A quarter of century ago today, London lost its dedicated education authority – and many who hailed its policies as “visionary” are still mourning the loss.
The view that the Thatcher government may have been mistaken in scrapping the Inner London Education Authority (Ilea) in 1990 is not confined to left-wing educationalists.
This week, Ivan Massow – a Conservative hopeful in the race to become the next London mayor, and a proud Thatcherite – told TES that he thought his own party may have been guilty of “throwing out the baby with the bath water” as far as Ilea was concerned.
The authority was established 50 years ago, also on April Fool’s Day, and went on to run its own schools’ television service and make pioneering use of education data.
Critics condemned Ilea as “ultra-loony” and a “bastion of trendy teaching”. But even today, with London’s schools in a widely acknowledged golden age, many fans of the old authority think that teachers in the capital may never have it so good again.
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