Education in a Post-Welfare Society

Education in a Post-Welfare Society

Education in a Post-Welfare Society

Education in a Post-Welfare Society


Reviews of the first edition

"This book must become the classic text for students of education, social and welfare policies. Sally Tomlinson, doyenne of policy-orientated education and social research, has written with commendable clarity and comprehensiveness a superb book on British education."
- Journal of Social Policy

This book provides a context for understanding education policy which is currently missing from education and social policy courses. It should be compulsory reading."
- Len Barton, Institute of Education, University of London

" The persistence and reinforcement of class advantage through English education policy is a key theme... this book does a superb job of both highlighting the key social justice concerns and controversies over the last fifty years and providing an overview of education policy developments over the same period."
- British Journal of Sociology of Education

Highly commended - S. E. S Book Prize 2002

The acclaimed first edition of Education in a Post-Welfare Society provided a critical overview of education policy since 1945. It demonstrated how a relatively decentralised education system became a system in which funding, teaching and curriculum are centrally controlled and privatisation encouraged, with education becoming a prop for global market economy rather than a pillar of the welfare state.

The second edition continues the policy story up to 2005, covering two terms of a New Labour government and their plans for a third term. It also continues an examination of the relationship of education policy to social class, race, gender and the economy, paying attention to the educational disadvantages of some ethnic groups and refugee children. The book includes chronologies of education acts, reports and initiatives and summaries of major legislation.

This is an invaluable resource for all those concerned with social policy and education, including educational researchers, professionals and politicians.


This is the second edition of a book first published in 2001, which aimed to provide a critical overview of education policy since 1945, a period during which government in the UK moved from creating and sustaining a welfare state, to promoting a post-welfare society dominated by private enterprise and competitive markets. The first edition took readers through a descriptive review of Acts, reports and events in education between 1945 and 2000. This edition continues the policy story and covers two terms of a New Labour government, up to March 2005. The major purpose of the book is to provide a critical overview of educational policy over the past sixty years and a discussion of the relationship of policy to class, race, gender and the economy. Over the period there has been a shift from a relatively decentralized education system to a centralized system, in which funding, teaching and curriculum are centrally controlled, and the subjection of schools to market forces has increased social and academic divisions. Education was central to post-second world war social reconstruction, and the Education Act (1944), along with the National Insurance Act (1946) and the National Health Service Act (1948), was regarded as one of the three pillars of the welfare state. In the post-welfare society there has been a fragmentation of social welfare programmes via the introduction of market principles. By 2005, education, subject to these principles, had become a competitive enterprise and a commodity, rather than a preparation for a democratic society. Despite a plethora of reforms, the education system did not appear to serve either the needs of society or the needs of individuals satisfactorily. It could not be regarded as a pillar of a post-welfare society.

The justification for yet another book on education policy is that many people, teachers, students and parents in particular, remain confused by the welter of legislation — the Acts, circulars, regulations, the consultation and curriculum documents, and the 'initiatives' which have emanated from . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.