Do we want better schools for Britain's children?

Can we finally make up our minds as a country as to what we want for our state education system? Is it really controversial to want a better deal for Britain's children?

Former Education Secretary Michael Gove
Sir John Redwood MP
On 26 July 2014 09:01

As the dust settles after the departure of Michael Gove from education it is time to consider what a future government should do to continue the reforms and improve the opportunities young people have from attending our state schools.

Mr Gove drove through a substantial increase in the number of Academies, a programme started by the previous Labour government. He introduced a number of Free schools. He sought to make exams more demanding and raise the esteem of qualifications.

He strove to increase the use of phonics to teach literacy. He presided over the remodelling of some exam syllabuses.

Although he is a keen advocate of the Swedish model of freer schools and academies, he did not adopt the Swedish model of allowing for profit companies to lease and run state financed schools.

Although he allowed some schools, as his predecessors did, to select on abilities in music or sport he did not allow any expansion of selection by academic ability through re-opening the lists of grammar schools.

Though he is a keen advocate of parental and student choice, he did not go far in allowing people to spend the sum the state allocates for their child where they wish. Greater choice rests on similar application and selection methods to those of past governments, allied to more places at a greater range of schools in some locations.

So do you wish to see an end to the Gove reforms? Do you want them to continue? Or would you like to see more radical reforms to beef up choice and extend the range of types of school and styles of provider on offer?

Mr. Redwood's writing is re-posted here by his kind permission. This and other articles are available at

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