Education would never be the same again...

Thirty years ago, a single piece of legislation transformed the schools landscape, launching a national curriculum and key-stage testing, and devolving power from local authorities to heads. Many of the features of today’s education system – from academies to league tables – have their origins in the 1988 Education Reform Act. Over the following pages, three people who were directly involved in – or impacted by – the legislation have their say on its legacy

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The 1988 Education Reform Act – which was ushered in by Margaret Thatcher’s education secretary, Kenneth Baker – was perhaps the defining piece of post-war legislation for English schools. This week marks its 30th birthday.

Younger readers will find it almost impossible to imagine the education landscape before it passed into law. The Act brought in…

A national curriculum for the first time – previously, schools had full autonomy of what they taught and when (exam specifications notwithstanding).

  • Key stages – and national testing at the end of each stage. Before these national tests, league ...

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