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United Kingdom education 1997-2001

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This paper reviews the achievements of the Labour government's education policy between 1997 and 2001. Tony Blair claimed that his government would make education a priority. The first part of the paper reviews the scale of education spending in relation to the economy at large and within the education budget. The second part of the paper looks at the productivity of schools. How far have the changes that have affected schools in the past 10 years, and in the past 5 years in particular, had an impact on the quality of school achievements? The paper suggests there have been significant improvements, not just on average but especially in the gains made in poor areas and in the least good schools. Finally the paper discusses the funding of higher education, the introduction of income-related loans to cover maintenance, and up-front fees. The paper concludes that some serious errors were made in policy design. Even so, the use of the Inland Revenue as the collection agency was a successful innovation and should be built upon.

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