Education in Britain has been transformed over the last fifty years. State education systems have expanded hugely, and levels of achievement and participation have risen continuously. Yet for most of the post-war period, education policy has been dominated by questions of ‘failure’, ‘crisis’ and ‘decline’. Half a century of reform has far from eliminated substantial inequalities, and the ‘conservatism’ of education in the face of major cultural and economic change remains a central political issues. This book seeks to describe and explain the patterns of change and continuity in education across the ‘four nations’ of Britain, and to account for the persistence of the controversies that have accompanied it. In doing so, it combines economic, political, cultural and social approaches to the study of education and, in particular, schooling.
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