Maggie Thatcher’s Education Legacy

Education, History, Learning, Learning Performance, Politics, Study Skills

Maggie Thatcher’s political career divided the nation, like marmite – you either love it or hate it. Some of her policies were controversial and her handling of the 1984 – 85 miner’s strike still causes heated debates even now, some thirty years later.

Yet, whatever side of the fence you are on, there is no denying that this woman had a significant impact on our country, the world and its’ development. She went to war in Argentina. She was pivotal in collapse of the Soviet Union and communism. She was a revolutionary figure for women’s power. She was the Iron Lady.

While all this was going on, Thatcher also shaped our modern – day education system. Her Great Education Reform Bill aka GERBIL (brilliant abbreviation!)  in 1988 was responsible for establishing Ofsted and a regular cycle of school inspections. It also allowed schools to opt out of local education authority and gave Headteachers control of their own budgets.

Terence Kealey, vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham, praised Thatcher’s policies for transforming the UK’s higher education sector, with its commitment to research. Foreign students also, have her to thank for the introduction of full tuition fees for international students.

On the other hand, people like Professor Brown, who worked with Thatcher as a civil servant in the Cabinet Office from 1980 to 1982, said “the general drift of her policies were not helpful.” Not to mention, she was labeled as the ‘Milk Snatcher’ for her decision to axe free school milk for seven to 11-year-olds. Ouch.

You see – it is just like marmite. Love it or hate it. Love her or hate her? That is going to be a hot – topic for a long time to come.


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