Tony Blair said his three priorities were Education, Education, Education. Andrew Adonis played a decisive role in turning this slogan into a reform programme. His book describes his quest to transform England's schools, and his ambition to make English education world class.
Andrew Adonis was an architect of education reform under Tony Blair, serving in the No. 10 Policy Unit and then as Minister for Schools from 1998 until 2008. He went on to become Transport Secretary under Gordon Brown.
Join the discussion on Friday 21 September at midday or post a question to Lord Adonis in advance of the webchat here.
Also, don't forget to have a look at Lord Adonis' guest blog over on the Bloggers Network, where he explains why he thinks academies can raise aspiration and achievement in some of our most deprived areas.
Mumsnetters can grab a copy of the book for the special price of £7.99, by clicking here and entering the promo code 'mumsneteducation' in the box on the bottom right. If you'd like Lord Adonis to sign it with a personalised inscription, email email@example.com!
You say I'm particularly concerned that many schools are simply converting to academy status in order to pocket £25,000 of government money.
I think that is way too simplistic. The funding issue is very complex and the huge regional inequalities and the inconsistent and simply unfair way that many local authorities have dealt with schools mean that many schools feel that taking finances under their own control has been a lifeline in terms of being able to spend their allocated money in the best interests of pupils. lMy question is do you think funding reform is necessary and how should it work?
I'm slightly worried that any answer I give to this you will also think simplistic given the huge complexity of the school funding system! However, I take your point to be that some schools are converting to become academies so that they have more control over their financial management and can get better value for money from their state funding. If that's what you mean then I entirely agree that this is a benefit in becoming an academy. As for wider reform, I support the pupil premium to give additional funds to schools based on deprivation and I'm confident that a future Labour government with maintain this.
Another question, do you think children in the uk start school too early? Mine will be 4.2 when he starts
It is entirely up to parents whether or not their children start school before the age of 5. Which is as it should be. In my experience, most parents of four year olds are keen for their children to start school but, of course, some take a different view and that's entirely a matter for them. It is often said that the Scandinavians start school much later but, in practice, the children's centres that their 4, 5 and 6 year olds attend do much the same job as our nursery primary schools. And on that note, after an hour and a quarter - in which I have really enjoyed answering your questions and engaging in a bit of debate - it's time to hop back onto the Northern Line and head back to Westminster. Thank you very much for all your questions and comments and thanks too to the brilliant MumsNet team who will now be flooded with applicants for internships!
Thank you Lord Adonis for the chat and answering my question, unfortunately I couldn't stay for the whole time because I had a double school run with my youngest just starting school and therefore only on half days.....