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Alan Johnson, the former education secretary, on 140 years of English education through the prism of one school - St Michael and All Angels in Camberwell.

Alan Johnson, the former Education Secretary, tells the story of English education over the last 140 years through the prism of one school - St Michael and All Angels in Camberwell.

Over the decades, the school has undergone many transformations, including names, in response to changes in policy, but its purpose has remained constant - to provide decent and free education to local children.

The story is told through original documents – from headmasters’ logs and inspection reports – and the testimony of the children and teachers who went there. It is as much a social history of inner-city life down the ages as it is a study of our attempts to educate the children of poor families.

Episode 4:
In 1944, St Michael and All Angels School was bombed and destroyed. Pupils like Iris Kimber had been evacuated - the whole school with their teachers transplanted to Reading. Alan Johnson discovers the impact of the war in the archive, including an air raid wardens' account of the 1944 bombing. He also introduces us to the 1944 Butler Act - one of the most significant pieces of legislation based on a post-World Ear II plan, the legacy of which is still with us today

Presenter: Alan Johnson
Producer: Sara Parker
Executive Producer: Samir Shah

A Juniper Connect production for BBC Radio 4

Available now

14 minutes