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Education, Education, Education: Reforming England's schools Paperback – 4 Sep 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Biteback Publishing (4 Sept. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849544204
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849544207
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 2.2 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 156,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'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

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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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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.
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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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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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Lord Adonis writes a truly excellent book that tells the fascinating story of the British education scene over the last twenty years. His personal drive and belief in the power of effective governance which underpins the academy system is inspiring and it is exciting to track the impact that this has had over the last fifteen years.

Fully recommended.
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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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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.
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