Hard Times: A new Labour Government and changes in education

Local Opinions

Our newest community reporter Spring Heeled Jack has written a series of short articles which we will share over the next few weeks.

Here is the latest installment of Hard Times.

A new Labour Government and changes in the education system

Harold Wilson commented in a keynote speech on the need for the ‘white heat of technology’ and he looked forward by then encouraging people to buy British goods.

He also cultivated links with members from popular music by inviting the Beatles amongst others to 10 Downing Street, which received UK wide media coverage.

(This could have set a precedent for Tony Blair and Cool Britannia in the 1990s when he welcomed Oasis to Downing Street which was well received and reported by the media).

However, Harold Wilson was a clever academic don who was particularly careful with whom Great Britain had political, social and economic links during the 1960s and 1970s.

For instance, he would not send British troops to Vietnam at the request of two American presidents; Lyndon Baines Johnston and Richard Milhous Nixon.

Harold Wilson and Jennie Lee were instrumental in 1969 with the setting up of the Open University, which gave ordinary people a second chance to succeed where they had previously failed.

The Grammar school system then failed many children, which meant that countless young adults were written off as academic failures at a very young age.

The educational system then meant that teenagers attending junior secondary schools (11+ exam failures) would then follow more vocational types of employment.

For example, boys would frequently choose an apprenticeship, do clerical work or join local companies as butchers or grocers when leaving school at 15 years of age.

Girls would often go to work as hairdressers, join typing pools or find other clerical work until they became married and had children.

All of this could be regarded as unusual, odd or rather strange ideas by today’s style of living.

However, with education whether at night school for vocational purposes or with the Open University for career progression, this opened many doors that were previously closed to many people.

These opportunities nevertheless depended on the individual resilience and the hard work of ordinary people who certainly did not have a good start in life and this depended entirely on their willingness to succeed.

In any case, the legacy of the Open University has enabled many poor and disadvantaged people in society to do well from 1969 to date.

The first graduates were awarded their degrees in 1973 and it was Harold Wilson’s vision for ordinary people to succeed, which has endured to the present time.

Article submitted by Spring Heeled Jack.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not the Digital Sentinel.

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