The Public Interest

“Educational Reform” in Britain & France

Richard Tomlinson

Summer 1985

AMERICANS are not alone in worrying about the way their chil- dren are educated. The education ministers of Britain and France, Sir Keith Joseph and Jean-Pierre Chev_nement, have recently published major policy documents aimed at transforming the school system. The British initiative was released as a government White Paper (meaning a Cabinet-approved policy statement) in March 1985, under the title Better Schools. The French initiative was the result of several months’ reflection by the minister, and is much more ambitious in scope. A series of ministerial decrees issued in early 1985 has already outlined the reforms that will take place in French primary education (ages 6-11) from next September. Further reforms are envisaged in the colleges (ages 11-16), in the lyc6es (ages 16-18), and eventually in the universities.

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