Learning from Europe: Lessons in education

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS Nick Clegg MEP was elected as a Liberal Democrat Member of the European Parliament for the East Midlands in 1999. He is the Trade and Industry Spokesman for the Liberal Democrats in the European Parliament. Previously, he worked as a journalist, EU development aid official, and a senior policy advisor to Sir Leon Brittan, Vice President of the European Commission. Previous pamphlets include Doing Less to Do More: A New Focus for the EU (CER, September 2000) and Trading for the Future: Reforming the WTO (Centre for Reform, 2001). Dr Richard Grayson has been Director of Policy of the Liberal Democrats since 1999 and was the principal author of the party’s 2001 general election manifesto. A former principal speech writer for the Rt Hon Charles Kennedy MP, he was previously Director of the Centre for Reform and a university lecturer. The author of two books and several articles on British political history, his previous public policy publications include Saving our Future: Disaffection with Schools (Centre for Reform, 1998) and Funding Federalism (Centre for Reform, 1999). ★

AUTHORS’ ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS We are very grateful to Baroness Sharp of Guildford for leading our delegation in the Netherlands. Phil Willis MP performed a similar role in Denmark and Sweden and then commented on drafts of the text. We very much appreciate the expertise that Phil has brought to this exercise, not just as a party spokesperson, but also as someone with years of experience as a classroom teacher and head teacher. We stress, however, that the conclusions are the responsibility of the authors alone. We owe a debt of gratitude to many other people involved in this project. Jessica Olley organised the visits in conjunction with colleagues in the European Parliament and has provided research support subsequently. Thank you to our friends in the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden for helping us to organise such productive visits and for welcoming us so warmly, notably Marieke Sanders ten Holte MEP, Mrs Rietschoten, personal advisor to the Dutch minister for education, Anne Jensen MEP, all at the Danish Centre for International Co-operation and Mobility in Education and Training (CIRIUS), Olle Schmidt MEP and Therese Wallqvister. In producing this text we are very grateful to Claire Chandler who provided extensive research support and worked on first drafts of the descriptions of the systems operating in different countries. Sereena Hirst accompanied us on the visit to the Netherlands and wrote an invaluable analysis of the Dutch system. Elizabeth Peplow also joined us in the Netherlands and has provided much valuable advice. Lucy Grayson provided advice on practice in a number of English comprehensive schools. ★