Published May 16th 2018
Parent choice, diversity of school provision and the idea of a quasi-market in schools have dominated education policy for the last thirty years since the passage of the 1988 Great Education Reform Act. But has the market worked in the way that was intended? Are schools better? Do we have a fairer school system? Do parents really have choice?
Author and journalist Fiona Millar looks at why these policies have proved so seductive to a generation of politicians and seeks to uncover whether we really are are doing 'the best for all our children'. If we are not, what could and should future reform look like?
'This is an area that has preoccupied me since the early 1990s when my own children's school was one of the first to be named and shamed by Ofsted,' she explains. 'We had first hand experience of how the market worked in practice so this is an area I have followed with close interest ever since. Thirty years on from the 1988 Act I feel we are ready for a new approach but that is important to understand what worked and what could be better. I hope my book will help to answer those questions.'
About the author
Fiona Millar is a journalist and campaigner on education and parenting issues. She is a former adviser to Cherie Blair. She contributes to Education Guardian and was a founder of the Local Schools Network.
"Fiona Millar combines a profound understanding of the way schools work on the ground with unrivalled political acumen. This insightful account of what the market revolution has really meant for England’s education system is an important and absorbing read.” — Melissa Benn, writer and campaigner
"Fiona Millar had front row seats amid the education policy reforms of the past two decades and this thorough account cuts loose and reveals what has driven schools to the places they are now. Honest, forthright, and serious, Millar gets into meaty politics of education and explains exactly how we got to here." -- Laura McInerney, Education Journalist & Co-Founder of Teacher Tapp
"I loved reading this book. Fiona Millar does a superb job capturing 30 years of education policy and all the complex consequences of the so-called market. It’s so interesting to hear her perspective as parent, governor and campaigner;her analysis of what has and hasn’t worked is thorough and convincing. It’s a must read for anyone interested in future education policy because, as Fiona illustrates very clearly, without doubt, we can and must do better in the next 30 years; the status quo and the current policy philosophy isn’t good enough." -- Tom Sherrington, speaker, author
"This book covers it all; from policy, buzzwords and testing, to accountability, gaming the system and off-rolling. The Best For My Child should be on the reading list of every Initial Teacher Training provider and a copy read out aloud on every high street corner!" -- Ross Morrison McGill - @TeacherToolkit - Most Followed Educator on Twitter in the UK who writes at: www.TeacherToolkit.co.uk
"This book is a must read for anyone who wants to campaign and shape the future of education policy in our country." -- Lewis Iwu, Lewis Iwu, former Director of Fair Education Alliance and campaign strategist
"An engaging and comprehensive overview of the often unintended consequences of 30 years of education policy. Fiona sets the context for the current incoherent education market and provides key pointers to where we should go next to develop an school system that works for every child.” -- Rachel Gooch, @SchoolDuggery, education commentator, school governor