chapter  5
23 Pages

The Labour Party and the comprehensive school, 1951-65

WithMichael Parkinson

The Party left office with its attitudes to comprehensive education unclear. Official Party policy, on the other hand, appeared a little more certain. That Sub-committee reported in March 1953. It confirmed Alice Bacon's earlier arguments that Labour's plans in the post-war period had not been very challenging precisely because 'it seemed to be assumed that the application of the 1944 Act would be sufficient task for the Labour Government'. The election of a Labour Government in 1964 reopened all the old controversies about comprehensive education. For our purposes, there were three significant interrelated issues: the timing of reorganization, the pattern of reorganization and the use of compulsion. A Labour Government would, however, require LEAs to prepare development plans 'with all reasonable speed' to adopt the comprehensive principle. The Labour Party is seen both as a policy-maker with the power to implement policies and as a pressure group with power only to influence.