Callaghan’s speech at Ruskin College marked the beginning of a series of discussions about the purposes of education and the nature of the curriculum. Initially an issue largely confined to politicians, professional teachers, HMI and the Department of Education and Science, it spread in the late 1970s to a wider public. Determined to distinguish his premiership, Callaghan had selected the education system as the focus for a ‘big idea’: education was at this time, a most unusual area for a Prime Minister to become involved with.