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Quotes of the century;Millennium edition


" It split me from a girl I carried a torch for. She passed, I failed. She went to grammar school. I sent her a love letter telling her I missed her - she sent it back with the spelling mistakes corrected." John Prescott, deputy leader of the Labour party, on the 11-plus, 1996

" What I want to achieve is a position where the man in the woolly sweater and the battered sedan and the grimy house at the corner of the street is not the local teacher." John Major, 1990

" Dwindling belief in redemption and damnation has led to loss of fear of the eternal consequences of goodness and badness." John Patten, education secretary, quoted in "The Spectator", 1992.

" Minister knows nowt about thecurriculum" George Tomlinson, Labour minister of education, 1947-51.


" Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another." G K Chesterton, 1924

" Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon." E M Forster, 1951

" Four times, under our educational rules, the human pack is shuffled and cut - at eleven-plus, sixteen-plus, eighteen-plus and twenty-plus - and happy is he who comes top of the deck on each occasion, but especially the last. This is called Finals, the very name of which implies that nothing of importance can happen after it." David Lodge, "Changing Places", 1975

" Every schoolmaster after the age of 49 is inclined to flatulence, is apt to swallow frequently, and to puff." Harold Nicolson, "The Old School"

" For every person wishing to teach there are thirty not wanting to be taught." W C Sellar, "And Now All This", 1932.


" Education is what survives when what has been taught has been forgotten." B F Skinner, "The Technology of Teaching", 1966

" The hereditary curse upon English education is its organisation upon lines of social class." RH Tawney, socialist educationist, 1931


" Girls and boys grow up more normally together than apart." Daphne Rae, wife of the headmaster of Westminster School, 1988

" If you educate a man you educate a person, but if you educate a woman you educate a family." Ruby Manikan, Indian Church leader, 1947

" (I can promise you that the school will receive) "the Rolls-Royce of inspections" (but that will be) "no consolation to those crushed beneath the wheels". Remark attributed to registered inspector Geoffrey Owen on his arrival at Hillbrook grant-maintained primary school in Wandsworth, 1995. The school failed its inspection.

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