Influential government reports

The Hadow Report (1931)

The Primary School was an influential official expression of `progressive' ideas. The most quoted assertion is, 'The curriculum is to be thought of in terms of activity and experience rather than knowledge to be acquired and facts to be stored.'

The Plowden Report (1967)

Children and their Primary Schools , promoted the applications of developmental psychology (particularly from Piaget) in primary school teaching and has been regarded as an important influence on 'progressive' and 'child-centred' ideas which were popular among teachers in the late 1960s and 1970s.

The Bullock Report (1975)

A Language for Life , argued that children's language is of paramount importance and should be developed across the whole curriculum through systematic school policies.

The Warnock Report (1978)

Special Education: Forward Trends , established that one in five children have special educational needs at some point in their school education and needed particular provision. The Education Act of 1981 enacted many of the reports recommendations including an emphasis on the integration of children with (SEN) and the issue of `statements' of pupil need.

The Cockcroft Report (1982)

Mathematics Counts , set out the arguments for the importance of mathematics in everyday life and advocated innovative teaching methods including problem-solving and the use of calculators and computers.

The Elton Report (1989)

Discipline in Schools , a balanced account which documented how `most schools are well ordered', also the cumulative impact of `minor disruption'. It suggested that teacher status and training could be enhanced; highlighted the importance of school effective management and parental guidance; and emphasised the role of pupils taking responsibility.

The House of Commons Select Committee Report (1986)

Achievement in Primary Schools , provided a thorough overview of the state of primary education in the mid-1980s. Among its recommendations was the suggestion that class teachers should also act as `curriculum coordinators' for particular subjects across the whole school.

Choice and Diversity' DfEE White Paper (1992)

Known in some government quarters as 'chaos and diversity' the paper recommended a 'back-to-basics' curriculum and emphasised five key values: quality, diversity, parental choice, school autonomy, and greater accountability. Its main objective was to increase the number of GMS. It became the basis for the 1993 Education Act (see below).

The House of Commons Select Committee Report (1994)

The Disparity in Funding between Primary and Secondary Schools , concluded that the gap in funding between the two sectors was too wide, with expenditure on secondary pupils being more than 40% higher than on primary pupils, despite the range of new demands made following the introduction of the National Curriculum. Concerns about rising class sizes were expressed.

Excellence in Schools (DfEE 1997)

Rapidly produced by the new Labour Government this stated a commitment to high standards and a change from 'complacency' to 'commitment to success' and competition 'in the global economy'. It set out a whole raft of detailed policies, most of which became law in the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 (see below). These included, for example, the use of baseline testing for children starting school, the setting up of early years forums, the piloting of 25 early excellence centres, the availability of more performance data (league tables) for the public, the introduction of a literacy hour, the possibility of a numeracy hour, and suggested that LEAs should draw up education development plans and tackle 'failing schools' advised by the new Standards Task Force who would lead a 'crusade' for higher standards.

Meeting the Child Care Challenge. (DfEE 1998)

This was a government green paper outlining the need for a childcare strategy. The aims were to support families and their children by providing good quality affordable childcare, available to meet the needs of all neighbourhoods. The paper recommended the expansion of the Early Excellence Centres programme, the introduction of Family Credit , the training of childcare workers through the New Deal and the expansion of the Early Years Development Partnership.

Schools Building on Success (DfES 2001)

This document was published at the beginning of Labour's second term in office. It provides a new agenda and proposals for legislation across the education service. It focuses particularly on secondary education, but also provides proposals for the continuation of reform in primary education.