Education has long been viewed as a key feature of social policy, whether for its role in enabling individuals to fulﬁ l their potential, as an inﬂ uence on equality and inequality, or through its importance in providing an appropriate workforce to meet the economic and other needs of the country. Both the Labour governments from 1997 to 2010 and the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition government that followed them saw education as central to their agendas. Yet, education has always raised difﬁ cult questions for governments, and as this chapter makes clear, this continues to be the case, with debates focusing on:
■ the level of resources available to schools, colleges, and universities, including how higher education, in particular, should be funded;
■ how to measure and improve levels of performance, both of educational institutions and of individuals;
■ the best means of providing education and the relative roles of governmental organisations and individuals in creating frameworks and exercising choice;
■ the relationship between inequality and education, and the role of education in reducing or mitigating inequality.