‘Many hold Gove responsible’: education guru sets out what’s wrong with England’s schools

The veteran educationist Sir Tim Brighouse is in an optimistic mood. This may be a period of “doubt and disillusion”, especially as Covid threatens to disrupt another school year, but in his view such times inevitably lead to change. With that in mind, he has just co-authored a sweeping 600-page overview of modern education policy, with suggestions he hopes will contribute to a new direction.

Written with the curriculum expert Mick Waters, About Our Schools divides recent history into two eras: a postwar age of “hope and optimism”, in which teachers were pretty free to do what they liked, followed by a post-Thatcher age of “markets, centralisation and managerialism”, in which the influence of inspections and league tables became all-pervasive and individual ministers could decide how skills such as subtraction should be taught in every classroom in England.


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