ... Adonis offers some very good tips on how to be a successful reformer. He demonstrates how a great vision can be delivered.' -- Kenneth Baker, The Telegraph

He was the most effective education minister we have seen in Britain in recent years; let s hope he becomes an equally effective education secretary." --Anthony Seldon, New Statesman,

'a must-read for anyone interested in education or how to drive through public service reform.' -- Progress Online

' excellent...The book is hybrid: part history, part memoir, part handbook for reformers' -- Financial Times

'If you want to understand New Labour thinking on education then read this book.' -- Left Futures

'compellingly written ... this is an important book, and a powerful reminder that between the forces of marketised deregulation and statist management there is indeed a third way of educational transformation and improvement' --Chris Husbands, Times Educational Supplement

About the Author

Andrew Adonis was an architect of education reform under Tony Blair, serving in the No. 10 Policy Unit and then as Minister for Schools from 1998 until 2008. He went on to become Transport Secretary under Gordon Brown. The academies programme is his major achievement. An entirely new breed of independent state schools, academies are changing the face of education nationwide, particularly where they have replaced failing comprehensive schools.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must-read book by a passionate author 5 Dec 2012
If you have the slightest interest in the UK education system - and that should be everyone who cares about the future prosperity of this country and its people - then this book is a must-read.

For anyone who has heard Andrew Adonis speak, it is obvious the passion he brings to bear on "big problems" he cares about, whether it be transport, education, or even democracy itself (e.g. [...]). He's a perfect example of a Peer with a pulse and because of this, as a previous reviewer noted, the first half of the book is a 'cracking read'.

Not everyone will agree with the viability of all his manifesto points in the second half of the book - though how boring would that be?! I certainly didn't, but every suggestion is well argued, and the reader will often find themselves persuaded.

The author is sometimes painted as having a one-dimensional, academies-are-the-answer-to-everything point of view, but in fairness to Adonis, he does devote page space to the barriers to, and limitations of, the model. Maybe a bit more of this would improve the book, but for me it's still a solid 5-stars even before getting to: Chapter 12 - How to be a Reformer.

If you are trying to put your own small, in the late Steve Jobs' words, "dent in the Universe", then this chapter alone is worth the price of admission regardless of your field of endeavour.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite a convincing case for acdemies 20 Nov 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Passionate, clearly written case for the academy revolution. It remains to be seen if the most recently converted academies produce better results than maintained schools. Evidence is not yet clear.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An honest account. 1 Aug 2014
Despite the rather off-putting title, which is from Blair's famous speech, this book is very readable and offers a great insight into the reasoning behind the reforms. It offers an honest account of the ups and downs of the reforms, though obviously does try to paint the best possible picture. Despite not being a great fan of the reforms, I enjoyed this book very much. It is great for trainee and established teachers alike. Or even for politicians to read, they could possibly learn a lot from previous mistakes.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Read 17 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this as research for my dissertation and I was pleasantly suprised at how easy to read it was. Wasn't what I was expecting at all. Obviously have to keep in mind the bias but I genuinely felt it was a fascinating look at the Academies policy from the creator, to compare it to the current system in place now. Really interesting read.
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Not the easiest book to read as the subject matter can be very dry, but the background behind the development of the Academies and how they have developed is very interesting and useful background reading for anyone who is involved in an Academy. There are a lot of opinions expressed in the book, and these need to be taken in a political context, but the passion for Education comes through and gives me hope that there is some improvement coming through for our young people. The information about education systems in other countries was also enlightening.
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