The best of times, the worst of times: a tale of two educations.  We have had problems with our education system at least since the nineteenth century. Before that, the English were among the most literate nations (if less so than the Scots). A combination of sectarian jealousies and the Industrial Revolution (which could employ people without much schooling) pushed us back.  

Radical reforms were not followed though. Winston Churchill wanted to democratise the public schools through plenty of tax-funded scholarships.  Rab Butler’s 1944 Education Act aimed to set up nation-wide technical schools. These things of course never happened. What did, a few years later, was the establishment of the…


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