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Education: The story so far

For most of the past 150 years education for the many has been of little concern to central governments. This government is determined to be different. The prime minister explains its mission for diversity with excellence in schools

By Tony Blair   February 2000

As a country, we value continuity as much as change, and are often right to do so. In education, we can be proud of parts of our inheritance: some of the best universities in the world, many excellent schools and dedicated teachers. But when it comes to education for the broad mass of people, we must confront our past, not continue it. We must understand why we reached the end of the first century of universal state education with nearly one in four adults lacking basic literacy, the worst figure in Europe after Poland and Ireland; ranking 17th in international…

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