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This book covers a crucial period for the development of state education in Britain; the advent of the comprehensive debate before and during the Second World War; the War years themselves and the 1944 Education Act; the post-War Labour Government; and Churchill's last government in a time of education expansion. From the 1960s, the focus shifted to questions of social deprivation and educational opportunities, secondary school selection, the debate on standards, Robbins and higher education, and the continuing theme of the dominance of public schools.

The book is divided into four sections, which are then divided into chapters. Each chapter takes as its main reference point a key issue within the chronological framework of the book, e.g. resistance to secondary education for all, politics and textbooks, multilateral and technical schools, pressure groups and the 1944 Education Act, Churchill and the Conservatives. Much new light is thrown on the topics by the author's use of new material and he has made a valuable contribution to the politics of education.

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