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The Ruskin College Speech 1976
Transcript of The Ruskin College Speech 1976
What was the Ruskin College Speech 1976?
Speech focused on the following:
How did Callaghan's speech affect educational policy?
Rebecca Worthy, Beth McIntosh, Emily Nattress
Who said what to prompt Callaghan's speech?
The Plowden Report
Given by Labour Prime Minister (James Callaghan) at Ruskin College, Oxford, October 1976
Significant direct public intervention about education issues at the time
Speech also included:
Accountability, effectiveness and complex relationships between government industry, teachers and parents
Philosophy of teaching
The nature and purpose of public education
Appropriateness of the curriculum in comprehensive schools
Callaghan was concerned about:
Teaching of the three R's
Existing assessment schemes
General education for 16-19yr olds
In 1963 Sir Edward Boyle, Minister of Education, instructed the Central Advisory Council for Education to report on all aspects of Primary education and the transition to Secondary education.
In 1967 the report was published under the chairmanship of Bridget Plowden. This was the first report since Sir Henry Hadow’s report of 1931, and there has not been another since.
‘Plowden’s membership and terms of reference were a product of the optimism and belief in social engineering of this time’ (Kogan 1987) 'during the 1960s this work by Piaget and his colleagues was at the peak of its influence. It was very widely known and very widely accepted' (Donaldson 1978).
Staff involved in violent disputes with managers
Chaos – loss of control of school and pupils
Local Govt. politicians & local inspectorate became involved
Public inquiry 1975-76
The William Tynedale Affair 1974
Right wing politicians and educationalists cited the affair as a need for urgent educational reviews and reforms as it raised crucial issues:
Control of curriculum
Responsibilities of LEAs
Accountability of teachers and
Assessment of effectiveness in education (of the teachers)
Response to The William Tynedale Affair
All five attacked the liberal style of Education
Disagreed with Comprehensive system
Cited poor results & discipline as the main reason for economic decline in Britain
The Black Papers
Abbott, I et al (2013), Education Policy, SAGE: London
Anderson, M. (2014), Speech Cartoon #3419 [online] Available: http://www.andertoons.com/speech/cartoon/3419/before-we-get-right-to-food-for-thought-id-like-to-begin-with-an-anecdote-appetizer [Access date: 11th November 2014].
Ball, S (2013) The Education Debate: Policy and Politics in the Twenty-first Century. Second Edition. Policy Press. [ONLINE] Available at: http://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=pjrxsIF7Q4MC&oi=fnd&pg=PR1&dq=ruskin+college+speech&ots=dUqfCKV6-c&sig=sdhwyHfZCfN-4Xx0mfQyNnx162k#v=onepage&q=ruskin%20college%20speech&f=false [Access date: 9th November 2014]
Barber, M. (1996), New Labour 20 years on. TES Magazine
Callaghan, J (1976) Ruskin College Speech - full text online. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.educationengland.org.uk/documents/speeches/1976ruskin.html [Access date: 9th November 2014]
Donaldson, M. (1978) Children's Minds, London: Fontana.
Education in Schools:
A Consultative Document (DES 1977) (2014)
[ONLINE] Available at: http://www.educationengland.org.uk/documents/des1977/index.html [Access date: 9th November 2014]
Galton M, Simon B and Croll P (1980) Inside the primary classroom (The ORACLE Report) London: Routledge and Kegan Paul
Gillard, D. (2011), Education in England: A brief history [online] Available: http://www.educationengland.org.uk/history/chapter07.html [Access date: 11th November 2014].
Gillard, D. (2010) Education in England: a rational debate based on the facts [online] Available: http://www.educationengland.org.uk/documents/speeches/1976ruskin.html [Access date: 11th November 2014].
The Great Debate
Great Britain, 1976. Education Act 1976: Elizabeth II. Chapter 81. HMSO [online] Available at: http://www.educationengland.org.uk/documents/acts/1976-education-act.pdf [Access date: 9th November 2014].
History of James Callaghan - GOV.UK. (2014) [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/history/past-prime-ministers/james-callaghan. [Access date: 12 November 2014].
Kogan, M. (1987) 'The Plowden Report Twenty Years On', Oxford Review of Education Vol. 13, No. 1.
Tomlinson, S. (2005) Education in a post-welfare Society. Second Edition. Open University Press: Berkshire
Education Act 1976
(22 November 1976)
In principle, the act compels local education authorities to introduce comprehensive education
(High number of loop holes meant the act was not as affective as it should have been)
1979 Education Act repeals 1976 act on comprehensive schools.
Work-based and employment skills
Interest in science and engineering
Competitive education system
Standard of teaching
16-19 year olds' education
Credited as helping to initiate 'The Great Debate'
The Education Act 1976
Shifted political focus to Education, especially it's impact on the economy (ie. it's role in industry)
Sparked the idea that politics needed more of an intervening role in the Education system.
'We spend £6bn a year on education, so there will be discussion'
'If everything is reduced to such phrases as 'educational freedom' versus state control, we shall get nowhere'
'I... find complaints from industry that new recruits from the schools sometimes do not have the basic tools to do the job'
'there should be a basic curriculum with universal standards'
'To the teachers... you must satisfy the parents and industry that what you are doing meets their requirements and the needs of our children'
'...basic literacy, basic numeracy, the understanding of how to live and work together, respect for others, respect for the individual'
Led to the introduction of the National Curriculum