Posts Tagged ‘comprehensives’

34 years today since his death: Tony Crosland’s challenge to Ed Miliband

19/02/2011, 04:00:43 PM

by Kevin Meagher

FOR an intellectual he sure had a potty mouth. “If it’s the last thing I do, I’m going to destroy every fucking grammar school in England. And Wales and Northern Ireland”.

So said Anthony Crosland, Labour’s greatest education secretary, who was very nearly as good as his word. He lit the touchpaper for the comprehensive revolution in the 1960s, consigning the vile eleven-plus exam to the scrapheap, opening the way for bright kids from ordinary backgrounds to get a rounded schooling.

Until then, three quarters of children who “failed” the eleven-plus were shuffled off to a secondary modern, on the basis of a single examination, so they could spend the next fifty years “working with their hands” like the epsilons in Brave New World.

Today marks the 34th anniversary of Crosland’s untimely death at the age of 59, depriving James Callaghan of a foreign secretary, but robbing Labour of a sane and principled voice who may just have helped the party avoid the intellectual atrophy of the late 1970s and the descent into lunacy of the early 1980s. (more…)

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