Our education system has been damaged by politicians who have arrogantly imposed a regime of market-driven reforms. It is time to reframe education as an essential public good, one arising from a hunger to find more engaging ways to learn and the powerful imperative to make our society genuinely equal.
In this timely and provocative essay, Melissa Benn argues for a National Education Service. Like the NHS, the NES would provide the framework for a life-long entitlement to education: from early-years provision to apprenticeships, universities and adult education. It should be free at the point of delivery. It should nurture teachers and scholarship, moving beyond an obsession with exam results to create fully rounded, questioning citizens. Its eventual aim should be an integrated, comprehensive system available to all.