Much has been written on Education Acts, yet we have abused and neglected them. The history of educational legislation has been written off as ‘Acts and facts’, and the conventional approach to writing about them has been concerned with politics, and especially with the men responsible for them.
On the centenary of the 1918 Education Act and Education (Scotland) Act, and the thirtieth anniversary of the 1988 Education Reform Act, we can rightly compare them alongside the other two agenda-setting master-Acts of the 20th century, those of 1902 and 1944. These latter Acts, themselves landmarks of legislation, have each attracted several significant articles that have been published in the British Journal of Educational Studies. Between them, these provide a detailed commentary on the key legislation that has framed the development of UK education that is also open to critique and challenge.
The anniversaries of these key Education Acts are also starting points for broader discussion of continuities, changes and contestation in legislation involving the regime of power, control and regulation of education. This can also include consideration of the international context and the relationship between educational and other social legislation and reform.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1. Planning the Education Bill of 1902 2. Implementing the Education Act of 1902 3. Arthur Balfour and Educational Change: The Myth Revisited 4. Churches and Children – A Study in the Controversy over the 1902 Education Act 5. The 1902 Education Act: The Search for a Compromise 6. Wesleyan Methodism and the Education Crisis of 1902 7. H.A.L. Fisher, Reconstruction and the Development of the 1918 Education Act 8. The 1918 Education Act: Origins, Aims and Development 9. Lord Butler and the Education Act of 1944 10. Forty Years On 11. ‘Spiritual Development’ in the Education Reform Act: A Source of Acrimony, Apathy or Accord 12. Special Educational Needs and the Education Reform Act, 1988 13. The ‘Pink-Tank’ on the Education Reform Act 14. Power and Control in Education 1944-2004 15. 60 Years On: The Changing Role of Government
Gary McCulloch is the Brian Simon Professor of History of Education at UCL Institute of Education, London, UK. He is currently President of the British Educational Research Association and Editor of the British Journal of Educational Studies. His recent publications include A Social History of Educational Studies and Research (with Steven Cowan, 2017), and The Struggle for the History of Education (2011).