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Gove isn't the 'heir to Blair' but the heir to Ken Baker

Tim Montgomerie

The Daily Politics has been running a fascinating series, each Friday, on key politicians who have changed Britain. They turned to Ken Baker today and his introduction of the National Curriculum (and testing). The video is posted below - and two previous instalments from the series; Lord Tebbit's legacy of union law reform and Lord Lawson's big bang deregulation of the City.

The video on Lord Baker rightly notes that his City Technology Colleges were the prototype for Tony Blair's Academies programme. Michael Gove isn't, in truth, the 'heir to Blair', extending the former Labour PM's education reforms but is really the heir to Baker. Baker hasn't retired from education policy-making either. He hopes to introduce a new wave of up to forty technical colleges across the country.

As I wrote in last week's Sunday Telegraph the focus of commentators is on the Coalition's free schools programme. These are important reforms but they are eating up so much attention because of their novelty. They are probably not as important as the Education Department's doubling (so far) of the number of Academies, the introduction of the English Bacc (saluted by Liz Truss MP earlier this week) and the shift of education spending to the early years and to the poor. Baker's technical colleges and John Hayes' apprenticeships complete the Coalition's exciting education reform programme. 

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