An enquiry into the abolition of the Inner London Education Authority (1964-1988): with particular reference to politics and policy making

  • Alan Radford

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


The Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) (1964 – 1990) was abolished by the Education Reform Act, 1988. This ended an unitary system of education that had existed in inner London for over a hundred years. This thesis examines the question of the political reasons and motivations for the ILEA’s abolition, considering both the move to the right by the Conservative party which abolished it, and the move to the left by the Labour party. In effect the polarisation of politics left little room for the form of pragmatic politics and policies which had enabled the ILEA to develop under previous Conservative and Labour administrations. Under these conditions the radical step to abolish the ILEA became possible. Given this political climate the question is asked as to whether there were good grounds for the abolition of the ILEA, over and above ideological considerations. Two strategies are adopted to answer this question. The first examines the history and processes of policy making with reference to the support for Special Educational Needs and Adult, Further and Higher Education. These may be considered ‘success stories’ while a third case, that of William Tyndale, considers whether there were also weaknesses in the ILEA’s policy processes. The second examines the claims that the ILEA tolerated low standards in education and failed to give value for money. It is concluded that the evidence does not sustain the claims made against the ILEA and that therefore, its demise can better be explained by the polarisation of politics at the time.
Date of Award1 Jun 2009
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorHugh Lauder (Supervisor)


  • ILEA
  • Educational politics
  • policy of Inner London Education Authority

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