Written by an author with a 50 year career in education, this is a sound and concise description of the English schooling system. Mortimore describes the the history, the current structure of our schools and what exactly is taught in them. He then goes on to consider the good points, bad points and finally, what, in an ideal world, could be done to improve education for future generations. The main failure, as he sees it, is the inequality inherent in the system which means that those who enter it with more will always come out with more. The constant testing of our pupils and, unsurprisingly, the misguided interference of politicians - present and past - also come under some scrutiny. An invaluable book for anyone who is touched by schooling - pupils, parents, educators and employers.
This is the best book I have read for twenty years on the relationship between Politics, Society and Education. It should be compulsory reading for all policy makers and policy interpreters (including education journalists). The best thing about it is that it is almost entirely evidence based, unlike the empty verbiage we get from Gove and his advisors. It chimes well with my personal observations in many comprehensive schools here and in the Nordic countries, especially Finland.