chapter  1
23 Pages


Throughout the 1980s the education service was subjected to a plethora of government initiatives intended to promote major changes in schools and colleges and thereby in the learning opportunities of pupils and students. The momentum of change increased with the arrival of the Education Reform Act (HMSO, 1988). This ushered in a period of major upheaval in which the assumptions, structures and practices underpinning the public education system since the Butler Act of 1944 are being fundamentally transformed. This climate of change has not been confined to education. The provision of training has undergone remarkable development particularly as a consequence of the activities of the Manpower Services Commission since its creation in the mid-1970s. The MSC, in 1988 renamed the Training Agency and in 1990 reformed as the Training, Enterprise and Education Directorate of the Department of Employment, has been responsible for a number of national programmes and initiatives to improve preparation for work and vocational training.