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Inspired to repackage Thatcher

Ed Balls is the latest Labour politician to praise Margaret Thatcher, describing her this week as a good role model for girls. It seems he has been taking some inspiration from her himself. When Lady Thatcher was education secretary in 1972 she announced a 10-year plan to improve education.

She said she would make teaching a graduate profession, invest in nursery provision, renew secondary schools and improve staffing standards. Many of the same themes emerged in the Children's Plan announced by Mr Balls. He promised new money and training for teachers and pledged better early childcare.

The plan also allowed Mr Balls to repackage many previously announced initiatives and targets, including using extended schools to create opportunities for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Mr Balls also promised to create zero-carbon schools by 2016. But in a recent response to a Commons education select committee report on new school buildings ministers said that current technology did not allow for zero-carbon schools.

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