Thanks to the Industrial Revolution and the increased productivity it made possible, incomes began rising from the turn of the 19th century. As incomes rose, parents could afford increasing amounts of education for their children. The vigorous growth in schooling was, simply, a response to rising incomes - which is natural and normal.
Education is a process of providing structured information. It is accessible to every child for free in the developed world, so much so that it's almost taken for granted. The developing worlds are still striving to gain easily attainable education systems like ours, because education is seen as a platform whereby children can greaten themselves.
Michael Oakeshott was an English political philosopher of the conservative tradition. He died in 1990 and was all about small government, individual liberty, political conservatism and economic liberalism. Think Edmund Burke; or the Austrian political economist, Freidrich Hayek without the abstract potentialities.
I'm aware that this is a controversial topic, there are papers like this which vehemently disagree with my own experience of male role models, although the authors do still conclude that there should be more men in early-years teaching.
The National Union of Teachers believes in an education system that provides the best for all our children and for all our communities - a good local school for every child. Joined up thinking and democratic accountability are crucial but, as we approach the new school year, this vision is under renewed threat.
Radical change is needed to counter this virtual apartheid within our education system. The elite private schools - all of them are charities, believe it or not - should all be setting up academies and become directly engaged in providing state-funded education by means of these independent state schools, extending their excellent academic teaching and success at university entrance to more deprived communities.