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Offers an overview of the ways in which the sweeping social and economic changes of the modern period have impacted on the education system. The author draws on research to paint a vivid picture of the ways in which schools and universities were moulded by external events and of the part they played in promoting modernization of society. The book explores some key themes: the nature of the economic transformations taking place; the growing awareness of gender issues; the changing ethnic composition of modern Britain; and the bureaucratization of society and the rise of a new politics. Exploring the links between these issues and educational provision, the author argues that the growing political significance of educational issues is largely explained by the critical part played by the education system in providing social and economic stability during these years of swift social change.