During the years 2000-2015, Britain has seen major and far reaching reforms in its education system driven by two key figures: Andrew Adonis and Michael Gove.
Motivated by the need to raise standards and rigour in Britain’s schools, and to create more and better opportunities for young people from the least advantaged backgrounds, their agenda led to the creation of ‘academies’ and, after 2010, ‘free schools’. Standards across the state sector have improved considerably since 2000, and much greater discipline and professionalism have been introduced into teaching and the leadership of schools.
The Adonis-Gove agenda needs to be completed fully, but the direction of travel is clear. What is needed now is a new wave of reforms, which builds on this first phase, and which offers young people a more rounded education, engages parents far more fully into their children’s education and ensures all young people have much richer opportunities, regardless of family background. More needs to be done to boost social mobility.
The proposals outlined here by Anthony Seldon are intended to end the divide between state and independent schools, thereby widening access to private education, bringing new money into the state system and reducing the domination of places at the top state schools by children from well off parents. Seldon’s proposals are bold and above all they will need political leadership and vision to bring them about.