Media Release

Reaction to the Commission on Inequality in Education’s final report

Lord Blunkett, Secretary of State for Education, 1997-2001   

“This report and recommendations is a timely reminder of how critical it is to keep the foot on the accelerator of reform, improvement and raising standards for all children.   Overcoming what has bedevilled the UK for generations – gross inequality and therefore societal influences on the chance of prospering, progressing and breaking free of those “mind forged shackles” which William Blake immortalised so long ago.

“However, it is also a stark reminder that the failure of government local and national, and it has to be said of the new landscape of the education system, to spread best practice is the obvious factor.

“London, and particularly East London, were transformed not by income alone but by aspiration and educational practice.  The London Challenge, which took the concept of Excellence in Cities and with stiletto focus, carried it into practice, is a demonstration of what can be done.

“But reinventing the wheel, trashing what has come before, concentration on structures rather than on standards, has bedevilled those efforts to transform the life chances of children who through no fault of their own live in the wrong neighbourhood, in the wrong region!  For so many children the fight against inequality begins at birth, we have an obligation as a nation to provide them with the means to win that battle.”


David Laws, Executive Chairman, Education Policy Institute –

“I welcome this new report, which highlights the UK’s social mobility problem – one of the greatest challenges currently facing our country.

“It is concerning that some of the gaps in opportunities between children in different parts of the country have actually widened over recent years, and it’s clear that addressing this issue needs to be a priority for policy-makers. The proposals in this report should be looked at carefully to see which have the capacity to make a cost-effective impact.”


Charles Clarke, Secretary of State for Education, 2002-2004 

“The Commission on Inequality in Education has published an interesting report which sets out clearly the need for action. It identifies the problems and proposes interesting policy recommendations which should be supported. However a great deal more remains to be done, and that needs the kind of comprehensive government commitment which is so far lacking.”


Baroness Shephard, Secretary of State for Education, 1994-1997

“This Report makes a number of welcome and innovative suggestions, including real incentives to encourage teachers to work in disadvantaged schools, and practical ideas on how to get closer working between teachers and parents.

“There is plenty for policy makers to think about and adopt, to make a real difference to young people’s life chances.”


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