Given that Kath was Deputy Chair of the Education Committee for a year (1989/90) and then Chair for four years (1991-95), this is the most personal chapter of the book. The three main issues were Local Management of Schools (LMS), inclusion in mainstream schools of children with ‘extra support needs’ (ESN), and the high capital costs of repairs to school buildings because of their age. This was the case across the country not just in Manchester. These three issues involved a lot of time and effort in consultations with parents, teachers and the Party, and campaigning to lobby government for more borrowing power.
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The Path to Chairing the Education Committee
Campaigning for Schools to ‘Stay With Us’
Bidding for Funds to Repair Schools
Murder of the Deputy
Consultation on Co-education


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Editor’s Comments

I added in footnotes 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, and 10 and put in the sub-headings.


[1] Referring to the Education (No 2) Act 1986. There were 3 Education Acts enacted in 1986. The 1986 Acts were not the first of the Thatcher government. There were Conservative Education Acts in 1979, 1980, 1981, 1983 and 1984 prior to the Acts in 1986. For more information on the sequence and context of these, see Gillard D (2011) Education in England: a brief history

[2] In this case being Manchester City Council

[3] Further Education, aged 16+.

[4] Rupert Murdoch had sacked 6,000 striking print workers (and replaced them with members of the EETPU) and transferred his four main newspapers – The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sun, and the News of the World – to a new base in Wapping, where new technology was used to print them. The trade unions and leading members of the Labour Party called for a boycott of the four newspapers involved.

[5] Refers to 2010 or earlier

[6] The Inspectorate and Advisory Service had been criticised in the District Auditor’s management letter in September 1990, because of the lack of co-ordination of its activities.

[7] Editor’s Note: It is surprising that this is the only mention of Ghyll Head Outdoor Education Centre, since Kath played a big roll in securing its future.

[8] Nine (4%) of Manchester’s schools at this time had been built pre-1900; 19 (9%) built 1900-1919; 49 (22%) built 1929-1939; 36 (16%) built 1940-1959; 103 (47%) built 1960-1979; five (2%) built post-1980. A total of 43 primary schools had more than £100,000 worth of outstanding repairs – more than £7 million altogether.

[9] Borrowing permission of £2.5 million was agreed over three years. The total cost was expected to be more than this, but the surplus site (at Daisy Bank) was due to be sold and expected to bring in a considerable capital receipt.

[10] Basic Credit Approvals can be used in relation to any kind of capital expenditure whereas a Supplementary Credit Approval can only be used for capital expenditure of the kind specified in the approval.

[11] Some Labour colleagues expressed concern to me about setting precedents in terms of the extent (and time commitment) of my personal involvement, but to me this was all an essential part of a partnership approach with governing bodies. The Chief Education Officer, Roy Jobson, didn’t appear to be uncomfortable with my role or to feel usurped, but perhaps I wasn’t best placed to judge.

[12] Girls only – Levenshulme High School and Whalley Range High School; Boys only – Burnage High School.

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Further Reading/Information

Group of councillors and MPs holding documents in front of Houses of Parliament

No information with this image, but clearly a delegation to Parliament on Another Brick in the Wall campaign.

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