Adonis, social engineer
Alex Massie described Andrew Adonis’s book, Education, Education, Education, as “probably the most important political book of the year”. (This poster is not for the film of the book.) And he calls Adonis the third most important person in the Blair-Brown governments. Neither is an exaggeration. The book is not just about the academy schools programme, important though that may be.
It is about other ways of raising schools standards, too, by breaking down the divide between state and private schools and by raising the quality of teachers; about universities; and it is about how, in government, to make change happen.
It is also well written, with some lovely lines, one of which I have already repeated. Here are some more.
On the divide between private and state schools:
Everyone knows that the status quo is terrible – rigid separation between most of the nation’s most privileged and powerful schools and the rest. Yet, until academies, no one had a credible plan or will to do much about it except say how bad it was, why it was someone else’s fault, and why it would never change because, well, this is England, it’s deep and cultural, and it all began with Henry VIII. It’s the same fatalism which greeted gridlock in central London before the congestion charge, NHS waiting lists before patients’ rights, and rain stopping play at Wimbledon before the roof.
Adonis wants to raise starting salaries for secondary school teachers in maths, physics, chemistry and computing to £30,000 out of London and £35,000 in the capital. If this were combined with ending nationally determined increments it would add less than 2 per cent to the teacher pay bill, he says, and would supplement Teach First in attracting the best graduates into teaching.
And he has a sharp retort to the “vice-chancellors of the selective universities” who “keep repeating mantras like ‘We don’t do social engineering’ – by the way, what else does anyone do in education?”.Tagged in: academies, Andrew Adonis, public service reform
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