Equality of opportunity was a central theme of the 1916 Proclamation and, subsequently in The Democratic Programme of 1919. As regards education this objective has been reiterated by successive administrations since then but equality of educational opportunity has not been achieved. The aim of this book is to explain why.
Significant developments during the period and the role of individuals and organisations are outlined. A wide range of archives, books, journals, contemporary newspapers and the private papers of some individuals were consulted. Interviews were undertaken with thirty-three individuals, consisting of senior policymakers, their advisers and others who observed the process at close quarters
Weaknesses in the policy formation process itself have been identified including a reluctance to prioritise the needs and rights of children and young people over those of vested interests, and an unwillingness to introduce rigorous transparent mechanisms for the assessment of system performance. However the primary reason for the failure to achieve equality in our education system is more reflective of a lack of political will and leadership on the issue rather than any other factor.