Education and the disadvantaged: Is there any justice?

Tommy MacKay argues for radical change in the principles and funding of the British educational system. This article is based on his Award for Challenging Inequality of Opportunity Lecture given at the Society’s Annual Conference, March 1998.
‘EDUCATION and the disadvantaged: is there any justice?’ There is a sense, of course, in which that question begs the answer ‘No — there is no justice.’ That is not, however, precisely the answer I intend to give. Indeed, if you take a long-term historical perspective of the provision of education in the UK throughout its entire statutory period — and probably for a century before that — you could say that a constant move towards greater justice and equity has been the hallmark of the whole process. Certainly, there have at times been fairly significant setbacks, but in general the process has continued steadily.

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