Education in England:
Chapter 1 600-1800
Education in England: a brief history
© copyright Derek Gillard 2011
© Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.
© Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.
education acts, white papers, reports and other key events
Prime Ministers (from 1801 onwards) are listed in red
Ministers of Education (1945-1964) and Secretaries of State for Education (since 1964) are listed in blue
HM Chief Inspectors (HMCI)/Heads of Ofsted (from 1994 onwards) are listed in green
Where a number of items are shown in a single year I can't guarantee that I have listed them in the correct chronological order within that year, although I have tried to do so.
Where a document is shown as a link, the full text is available online. Most of the reports are presented as text, not as images, so they are searchable (using your web browser's Find facility or the Google search on the home page), and copiable.
Some of the reports and most of the Acts of Parliament and Official Papers are pdf text files which have been downloaded from the National Archives website. These are shown as 'pdf text'. The text of recent documents of this type is searchable and copiable. But I'm afraid there is a problem with pre-1988 documents: copied text does not include spaces between words! However, they can still be downloaded, read and searched.
The Acts and Official Papers listed here which are not available on the National Archives website have been photocopied (at the Bodleian Law Library in Oxford) and scanned. The resulting files are shown as 'pdf image': these can be downloaded but the text cannot be searched or copied.
597 St Augustine arrived in England.
598 First grammar school established at Canterbury.
600s More grammar schools established at Dorchester, Winchester, Hexham, Malmesbury, Lichfield, Hereford and Worcester.
700s Venerable Bede: Ecclesiastical History.
776 Alcuin established school at York.
866 Viking invasions began.
871 Alfred became king of Wessex and showed 'concern for education'.
925 Dunstan born.
1016 Canute became king of England: concerned about the education of poor boys.
1066 Norman invasion: French replaced English as vernacular medium for teaching Latin.
1096 Oxford: evidence of teaching.
1209 Cambridge: scholars arrived from Oxford.
1214 Oxford: post of Chancellor established.
1226 Cambridge: post of Chancellor established.
1249 Oxford: University College established, followed by Balliol 1260, Merton 1264.
1384 Grammar school opened at Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire: first chantry school.
1382 Winchester founded: independent school.
1440 Eton founded: independent school.
1486 Renaissance: Pico della Mirandola's De hominis dignitate.
1509 Henry VIII became king.
1515 Roger Ascham born (d. 1568): called for greater care and respect for education.
1517 Reformation: Luther's protest.
1535 Tyndale's English Bible placed in churches.
1540 Dissolution of the monasteries.
1541 Canterbury grammar school refounded.
1562 Elizabethan Statute of Artificers.
1632 Comenius: Didactica magna championed universal education.
1642 Samuel Hartlib: A Reformation of Schooles.
1693 Locke: Some Thoughts concerning Education.
1660 Restoration of the monarchy: Oxford and Cambridge discriminate against Nonconformists.
1670 Dissenting Academies: established to teach law, medicine, commerce, engineering and the arts.
1700 Charity Schools for the poor.
1760s Thomas Braidwood's Academy for the Deaf and Dumb opened in Edinburgh.
1775 Industrial Revolution began to create demand for mass education.
1780 Gotthold Ephraim Lessing The Education of the Human Race interesting historical text by the influential German philosopher, poet, dramatist and art critic.
1791 School of Instruction for the Indigent Blind established in Liverpool.
1799 School of industry opened at Kendal.
1800-1860 Towards a state system of education
1801 Henry Addington (Tory)
1802 Peel's Factory Act.
1804 William Pitt 'The Younger' (Tory)
1806 Lord Grenville (Whig)
1807 Parochial Schools Bill: made provision for the education of 'the labouring classes'.
1807 Mill Hill School: founded by Congregationalists.
1809 Spencer Percival (Tory)
1811 National Society: CE organisation aimed to provide a school in every parish.
1812 Robert Banks Jenkinson, Earl of Liverpool (Tory)
1814 British and Foreign School Society: founded by liberal Anglicans, Roman Catholics and Jews as an alternative to the National Society.
1816 Robert Owen opened first infant school in New Lanark, Scotland.
1824 David Stow founded the Glasgow Normal School.
1825 Liverpool Institute opened: other proprietary day schools followed (King's College School 1829, University College School 1830 etc).
1825 Universities Act 1825: behaviour of Oxbridge students.
1827 George Canning (Tory)
1827 Frederick Robinson, Viscount Goderich (Tory)
1828 Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington (Tory)
1828 Thomas Arnold: head of Rugby School.
1830 Earl Grey (Whig)
1832 Representation of the People Act (The Reform Act) gave one million people the right to vote.
1833 Government began making annual grants to church schools.
1834 William Lamb, Viscount Melbourne (Whig)
1834 Sir John Peel (Tory)
1835 William Lamb, Viscount Melbourne (Whig)
1836 Home and Colonial Institution (later Society): founded to establish infant schools.
1836 Central Society of Education: aimed to keep religion out of schools altogether.
1836 Thomas Wyse: Education reform or the necessity of a national system of education.
1837 Normal School of Design established in London.
1839 Education Department established: Sir James Kay-Shuttleworth appointed as first Permanent Secretary.
1840 Grammar Schools Act 1840: allowed endowment funds to be spent on modern and commercial subjects.
1841 Sir John Peel (Tory)
1841 Five School Sites Acts passed between 1841 and 1852 facilitated the purchase of land for school buildings and allowed for 'Parliamentary Grants for the Education of the Poor':
1843 Governesses' Benevolent Institution: campaigned for better education for girls and women.
1846 Lord John Russell (Liberal)
1846 Committee of Council on Education made grants to schools of industry.
1846 Government began making annual grants to Baptist and Congregationalist schools.
1846 College of Preceptors.
1847 Government began making annual grants to Wesleyan Methodists and the Catholic Poor School Committee.
1847 Asylum for Idiots established at Highgate.
1848 Woodard Society: provided Anglican boarding schools.
1848 Queen's College in Harley Street: for women.
1851 Great Exhibition revealed lack of facilities for technical education in England.
1851 Cripples Home and Industrial School for Girls founded at Marylebone.
1852 Earl of Derby (Conservative)
1852 Department of Practical Art created under the Board of Trade.
1852 Earl of Aberdeen (Tory)
1853 Government began making annual grants to Manchester Jewish community school.
1853 Edward Thring: head of Uppingham School.
1854 Literary and Scientific Institutions Act 1854 (pdf text 487kb) facilitated the establishment of institutions for the promotion of literature, science and the arts.
1855 Lord Palmerston (Liberal)
1855 School Grants Act 1855 (pdf text 76kb) laid down stricter conditions relating to Parliamentary grants for education.
1857 Oxford Local Examinations.
1857 Oxford University Act 1857 (pdf text 115kb) extended the powers of the Commissioners for Oxford University and St Mary's College Winchester.
1858 Earl of Derby (Conservative)
1858 Cambridge Local Examinations.
1859 Lord Palmerston (Liberal)
1859 Universities of Oxford and Cambridge Act 1859 (pdf text 135kb) amended previous Acts relating to Oxford and Cambridge.
1860-1900 Class divisions
1860 Oxford University Act 1860 (pdf text 106kb) matters relating to Craven scholarships and testamentary documents.
1861 Newcastle Report: recommended provision of 'sound and cheap' elementary education, led to 1870 Elementary Education Act.
1862 Revised Code (Lowe): 'payment by results'.
1862 Oxford University Act 1862 (pdf text 132kb) extended the university's power to make statutes.
1864 Clarendon Report on public (independent) schools: led to 1868 Public Schools Act.
1864 Schools Inquiry Commission: (Volume 1 Chapter 6 Girls' schools)
1865 Lord John Russell (Liberal)
1865 Oxford University, Vinerian Foundation, Act 1865 (pdf text 78kb) empowered the university to make statutes relating to the Vinerian Foundation.
1865 Home for Crippled Boys opened in Kensington.
1865 Girls admitted to Cambridge Local Examinations.
1866 Earl of Derby (Conservative)
1866 College for the Blind Sons of Gentlemen opened at Worcester, later became Worcester College for the Blind.
1868 Benjamin Disraeli (Tory)
1868 William Gladstone (Liberal)
1868 Public Schools Act 1868: made various changes at Eton, Harrow, Winchester etc as recommended by the 1864 Clarendon Report.
1868 Endowed Schools Act 1868: paved the way for the 1869 Endowed Schools Act.
1868 Taunton Report: recommended a national system of secondary education based on the existing endowed schools, led to 1869 Endowed Schools Act.
1869 Endowed Schools Act 1869: made changes to endowed schools as recommended by the 1868 Taunton Report.
1869 Headmasters' Conference established (independent schools).
1870 Elementary Education Act 1870: the 'Forster Act' introduced compulsory universal education for children aged 5-13 but left enforcement of attendance to school boards.
1870 Girls admitted to Oxford Local Examinations.
1871 Code of Regulations: created an infant stage below Standard 1 for the 5-7 age range.
1871 Universities Tests Act 1871 (pdf text 80kb) removed certain religious requirements.
1871 College Charter Act 1871 (pdf text 29kb) amended the law relating to the granting of charters.
1872 Royal Normal College and Music Academy for the Blind opened at Crystal Palace: soon moved to larger premises in Upper Norwood.
1873 Elementary Education Act 1873: amended various provisions of the 1870 Elementary Education Act.
1873 Endowed Schools Act 1873: extended and amended the 1869 Endowed Schools Act.
1874 Benjamin Disraeli (Tory)
1874 Endowed Schools Act 1874: made further amendments to the previous Endowed Schools Acts.
1874 Infants Relief Act 1874 (pdf text 53kb) made unenforceable contracts entered into by infants.
1876 Elementary Education Act 1876: made further provisions regarding elementary education, including new rules on child employment.
1878 Maria Grey Training College for women teachers founded.
1878 London University opened all its examinations and degrees to women.
1879 Elementary Education (Industrial Schools) Act 1879: a brief Act extending the powers of school boards in relation to the establishment and extension of industrial schools.
1880 William Gladstone (Liberal)
1880 Elementary Education Act 1880 (the 'Mundella Act'): tightened up school attendance laws.
1884 Samuelson Report: Royal Commission on Technical Instruction.
1885 Marquis of Salisbury (Conservative)
1886 William Gladstone (Liberal)
1886 Marquis of Salisbury (Conservative)
1888 Local Government Act 1888 (pdf text 2.6mb): created county councils and county borough councils which later became the framework for educational administration.
1888 Cross Commission: reviewed the working of the 1870 Act and recommended public funding for the secular curriculum in church schools (implemented in the 1902 Education Act).
1888 Victoria University Act 1888 (pdf text 29kb) extended employment rights to graduates of Victoria University (Manchester).
1889 Welsh Intermediate Education Act 1889: established the Welsh secondary education system.
1889 Welsh Intermediate Education Act 1889: made further provision for the intermediate and technical education of the inhabitants of Wales and the county of Monmouth.
1889 Prevention of Cruelty to, and Protection of, Children Act 1889 (pdf text 291kb) wide-ranging Act including restrictions on the employment of children.
1889 Technical Instruction Act 1889: sought to improve the provision of technical and industrial training.
1889 Royal Commission on the Blind and Deaf.
1891 Custody of Children Act 1891 (pdf text 45kb) included a section on religious education.
1891 Army Schools Act 1891 (pdf text 29kb) a brief Act extending certain endowments to army schools.
1891 Elementary Education Act 1891: elementary education to be provided free.
1892 William Gladstone (Liberal)
1892 Betting and Loans (Infants) Act 1892 (pdf text 82kb) made it illegal to encourage children to bet or borrow money.
1892 Technical and Industrial Institutions Act 1892 (pdf text 60kb) new rules to facilitate the expansion of technical and industrial training.
1893 School leaving age raised to 11.
1893 Elementary Education (Blind and Deaf Children) Act 1893: required school authorities to make better educational provision for blind and deaf children.
1894 Earl of Rosebery (Liberal)
1895 Marquis of Salisbury (Conservative)
1895 Royal Commission on Secondary Education (Bryce Report): reviewed the progress made since the 1868 Taunton Report.
1896 Consultative Committee Report on The registration of teachers.
1896 International conference of socialists: delegates (including Keir Hardie) argued that all working people should receive a full education.
1898 Libraries Offences Act 1898 (pdf text 37kb) a brief Act concerning behaviour in public libraries.
1899 Board of Education Act 1899: established the Board of Education and provided for a Consultative Committee.
1899 Elementary Education (Defective and Epileptic Children) Act 1899: empowered school authorities to make better educational provision for 'defective' and epileptic children.
1899 School leaving age raised to 12.
1899 Cockerton Judgement: limited powers of School Boards.
1900-1944 Taking shape
1902 Arthur Balfour (Conservative)
1901 Trade School for Furniture and Cabinet-making: founded at the Shoreditch Technical Institute.
1902 University of Wales Act 1902 (pdf text 29kb) extended employment rights to graduates of the University of Wales.
1902 Education Act 1902: the 'Balfour Act' established a system of secondary education integrating higher grade elementary schools and fee-paying secondary schools; abolished school boards and established local education authorities (LEAs).
1904 Secondary Regulations: introduced a subject-based curriculum.
1904 Consultative Committee Report on Examinations in secondary schools (exact title currently unknown).
1904 Leeds University Act 1904 (pdf text 33kb) extended employment rights to graduates of the University of Leeds.
1904 University of Liverpool Act 1904 (pdf text 29kb) extended employment rights to graduates of the University of Liverpool.
1905 Henry Campbell-Bannerman (Liberal)
1905 Board of Education report by women inspectors on the admission of infants to public elementary schools.
1906 Education (Provision of Meals) Act 1906: allowed LEAs to provide meals for undernourished elementary school children.
1906 Dyke Report Questions Affecting Higher Elementary Schools (Board of Education Consultative Committee): made recommendations regarding the role, staffing and curriculum of Higher Elementary Schools.
1907 Elementary Code: improved quality and aims of elementary education.
1907 Education (Administrative Provisions) Act 1907: among other things, this Act introduced a scholarship/free place system for secondary education and required LEAs to provide medical inspections of elementary school children.
1908 Herbert Asquith (Liberal)
1908 Acland Report School Attendance of Children Below the Age of Five (Board of Education Consultative Committee): made recommendations regarding the provision and content of nursery school education.
1908 Royal Commission on the Care and Control of the Feeble-Minded.
1909 Acland Report Attendance, Compulsory or Otherwise, at Continuation Schools (Board of Education Consultative Committee): argued that LEAs should be empowered to require under 17s to participate in some form of post-elementary education.
1910 Education (Choice of Employment) Act: foundation of careers service.
1911 Acland Report Examinations in Secondary Schools (Board of Education Consultative Committee): this was the Consultative Committee's second report on exams (the first - not online - was published in 1904). It argued that the existing system needed simplifying.
1911 Edmund Holmes What is and what might be.
1911 Central schools opened.
1913 Acland Report Practical Work in Secondary Schools (Board of Education Consultative Committee): argued that secondary schools should provide teaching in 'some branches of Educational Handwork', and should make them an integral part of the curriculum.
1913 Board of Education Regulations for new category of 'Junior Technical Schools'.
1913 Mental Deficiency Act.
1913 London County Council appointed psychologist Cyril Burt.
1914 Elementary Education (Defective and Epileptic) Act.
1914 Sheffield University Act 1914 (pdf text 33kb) extended employment rights to graduates of the University of Sheffield.
1914 Education (Provision of Meals) Act 1914: extended the powers of local education authorities to provide meals for undernourished elementary school children.
1915 AF Leach The Schools of Medieval England.
1916 David Lloyd George (Liberal)
1916 Consultative Committee Report Scholarships for higher education.
1917 Secondary Schools Examination Council: established to administer the new School Certificate and Higher School Certificate.
1917 Lewis Report: proposed school leaving age of 14 with no exemptions, followed by attendance for at least 8 hours a week or 320 hours a year at day continuation classes up to age 18.
1918 Education Act 1918 (Fisher) (pdf text 748kb): wide-ranging Act extending education provision in line with recommendations of 1917 Lewis Report.
1919 Burnham Committee: established to decide on teachers' pay.
1919 Ministry of Health Act 1919 (pdf text 205kb) created the Ministry of Health and transferred to it some of the powers of the Board of Education.
1920 Unemployment Insurance Act: government given power to link benefits to training but no national funding allocated for training courses, which were instead developed locally.
1920 Employment of Women, Young Persons, and Children Act 1920 (pdf text 220kb) enacted the conventions agreed at the 1919 meeting of the International Labour Organisation of the League of Nations.
1921 Education Act 1921: consolidated all previous laws relating to education and raised school leaving age to 14.
1921 Newbolt Report The Teaching of English in England.
1921 Chorleywood College opened: secondary school for blind girls.
1922 Andrew Bonar Law (Conservative)
1922 Universities (Scotland) Act 1922 (pdf text 57kb) extended the powers of the Courts of Scottish universities.
1923 Stanley Baldwin (Conservative)
1923 Secondary education for all became Labour Party policy.
1923 Universities of Oxford and Cambridge Act 1923 (pdf text 384kb): established Commissions for the two universities.
1924 James Ramsay MacDonald (Labour)
1924 Stanley Baldwin (Conservative)
1925 Universities and College Estates Act 1925 (pdf text 651kb) updated property rules relating to Oxford, Cambridge and Durham universities, Eton and St Mary's Winchester.
1926 Hadow Report The Education of the Adolescent: proposed junior and senior schools with transfer at age 11, secondary education for all, and increase in school leaving age to 15.
1927 Child Guidance Council established: beginnings of recognition of maladjustment.
1928 Hadow Report Books in Public Elementary Schools.
1929 James Ramsay MacDonald (Labour)
1929 Wood Report Report of the Mental Deficiency Committee: made recommendations regarding the classification and education of 'mentally defective' children.
1929 Local Government Act 1929 (pdf text 4.6mb) wide-ranging Act including the provision of education.
1929 Local Government (Scotland) Act 1929 (pdf text 2.0mb) wide-ranging Act including the provision of education.
1931 Hadow Report The Primary School: set out the committee's vision of primary education.
1932 Royal Commission on Unemployment Insurance: recommended that 'Attendance at a Junior Instruction Centre or at a Course of Instruction should everywhere be regarded and enforced as a normal condition in respect of unemployment, whether through the Insurance Scheme or in the form of Unemployment Assistance.'
1932 Universities (Scotland) Act 1932 (pdf text 143kb) extended the powers of the Courts of Scottish universities.
1933 Hadow Report Infant and Nursery Schools: the last of the six Hadow Reports.
1935 Stanley Baldwin (Conservative)
1936 Education Act 1936: raised school leaving age to 15 and authorised building grants of up to 75 per cent for new denominational 'Special Agreement' senior schools.
1937 Neville Chamberlain (Conservative)
1937 Education (Deaf Children) Act.
1937 Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act 1937 (pdf text 1.6mb) wide-ranging Act covering child protection, employment, criminal proceedings and children in care.
1937 Physical Training and Recreation Act 1937 (pdf text 250kb) provided for National Advisory Councils and a National College of Physical Training.
1937 Factories Act 1937 (pdf text 22.8mb) wide-ranging Act including limitations on the employment of young people in hazardous environments.
1938 Spens Report Secondary Education with Special Reference to Grammar Schools and Technical High Schools: recommended tripartite system of secondary schools. Also said school leaving age should be raised to 16 - didn't happen until 1973.
1939 Education (Scotland) (War Service Superannuation) Act 1939 (pdf text 102kb) teachers' war service to be reckoned for superannuation.
1940 Winston Churchill (Conservative)
1941 Board of Education Green Paper Education after the war.
1941 Rab Butler (Conservative) appointed President of the Board of Education.
1943 Norwood Report Curriculum and Examinations in Secondary Schools: backed the tripartite system recommended by the 1938 Spens Report.
1943 White Paper Educational Reconstruction: formed the basis of the 1944 Education Act.
1943 Universities and Colleges (Trusts) Act 1943 (pdf text 131kb) provisions regarding trust property at Oxford, Cambridge and St Mary's College Winchester.
1943 Sex Education in schools and youth organisations: Board of Education Pamphlet No. 119.
1944 McNair Report The supply, recruitment and training of teachers and youth leaders: recommended rationalisation of teacher training provision, a three year course and salary increases.
1944 Fleming Report The Public Schools and the General Educational System: considered how independent boarding schools might be integrated into the post-war education system.
1944-1951 Post-war reconstruction
July 1945 Clement Attlee (Labour)
July 1945 Ellen Wilkinson
1944 Education Act 1944 (pdf text 1.8mb) the 'Butler Act' set the structure of the post-war system of state education.
1945 Education (Scotland) Act 1945 (pdf text 1.5mb) the Scottish version of the 1944 Act.
1945 Model Articles: set out duties of school governors.
1945 Percy Report: made recommendations regarding technological education in colleges and universities.
1945 Scotland's Advisory Council on Education recommended a comprehensive system for all secondary pupils aged 12 to 16 with a common core curriculum and a common leaving exam.
1945 The Nation's Schools: government publication explaining tripartite system of secondary schools.
1946 Barlow Report: recommended more university places for science students.
1946 Education Act 1946 (pdf text 280kb): set out arrangements for the management of voluntary and controlled schools.
1946 Free milk provided for all pupils.
February 1947 George Tomlinson
1947 The New Secondary Education: government publication reiterating its commitment to tripartite system of secondary schools.
1947 Clarke Report School and Life: the first report of the newly-created Central Advisory Council for Education (England) was an inquiry into the transition from school to independent life.
1947 School leaving age raised to 15.
1947 Area Training Organisations: 13 ATOs were established in England and one in Wales to coordinate teacher training.
1947 Local Government (Scotland) Act 1947 (pdf text 5.9mb) wide-ranging Act (including provisions relating to education) consolidating previous Acts and amendments.
1948 Employment and Training Act: established the Youth Employment Service. Training would not be a condition of benefits.
1948 Local Government Act 1948 (pdf text 1.9mb) wide-ranging Act (including provisions relating to education) consolidating previous Acts and amendments.
1948 Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1948 (pdf text 292kb) laid down new rules on various administrative matters.
1948 Nurseries and Child-Minders Regulation Act 1948 (pdf text 200kb) laid down rules for the regulation and inspection of child minders.
1948 Clarke Report Out of School: the second report of the Central Advisory Council for Education (England) looked at facilities for out-of-school activities.
1948 British Nationality Act: gave Commonwealth citizens recognition as British subjects.
1951 General Certificate of Education (GCE) introduced.
1951-1970 The wind of change
October 1951 Winston Churchill (Conservative)
November 1951 Florence Horsbrugh
1953 Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1953 (pdf text 424kb) laid down new rules on various administrative matters.
1954 Horsbrugh stopped LCC from closing Eltham Hill Girls' Grammar School and transferring pupils to the new (comprehensive) Kidbrooke School.
1954 National Advisory Council on the Training and Supply of Teachers (NACTST) fourth report: training of special needs teachers.
October 1954 Sir David Eccles
1954 Gurney-Dixon Report Early Leaving: a report by the Central Advisory Council for Education (England) which examined the problem of premature school-leaving in England.
May 1955 Anthony Eden (Conservative)
1955 Underwood Report Maladjusted Children: the committee appointed by Minister of Education George Tomlinson in October 1950 recommended that LEAs should set up Child Guidance Services.
1955 Children And Young Persons (Harmful Publications) Act 1955 (pdf text 94kb) banned the publication and sale of 'horror comics' etc.
1956 Teachers (Superannuation) Act 1956 (pdf text 572kb) amended previous legislation relating to teachers' pensions in England and Wales and in Scotland.
1956 Colleges of Advanced Technology: selected technical and FE colleges were upgraded to this status. In the mid-1960s most of these became the 'new universities'.
1956 Jameson Report An Inquiry into Health Visiting.
January 1957 Harold MacMillan (Conservative)
January 1957 Viscount Hailsham
September 1957 Geoffrey Lloyd
1957 'Leicestershire experiment' began: reorganisation of schools.
1958 Carr Report: employers overwhelmingly opposed to vocational instruction provided by schools.
1958 White Paper Secondary Education for All: A New Drive.
1958 Local Government Act 1958 (pdf text 1.9mb) wide-ranging Act including provisions relating to education.
1959 Primary Education: Suggestions for the consideration of teachers and others concerned with the work of Primary Schools. Ministry of Education publication.
1959 Younghusband Report Social Workers in the Local Authority Health and Welfare Services.
1959 Mental Health Act.
1959 Education Act 1959 (pdf text 68kb) gave the Minister greater powers relating to grants and loans to aided schools and special agreement schools.
October 1959 Sir David Eccles
1959 Crowther Report 15-18: recommended raising the school leaving age to 16 and the provision of further education for 15-18 year olds, questioned the value of day release provision for apprenticeships.
1960 Beloe Report Secondary School Examinations other than the GCE: the report of a Committee appointed by the Secondary School Examinations Council which led to the introduction of the Certificate of Secondary Education (CSE) in 1965.
1960 Teacher training course: extended from two years to three.
July 1962 Sir Edward Boyle
1962 Education Act 1962 (pdf text 240kb): required LEAs to provide students with grants for living costs and tuition fees; placed legal obligation on parents to ensure that children received a suitable education at school or otherwise - failure to comply could result in prosecution; made LEAs legally responsible for ensuring that pupils attended school.
1962 Curriculum Study Group: set up by the Minister. Opposition to it led to the establishment of the Schools Council in 1964.
1963 Newsom Report Half our Future: the education of 13-16 year olds of average and less than average ability.
October 1963 Alec Douglas-Home (Conservative)
1963 Robbins Report Higher education: recommended a massive expansion of higher education to cater for all who had the necessary ability.
1963 Middle schools: championed by West Riding of Yorkshire CEO Alec Clegg.
1963 London Government Act 1963 (pdf text 5mb) abolished London County Council (LCC) and replaced it with the Greater London Council (GLC).
1963 Children and Young Persons Act 1963 (pdf text 1020kb) extended LEAs' responsibilities for the welfare of children.
1964 Labour manifesto promised to abolish selection.
1964 DES: The Ministry of Education was renamed the Department of Education and Science and the Minister became the Secretary of State.
1964 Universities and College Estates Act 1964 (pdf text 164kb) amended the law relating to university and college property.
1964 Education Act 1964 (pdf text 64kb) the 'Boyle Act' allowed the creation of middle schools.
April 1964 Quintin Hogg
October 1964 Harold Wilson (Labour)
October 1964 Michael Stewart
1964 Lockwood Report: established the Schools Council to disseminate ideas about curricular reform in England and Wales.
1964 Industrial Training Act: central government became directly involved in employers' training practices.
1964 Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) established.
January 1965 Anthony Crosland
1965 Remuneration of Teachers Act 1965.
1965 Circular 10/65: requested LEAs to submit proposals for comprehensivisation. (Withdrawn later by Circular 10/70).
1965 Circular 600: Scotland's version of Circular 10/65.
1965 Teaching Council (Scotland) Act 1965 (pdf text 336kb) provided for the establishment of a General Teaching Council for Scotland.
1965 Certificate of Secondary Education (CSE) introduced in England and Wales (see the 1960 Beloe Report).
1966 Universities (Scotland) Act 1966 (pdf text 356kb) provided for the reconstitution of the universities of St Andrew's, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh and for the foundation of the University of Dundee.
1966 Local Government Act 1966 (pdf text 880kb): made various changes in funding between central government and LEAs. Section 11 dealt with the funding of education for immigrant children.
1966 Polytechnics established.
August 1967 Patrick Gordon-Walker
1967 Plowden Report Children and their Primary Schools: arguably the best known of all education reports, it promoted child-centred education and was much maligned by traditionalists.
1967 Education Act 1967 (pdf text 68kb) gave the Secretary of State greater powers in relation to grants and loans to aided and special agreement schools etc.
April 1968 Edward Short
1968 Newsom Report The Public Schools Commission: First Report: like Fleming in 1944, made recommendations about integrating private boarding schools into the state education system.
1968 Summerfield Report Psychologists in Education Services: the first government-commissioned report on the work of psychologists.
1968 Dainton Report Science and technology in higher education: prompted by reduction in numbers of science students.
1968 School Meals Agreement: teachers were no longer obliged to supervise children at lunchtimes.
1968 Teachers Superannuation (Scotland) Act 1968 (pdf text 262kb) amended teachers' superannuation arrangements.
1968 Education Act 1968 (pdf text 180kb): laid down rules about changing the character of a school (eg to comprehensive).
1968 Education (No.2) Act: required polytechnics and other LEA colleges to have governing bodies.
1968 Middle schools: the first opened in Bradford and the West Riding of Yorkshire.
1969 Haslegrave Report: promoted technical and business education.
1969 Children and Young Persons Act 1969 (pdf text 2.2mb): gave LEAs responsibilities for children not receiving education or in need of care and control.
1969 Fight for Education: A Black Paper edited by CB Cox and AE Dyson.
1969 Black Paper Two: The Crisis in Education edited by CB Cox and AE Dyson.
1970 Donnison Report The Public Schools Commission: Second Report: considered the part independent day schools and direct grant grammar schools might play in a state education system which was in the middle of comprehensive reorganisation.
1970-1979 Recession and disenchantment
June 1970 Ted Heath (Conservative)
June 1970 Margaret Thatcher
1970 Circular 10/70: Conservative government circular withdrawing Labour's circular 10/65. LEAs were no longer compelled to go comprehensive. (Withdrawn later by Circular 4/74).
1970 Education (Handicapped Children) Act 1970 (pdf text 60kb): transferred responsibility for education of severely handicapped children from health authorities to LEAs.
1970 Durham Report The fourth R: Church of England report on church schools and religious education.
1970 Black Paper Three: Goodbye Mr Short edited by CB Cox and AE Dyson.
1971 Education (Milk) Act 1971: limited the provision of free milk in schools (and led to the jibe 'Thatcher, Thatcher, milk snatcher).
1971 Teaching Council (Scotland) Act 1971 (pdf text 64kb) allowed General Teaching Council for Scotland fees to be deducted from salaries.
1972 James Report Teacher Education and Training.
1972 White Paper Education: A Framework for Expansion: promoted diversification and rationalisation.
1972 Local Government Act: reduced the number of LEAs from 146 to 104 (implemented in 1974).
1972 Children Act 1972 (pdf text 44kb) the minimum age at which children could be employed was not to be affected by changes in the school leaving age.
1973 Russell Report: adult education.
1973 Education Act 1973 (pdf text 296kb) provisions relating to certain educational trusts and local education authority awards.
1973 Education (Work Experience) Act 1973 (pdf text 52kb): allowed LEAs to organise work experience for final year school students.
1973 Employment and Training Act 1973 (pdf text 1.5mb): required LEAs to set up careers services; established the Manpower Services Commission (MSC) under the Department of Employment, the Employment Service Agency and the Training Services Agency.
1973 National Health Service Reorganisation Act 1973 (pdf text 2.4mb) transferred the school health service from LEAs to Area Health Authorities, but LEAs still responsible for dental and medical inspections.
1973 School leaving age raised to 16.
1973 Employment of Children Act 1973 (pdf text 144kb): new regulations and supervision by local authorities.
1973 Circular 7/73: halved the number of places for student teachers.
February 1974 Harold Wilson (Labour)
March 1974 Reginald Prentice
1974 Circular 4/74 reaffirmed the Labour government's intention to proceed with comprehensivisation.
1974 The William Tyndale Affair: chaos at a badly managed school gave ammunition to the writers of the 'Black Papers' and helped prepare the way for Callaghan's 1976 Ruskin Speech.
1974 Finer Report: special needs of one parent families.
1974 Swann Report The flow into employment of scientists, engineers and technologists.
1974 Assessment of Performance Unit (APU) established by the DES to 'promote the development of methods of assessing and monitoring the achievement of children at school'.
1974 Local Government Act 1974 (pdf text 2.2mb) wide-ranging Act including some provisions relating to education.
June 1975 Fred Mulley
1975 Education Act extended the provisions of the 1962 Education Act relating to student grants.
1975 Bullock Report A language for life: major report on the teaching of English.
1975 Sex Discrimination Act: had effects on school admissions, appointments and curricula.
1975 Direct Grant Grammar Schools (Cessation of Grant) Regulations: indicated how grants for these schools were to be phased out.
1975 Black Paper 1975: The Fight for Education edited by CB Cox and R Boyson.
April 1976 Jim Callaghan (Labour)
September 1976 Shirley Williams
1976 Race Relations Act.
1976 Education (School-leaving Dates) Act 1976 (pdf text 56kb): a minor amendment to section 9 of the 1962 Education Act.
1976 Education Act 1976 (pdf text 148kb) gave the Secretary of State the power to ask LEAs to plan for non-selective (ie comprehensive) secondary education (repealed by the Conservatives in 1979).
1976 Court Committee's report Fit for the future: Child Health Services.
1976 Jim Callaghan's Ruskin College speech began 'The Great Debate' about education.
1976 'Yellow Book' commissioned by Callaghan, produced by DES, widely leaked.
1976 Neville Bennett's paper Teaching styles and pupil progress attacked 'progressive' education.
1976 Layfeld Committee local government finance.
1977-82 Matters for Discussion A series of 15 discussion documents from HMI:
1 Ten Good Schools (1977)
1977 Education in schools: a consultative document: green paper requesting LEAs to review their curriculum policies as part of the 'Great Debate'.
1977 Taylor Report A New Partnership for Our Schools: recommended major changes in the management of schools, implemented in the 1980 Education Act.
1977 Black Paper 1977 edited by CB Cox and R Boyson.
1978 Oakes Report: management of higher education.
1978 Warnock Report Special Educational Needs: major report on provision for children and young people with special needs.
1978 Waddell Report School Examinations: recommended a single exam at age 16 to replace the GCE O Level and CSE. (The first GCSE exams were taken in 1988).
1978 Youth Opportunities Programme introduced for 16-18 year olds.
1978-85 HMI surveys: In response to Plowden's suggestion that the quality of education in England should be reviewed every ten years, HMI produced, between 1978 and 1985, five major surveys covering the whole school age range:
1978 Primary education in England
1979-1990 Thatcherism: the marketisation of education
May 1979 Margaret Thatcher (Conservative)
May 1979 Mark Carlisle
1979 Education Act 1979 (pdf text 40kb) repealed Labour's 1976 Act - allowed LEAs to retain selective secondary schools.
1979 Mansell Report A basis for choice: recommended rationalising provision of non-specific vocational courses for school leavers.
1979 LEA Arrangements for the School Curriculum: required LEAs to publish curriculum policies.
1979 Aspects of secondary education in England: see 1978-85 HMI surveys above.
1980 Child Care Act 1980 (pdf text 1.6mb) wide-ranging Act largely consolidating previous legislation relating to the role of local authorities and voluntary organisations.
1980 Education Act 1980 (pdf text 1mb) instituted the assisted places scheme (public money for children to go to private schools), gave parents greater powers on governing bodies and over admissions, and removed LEAs' obligation to provide school milk and meals.
1980 Education (Scotland) Act 1980 (pdf text 2.1mb) wide-ranging Act largely consolidating previous legislation.
1980 A Framework for the School Curriculum HMI publication.
1980 ORACLE survey (Galton and Simon) Observational research and classroom learning: important investigation into teaching and learning.
1980 White Paper A new training initiative: a programme for action set out the first plans for the Youth Training Scheme (YTS).
September 1981 Sir Keith Joseph
1981 Rampton Report West Indian Children in our Schools: interim report of the Committee of Enquiry into the education of children from ethnic minority groups. (The final report was Swann 1985 - see below).
1981 Education Act 1981 (pdf text 496kb): based on the 1978 Warnock Report, gave parents new rights in relation to special needs.
1981 Education (Scotland) Act 1981 (pdf text 1.3mb) wide-ranging Act including the provision of assisted places at private schools.
1981 The School Curriculum DES publication advising LEAs on curriculum development.
1981 Circular 6/81: required LEAs to review curriculum policies in the light of what was said in The School Curriculum (1981).
1981 Employment and Training Act: abolished the Employment Service Agency and the Training Services Agency.
1982 Cockcroft Report Mathematics counts: major report on the teaching of maths.
1982 Thompson Report: review of the Youth Service.
1982 Employment and Training Act: removed trades unions from decisions about the costs of training to employers.
1982 Industrial Training Act: set up a regulatory framework for industrial training boards.
1982 Technical and Vocational Education Initiative (TVEI) launched: aimed at 14-18 year olds, administered by MSC.
1982 Children's Homes Act 1982 (pdf text 250kb) provided for the registration, inspection and conduct of homes for children in local authority care.
1983 TVEI: pilot schemes began.
1983 Circular 8/83: required LEAs to report on progress in developing curriculum policy as requested in Circular 6/81.
1983 Youth Training Scheme (YTS): one year scheme introduced.
1983 Education (Fees and Awards) Act 1983 (pdf text 36kb) provisions relating to university fees and grants for non-UK students.
1983 9-13 Middle Schools: see 1978-85 HMI surveys above.
1984 Education (Grants and Awards) Act 1984 (pdf text 88kb): introduced Education Support Grants (ESGs) - central government funds given to LEAs for specific purposes.
1984 Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (CATE) established to set standards for initial teacher training courses.
1984 Schools Council abolished: its work was shared between School Examinations Council (SEC) (nominated by the Secretary of State) and School Curriculum Development Council (SCDC) (not to 'concern itself with policy').
1984 Green Paper Parental influence at school: proposed more parent power.
1984-9 Curriculum Matters: A series of 17 discussion documents from HMI:
1 English (1984)1985 White Paper Better schools: proposals implemented in 1986 (2) Education Act.
1985 Better Schools - A Summary: DES booklet summarising the White Paper.
1985 Education 8-12 in Combined and Middle Schools: see 1978-85 HMI surveys above.
1985 Quality in Schools: Evaluation and Appraisal: DES publication based on surveys by HMI of practice in a small number of schools and LEAs.
1985 Swann Report Education for All: final report of the Committee of Enquiry into the education of children from ethnic minority groups (interim report was Rampton 1981 - see above).
1985 Green Paper Education and training for young people: announced major expansion of YTS from April 1986.
1985 Further Education Act 1985 (pdf text 193kb) empowered local authorities to supply goods and services through further education establishments; amended sex discrimination rules relating to PE teachers.
May 1986 Kenneth Baker
1986 GLC: abolished on 31 March. (Thatcher had wanted to abolish ILEA at the same time but was persuaded that the London Boroughs were not yet ready to take on responsbility for education).
1986 General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE): common 16+ exam system replaced GCE O Level and CSE.
1986 Education (Amendment) Act 1986 (pdf text 37kb) brief Act increasing education support grant limits and removing payment for lunch duties from the 1965 Remuneration of Teachers Act.
1986 Education Act 1986 (pdf text 92kb): required LEAs to give governors information on funding.
1986 Education (No. 2) Act 1986 (pdf text 1.6mb): required LEAs to state policies, governors to publish annual reports and hold parents' meetings; laid down rules on admissions, political indoctrination and sex education; abolished corporal punishment; ended Secretary of State's duty to make annual reports.
1986 National Council for Vocational Qualifications (NCVQ) established.
1986 YTS extended to two years.
1987 Specific Grants for INSET (In-Service Training).
1987 The National Curriculum 5-16: the consultation document in which the government set out its plans for the introduction of the national curriculum and associated assessment procedures.
1987 Teachers' Pay and Conditions Act: abolished the negotiating procedures set up by the 1965 Act - Secretary of State imposed teachers' pay and conditions until 1991.
1987 White Paper Higher education.
1988 Youth Training Guarantee: all 16 and 17 year olds were to be in education, employment or training.
1988 Black Report National Curriculum Task Group on Assessment and Testing (TGAT) (pdf text 889kb): set out structure of tests and school league tables.
1988 Kingman Report: The Teaching of English Language.
1988 Local Government Act 1988 (pdf text 9.0mb) included the notoriously homophobic Section 28 (which was repealed by New Labour in November 2003).
1988 Employment Act 1988 (pdf text 229kb): introduced bridging allowance for young people waiting to take up YTS place. MSC renamed the Training Commission.
1988 Education Reform Act 1988 (pdf text 45.9mb): major act establishing the National Curriculum, testing regime, Local Management of Schools (LMS) etc.
1988 School Boards (Scotland) Act 1988 (pdf text 3.6mb) required Scottish local authorities to establish School Boards.
1988 Higginson Report: review of A Levels recommended a broader five subject structure. The government rejected the proposal.
1988 White Paper Top-up loans for students.
1989 Cox Report English for ages 5 to 16: the report which formed the basis of the English component of the new National Curriculum.
1989 Elton Report Discipline in Schools.
July 1989 John MacGregor
1989 Children Act 1989 (pdf text 6.0mb) wide-ranging Act covering local authority services, children's homes, fostering, child minding and adoption.
1989 Employment Act 1989 (pdf text 352kb): abolished the Training Commission.
1989 Self-Governing Schools etc. (Scotland) Act 1989 (pdf text 1.4mb) the Tories' failed attempt to get Scottish schools to opt out of local authority control: only two did so and they both later reversed their decision.
1990 ILEA abolished (1 April): responsibilities transferred to London boroughs.
1990 Education (Student Loans) Act 1990 (pdf text 116kb): introduced 'top-up' loans for higher education students and so began the diminution of student grants.
1990 Rumbold Report Starting with Quality: Committee of Inquiry report on the education of 3 and 4 year olds.
1990 YTS renamed Youth Training.
1990 Language Awareness and Foreign Language Taster Courses: an HMI survey of secondary schools.
1990-1997 John Major: more of the same
November 1990 John Major (Conservative)
November 1990 Kenneth Clarke
1991 School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Act 1991 (pdf text 172kb): established a review body but gave the Secretary of State the final say.
1991 Religious Education: A Local Curriculum Framework: a National Curriculum Council paper offering advice to LEAs.
1991 Parents' Charter: gave parents the right to information about schools and their performance (updated in 1994).
1991 Training Credits/Youth Credits (Employment Department): pilot schemes began.
1991 Polytechnics: granted university status.
1991 White Paper on higher education: recommended expansion of student numbers.
1992 Further and Higher Education Act 1992 (pdf text 1.6mb): removed FE and sixth form colleges from LEA control and established Further Education Funding Councils (FEFCs), unified the funding of higher education under the Higher Education Funding Councils (HEFCs), introduced competition for funding between institutions, abolished the Council for National Academic Awards.
1992 Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Act 1992 (pdf text 1.7mb) new arrangements for the funding and management of colleges in Scotland.
1992 Education (Schools) Act 1992 (pdf text 4.2mb) new arrangements for the inspection of schools led to the creation of Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education).
1992 Discussion paper Curriculum Organisation and Classroom Practice in Primary Schools: A discussion paper (popularly known as the 'Three Wise Men Report'): commissioned by Kenneth Clarke.
April 1992 John Patten
1992 DFE: the Department of Education and Science was renamed the Department for Education.
1992 White Paper Choice and Diversity: A new framework for schools: formed the basis of the 1993 Education Act.
1993 Spiritual and Moral Development: a discussion paper produced by the National Curriculum Council.
1993 Education Act 1993 (pdf text 19.1mb): changed the funding of GM schools, laid down rules for pupil exclusions and for 'failing' schools, abolished NCC and SEAC and replaced them with the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority (SCAA), defined special educational needs.
1993 National Commission on Education (independent of government): published final report Learning to succeed: a radical look at education today and a strategy for the future.
1994 University of London Act 1994 (pdf text 61kb): made new provision for the making of statutes for the University.
1994 Warwick Evaluation Implementation of English in the National Curriculum: within a year of its introduction, concerns about National Curriculum English prompted this investigation.
1994 Dearing Review The National Curriculum and its Assessment: Final Report: the Tories' National Curriculum and assessment arrangements were hopelessly complicated. Ron Dearing was called on to sort out the mess.
July 1994 Gillian Shephard
September 1994 Chris Woodhead became HMCI/Head of Ofsted
1994 Education Act 1994 (pdf text 3.7mb) established the Teacher Training Authority (TTA) and laid down new regulations relating to student unions.
1994 Labour Party Opening doors to a learning society: education policy document prepared for the party's annual conference in 1994 - Tony Blair's first as leader.
1994 Code of Practice on the Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs came into force.
1994 Modern Apprenticeships: pilot schemes announced.
1995 Modern Apprenticeships introduced.
1995 Youth Credits introduced - Youth Training name dropped.
1995 DfEE: the DFE was renamed the Department for Education and Employment.
1995 Children (Scotland) Act 1995 (pdf text 3.4mb) wide-ranging Act covering adoption, relationships between parents/guardians and children and children's homes.
1996 Education (Scotland) Act 1996 (pdf text 901kb) established the Scottish Qualifications Authority, enabled grants for nursery providers etc.
1996 Education Act 1996 (pdf text 1.6mb): huge act mainly consolidating all education acts since 1944.
1996 School Inspections Act 1996 (pdf text 8.0mb): consolidated previous legislation on school inspections.
1996 Nursery Education and Grant-Maintained Schools Act 1996 (pdf text 2.1mb): introduced unsuccessful voucher scheme for nursery education (later withdrawn by Labour), and allowed governors of GM schools to borrow money.
1996 Education (Student Loans) Act 1996 (pdf text 56kb): extended the provision of student loans.
1996 White Paper Self-government for schools.
1996 Dearing Report: review of vocational qualifications for 16-19 year olds - its recommendations were largely ignored.
1996 Jobseekers Act: laid down rules about the relationship between study and eligibility for the Job Seeker's Allowance.
1996 Tony Blair's Ruskin College lecture: given on 16 December 1996 to mark the twentieth anniversary of Jim Callaghan's Ruskin College speech (see 1976 above).
1997 Education Act 1997 (pdf text 996kb): wide-ranging but much watered down because of the forthcoming general election. Abolished NCVQ and SCAA and replaced them with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA).
1997-2007 The Blair decade: selection, privatisation and faith
May 1997 Tony Blair ('New Labour')
May 1997 David Blunkett
1997 Education (Schools) Act 1997 (pdf text 92kb): abolished the assisted places scheme and proposed binding home-school agreements (the latter not implemented).
1997 Dearing Report: review of higher education.
1997 Kennedy Report: reviewed under-participation in further education.
1997 National Traineeships introduced.
1997 White Paper Excellence in schools formed the basis of the 1998 School Standards and Framework Act.
1997 Investing in Young People announced by DfEE. Its aim was to increase participation in post-16 education.
1997 Literacy Task Force The Implementation of the National Literacy Strategy: report of the working party under Michael Barber appointed by David Blunkett in May 1996.
1997 Green Paper Excellence for all children: Meeting Special Educational Needs (pdf text 4.3mb): set out five year plan.
1998 Green Paper Teachers: meeting the challenge of change New Labour's first Green Paper on the teaching profession.
1998 Education (Student Loans) Act 1998 (pdf text 88kb): transferred provision of student loans to the private sector.
1998 School Standards and Framework Act 1998 (pdf text 940kb): encouraged selection by specialisation, changed the names of types of schools, limited infant class sizes, established Education Action Zones etc.
1998 Teaching and Higher Education Act 1998 (pdf text 836kb): established the General Teaching Council (GTC), abolished student maintenance grants and required students to contribute towards tuition fees.
1998 Crick Report Education for citizenship and the teaching of democracy in schools (pdf text 430kb): recommended that citizenship education should be a statutory entitlement in the school curriculum.
1998 Select Committee Report Disaffected Children: looked at the 14-19 age group.
1998 Education Action Zones: the first 12 EAZs were established.
1998 National Literacy Strategy: launched in September.
1999 Modern Apprenticeships expanded to 82,000 places. Investors in Young People developed further and renamed ConneXions.
1999 Moser Report Improving literacy and numeracy: a fresh start (summary and recommendations only) (pdf text 131kb): set out National Literacy Strategy and National Learning Targets.
1999 The National Curriculum: Handbook for primary teachers in England (pdf text 1.6mb) information and advice for teachers from the DfEE and the QCA.
1999 Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA): pilot schemes aimed at greater take-up of and achievement in post-16 education.
1999 Fresh Start scheme: aimed to revitalise 'failing' inner-city schools.
1999 Excellence in Cities (EiC): three year initiative began.
1999 National Numeracy Strategy: launched in September.
2000 Ripon Grammar School: survived the first parental ballot on selection.
2000 Care Standards Act 2000 (pdf text 430kb) wide-ranging Act including provisions relating to children; created the post of Children's Commissioner for Wales.
2000 City academies: David Blunkett announced the government's intention to create a network of academies - effectively private schools paid for by the state.
2000 Learning and Skills Act 2000 (pdf text 484kb): established the Learning and Skills Councils for England and Wales, allowed city technology colleges to be renamed city academies.
2000 Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 (pdf text 78kb) more duties for local authorities, replacing section 24 of the 1989 Children Act.
2000 King's Manor School, Guildford: first state school to be privatised (September).
2000 Chris Woodhead resigned as HMCI/Head of Ofsted (November).
December 2000 Mike Tomlinson became HMCI/Head of Ofsted
2001 Green Paper Schools: building on success (pdf text 1.4mb): New Labour's rewriting of the history of the comprehensive school.
2001 Children's Commissioner for Wales Act 2001 (pdf text 123kb) made further provisions relating to the role of the Commissioner.
June 2001 Estelle Morris
2001 DfES: the education department was renamed the Department for Education and Skills.
2001 White Paper Schools: achieving success (pdf text 1.5mb): formed the basis of the 2002 Education Act.
2001 The Learning Country (pdf text 508kb): the National Assembly for Wales announced its intention to create a fully comprehensive system of secondary schools.
May 2002 David Bell became HMCI/Head of Ofsted
2002 Green Paper 14-19: extending opportunities, raising standards (pdf text 1.8mb) set out proposals for the 14-19 curriculum.
2002 Education Act 2002 (pdf text 6.4mb) wide ranging Act which implemented the proposals in the 2001 white paper.
2002 Education (Middle School) (England) Regulations 2002 (pdf text 45kb): specified whether middle schools would be classified as either primary or secondary schools.
2002 City academies: the first 3 opened.
2002 Languages for all: languages for life: the government's strategy for the teaching of foreign languages.
October 2002 Charles Clarke
2003 Green Paper 14-19: opportunity and excellence (pdf text 4.6mb) set out proposals for the 14-19 curriculum taking into account responses to the 2002 Green Paper.
2003 White Paper The future of higher education (pdf text 627kb): controversially proposed allowing universities to charge variable top-up fees and formed the basis of the 2004 Higher Education Act.
2003 City academies: 9 more opened.
2003 Workforce remodelling: government initiative aimed at reducing teachers' workload by employing more unqualified classroom assistants.
2003 Green paper Every Child Matters: led to the 2004 Children Act.
2003 Ofsted/Audit Commission Report School place planning: The influence of school place planning on school standards and social inclusion (pdf text 98kb): warned of social divisiveness of parental choice.
2004 (January) MPs voted - by a small majority - to allow universities to charge variable top-up fees (see 2004 Higher Education Act).
2004 Smith Report Making Mathematics Count (pdf text 926kb): report of Professor Adrian Smith's inquiry into post-14 mathematics education.
2004 Building Schools for the Future: massive schools rebuilding programme launched (the website has been removed from the web by the Cameron government).
2004 Children Act 2004 (pdf text 280kb): based on the 2003 green paper Every Child Matters.
2004 Higher Education Act 2004 (pdf text 196kb): allowed universities to charge variable top-up fees.
2004 Welsh education minister Jane Davidson announced that tests for 11 and 14 year olds would be scrapped in Wales.
2004 Five Year Strategy for Children and Learners (pdf text 1.2mb): formed the basis for the 2005 white paper Higher standards, better schools for all.
2004 Academies (the 'City' had now been dropped): 5 more opened.
2004 Tomlinson Report 14-19 Curriculum and Qualifications Reform (pdf text 920kb).
2004 Scottish Executive A curriculum for excellence (pdf text 229kb) report of the Curriculum Review Group.
2004 Building Bulletin 98 (pdf text 7mb) Briefing Framework for Secondary School Projects (DfES).
2004 Building Bulletin 99 (pdf text 5mb) Briefing Framework for Primary School Projects (DfES).
December 2004 Ruth Kelly
2005 White paper 14-19 Education and Skills (pdf text 524kb): rejected most of 2004 Tomlinson Report's recommendations.
2005 White paper Higher Standards, Better Schools for All (pdf text 964kb): proposed independent trust schools. Led to 2006 Education and Inspections Bill.
2005 Education Act 2005 (pdf text 648kb) mostly concerned with changes to the inspection regime.
2005 Steer Report Learning behaviour (pdf text 979kb).
May 2006 Alan Johnson
2006 Equality Act 2006 (pdf text 406kb) established the Commission for Equality and Human Rights with implications for schools.
2006 Childcare Act 2006 (pdf text 381kb) new rules relating to the provision, regulation and inspection of childcare.
2006 Education and Inspections Act 2006 (pdf text 1.0mb): very controversial - passed only with Tory support.
2006 Primary National Strategy (pdf text 922kb): Primary Framework for literacy and mathematics.
2006 University top-up fees: UCAS revealed that 15,000 fewer students had started university compared with the previous year.
October 2006 Christine Gilbert became HMCI/Head of Ofsted
2006 Cambridge Primary Review (CPR) launched.
2006 2020 Vision (pdf text 221kb): Report of the Teaching and Learning in 2020 Review Group, chaired by Christine Gilbert.
2007 School leaving age: government announced its intention to raise the SLA to 18, possibly in 2013.
2007 Ofsted became 'The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills' (as decreed by the 2006 Education and Inspections Act).
2007 QCA published plans for more flexible Key Stage 3 curriculum.
2007 Teaching 2020: paper setting out the government's vision for schooling in the future.
2007 GTC called for all national school tests for 7, 11 and 14 year olds to be scrapped.
2007 Tim Brighouse (London Schools Commissioner) retired.
2007 Green Paper Raising Expectations: staying in education and training post-16 (pdf text 344kb): argued that all young people should stay in education or training up to the age of 18.
2007 Ajegbo Report Diversity and Citizenship (pdf text 1.2mb): pupils should have the skills to 'participate in an active and inclusive democracy, appreciating and understanding difference'.
2007-2010 Brown and Balls: mixed messages
July 2007 Gordon Brown (Labour)
July 2007 Ed Balls
2007 Education department split in two: Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF, Ed Balls), and Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS, John Denham).
2007 Faith in the System: faith schools agreed to 'promote social cohesion'.
2007 Further Education and Training Act 2007 (pdf text 196kb) new arrangements relating to further education and the Learning and Skills Council for England.
2007 The Children's Plan (pdf text 640kb): ambitious plan for all future government policy relating to children, families and schools.
2008 Sale of Student Loans Act 2008 (pdf text 86kb) allowed the government to sell off student loans.
2008 Special Educational Needs (Information) Act 2008 (pdf text 61kb) amended the 1996 Education Act in relation to the provision and publication of information about children with special educational needs.
2008 Children and Young Persons Act 2008 (pdf text 228kb) new arrangements for the provision of social work services.
2008 Education and Skills Act 2008 (pdf text 672kb) raised the education leaving age to 18; Key Stage 3 SATs effectively abolished.
2008 Education for All: final report of the Nuffield Review of 14-19 education and training.
2008 Testing and Assessment (pdf text 631kb): report by the House of Commons Children, Schools and Families Committee (CSFC).
2008 NUT members staged one-day strike over pay (24 April).
2008 Ofqual (Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator): launched on 16 May, led by Kathleen Tattersall.
2008 National Challenge launched by Balls: targeted 638 'failing' state secondary schools.
2008 SATs fiasco: widespread IT problems; delayed and inaccurate results; QCA chief executive Ken Boston resigned.
2008 Academies: 51 opened in September.
2008 Tories' free schools policy announced by Michael Gove (shadow education secretary).
2008 IRPC Interim Report Interim Report of the Independent Review of the Primary Curriculum (pdf text 2.1mb).
2008 School Admissions Code: revised version published in December.
2009 Homophobic bullying in Britain's schools: report by Stonewall.
2009 CSFC Report National Curriculum (pdf text 1.5mb) report by the House of Commons Children, Schools and Families Committee.
2009 IRPC Final Report Final Report of the Independent Review of the Primary Curriculum (pdf text 3.3mb).
2009 Steer Report Learning Behaviour: Lessons Learned (pdf text 2.1mb): follow-up to the Steer committee's first report Learning Behaviour (2005).
2009 Macdonald Report Independent Review of the proposal to make Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education statutory (pdf text 983kb).
2009 SATs: boycott proposed by NUT and NAHT.
2009 DIUS abolished after just two years: responsibilities transferred to new Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
2009 Eleven plus abolished in Northern Ireland, but grammar schools (mostly Roman Catholic) vow to set their own tests.
2009 Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 (pdf text 1.0mb): created a statutory framework for apprenticeships.
2009 Liberal Democrats Equity and Excellence (pdf text 246kb) set out LibDem education policies for discussion at the party's spring conference.
2009 White Paper Your child, your schools, our future (pdf text 2.2mb): wide-ranging proposals including the removal of central government prescription of teaching methods and reduction in the use of the private consultants to improve schools.
2009 A New Framework for Higher Education (Department of Business, Innovation and Skills): set out ten to fifteen year strategy.
2010 Cambridge Primary Review Children, their World, their Education: final report.
2010 Steer Report Behaviour and the role of Home-School Agreements (pdf text 1.1mb): advice on implementing changes to home-school agreements as specified in the Children, Schools and Families Bill.
2010 Child Poverty Act 2010 (pdf text 140kb): targets and provisions.
2010 Children, Schools and Families Act 2010 (pdf text 124kb): based on 2009 white paper but much reduced because of the impending election.
2010 Equality Act 2010 (pdf text 745kb): wide-ranging Act which replaced nine major Acts of Parliament and almost a hundred sets of regulations which had been introduced over several decades.
2010 SATs: a quarter of all primary schools boycotted the tests.
2010 What future for education in England?
May 2010 'Coalition' government of Tories and Liberal Democrats led by David Cameron (Conservative)
May 2010 Michael Gove
2010 Academies Act 2010 (pdf text 104kb): provided for massive and rapid expansion of academies.
2010 Budget cuts: government proposed cuts of up to £3.5bn in the schools budget.
2010 IRPC primary curriculum proposals: scrapped.
2010 School sports partnerships: Cameron called for a review of the decision to scrap the scheme.
2010 Diplomas: Labour's flagship policy scrapped.
2010 QCDA: scrapped.
2010 Extension of free school meals: pilot schemes mostly scrapped.
2010 Building Schools for the Future: scrapped.
2010 Browne Report Securing a Sustainable Future for Higher Education (pdf text 799kb): recommendations mostly ignored.
2010 Higher education: fewer places and vastly increased tuition fees, the latter despite Liberal Democrat pre-election promises.
2010 White paper The Importance of Teaching (pdf text 1mb): wide-ranging document covering teaching, leadership, behaviour, new schools, accountability etc.
2011 Education Act 2011 (pdf text 700kb): increased schools' powers relating to pupil behaviour and exclusions, further diminished the role of local authorities, further expansion of academies etc.
2011 Tickell Report The Early Years: Foundations for life, health and learning (pdf text 1.8mb): made recommendations relating to the EarlyYears Foundation Stage.
2011 Bew Report Independent Review of Key Stage 2 testing, assessment and accountability (pdf text 340kb): recommended that published test results should be more comprehensive and seen as a part of a bigger picture.
2011 DfE The Framework for the National Curriculum (pdf text 946kb) (pdf text 946kb): a report by the Expert Panel for the National Curriculum review.
2011 All-Party Parliamentary Group for Education Report of the Inquiry into Overcoming the Barriers to Literacy (pdf text 328kb).
2011 HCEC Report Participation by 16-19 year olds in education and training (pdf text 844kb): a report by the House of Commons Education Committee.
2011 HCEC Report Behaviour and Discipline in Schools (pdf text 430kb): a report by the House of Commons Education Committee.
2011 HCEC Report The English Baccalaureate (pdf text 725kb): a report by the House of Commons Education Committee.
2011 Green Paper Support and aspiration: A new approach to special educational needs and disability (pdf text 1.5mb).
2011 White Paper Higher Education: Students at the Heart of the System (pdf text 729kb).
2011 Training our next generation of outstanding teachers (pdf text 336kb) discussion document from the DfE.
2011 Wolf Report Review of Vocational Education (pdf text 2.5mb).
2011 DfE/DCMS The Importance of Music: A National Plan for Music Education (pdf text 348kb).
2011 Training our next generation of outstanding teachers (pdf text 336kb) implementation plan from the DfE.
2012 Equality Act 2010: Advice for school leaders, staff, governors and local authorities (pdf text 328kb): non statutory advice from the DfE.
2012 Ofsted Report Moving English forward (pdf text 639kb): action to raise standards in English.
2012 Lingfield Report Professionalism in Further Education (pdf text 672kb): the interim report of the Independent Review Panel.
2012 HCEC Report Great teachers: attracting, training and retaining the best (pdf text 516kb): a report by the House of Commons Education Committee.
2012 White Paper Reform of provision for children and young people with Special Educational Needs (pdf text 958kb).
2012 Henley Report Cultural Education in England (pdf text 733kb): an independent review for the Department for Education and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
2012 Lingfield Report Professionalism in Further Education (pdf text 438kb): the final report of the Independent Review Panel.
2012 Statutory Framework for the EYFS: Setting the standards for learning, development and care for children from birth to five (pdf text 143kb).
2013 EYFS Profile Handbook published by the Standards and Testing Agency (pdf text 512kb).
Bell R and Jones G (2002) Youth policies in the UK Keele University
Chitty C (2004) Education policy in Britain Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
Mackinnon D and Statham J (1999) Education in the UK: facts and figures (3rd edn) London: Hodder and Stoughton/Open University
Number 10 website British prime ministers