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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 5:
After the Second World War, it took more than a decade for St Michael and All Angels School to be rebuilt as a secondary modern, part of the Butler Acts tripartite system which included grammar as well as technical schools. Alan Johnson documents the school's reconstruction from bomb site to the brand new purpose-built school which was officially opened in 1956 by Princess Marie Louise, who signed a visitors' book for the occasion.

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

A Juniper Connect production for BBC Radio 4

Available now

14 minutes