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formed to 'combat the School Boards' and, in particular, to 'undermine the Dissenters and Doubters objected to state funds being used to support denominational
advanced work' they were sponsoring. schools, including those of the Church of England but more especially those of the
In 1899, Gorst's private secretary Sir Robert Morant (1863-1920) engineered a test case Catholic Church. 'Inside and outside Parliament there was outcry against "Rome on
Education in England: a brief history in which a School of Art in London complained of competition from evening the rates"' (Gates 2005:19).
Derek Gillard classes run by the London School Board. The District Auditor - Cockerton - ruled The ​1902 Education Act​ (18 December 1902) abolished the school boards and created
that the London School Board could not use the rates to fund higher-grade classes local education authorities (LEAs), based on the county councils and county
© copyright Derek Gillard 2011 in science and art. The famous 'Cockerton Judgement', as it became known, was of borough councils which the 1888 Local Government Act had established. The new
profound importance, because it 'sealed the fate of advanced, or secondary, LEAs had authority over the secular curriculum of voluntary (church) schools.
Education in England: a brief history​ is my copyright. You are welcome to download it teaching fostered by the more radical and enterprising School Boards' (Chitty They provided grants for school maintenance, but if a school wanted to provide
and print it for your own personal use, or for use in a school or other educational 2007:19). denominational teaching the buildings had to be paid for by the church.
establishment, provided my name as the author is attached. But you may not The London School Board appealed twice against the ruling, but it was upheld on both Church of England schools generally heeded the rule that no pupil or teacher should be
publish it, upload it onto any other website, or sell it, without my permission. occasions. It was clear that a new education act was needed to regularise the required to conform to religious belief or ritual. Roman Catholic schools were less
situation. enthusiastic about obeying the rule. They enforced religious observance more
Citations As an interim measure, the Board of Education established, by Minute dated 6 April strictly and in 1917 the church issued a canon expressly forbidding Catholic parents
1900, a new system of 'Higher Elementary Schools' (more about these below). from sending their children to non-Catholic schools on pain of excommunication.
You are welcome to cite this piece. If you do so, please acknowledge it thus: In the Cockerton Judgement, Morant and Gorst had achieved their first objective: to
Gillard D (2011) ​Education in England: a brief prevent school boards from funding anything but elementary schools. Secondary education
history​ Their second objective - to create all-embracing local education authorities and provide
In accordance with the conventions set out by the ​Society of Authors​ and the ​Publishers much-needed public cash for the church schools - was achieved by the 1902 The Act laid the basis for a national system of secondary education into which the
Association​, you should ​seek my permission​ to reproduce Education Act, which Morant drafted. (He went on to become Permanent Secretary higher grade elementary schools and the fee-paying secondary schools were
● any extract of more than 400 words; of the Board of Education in April 1903). integrated - a move approved of by a few socialists, like Sydney Webb, but
● a series of extracts totalling more than 800 words, of which any one extract has more than disapproved of by many others, like Keir Hardie.
300 words; and 1902 Education Act (The Balfour Act) Thus it had the effect of creating two types of state-aided secondary school: the
● an extract or series of extracts constituting a quarter or more of the original work. endowed grammar schools, which now received grant-aid from LEAs; and the
For shorter extracts you do not need my permission, provided the source is Across Europe and the USA systems of publicly financed elementary schools had been municipal or county secondary schools, maintained by LEAs. Many of the latter
acknowledged as shown above. rapidly developed in the second half of 19th century, providing educated personnel were established in the years following the Act, and others evolved out of the
for the new industries. Now, at the turn of the century, the USA was beginning to higher grade science schools or pupil teacher centres. 'These new Municipal
References open common secondary high schools as well, and many European schools were Secondary Schools, influenced by the tradition of the Higher Grade Schools,
giving priority to engineering and science, subjects 'conspicuously downgraded in attached more weight on the whole to scientific and modern studies than the older
In references in the text, the number after the colon is always the page number (even England's classical model of education, the one preferred by gentlemen' (Benn and types of Secondary School, especially for girls' (Hadow 1926:26). The new LEA’s
where a document has numbered paragraphs or sections). Chitty 1996:4). also began to establish first and second grade secondary schools, since the raising
So the development of a national public system of education in England and Wales was of the elementary school leaving age had rendered the 'third grade' schools
Documents lagging behind much of Europe and the USA 'by a good half a century' (Green outmoded.
1990:6 quoted in Benn and Chitty 1996:4), and it was against this background that As a result of the Act, therefore, there was a massive expansion in the building of
Where a document is shown as a link, the full text is available online. the newly-elected Conservative government of Arthur Balfour presented its 1902 secondary schools in the years up to 1914.
© Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of education bill to the Commons. Another important feature of the Act was its clear distinction between elementary and
HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland. secondary education:
From now on there was to be no confusion: two systems, each with a distinct
educational and social function, were to run parallel to each other; and there was to
be no place for the higher-grade schools and classes which were deemed to have
Chapter 4 : 1900-1944 strayed into the preserves of secondary and higher education. The vast majority of
children were to be educated in elementary schools where they would remain until
Taking shape they reached the statutory school-leaving age. (Chitty 2007:19)

1900-1914 Laying the foundations Teacher training

The Cockerton Judgement The Act also empowered LEA’s to support teacher training colleges. Most of the
existing colleges were church owned, though new non-denominational colleges (eg
The 1870 Elementary Education Act had created local school boards to be responsible Balfour (​pictured​) warned the House that 'England is behind all Froebel, Edge Hill and Charlotte Mason) had opened in the last years of the 19th
for the provision of elementary education. Some of them, however, had continental rivals in education' (quoted in Benn and Chitty 1996:3). century, as had teacher training departments in the universities - 16 of them by
'significantly altered the legislators' original concept of elementary schooling in Despite this, the bill caused dissent among both Conservative and Liberal politicians, 1900.
terms of buildings, equipment, curricula and age range' (Chitty 2007:19) by who feared that the cost of popular education would lose them the support of the The expansion of LEA teacher training meant that by 1906 not all places at
establishing higher classes, 'higher tops' and even separate higher grade schools for large landowners and industrialists who were the major taxpayers. denominational colleges were being filled. The Board of Education therefore
older pupils who showed ability and commitment. A few had gone still further and Most, however, accepted the argument that, with mass education developing fast decreed that if the church colleges wished to receive grant aid, they must forfeit the
created a new type of evening school for adults. elsewhere, Britain needed an educated workforce if it was to maintain its position right to use denominational criteria in offering places. The Church of England and
This had angered the churches, which were already suffering from a decline in the in world trade. So Balfour got his bill. the Catholic Church protested, the government backed down, and the churches
number of worshippers, and now found their schools being overtaken by board were allowed to recruit up to half their students on the basis of their denominational
schools funded by ratepayers. It had also angered many of the older endowed Religion allegiance.
grammar schools, whose finances were precarious.
Leading Conservatives, notably Sir John Gorst, began attacking the school boards for But not before religion had once again reared its divisive head. The 1870 Act had taken Summary of the Act
what they regarded as inappropriate use of the rates. An influential committee was 28 days to debate. The 1902 Act took 59, and most of that time was spent on the
religious clauses. Part I Local Education Authority


County and county borough councils were to be the local education authorities for their The remaining provisions of the Act (18-27) related to various miscellaneous matters opportunity to go to secondary schools (sections 11-12). It required LEA’s to
areas (Section 1). including council expenses (18), council borrowing (19), arrangements between provide for the medical inspection of children in public elementary schools and the
councils (20), and the power of LEA’s to make provision for teacher training power (which became a duty in 1918) to attend to their health and physical
Part II Higher Education (22(3)). condition (13). This was effectively the start of the school health service.
LEAs were required to 'consider the educational needs of their area' and 'supply or aid Schedules The Act's main provisions related to:
the supply of education other than elementary, and to promote the general 1 Provision as to Education Committee and Managers ● the acquisition of land by LEA’s (sections 1-2);
co-ordination of all forms of education'. (2). Smaller councils were empowered to 2 Provisions as to Transfers of Property and Officers, and Adjustment ● various financial matters (including the repayment of loans by county councils and their
support 'education other than elementary' (3). 3 Modification of Acts etc power to contribute to capital expenditure incurred in the provision of non-elementary
The religious clauses of the Act stated that: 4 Enactments Repealed education (3-9);
A council, in the application of money under this Part of the Act, shall not require that ● councils' powers under Parts II and III of the 1902 Education Act (10);
any particular form of religious instruction or worship or any religious catechism or Further developments ● councils' power to 'aid by scholarships or bursaries the instruction in public elementary
formulary which is distinctive of any particular denomination shall or shall not be schools of scholars from the age of twelve up to the limit of age fixed for the provision of
taught, used or practised in any school, college or hostel aided but not provided by Balfour's Conservative government lost the general election of 1905 and was replaced instruction in a public elementary school by subsection two of section twenty-two of that Act'
the council, and no pupil shall, on the ground of religious belief, be excluded from by a Liberal administration. The Liberals were to remain in power until 1916 under (11);
or placed in an inferior position in any school, college or hostel provided by the prime ministers Henry Campbell-Bannerman (1905-08) and Herbert Asquith ● the extension of councils' power to aid 'education other than elementary' (12);
council, and no catechism or formulary distinctive of any particular denomination (1908-16) and then as part of a coalition government under David Lloyd George ● the extension of councils' power to provide vacation schools and play centres, and their duty
shall be taught in any school, college or hostel so provided, except in cases where (1916-22). to provide medical inspections (13);
the council, at the request of parents of scholars, at such times and under such ● school attendance - distance was not to be an excuse where the LEA provided 'suitable means
conditions as the council think desirable, allow any religious instruction to be given 1904 Regulations for Secondary Schools of conveyance' (14);
in the school, college or hostel otherwise than at the cost of the council: Provided ● the duty of councils to provide the Board of Education with information (15); and
that, in the exercise of this power, no unfair preference shall be shown to any In 1904 the Board of Education published the first of its annual Regulations for ● changes in the registration of teachers (16).
religious denomination. (4(1)) Secondary Schools, defining a four year subject-based course leading to a
A scholar ... shall not be required, as a condition of being admitted into or remaining in certificate in English language and literature, geography, history, a foreign 1907 Free Place Regulations
the school or college, to attend or abstain from attending any Sunday school, place language, mathematics, science, drawing, manual work, physical training, and, for
of religious worship, religious observance or instruction in religious subjects in the girls, housewifery. The Regulations reinforced the tendency of the new secondary In 1903 the Board of Education adopted a new policy for the training of pupil teachers.
school or college or elsewhere. ... The times for religious worship or for any lesson schools to adopt the academic bias of the established ones. The ​Regulations for the Instruction and Training of Pupil Teachers​ provided that
on a religious subject shall be conveniently arranged for the purpose of allowing The object of these rules was 'to ensure a certain measure of breadth and richness in the from August 1905 intending pupil teachers should, as a rule, receive instruction in a
the withdrawal of any such scholar therefrom' (4(2)). curriculum of Secondary Schools, and to provide against Schools recognised under secondary school up to the age of 16. The LEAs were faced with the urgent need
Part III Elementary Education that name offering only an education which is stunted, illiberal, unpractical or for more generous provision of scholarships and bursaries so that able pupils from
LEAs were to have the power and duties of the former school boards and attendance over-specialised' (Hadow 1923:39). public elementary schools could go on to secondary schools (​see ​Hadow 1931:16).
committees (5). The Board explained that with the growth of educated public opinion it might be The system of scholarships - which had been in place since 1902 - was greatly advanced
All public elementary schools provided by the LEA were to have a body of managers possible - and it was certainly highly desirable - 'to relax these requirements in by the 1907 Education (Administrative Provisions) Act and the Free Place
including up to 4 LEA representatives; managers of non-provided schools were to schools of tested efficiency, and to leave them a larger freedom in devising and Regulations which followed. These made it easier for elementary school pupils to
include 2 LEA representatives; schools could be grouped under one management executing schemes of education of their own' (Board's ​Report for 1905-6​ (Cd. attend the new fee-charging secondary schools. Enhanced grants were offered to
body (6). 3270) page 46, quoted in Hadow 1923:39). secondary schools in which 'free placers' - who had to sit a competitive qualifying
LEAs were required to 'maintain and keep efficient' all public elementary schools in examination - formed at least a quarter of the pupils.
their areas. Non-provided schools must obey LEA directions relating to the 'secular 1906 and 1914 Education (Provision of Meals) Acts As a result of these arrangements for the education of pupil teachers and for the
instruction' and the number and qualifications of the teachers of secular instruction; examination of candidates for free places, teachers began to devote more attention
LEAs were also empowered to inspect the schools (7(1)). The ​Education (Provision of Meals) Act 1906​ (21 December 1906) empowered (but did to the instruction of children under the age of 11. So, while primarily designed to
'Religious instruction given in a public elementary school not provided by the local not require) LEA’s to provide meals for undernourished elementary school further secondary education, the regulations indirectly fostered the improvement of
education authority shall, as regards its character, be in accordance with the children. education in the elementary schools, and strengthened the case for a break in
provisions (if any) of the trust deed relating thereto, and shall be under the control The ​Education (Provision of Meals) Act 1914​ (7 August 1914) extended this power. education at the age of 11 or 12 (​see​ Hadow 1931:17).
of the managers (7(6)). One LEA which quickly took advantage of this new power was the City of Bradford. In The Board of Education's Elementary Code of 1907 sought to clarify the aims and
Managers of non-provided schools were to have 'exclusive power of appointing and an Education Committee Report, Medical Superintendent Ralph H Crowley improve the quality of elementary education.
dismissing teachers', subject to the powers of the LEA (7(7)). reported on a 'Course of Meals given to Necessitous Children' between April and
Other provisions relating to elementary education included: July 1907: Reports
● the provision of new schools, enlargement or transfer of schools to or from an LEA (8) - in The meals, consisting of breakfast and dinner were given in a School in one of the
disputed cases the Board of Education would determine whether such new schools were poorest quarters of the city, about 30 of the children coming from this school, and The first half of the 20th century was a period of great activity in educational thinking
necessary (9); 10 from an adjacent one. The children were selected out of Standards I. to IV. by and research. This is clearly demonstrated by the number of reports produced by
● Parliament would pay LEA’s four shillings per scholar per year (10); the Head Teacher and myself. ... Every effort was made to make the meals, as far as the Board of Education's newly-established Consultative Committee.
● foundation managers were to be appointed under the provisions of the trust deed of the possible, educational. There were tablecloths and flowers on the tables; In this early part of the period (1900-1918) these were:
school, as long as such provisions were consistent with the provisions of the Act (11); monitresses, whose duty it was to lay the tables and to wait on the other children, ● Examinations in secondary schools​ (exact title currently unknown) (1904)
● LEAs were empowered to group provided and non-provided schools under one management were appointed, one to each group of 10 children; they were provided with aprons ● Questions affecting higher elementary schools​ (1906);
body, with the consent of the managers in the case of the latter (12); and sleeves and had their meals together after the other children. ... The table ● School Attendance of Children Below the Age of Five​ (1908);
● provisions relating to endowments (13); cloths, it is true were very dirty at the end of the week, but this was chiefly due to ● Attendance, Compulsory or Otherwise, at Continuation Schools​(1909);
● non-provided schools which previously charged fees could continue to do so, but LEAs were the dirty clothing of the children, and owing to the very inadequate provision at the ● Examinations in secondary schools​ (1911); and
empowered to pay a proportion of those fees (14); school for the children to wash themselves, it was difficult to ensure that even their ● Practical work in secondary schools​ (1913).
● provisions relating to schools attached to institutions (marine schools etc) (15); and hands were clean. (quoted in ​The National Archives​: School Dinners)
● the Board of Education was empowered to hold an inquiry where an LEA did not fulfil its A bewildering variety of schools
obligations in relation to elementary schools (16). 1907 Education (Administrative Provisions) Act
Part IV General By the end of the 19th century the nomenclature of England's schools was already
LEAs were required to appoint education committees which were to have a majority of The 1907 ​Education (Administrative Provisions) Act​ (28 August 1907) established the bewildering: public, grammar, endowed, proprietary, elementary, first, second and
council representatives, must include women, and might cover more than one scholarship and free place system for secondary education (which already existed third grade, board, voluntary, preparatory, monitorial, higher tops etc.
council area (17). in some areas), designed to give promising children from elementary schools the Now, in the early years of the 20th century, yet more categories of school were added.


the other, being distinguished from the former by its lower leaving age and less Europe was changed irrevocably, and the continent emerged from the turmoil
Higher elementary schools academic curriculum, and from the latter by its earlier age of admission and the facing social and economic devastation.
fundamental fact that it did not in any sense aim at providing technical training for The war took an equally terrible toll on Britain: of the six million men who were
As we have seen, higher elementary schools were established in 1900 as an interim any particular trade or business. (Hadow 1926:32) conscripted to fight, 750,000 were killed and 1.7 million were wounded. Most of
measure following the Cockerton Judgement. These schools received a higher rate the casualties were young unmarried men, but 300,000 children lost their fathers.
of grant than the ordinary public elementary schools on condition that they Day trade schools
provided a four-year course for promising children aged 10 to 15. The curriculum
included drawing, theoretical and practical science, a foreign language and Day trade schools, mainly for boys, were established, especially in the London area,
elementary mathematics. from about 1900 onwards. The first of these was the Trade School for Furniture and
In July 1905 the Board of Education asked the Consultative Committee to consider the Cabinet-making, founded at the Shoreditch Technical Institute in 1901. They were
curriculum of the higher elementary schools. designed to take boys at or near the completion of their elementary school career
The Report of the Consultative Committee ​Questions affecting higher elementary for a period of one, two or three years, and to give a specialised training that would
schools​ was published in May 1906. It argued that a higher elementary school fit them to enter into workshop or factory life, at about the age of 16, with the
should continue the general education which a child had already received in the prospect of becoming skilled workers or of rising ultimately to positions of
ordinary elementary school. The first need was 'to secure for each child as much responsibility as foremen, draughtsmen, or even managers.
humanity, as much accurate knowledge of general elementary fact and as much Such trade schools received grant as 'Day Technical Classes' from 1904-05 onwards
mental power and manual aptitude, as could be expected during a short course of under Article 42 of the Regulations for Evening Schools, Technical Institutions, David Lloyd George (​pictured​) replaced Asquith as Liberal
instruction extending over three years at a comparatively early age.' The course etc. Many of these were organised as Courses within an existing Technical School prime minister in the middle of the war and became leader of a coalition
should consist of three strands: humanistic, scientific and manual, and, in the case or College (​see​ Hadow 1926:32). government of Liberals and Conservatives. His own party was very divided over
of girls, domestic. his decision to enter this coalition and he was frequently forced to rely on
The Committee envisaged a comparatively small number of such schools and recognised Junior technical schools Conservative support.
that it was impossible to lay down general rules as to their distribution: different Lloyd George was an able war leader and an important player in the reconstruction of
places would require different provision. It was essential that employers should be In 1913 the Board of Education issued Regulations for a new category of 'Junior both Europe as a whole and Britain in particular during the post-war period. In the
encouraged to take an interest in them. Pupils should not be allowed to sit external Technical Schools'. These were day schools providing two or three year 1918 election he declared that Britain must become a land 'fit for heroes'. His
examinations, because this would unduly influence the character of the curriculum post-elementary courses for boys and girls. They combined a general education 'National Liberal' coalition won a landslide victory, but the divisions within his
and result in their transformation into pseudo-secondary schools. with preparation for industrial employment at the age of 15 or 16 (​see​ Hadow own party were now even more pronounced: Asquith led a group of 'Independent
In fact, few schools of this type were ever recognised - just 31 in England and 14 in 1926:33). Liberals' who gained 33 seats in Commons and, once again, Lloyd George had to
Wales - mainly because their science-based curriculum was expensive in terms of rely on Conservative support.
buildings, equipment and maintenance (​see​ Spens 1938:63 and Hadow 1926:27-28, Infant schools The world war spluttered to a halt during 1918 as the various combatants made peace
30-31). deals. The armistice with Germany was signed on 11 November, though a state of
By the early 1900s the environmental conditions needed for the proper physical and war officially existed between the two sides until the signing of the Treaty of
Central schools mental development of young children were better understood than before, and the Versailles on 28 June 1919.
training of children below the age of five was discussed by both educationists and Lloyd George set about an ambitious programme of post-war social reform: the national
The expansion of secondary education after 1902 enabled England to keep pace with its doctors. insurance scheme was extended to cover almost all workers, old age pensions were
growing technical demands. By 1911, the national census and Board of Education Educationists argued that the elementary schools were not providing a suitable type of doubled, local authority house building programmes were subsidised, and in 1919
surveys showed that about 8 percent of 14 and 15 year olds and 2 percent of 16 and education for under-fives, while doctors suggested that attendance at school was the Ministry of Health was established.
17 year olds were being educated in schools either publicly provided or recognised actually prejudicial to health, since it deprived young children of sleep, fresh air, Education was not entirely neglected during the war and was an important element in
by the Board of Education, and fifty per cent of children were staying on at school exercise and freedom of movement at a critical stage in their development (​see the post-war reconstruction programme. The government's Consultative Committee
until they were 14. Hadow 1933:30-31). produced its report on ​Scholarships for higher education​ in 1916, after which it
However, as more and more elementary school pupils wanted to stay at school beyond The new LEAs sought guidance on the issue, so the Board of Education asked five of its was suspended until 1920. In 1917 the Secondary Schools Examination Council
14, the new secondary schools could not meet the demand. So new 'central schools' recently appointed Women Inspectors to conduct an inquiry regarding the was established to administer the new School Certificate and Higher School
were established to take up the work of the higher grade schools (​see​ Crowther admission of infants to public elementary schools and the curriculum suitable for Certificate examinations, and the Lewis Report proposed a school leaving age of 14
1959:12). under-fives. with no exemptions, followed by attendance for at least 8 hours a week or 320
Central schools provided an improved general education of a practical character, In their reports, published in 1905, the inspectors were agreed that children between the hours a year at 'day continuation' classes up to age 18.
sometimes with a slight industrial or commercial bias, for pupils between the ages ages of three and five did not benefit intellectually from school instruction, and that Unfortunately, spiralling public expenditure forced the government to implement severe
of 11 and 14 or 15. A considerable number of such schools, both selective and the mechanical teaching which they often received dulled their imagination and cuts in the early 1920s (the so-called 'Geddes axe'), which meant that progress in
non-selective, were established in London, Manchester and elsewhere from 1911 weakened their power of independent observation. social reform was slower than Lloyd George had hoped.
onwards. They were 'another example of the general tendency of the national Kindergarten teachers were praised, but kindergarten 'occupations' - when taught For more on this period see David Lloyd George (​Wikipedia​).
system of elementary education since 1870 to throw up experiments in mechanically in large classes - were condemned as being contrary to the spirit of
post-primary education' (Hadow 1931:17). The development of central schools, Froebel. One inspector wrote: 1918 Education Act (The Fisher Act)
alongside the secondary schools, further accentuated the tendency in the larger Kindergarten occupations are often distinguished by absence of occupation, for in effect
urban areas to introduce a break in school life at the age of 11. it is not education that is offered, nor even instruction in anything but drill, the Most of the Lewis Report's recommendations were enacted in the 1918 Education Act (8
A number of higher elementary and higher grade schools, and some built originally as children being kept idle, silent and still for long intervals, while the teacher inspects August 1918), which extended educational provision, increased the powers and
'organised schools of science', were absorbed into the central schools system. the last little act that she has imposed upon the class by word of command. (Board duties of the Board of Education, raised the school leaving age from 12 to to 14 and
Chapter XV of London County Council Education Committee's ​Elementary of Education 1905, quoted in Hadow 1933:31) gave all young workers right of access to day release education. (The raising of the
Schools Handbook​ (1923) explained that the schools were primarily to prepare girls leaving age was not immediately implemented, however, and had to wait until the
and boys for employment and that they should have an industrial or commercial 1921 Act).
bias or both. Download the ​Education Act 1918​ (pdf text 748kb).
About 1912 Manchester Education Authority instituted six district central schools on 1914-1918 World War I
similar lines, designed to give an improved general education to children up to the Summary of the Act
age of 15, and several other LEAs had established central schools by 1918 (​see It is almost impossible to exaggerate the effects of the first world war. Eight million
Hadow 1926:31-32). soldiers died and more than twenty million were seriously injured. Diseases Sections 1-7 dealt with the provision of a ​National System of Public Education​.
Thus the position of the Central School was intermediate between that of the Secondary flourished in the chaos - especially typhus, malaria and flu. The political map of
School on the one hand and that of the Junior Technical School or Trade School on


Every county and county borough was required to provide for 'the progressive ● empowered (in some cases) to extend the provision of employment advice to 18 year olds The wide-ranging education act of 1921 consolidated all previous education legislation
development and comprehensive organisation of education in respect of their area' (22); and raised the school leaving age to 14. The 1936 education act raised the leaving
(Section 1). ● empowered to aid teachers and students in carrying out research 'for the advancement of age to 15.
Local education authorities were required to ensure learning' (23); Meanwhile, the government's Consultative Committee produced six reports - the five
● empowered to include maintenance allowances in the provision of scholarships under the Hadow reports published between 1923 and 1933, and the Spens report of 1938.
(a) that public elementary schools included 'practical instruction' in the curriculum and 1902 Education Act (24); and All these made recommendations which would shape the national education system
offered advanced instruction 'for the older or more intelligent children'; ● prohibited from establishing 'a general domiciliary service of treatment by medical in the wake of the 1944 Education Act.
(b) that they attended to 'the health and physical condition of the children; and practitioners for children or young persons' but were required to 'consider how far they can There was also much debate about the nature of primary education, with growing
(c) that they co-operated with other LEA’s to prepare children for further education 'in avail themselves of the services of private medical practitioners' (25). interest in the works of Dewey, Montessori and Edmond Holmes, and Susan Isaacs'
schools other than elementary', and to provide for the supply and training of Section 26 provided for the ​Abolition of Fees in Public Elementary Schools​: books on the intellectual and social development of children.
teachers (2). No fees shall be charged or other charges of any kind made in any public elementary Even the Board of Education came up with some surprisingly modern ideas. The
LEAs were to establish and maintain 'a sufficient supply of continuation schools', school, except as provided by the Education (Provision of Meals) Act, 1906, and Prefatory Note to the 1918 edition of its ​Handbook of Suggestions for the
co-operate with universities in the provision of lectures and classes, and appoint the Local Education Authorities (Medical Treatment) Act, 1909. Consideration of Teachers​ declared that:
LEA representatives to the managing bodies of such schools 'if practicable' (3). The remainder of the Act (sections 27-52) dealt with various technical and Neither the present volume nor any developments or amendments of it are designed to
In preparing schemes for submission to the Board of Education, LEAs were to consult administrative matters: impose any regulations supplementary to those contained in the Code. The only
with other authorities and parents within their area, take into account non-LEA ● voluntary inspection of schools not liable for government inspection (27); uniformity of practice that the Board of Education desire to see in the teaching of
provision, and ensure that 'children and young persons shall not be debarred from ● provision of information by non-maintained schools to the Board of Education (28); Public Elementary Schools is that each teacher shall think for himself, and work
receiving the benefits of any form of education by which they are capable of ● appointment of certain classes of teachers by LEAs (29); out for himself such methods of teaching as may use his powers to the best
profiting through inability to pay fees' (4). Suitable schemes would be approved, ● managers of non-maintained elementary schools to give the LEA 18 months' notice of their advantage and be best suited to the particular needs and conditions of the school.
inadequate ones discussed with the LEA concerned and, if agreement could not be intention to close the school (30); Uniformity in details of practice (except in the mere routine of school management)
reached, the Board of Education would hold a public inquiry (5). ● grouping of non-provided schools 'of the same denominational character' if required by an is not desirable even if it were attainable. But freedom implies a corresponding
LEAs could combine to form federations. The managing bodies of such federations LEA (31); responsibility in its use.
should include 'teachers or other persons of experience in education and of ● power of LEA’s over central schools and classes (32); And it added:
representatives of universities or other bodies' (6). ● acquisition of land by a local education authority (34); However, the teacher need not let the sense of his responsibility depress him or make
The limit on LEA education expenditure imposed by the 1902 Education Act was ● LEAs' power to provide elementary schools outside their own areas (35); him afraid to be his natural self in school. Children are instinctively attracted by
abolished (7). ● allocation of expenses to particular areas (36); sincerity and cheerfulness; and the greatest teachers have been thoroughly human
Sections 8-16 covered ​Attendance at School and Employment of Children and Young ● council expenses relating to Provisional Orders (37); in their weaknesses as well as in their strength.' (1918 ​Handbook​, quoted in MoE
Persons​. ● expenses of education meetings and conferences (38); 1959:9)
School attendance would be compulsory from 5 to 14 (15 in certain cases). Such ● expenses of prosecution for cruelty (39);
attendance could only count if the school was inspected and registers were kept. In ● public inquiries by the Board of Education (40); 1921 Education Act
certain circumstances an LEA could make the lower age limit 6 and the upper age ● minutes of LEA proceedings to be open to the ratepayer (41);
limit 16. Any changes the LEA made to arrangements for secular instruction must ● payments to the Central Welsh Board (42); The ​1921 Education Act​ (19 August 1921) raised the school leaving age to 14 and
not prevent a child from receiving religious instruction (8). ● 'certificates, notices, requirements, and documents' issued by local education authorities (43); consolidated all previous laws relating to education and to the employment of
LEAs could require that pupils' admission and leaving dates coincided with the start and ● Board of Education grants to LEAs for at least half of their expenditure on schools (44); children and young persons.
end of school terms (9). ● the trustees and property of educational trusts (45-47); and
It would be compulsory for all children under 16 (with certain specified exemptions) to ● other technical matters (48-52). Summary of the Act
attend continuation schools for 320 hours a year (a minimum of 280 hours would As a result of the provisions in section 2 of the Act, the Board withdrew the Regulations
be acceptable during the first seven years of the operation of the Act), with dates for Higher Elementary Schools (​see​ Hadow 1926:33-34). Part I Central and Local Education Authorities
and times to be arranged by the LEA (10). Non-attendance could result in fines The Board of Education remained the Central Authority for education (Section 1) and
ranging from 5s (25p) to £5 (11). There were new administrative provisions the consultative committee was retained (2).
relating to continuation schools (12). 1918-1939 Between the wars The Act specified which councils would be local education authorities (LEAs) (3),
The rules relating to the employment of children were amended. No under-twelves were required them to have education committees (4) and laid down rules for their
to be employed and there were new limits on the employment of over-twelves. No Politically, the twenty years between the two world wars saw leaders of all three main operation (5-10).
child was to be employed in street trading. LEA permission would be needed for parties come to grief. Lloyd George's Liberals were defeated in 1922 and his party Part II Schemes as to Powers and Duties
children taking part in licensed entertainments (13). Children were banned from has never won an election since. Ramsay MacDonald led Labour into government LEAs were to provide for 'the development and comprehensive organisation of
working in factories, workshops, mines, and quarries (14) and no child was to be for the first time but he was expelled from the party after he agreed to lead a education in respect of their area' (11) and to submit schemes to the Board of
employed in circumstances which might be 'prejudicial to his health or physical Conservative-dominated coalition. Stanley Baldwin led the Conservatives for most Education for elementary education and for continuation schools (12-16).
development, or to render him unfit to obtain the proper benefit from his education' of the period, with Neville Chamberlain replacing him in 1937. Chamberlain was Part III Elementary Schools
(15). The Act laid down penalties for the illegal employment of children and young forced to resign in 1940 when Labour and the Liberals refused to join a coalition LEAs were:
persons (16). while he remained Conservative leader. ● required to 'maintain and keep efficient all public elementary schools within their area' and
Sections 17-25 dealt with the ​Extension of Powers and Duties​ of local education In socio-economic terms, the inter-war years were equally difficult. The depression of provide sufficient accommodation, including new schools where the Board of Education
authorities. They were: the early 1930s caused devastation in northern industrial areas. Unemployment rose deemed them necessary (17-19);
● empowered to provide holiday or school camps, physical training centres and equipment, to 2.5 million and in some areas the proportion out of work reached 70 per cent. A ● required to ensure provision in elementary schools of 'practical instruction suitable to the
playing fields, school baths, and school swimming baths (17); quarter of the population existed on a subsistence diet, often with signs of child ages, abilities, and requirements of the children', and 'courses of advanced instruction for the
● required to provide medical inspections and treatment in ​all ​maintained schools (not just in malnutrition such as scurvy, rickets and tuberculosis. National Hunger Marches older or more intelligent children' including those who stayed on beyond the age of 14 (20);
elementary schools, as had been required by the 1902 Education Act) (18); were held and queueing at soup kitchens became a way of life. ● empowered to provide nursery schools (or classes) for 2-5 year olds, and to attend to the
● empowered to provide or aid nursery schools for 2-5 year olds. The Board of Education Towards the end of the period there were signs of improvement, especially in the more 'health, nourishment, and physical welfare' of children attending such schools (21);
would make grants for such schools provided they were inspected by the LEA (19); prosperous areas of the midlands and the south: the manufacture of electrical ● empowered to provide children with 'vacation schools, vacation classes, play-centres or other
● required to identify 'physically defective or epileptic' children in their areas. The scope of the goods, a booming motor industry and improvements in agriculture were matched means of recreation during their holidays' (22);
Elementary Education (Defective and Epileptic Children) Act 1914 was widened to include by a growing population and an expanding middle class. ● empowered to provide board and lodging in certain cases (23), scholarships or bursaries (24),
physically defective as well as 'mentally defective' children (20); For more on this topic see Great Depression in the United Kingdom(​Wikipedia​). marine schools (25), and, in certain cases, education up to the age of 16 (26).
● empowered to offer board and lodging to children in certain circumstances - such lodging to In education, the period may be viewed as one of consolidation and preparation. The Act laid down regulations for the conduct of public elementary schools:
be, where possible and if the parents requested it, 'with a person belonging to the religious ● no pupil was to be required to attend or abstain from attending 'any Sunday School, or any
persuasion of the child's parents' (21); place of religious worship' (27(1)(a));


● parents were entitled to withdraw children from religious observance or instruction ● LEAs' power to require attendance at continuation schools (76); The Act required non-provided schools, where possible, to provide religious instruction
(27(1)(b)); ● exemptions from attendance at continuation schools (77); and in accordance with the LEA's syllabus if parents requested it (12); and it allowed
● schools (and the religious instruction in them) was to be open to HMI 'at all times' (27(1)(c)); ● the enforcement of attendance (78). parents to withdraw their children during religious instruction periods if they
● LEAs were to report infractions of these rules to the Board of Education (27(2)); Part VII Provisions for Health and Well-being of Scholars wished them to receive 'religious instruction of a kind which is not given in the
● LEAs were: school' (13).
● required to provide medical inspections and treatment (80);
● 'No religious catechism or religious formulary which is distinctive of any particular ● empowered to recover the cost of treatment from parents (81);
denomination shall be taught in the school' (28); ● empowered to support the provision of meals by 'school canteen committees' (82); Other Acts
● LEAs were to have control of secular instruction in non-provided public elementary schools ● empowered to recover the cost of meals from parents (83);
(29); ● empowered to provide free meals to children 'unable by reason of lack of food to take full Two other acts in this period related to children's welfare and higher education.
● every public elementary school provided by the LEA was to have a body of managers, and advantage of the education provided for them' (84);
two LEA representatives were to be appointed to the managers of non-provided schools (30); ● empowered to provide holiday or school camps, centres and equipment for physical training, 1920 Employment of Women, Young Persons, and Children Act
● other provisions concerned: playing fields, swimming baths and 'other facilities for social and physical training' (86);
● foundation managers (31-32), ● required to ensure the 'cleansing of verminous children' (87); This Act (23 December 1920) amended employment law to bring it into line with
● the grouping of schools under one management (33-34), ● empowered to provide transport for teachers and children in certain cases (88); and conventions agreed by the International Labour Organisation of the League of
● the powers of managers (35), ● empowered to bring prosecutions for child cruelty (89). Nations in 1919 and 1920.
● the management and grouping of provided schools in London (36), Teachers were under no obligation to supervise meals or collect money for them (85). Download the ​Employment of Women, Young Persons, and Children Act 1920​ (pdf text
● the prohibition of fees in public elementary schools (37), Part VIII Employment of Children and Young Persons 220kb).
● the power to transfer a school to the LEA (38), The Act laid down rules regarding:
● the re-transfer of schools (39), ● LEAs' powers to make bye laws for regulating the employment of children (90) and street 1923 Universities of Oxford and Cambridge Act
● the closure of a school (40), and trading (91);
● endowments (41). ● limitations on the employment of children (no under 12s etc) (92); This Act (31 July 1923) established Commissions for the two universities and set out
Part IV School Attendance ● the suspension of employment to ensure attendance at continuation schools (93); their membership and duties.
It shall be the duty of the parent of every child between the ages of five and fourteen, or, ● LEAs' power to prohibit employment if it was prejudicial to the child's health, physical Download the ​Universities of Oxford and Cambridge Act 1923​ (pdf text 384kb).
if a byelaw under this Act so provides, between the ages of six and fourteen, to development or education (94-95);
cause that child to receive efficient elementary instruction in reading, writing and ● offences and penalties (96-97); Reports
arithmetic. (42) ● the power of LEA’s to inspect places of employment (98);
The Act went on to make provisions regarding: ● restrictions on the employment of children in entertainments (99), and LEA’s' power to issue 1921 Newbolt Report
● the duty of LEA’s to enforce attendance (43); licences for such employment (100-104);
● school attendance orders (44); ● general provisions (105); The Board of Education's enthusiasm for reports continued after World War I. In 1919 a
● proceedings in cases of non-compliance with school attendance orders (45); ● provisions relating to the city of London (106); departmental committee was set up under Sir Henry Newbolt 'to inquire into the
● the duty of LEAs to make byelaws (46); ● LEAs' powers to offer employment advice to under 18s (107); and position occupied by English (Language and Literature) in the educational system
● the powers of the Board of Education in case of default of an authority (47); ● exceptions relating to children in 'certified industrial or reformatory schools' (108). of England'.
● procedure for Board of Education approval of bye laws (48); Part IX General The committee's report ​The Teaching of English in England​ declared that 'every teacher
● the definition of 'reasonable excuse' for non-attendance of a child (sickness etc) (49); and This last part of the Act covered matters relating to: is a teacher of English' (Newbolt 1921:63) and that, while all pupils should be
● application of the attendance rules to children in canal boats (50). ● purchase of land by LEA’s (109-117); taught to speak standard English, dialects should not be suppressed. It stressed the
Part V Blind, Deaf, Defective and Epileptic Children ● Board of Education grants (118-132); importance of the art of listening, communication skills and drama; and argued that
The Act required: ● inspection of schools (133-134); the needs of business were best met by 'a liberal education' (Newbolt 1921:129). It
● parents to ensure that blind and deaf children received suitable education (51); ● age of children (135-138); called for improvements in teacher training and the raising of the status of English
● LEAs to provide or obtain suitable education for blind and deaf children - but not for 'idiots ● legal proceedings (139-147); in university exams.
or imbeciles', residents of workhouses or those 'boarded out by guardians' (52); ● LEA officers (148-149);
● parents to ensure that 'defective and epileptic' children received suitable education (53); ● powers of the Board of Education to enforce the duties of LEA’s (150-151); The Hadow Reports
● LEAs to enforce attendance of defective and epileptic children (54); ● the duty of LEA’s and school managers to provide the Board of Education with attendance
● LEAs to identify defective and epileptic children - certificates 'in such form as may be returns and other information (152-155); and Six further reports were published in the decade between 1923 and 1933. These were
prescribed by the Board of Education' were to be obtained from a 'duly qualified medical ● the power of the Board of Education to hold public inquiries (156). produced by the government's Consultative Committee, chaired by Sir Henry
practitioner' (55); and The remaining sections of the Act dealt with other technical matters (157-172). Hadow. They were:
● LEAs to provide or obtain suitable education for defective and epileptic children (56). ● The Differentiation of the Curriculum​ (1923)
LEAs were empowered to close special schools or classes for defective and epileptic ● Psychological Tests of Educable Capacity​ (1924)
children if the average attendance was less than 15 (57) and were required to 1936 Education Act ● The Education of the Adolescent​ (1926)
consult with parents and others over provision for such children (58). ● Books in Public Elementary Schools​ (1928)
The remainder of Part V made general provisions regarding the education of blind, deaf, The ​1936 Education Act​ (31 July 1936) raised the school leaving age to 15, but ● The Primary School​ (1931)
defective and epileptic children (59-69). empowered LEA’s to issue employment certificates to allow 14 year olds to work ● Infant and Nursery Schools​ (1933)
Part VI Higher Education rather than attend school in certain circumstances - for example, where a family The importance of the Hadow reports to the development of the education system during
Part VI made provisions regarding: would suffer 'exceptional hardship' if the child did not work (Sections 1-7). the 20th century is hard to overestimate. ​The Education of the Adolescent​, for
● the duty of LEA’s to 'supply or aid the supply of higher education, and to promote the general The raising of the school leaving age necessitated extra accommodation which had example, proposed the division of the elementary school system into two stages,
co-ordination of all forms of education' (70); enormous cost implications, especially for the churches. The 1936 Act therefore junior and senior, with a break at eleven for all.
● the power of LEA’s to train teachers for such education, to make provision outside their area, empowered LEAs to make agreements regarding the enlargement or establishment Galton, Simon and Croll (1980:32) argue that
and to provide scholarships (71); of non-provided elementary schools for senior children, and to make grants of the motivation for this fundamental change did not arise from any serious consideration
● rules regarding religious instruction: these were to be the same as for elementary schools between half and three quarters of the cost of such a scheme; provided that of the needs and character of children aged seven to eleven (or five to eleven). It
(72); religious instruction was given in accordance with the LEA's syllabus and that the arose solely from a consideration of the needs of the older (senior) children.
● the transfer to LEA’s of schools for science and art (73); teachers were employed, appointed and dismissed by the LEA (8-11). These This is, perhaps, a little unfair. The 1931 and 1933 reports demonstrated a considerable
● the power of LEA’s to aid educational research (74); became known as 'special agreement' schools. As a result, the Church of England concern for the education and welfare of younger pupils and contained some
● LEAs' duty to provide sufficient continuation schools 'in which suitable courses of study, submitted proposals for 230 new schools, the Catholic Church for 289. surprisingly progressive ideas.
instruction, and physical training are provided without payment of fees' (75);


The 1931 report suggested, for example, that 'A good school ... is not a place of rose from 150,000 to 400,000 - an increase from seven to sixteen percent of the For these two reasons, 'the basic class teaching approach, with the main emphasis on
compulsory instruction, but a community of old and young, engaged in learning by total child population aged between eight and twelve (​see​ Plowden 1967 I:99). literacy and numeracy, continued in the new junior schools after the Second World
co-operative experiment' (Hadow 1931:xvii) and that 'the curriculum of the primary Hadow's 1926 recommendation for transfer at age 11 led to the creation of primary War' (Galton, Simon and Croll 1980:36).
school is to be thought of in terms of activity and experience rather than knowledge schools (sometimes referred to as junior schools) for children aged 5-11, which The inter-war years, then, can be characterised as a period when there was a lot of
to be acquired and facts to be stored' (Hadow 1931:93). became government policy from 1928, though they were only formally established debate about lots of ideas - but little significant action. Once more, educational
For summaries and analysis of the Hadow reports, see my article ​The Hadow Reports: in the 1944 Education Act. developments would have to rely on a major war to be the catalyst which
an introduction​. In their reports of 1931 and 1933 the Hadow committee made suggestions about the precipitated a real advance.
style of education to be offered in these schools. This was important because,
despite the efforts of the developmentalists, the earliest primary schools bore all the
1938 Spens Report hallmarks of the elementary system 'in terms of cheapness, economy, large classes,
obsolete, ancient and inadequate buildings, and so on' (Galton, Simon and Croll 1939-1945 World War II
By the late 1930s, about ten percent of elementary school pupils were being selected to 1980:33). They also continued to provide a curriculum based on the arid drill
go on to secondary schools. The rest either remained in 'all-age' schools or went on methods of the elementary schools. The second world war, which began in September 1939, had serious effects on the
to senior schools. But the principles of child development were beginning to influence - albeit very slowly country's children and their education:
It was becoming clear that England's class-divided secondary schools were failing the - the style of education offered to younger pupils. Blyth (1965:40-1) distinguishes ● by the end of 1939 a million children had been evacuated from the major cities and had had
nation's children. Twice as many students were going on to higher education in five factors which gave impetus to the developmental tradition during this period: no schooling for four months;
Germany, more than twice as many in France, over three times as many in ● the growth of developmental psychology; ● in 1940 a ship taking 90 London children to safety in Canada was sunk by a torpedo;
Switzerland, and almost ten times as many in the US. Scotland's education system, ● the writings of Dewey, especially his emphasis on the 'curricular importance of collective ● by 1943 almost half a million children had been evacuated from London alone;
'based on a widespread respect for learning and a more traditionally egalitarian preparation for change, and on liberation from the traditional thought-patterns which could be ● there were regular gas mask practices in schools; and
social outlook' (Benn and Chitty 1996:4), was also doing much better than regarded as undemocratic whether in the home, the school or society at large' (Blyth ● as the war came to an end in 1945, a Women's Institute survey revealed that more than half of
England's. 1965:40); village schools still had earth or bucket lavatories. (​TES​ 1999)
Yet arguments were still put forward in support of a divided and elitist system. The only ● the 'great wave of emancipation that characterised the years after 1918. Children were to be It also led to increasing criticism of the education services - and of the Board of
difference was that, whereas in the late 19th century such divisions were openly given the chance to be themselves at any age and in concert with their peers of both sexes' Education in particular - over the persistence of half-time schooling and the delay
based on class, now they were based on notions of intelligence and aptitude. (Blyth 1965:40); in starting up school medical and meals services for returning evacuees.
Thus the 1938 Spens Report ​Secondary Education with Special Reference to Grammar ● the growth of what is now rather loosely described as the 'welfare state';
Schools and Technical High Schools​ recommended that there should be three types ● the rapid growth of the concept of 'secondary education for all' officially enunciated for the More reports
of secondary school: Labour Party by the great socialist historian RH Tawney in 1923.
● grammar schools for the academically able; To Blyth's list we may add the following: But the war didn't stop committees from producing yet more reports on education.
● technical schools for those with a practical bent; and ● the kindergarten movement, based on Froebel's theory and practice from the 1890s onward -
● new 'modern' secondary schools for the rest. 'natural development', 'spontaneity' etc. This had been adapted to the Board Schools' drill 1943 Norwood Report
(Spens also recommended that the school leaving age should be raised to 16. Incredibly, practice in an extremely mechanistic manner, so losing its educative significance;
it would be 1973 before this was finally implemented). ● the work of Dr Maria Montessori in the early 1900s, with its emphasis on structured learning, The Norwood Report ​Curriculum and Examinations in Secondary Schools​ backed
The newly-appointed principal of London University's Institute of Education, Fred sense training and individualisation. Its main impact was in infant schools, especially middle Spens' idea of three types of schools by arguing that children naturally had three
Clarke, was horrified. The proposed 'tripartite system' would be 'hardly intelligible class private schools; 'types of mind'. The first was the type who
... in ... any British dominion or in the United States', he wrote, and warned that ● Margaret and Rachel McMillan and their emphasis on improving hygienic conditions, is interested in learning for its own sake, who can grasp an argument or follow a piece of
failure to change would 'weaken the power of Britain to co-operate with the other overcoming children's physical defects, and providing an appropriate 'environment' for young connected reasoning, who is interested in causes, whether on the level of human
free peoples of the world' and would 'intensify social conflict' at home (Clarke children; volition or in the material world, who cares to know how things came to be as well
1940:44, quoted in Benn and Chitty 1996:5). ● What is and what might be​ published by ex-Chief Inspector of Elementary Schools Edmund as how they are, who is sensitive to language as expression of thought, to a proof as
Trades unionists and others in the Labour Party began to campaign for a unified and Holmes in 1911. This was 'the first striking manifesto of the "progressives" in its total a precise demonstration, to a series of experiments justifying a principle. (Norwood
more equal system of schools, and in 1942 several local government chief condemnation of the arid drill methods of the contemporary elementary school' (Galton, 1943:2)
executives, anxious to have a more rational system, asked for an end to plans for Simon and Croll 1980:34); The second was
differentiated secondary education. But their pleas fell on deaf ears and, as we shall ● Susan Isaacs' two books of 1930 and 1933 on the intellectual and social development of the pupil whose interests and abilities lie markedly in the field of applied science or
see in the next chapter, 'The decision-makers at the Ministry of Education were children. applied art. The boy in this group has a strong interest in this direction and often the
determined on the divided system' (Benn and Chitty 1996:5). The developmentalists appeared to be winning the argument. Galton, Simon and Croll necessary qualities of mind to carry his interest through to make it his life work at
(1980:35) argue that 'the approach of the "new" educationalists had, by 1939, whatever level of achievement. He often has an uncanny insight into the intricacies
Primary education become the official orthodoxy; propagated in training colleges, Board of Education of mechanism whereas the subtleties of language construction are too delicate for
in-service courses, by local authority inspectors, and the like.' him. (Norwood 1943:3)
The Education Act of 1918 enforced compulsory education up to the age of 14 and, by But was developmentalist education being put into practice? Galton, Simon and Croll As to the third group - the majority:
making it a duty of local education authorities to provide courses of advanced (1980:35) are doubtful: 'How far it affected actual practice in schools is, however, The pupil in this group deals more easily with concrete things than with ideas. He may
instruction for older and more intelligent children, encouraged some of the more another matter.' have much ability, but it will be in the realm of facts. He is interested in things as
enlightened authorities to revise their arrangements for children below the age of There were two main reasons why the implementation of developmentalist education they are; he finds little attraction in the past or in the slow disentanglement of
12. From 1919, several authorities began to create junior schools and departments. was slow and patchy. causes or movements. (Norwood 1943:3)
By the 1920s, London - and some other towns - had numerous 'three decker' schools. First, the new primary schools quickly became the battleground for a number of 'Norwood thus imagined an entire mental and emotional universe for its groupings, each
The infant department was on the ground floor, then at the age of seven boys and competing forces. Those who believed in the new ideas about child development of which as it were lived on different worlds, inhabiting different subjectivities'
girls were promoted to one of the other storeys which normally housed separate clashed with those who saw the job of the primary schools as being to get children (Jones 2003:21).
boys' and girls' departments where pupils stayed until they left school at the age of through the 'scholarship' examination. The latter group tended to win, so the
14. primary schools were seen as a 'sorting, classifying, selective mechanism' (Galton, McNair and Fleming Reports
The 1926 Hadow report proposed a rearrangement of the two upper storeys: it suggested Simon and Croll 1980:36).
that there should be a change of department at 11 as well as at seven years of age. And second, psychologist Cyril Burt and educationist Percy Nunn continued to assert Two further reports were published during the second world war, both in 1944.
The typical three decker could be rearranged quite easily to meet these suggestions. 'the absolute determination of "intelligence" by hereditary or genetic factors' The McNair Report ​Teachers and Youth Leaders​ (Report of the Committee appointed
The three storeys could house infant, junior and senior departments instead of (Galton, Simon and Croll 1980:36). They therefore strongly recommended that by the President of the Board of Education to consider the Supply, Recruitment and
infant, girls' and boys' departments (​see​ Plowden 1967 I:97-99). children should be segregated into classes on the basis of ability ('streamed'). Training of Teachers and Youth Leaders) recommended the rationalisation of
Following the Hadow reports of 1926 and 1931 reorganisation began in earnest. In just teacher training provision, a three year course and salary increases.
three years, from 1927 to 1930, the number of pupils in separate junior departments


And the Board of Education's Committee on Public Schools, under the chairmanship of The Board of Education's Green Paper ​Education after the war​ (June 1941) proposed
Lord Fleming, published its report ​The Public schools and the general educational Provision for the blind that maladjustment should be recognised as an additional category of handicap.
system​, which examined how independent schools might be integrated into the state Part V of the 1921 Act, which dealt with the education of handicapped children,
system. It was never implemented. By 1902 most blind children were receiving education - free for those whose parents should be revised and updated, and the system of certification of defective children
could not afford to contribute towards the cost. There were, however, three areas of should be reconsidered.
deficiency: there was no pre-school provision, children with partial sight or hearing The White Paper ​Educational Reconstruction​ (1943) contained a chapter devoted to
were at a disadvantage in ordinary schools, and there was no provision of academic children's health and welfare. Handicapped children were dealt with in the two
Special educational needs education for girls. sentences of paragraph 97: 'Provision for the blind, deaf and other handicapped
Nursery education for blind children began in 1918 when the Royal National Institute children is now made under Part V of the Education Act, 1921. This Part of the Act
for the Blind opened its first residential home for deprived blind children. will require substantial modification' (Board of Education 1943:25). (For more on
Note​: The information in this section is taken from chapter 2 (pages 14-19) of the 1978 The first provision for partially sighted children was made by the London County the white paper see the next chapter).
Warnock Report ​Special Educational Needs​, which itself was largely based on DG Council in 1907, when myopic children in the Authority's blind schools were
Pritchard's 1963 book ​Education and the Handicapped 1760-1960​. taught reading and writing from large type instead of braille. The following year
Following the 1902 Education Act, the new LEAs assumed the functions previously the Council established a special higher class for myopic children. By 1913 eight ○
exercised by school boards, including those relating to special education. They English authorities were making provision for the partially sighted, and in 1934 the
were empowered to provide secondary education for blind, deaf, defective and Board of Education Committee of Inquiry into Problems relating to Partially
epileptic children. Sighted Children recommended that where possible these children should be
New facilities were opened, many by voluntary organisations: open air schools, day and educated in classes within ordinary schools and should not be taught alongside the
boarding schools for physically handicapped children, schools in hospitals and blind. The Committee found that provision for 2,000 partially sighted children was
convalescent homes and trade schools. These included the Heritage Craft Schools being made in 37 schools and that a further 18 schools for the blind offered special
and Hospital at Chailey, Sussex (1903), the Swinton House School of Recovery at education for the partially sighted. Nevertheless many partially sighted children
Manchester (1905), the London County Council's Open Air School at Plumstead were being educated as if they were blind.
(1907) and the Lord Mayor Treloar Cripples' Hospital and College at Alton (1908). In 1921 the Institute founded Chorleywood College as a secondary school for blind
Manchester's LEA opened a residential school for epileptics in 1910: by 1918 there girls.
were six such schools throughout the country.
Provision for the deaf
Provision for mentally defective children
Educational provision for the deaf was not brought into line with the blind until 1938
In 1908 of the Royal Commission on the Care and Control of the Feeble-Minded (under the Education (Deaf Children) Act 1937).
concluded that institutional provision for mentally defective children on The first special school for partially deaf children was established by the Bristol LEA in
occupational lines was to be preferred to provision in special schools. This proposal 1906, and another by the London County Council soon afterwards. But most
was not accepted, however, and the Mental Deficiency Act of 1913 required local partially deaf children continued for many years to receive ordinary education or to
education authorities to ascertain and certify which children aged 7 to 16 in their be taught with deaf children in special schools.
area were defective. Only those who were judged by the authority to be incapable Their needs were examined by the Committee of Inquiry into the Problems relating to
of being taught in special schools were to pass to the care of local mental Children with Defective Hearing appointed by the Board of Education in 1934.
deficiency committees. The duty to provide for the educable children which Reporting four years later the Committee recognised that the needs of partially deaf
naturally followed was enacted a year later (​see​ Warnock 1978:14-15). children were different from those of deaf children, and were also varied. It
The Elementary Education (Defective and Epileptic) Act 1914 converted into a duty the suggested a three-fold classification: those capable of attending ordinary classes
earlier powers conferred on authorities by the 1899 Act to provide for the education without special arrangements; those more severely affected who might either attend
of mentally defective children; the 1918 Education Act did the same in respect of an ordinary school with the help of a hearing aid and support from visiting teachers
physically defective and epileptic children. Thus compulsory provision was of lip-reading or be taught in a special school (day or boarding) for the partially
extended to all the categories of handicapped children which had so far been deaf; and those whose hearing was so impaired that they needed to be educated
recognised (​see​ Warnock 1978:14). with the deaf. Teachers of partially deaf pupils should have the same qualifications
In 1929 the Report of the Mental Deficiency Committee (the ​Wood Report​) made as those of the deaf. The report led some authorities to provide residential schools
recommendations regarding the classification and education of 'mentally defective' for the partially deaf.
children. reported that 105,000 school children were mentally defective, that only a
third of them had been 'ascertained' and only half of these were actually attending Maladjustment
special schools. The Committee also estimated that a further ten per cent of all
children, though not mentally deficient, were retarded and failing to make progress The notion of 'maladjustment' was relatively new. The British Child Study Association
in ordinary schools. (After 1944 these children were categorised as 'educationally had been founded in 1893 and by the turn of the century University College
sub-normal'). London's psychological laboratory was studying difficult children.
The Wood Committee argued that mentally deficient children should not be isolated In 1913 the London County Council appointed psychologist Cyril Burt to examine cases
from the mainstream of education and proposed that the system of certification referred by teachers, school doctors, care workers, magistrates and parents. Largely
should be abolished: influenced by developments in America, the concept of child guidance on
We do however contemplate that these [special] schools would exist with a different multi-professional lines began to emerge, and in 1927 the Child Guidance Council,
legal sanction, under a different system of nomenclature and under different which later merged into the National Association for Mental Health, was formed. It
administrative provisions. If the majority of the children for whom these schools aimed 'to encourage the provision of skilled treatment of children showing
for retarded children are intended are, ​ex hypothesi​, to lead the lives of ordinary behavioural disturbances'.
citizens, with no shadow of a 'certificate' and all that it implies to handicap their Voluntary bodies and hospitals began opening clinics, with LEA provision following: by
careers, the schools must be brought into closer relation with the Public Elementary 1939 22 clinics, officially recognised as part of the school medical service, were
School system and presented to parents not as something both distinct and wholly or partly maintained by authorities. However, since maladjustment was not
humiliating, but as a helpful variation of the ordinary school. (Wood 1929:117) an officially recognised form of handicap, virtually no provision was made by
This view of special education as a variant of ordinary education advanced a principle authorities for these pupils before 1944.
which would later be extended to all forms and degrees of disability.