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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must-read book by a passionate author
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...
Published on 5 Dec. 2012 by John Hamlen

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Adonis and Education
An interesting book in terms of content and comparisons between Labour and Coalition governnment policies and aspirations. Would have benefited from better editing though and this slightly undermines its arguments but nevertheless, worth reading and thought provoking.
Published on 22 Oct. 2012 by bgs


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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
By 
John Hamlen (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Education, Education, Education: Reforming England's schools (Paperback)
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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4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating insight into the ideas that sparked the acdemy programme, 3 April 2015
This review is from: Education, Education, Education: Reforming England's schools (Paperback)
This is a fascinating account of the development and implementation of the academies programme across schools. Andrew (later Lord) conceived the programme as a response to his own experiences as a child growing up in relative poverty, and under the care and maintenance of the London Borough of Camden. Clearly immensely talented, Adonis experienced both ends of the spectrum when it came to his own education, suffering for a while at an utterly inadequate school where bullies ran rife and the teachers had lost the will, energy and even the basic engagement to intervene. At his next school, however, he found himself being taught be a selection of excellent, engaged and engaging teachers, and he thrived to the extent that he landed a place at Oxford University, where he subsequently became a lecturer.

From there he progressed, through various intermediary roles, to being one of Tony Blair's advisers at No. 10, where he started putting together his plan for the roll out of academies. Independent state-funded schools with external sponsorship, and a governance structure that left them free from intervention by the local authority. The book details how he gradually came to persuade a succession of Secretaries of State in the Education Department (and there have been a fair few of them: I have worked in the department for fourteen years and have seen eight of them come and go!) to embark upon the programme, though he was encumbered by his position as an éminence grise which limited his capacity for hand on engagement. As a succession of Secretaries of State wove their temporary way through Sanctuary Buildings, the Department's headquarters under the shadow of Westminster Abbey, he became increasingly frustrated as none of them showed the same zeal as him for promoting academies. David Blunkett, Estelle Morris, Charles Clarke and Ruth Kelly all came and went without ever being galvanised into academisation! But then Alan Johnson was appointed, and he seemed to understand the idea immediately. There had, however, been a new development. Adonis was no longer working from the No. 10 bunker. Following his third general election victory in 2005 Tony Blair elevated Adonis to the House of Lords and made him Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools. This gave him the opening to accelerate the programme, and he seized it with alacrity. The book tells of how the programme grew from strength to strength with numbers of opened academies leaping forward exponentially.

One of the great strengths of Lord Adonis that becomes apparent from this book is his urge to make things better rather than to score political points. Having always been known as a 'Blairite' he worried about the impact for the programme of Gordon Brown's elevation to Prime Minister following Blair's resignation in June 2007, and the consequential appointment of Ed Balls, Brownite extraordinaire, to the position of Secretary of State. He was, however, able to convince Brown of the value of the programme in a single meeting, and thereafter, for the rest of that administration, funding flowed into academies as never before.

A greater test of the merit of the programme was to ensue in 2010 following the formation of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government. Ed Balls was succeeded as Secretary of State for Education by Michael Gove, who proved to be as ardent an advocate of the academy programme as Lord Adonis himself. The programme has continued to expand throughout the whole of that administration, and now more than half of state-funded secondary schools in England are academies. As a true bipartisan pragmatic politician Adonis is very even-handed in his treatment of the Conservatives' education policy and their programme of extensive curriculum and qualification reform. He doesn't agree with everything that the Coalition Government has done, but he doesn't score points simply for the sake of it.

The book is fascinating. He writes very clearly and avoids jargon. There is no political axe to grind. Adonis emerges from these pages as a latter-day Renaissance Man, who looked back to his own challenging experiences and simply wanted to make things better.
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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
By 
Steven Smith "24beforemylove" (Harrogate, UK) - See all my reviews
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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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5.0 out of 5 stars An essential read for anyone involved in Academies, including teachers, governors and parents., 4 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Education, Education, Education: Reforming England's schools (Paperback)
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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4.0 out of 5 stars An honest account., 1 Aug. 2014
This review is from: Education, Education, Education: Reforming England's schools (Paperback)
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
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This review is from: Education, Education, Education: Reforming England's schools (Paperback)
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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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book for understanding why we need the Academy system so much, 16 Jun. 2013
By 
Oliver E. K. Wells (UK) - See all my reviews
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I have worked in an Academy for the last five years. I wish I had read this book earlier. I have direct experience of many of the points made here. It is so nice to here someone else talk about this. Really pleased I read this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you believe in change.., 12 May 2013
More than half of England's 3300 secondary state schools are now academies or in the pipeline to become academies. A third way in English secondary education has been created, which aims to blend the best standards of the private sector with the inclusive egalitarianism of the state sector. What is being described in `Education, education, education' is a change of historical significance. It is written by the chief revolutionary, Lord Andrew Adonis, in a taut, pacy, engaging style.

His book is the story of his work as arguably the most effective politician of his generation. Although and perhaps because he has never been an MP, his ability to infect politicians across the political spectrum with his optimistic vision is unparalleled. Having been first an academic, then education correspondent for the Financial Times, he joined the Labour party in 1995, only two years before the party came to power in 1997 when he was appointed an advisor to Blair in the No 10 Policy Unit.

It was a revolution in education that nearly didn't happen - when Labour came to power in 1997 one of its first moves was to abolish the option of grant-maintained status for state secondary schools, a Thatcherite precursor of the academy approach. After 2001, when the drive for academies really took off, Gordon Brown as Chancellor was prepared to fund a massive boost in educational spending and Tony Blair had a powerful desire to improve state secondary performance, but not through the conduit of ineffective local education authorities. Having analysed the problems facing English education Adonis believed academies were the single most important component of the solution to the problem of state secondary school underperformance.

Adonis describes successful politicians as having a satnav: an ultimate idea of the destination they want to get to and an ability to be able to work out a different route when circumstances change. Nobody is a better embodiment of that than Adonis himself. He developed a repertoire of pragmatic tactics and stratagems both for keeping Academy projects on track in spite in the numerous challenges they faced, and for developing initiatives to improve educational performance such as Teach First, a project to bring higher achieving graduates into teaching.

Undoubtedly Adonis benefited from near limitless public coffers - his prescription for continued increased educational spending sounds less compelling when the coffers are empty. But his ability to analyse the biggest of national problems and craft effective imaginative solutions, as well as his relative youth, means that he is likely to remain a powerful figure in British politics for years to come - and he is potentially poised to repeat that success in the arena of national transport. `Education, Education, Education' is a compellingly written picture of New Labour at its best: principled, flexible, committed, smart and with deep pockets to implement the vision - we'll have to wait a few years to see whether Adonis and Labour can replicate that success in more frugal times.
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5.0 out of 5 stars good book, 16 Jun. 2013
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My daughter worked for Andrew Adonis an thoroughly respected his intellect and the fact that he is a really nice man. Although I probably disagree somewhat with the ideology of comprehensive education Lord Adonis is coming from a very genuine viewpoint and beliefs.
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5.0 out of 5 stars ... gives a very account of policy issues and a good insight education reform in English schools, 13 April 2015
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This text gives a very account of policy issues and a good insight education reform in English schools. Highly recommended.

Trevor Dunn (Cambridge)
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Education, Education, Education: Reforming England's schools
Education, Education, Education: Reforming England's schools by Andrew Adonis (Paperback - 4 Sept. 2012)
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