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​As the current Secretary of State for Education continues relentlessly to pursue his goal of fundamentally reforming the way we test our young people at 16, despite the fact that from 2015 they will be required to stay in education or training for a further two years beyond that point, one of his predecessors suggests a very different approach. Kenneth Baker’s vision for secondary education is innovative, bold, and thoroughly pragmatic, and keeps the needs of learners at its heart. Essentially, he is arguing for three distinct phases of schooling: primary, from 5-9; middle, from 6-14; and secondary, from 14-18. The National Curriculum would only apply to the first two phases – at 14, students would follow one of four (equally valued) pathways according to their interests and aptitude. He’s a little hazy, perhaps, on how our current infrastructure might be adapted to provide this effectively for everyone – but nonetheless, his proposals are convincingly presented, and far from unrealistic.