In February 2021 we launched our Learning from the Past series to stimulate reflection and fill the gaps appearing in policy memory, and to support good policy development. We have revisited policy initiatives going back to the 1970s related to VET and other policies supporting disadvantaged young people making progress in their education and training. Each policy review was developed by Edge’s Emerging Researchers Network members. Through these policy reviews, the early career researchers engaged with a past policy initiative of their interest in depth.
This report summarises significant educational past policy initiatives in England that have influenced and driven change across the education system and some of them even continue to exist in other parts of the UK and/or have re-appeared following the pandemic. By analysing how past policies were conceived, developed and implemented, this report aims to discuss the conditions in which good policy making might occur to improve the education and training system. This report aims to capture the conditions needed for good policy making by addressing aspect of the policy development process as well as drawing on theories such as policy borrowing, policy learning and policy amnesia. Finally, this report pulls out the lessons we can learn as well as policy recommendations as a result of the policies reviewed in our learning from the past series.