Neil McNaughton
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in Understanding British and European political issues

Until World War II the involvement of the state in British education has been variable and, at times, has even seemed reluctant. The experience of the tripartite system has had a lasting impression upon British education. Comprehensive schools would provide a wider range of educational experience than any of the schools in the tripartite system. The idea of providing pre-school education for all children has long been a cherished goal of the Labour party. The chapter provides the background to education after World War II. It describes the principles of the 1944 Education Act and also provides an analysis of Conservative policy in the 1980s. The chapter explains the importance of the 1988 Education Act, and the effects of the National Curriculum (NC), testing and league tables. It focuses on the New Labour policies on education.

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