Thursday 27 August 2009
Here's Emily with details of tonight's special programme:
Education, education, education has become the most irritatingly oft-quoted mantra of New Labour. But tonight, I make no apology for it. Today's GCSE results in England, Wales and Northern Ireland mark the first generation of children to be educated entirely under New Labour. So we devote this programme to asking whether things got better in England - where Labour's education policies have been put in place.
An opinion poll for Newsnight on that exact issue makes pretty uncomfortable reading for the government. 67% believe it has not delivered. When asked if state education had got worse since 1997 marginally more people said that it had.
England is ranked below Kazakhstan on an International Average Maths Achievement table*. Yet, it will surprise no-one to see that results out today make our young look more promising than ever. So how do we even begin to deconstruct the figures?
In the first part of tonight's programme we'll be looking at the exam and school system under New Labour and asking whether the investment, the emphasis on league tables and choice, and the greater number of teachers has made for brighter children. Later we ask the wider, cultural question: Is it possible to characterise what it is to be a 'child of Blair' - in the same way people did with the Thatcher years?
We'll be concentrating on the comparisons in England between 1997 and today. But we'll also look at how the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland education systems have changed with devolution - and ask who appears to have the right answers.
Join us tonight, 10:30pm, as we consider whether Labour's record on education is something it can be proud of.
(*TIMSS report 2007)