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Last on

Mon 8 Mar 2010 11:00 BBC Radio 4

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 08 March 2010

As Anne McElvoy trawls schools looking for the right place for her own children, she's been confronted by an underlying question: what is a good school and how does the intellectual history of that aspiration influence political argument and educational choices today?

Anne speaks to leading politicians at the heart of the debate about education at secondary level. She hears from Michael Gove, the shadow secretary of state for children, schools and families, who has made it clear that he wants a return to more traditional educational techniques.

His critics argue that teenagers who have not already 'learned to learn' gain little from being forced to sit through subject-based lessons they dislike and aren't able to absorb. In further new interviews for the programme, the secretary of state for children, schools and families Ed Balls challenges Gove's vision of the good school, as does the Liberal Democrat peer Shirley Williams, herself a former education secretary.

Other contributors include Pete Hyman, a former aide to Tony Blair, who now teaches at an inner-London comprehensive, sociologist Professor Frank Furedi and Chis Woodhead, the former chief inspector of schools.


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