The School Report: Why Britain’s Schools Are Failing (2000)

The School Report is a collection of stories which Nick Davies published in the Guardian during an 18-month investigation into the condition of UK education. The results were shocking.

Davies dug beneath the surface issues to expose the fundamentals – the profound impact of Britain’s new poverty on the educational achievements of its children; the bogus analysis of school failure used by the Department for Education and Ofsted; the fabrication of facts by Ofsted’s chief inspector; the Secretary of State’s billion-pound falsehoods about the education budget; the link between the success of private schools and the failure of state schools; the undeclared but highly successful policy to kill off comprehensive schools; the perverse impact of underfunding from the state; graphic stories of the lives of truants and failing students; and an expose of how some teachers have joined children in cheating to deliver the exam results which the government demands. It is the inside story of a nation beset by social problems and of schools undermined by phony solutions.

When this extraordinary series of revelations was published by The Guardian, it was furiously denounced both by the Prime Minister and the Education Secretary but it was greeted with passionate acclaim by readers, many of them teachers. As a result of these stories, Davies was named Reporter of the Year and also became the first winner of the Martha Gellhorn Award for Investigative Journalism.

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