Nobody who has followed developments in New Labour's policies for schools can doubt its commitment to change the shape of the education system, the curriculum and classroom practices. When the party won the General Election in May 1997, it did so largely on the back of its policy of 'education, education and education'. Two months later, this slogan was used as a heading at the start of the White Paper Excellence in Schools, in which raising standards in schools was described as 'the Government's top priority' (DfEE, 1997, p.9). Subsequently, David Blunkett, the Education Secretary, staked his reputation on 11-year-olds reaching the national literacy and numeracy targets by 2002. Whatever one's criticisms might be about the nature of the policies, the energy behind them is unmistakable.