Giles (1946)

(page numbers in brackets)

Notes on the text

The complete book is shown in this single web page. You can scroll through it or use the following links to go to the various chapters.

Introduction (vii-viii)
Chapter I (9-19)
A caste system of education
Chapter II (20-25)
What the Act promises
Chapter III (26-32)
What the Act does not do
Chapter IV (33-38)
The Dual System
Chapter V (39-46)
It can be done
Chapter VI (47-56)
Wanted 100,000 teachers
Chapter VII (57-62)
Manpower, materials and money
Chapter VIII (63-69)
A new aim and purpose
Chapter IX (70-83)
The secondary school of the future
Chapter X (84-89)
The country school
Chapter XI (90-95)
The county college
Chapter XII (96-100)
Higher education
Chapter XIII (101-110)
The devlopment plan
Conclusion (111-112)
It's up to us


The New School Tie
GCT Giles (1946)
London: Pilot Press Ltd


[title page]

THE

NEW SCHOOL

TIE



By

G. C. T. GILES, B.A.




LONDON
PILOT PRESS LTD.
1946


[page v]

CONTENTS

ChapterPage
INTRODUCTIONvii
I A CASTE SYSTEM OF EDUCATION9
II WHAT THE ACT PROMISES20
III WHAT THE ACT DOES NOT DO26
IV THE DUAL SYSTEM33
V IT CAN BE DONE39
VI WANTED ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND TEACHERS47
VII MANPOWER, MATERIALS AND MONEY57
VIII A NEW AIM AND PURPOSE63
IX THE SECONDARY SCHOOL OF THE FUTURE70
X THE COUNTRY SCHOOL84
XI THE COUNTY COLLEGE90
XII HIGHER EDUCATION96
XIII THE DEVELOPMENT PLAN101
CONCLUSION: IT'S UP TO US111


[page vii]

INTRODUCTION

WHEN I began to write this little book in April, 1945, I had a definite and limited aim. I had just completed a term of office as Vice-President and President of the National Union of Teachers. I had been privileged to play a part in the negotiations which preceded the publication of the Government White Paper on Educational Reconstruction in 1943, and the introduction of the Education Bill in 1944. As President of the National Union of Teachers in 1944-45, I visited scores of schools of all types in every part of England and Wales, and spoke at more than two hundred meetings of Union members and of the general public. I had many off-the-record talks with chairmen, members and officers of local education committees. Everywhere I found general agreement that our country needs a modern scientific and democratic system of education. The old school tie tradition, which has dominated British, and especially English, education up to now, is out of date, inadequate for an epoch of rapid scientific advance, and unsuitable for the age of the common man. We need a new outlook - a New School Tie.

But I found also a considerable amount of doubt and scepticism about the 1944 Act.

Does the Education Act of 1944 give expression to this modern democratic outlook?

Does it provide the framework needed for a thorough recasting of our educational system?

Can it be made to work efficiently in the next few years?

These are some of the questions which I have been asked, and which I have tried to answer in the pages that follow. They cannot be answered merely by an analysis of the Act, and an estimate of the material possibilities and the immediate problems. It is impossible to make a clean break with the past. So I begin with a brief reference to present deficiencies and past history. We need, too, a goal. So in Chapter VIII, I have tried to sketch out the place and purpose of education in a democratic community. The rest of the book deals chiefly with the Act itself, and the problems that arise from it.


[page viii]

I had hoped to finish the job in a few months. Actually, much of it was already written before the great events of the summer - in May, victory in Europe; in July, the Labour victory in the General Election; in August, victory over Japan. Already, sooner than one dared to hope, demobilization and reconstruction have begun.

A beginning has been made with the great task of making the new Education Act work. Already, some of the facts and figures particularly those dealing with the supply of teachers, are out of date. Some thousands of teachers have been demobilized, and are back in school. This is better than I dared to hope six months ago when I wrote the chapter, "Wanted 100,000 Teachers".

It would not be difficult today - I am writing in December, 1945 - to bring these and other figures up-to-date, I have not done so for two reasons. First, there are some figures which I have ventured that cannot be more than estimates. Second, I hope and believe that. even today's figures will be out of date by the time this book reaches the public. Indeed, no one will be better pleased than myself if events outrun my hopes in other directions also! So I leave these estimates, made in the early autumn, as they were. Details, important as they are, do not affect the general answer to the three main questions which I set myself last April.

To the members of the National Union of Teachers, who elected me their President in 1944, after seven years as a member of the Executive Committee, I owe most of the knowledge which has made this book possible. I am greatly indebted also to the officials of the Union, whose invaluable knowledge and experience have been generously placed at my disposal. Other friends have freely given advice, criticism and practical help. To all of them, I offer my thanks - I hasten to add that they cannot be held in any way responsible for my conclusions and opinions.


[page 9]

CHAPTER I

A CASTE SYSTEM OF EDUCATION
Among the major anachronisms of the existing law is Section 42 of the Education Act, 1921, which defines the duty of a parent to secure the education of his child in these terms:

"It shall be the duty of the parent of every child between the ages of 5 and 14 .. to cause that child to receive efficient elementary instruction in reading, writing and arithmetic." White Paper on Educational Reconstruction.

Up to now, we have never had in this country even the pretence of a national or democratic system of education. Equality of opportunity, the broad highway from nursery school to university, a career open to the talents - these have been and still are largely fine phrases. Our system as it exists now is a caste system reflecting the class divisions of bur society. Out of every hundred children, two go to Public Schools, thirteen or fourteen others manage in one way or another to secure a secondary or technical education, the rest begin and end their schooling in elementary schools.

If you are born into the top layer of society, you go automatically to a very expensive and exclusive private preparatory school at the age of nine. From there, at about the age of thirteen, you pass on to a Public School, where you stay till eighteen or nineteen. After that, you will have the choice of three years at Oxford or Cambridge, Sandhurst or Woolwich if you fancy an army career, or a place reserved for you in the family business. You are a member of the ruling class. The "old school tie" guarantees your future career and place in society.

A lot of nonsense has been written about the value of a Public School education. I say this as a result of my own firsthand experience of Public Schools as scholar and teacher. I was lucky enough (after an expensive cramming at a preparatory school) to secure a


[page 10]

scholarship to Eton. I don't deny that the "old school tie" (which I never wear) has helped me on in the world. But for a closed scholarship to King's College, Cambridge, and a leaving scholarship from Eton, my parents would not have been able to send me to Cambridge. Certainly I owe to the old school tie some of the opportunities which have come my way. Nor would I deny that I benefited from the teaching and influence of some first-class scholars and teachers. But in my time at Eton, these teachers were a minority of the staff, and the boys who took any real interest in school work were a still smaller proportion of the whole. Games and social life were far more important. Here, too, I was fortunate. I was pretty good at games, and consequently was able to play a leading part in the social life of the school. In this way, no doubt, I learned something of the art of leadership, and acquired a certain self-confidence and assurance which is the hallmark of the Public School boy.

But when I left Eton, I was deplorably ignorant of the life of ordinary people. When I started teaching in a secondary school, I had never been inside an elementary school. Fortunately, I had to earn my living by my own efforts, and was soon obliged to discard the prejudices and the narrow outlook, which I had acquired along with the old school tie. But many of its wearers never do so, or even want to. Consciously or unconsciously, they regard themselves as members of a ruling class with an inherited right to a certain high standard of living and certain social privileges. It is this attitude which has made the old school tie a symbol of privilege and reaction, as notorious as Colonel Blimp. The Public Schools are, in fact, highly exclusive private institutions, providing a special type of training and education for the well-to-do. The high prestige which they enjoy in certain circles at home and abroad is almost entirely due to their class character. It is significant that Hitler used them as a model when he set up the notorious Adolf Hitler School for Leaders, in which were trained the S.S. gangsters and hooligans - the predestined leaders of a Fascist State. In their own way, the Public Schools are also Schools for Leaders, and therefore highly exclusive and successful employment agencies. Public School pupils, comprising a tiny proportion of the school population, obtain in fact an overwhelmingly high proportion of all leading positions. Leybourne and White in Education and the Birthrate give the following figures:


[page 11]

in 1927, 52 out of 56 bishops had attended; 19 out of 24 deans; 17 out of 25 lords of appeal, justices of the Court of Appeal and the High Court; 122 out of 156 county court judges, recorders, metropolitan magistrates, and stipendiary magistrates; 152 out of 210 home civil servants, earning 1,000 a year or more - 10 having come from Scottish schools; 33 out of 41 English members of the Indian civil service; 30 out of 47 Governors of Dominions; 62 out of 82 directors of 5 banks; and 37 out of 50 directors of 4 railway companies .. half of the 306 persons holding Cabinet office between 1801 and 1924 attended one out of eleven public schools. In a Cabinet in office during the summer of 1937, apart from one member about whose schooling no information was available, there was only one real exception to a monopoly of places by public school men.
A study of the personnel of the British Foreign Office and Diplomatic Service, 1851-1929 (published in the American Political Science Review), states that:
No member of the Foreign Office (between 1851 and 1929) has been traced who has attended any school in the country other than the Public Schools.
Statistics show that the percentage of Public School men has actually increased since the so-called democratic reforms were put into effect in 1919. Thus between 1923 and 1928, of thirty-one candidates admitted "every entrant, with the exception of one from a preparatory school, and another educated at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, received a Public School education." Again the author of this survey comments:
No trace is discoverable .. of men entering the Foreign Service who have climbed the educational ladder from state elementary school to university.
These future leaders are segregated from the main part of the community in class schools, and are out of touch with modern social relations and problems. The privilege thus afforded to Public School pupils limits the field of choice for leaders in all walks of life, and deprives the community of the services of much first-class ability, while the limitation of competition within a small class weakens incentive, and leads to intellectual stagnation. It undoubtedly produces a feeling of frustration and futility in the minds of those outside the privileged class. Only influence and money count.

So much for the Public Schools - the apex of the educational pyramid. There is today no sharp dividing line between the lesser


[page 12]

Public Schools and the ordinary secondary schools, except that nearly all the Public Schools are boarding schools, while most secondary schools are day schools. In addition to the eighty-nine Public Schools which are purely private institutions receiving no grants from public funds, there are some ninety schools which do receive grants, either direct from the Ministry of Education, or in some cases from a local education authority. While these schools aspire to the title of Public School, most of them are, in fact, part of the local secondary school provision, and in some areas such as Bedford, Walsall and Lytham St. Annes, provide the only secondary school accommodation. They are only distinguishable from other maintained secondary schools because they admit a larger proportion of fee-payers, generally charge a higher fee, and are not under the control of the local education authority. As a result, they have in the eyes of some a certain prestige or snob value. They are known as Direct Grant Schools, because they receive grants direct from the Ministry of Education. Up to the passing of the Act, there were 232 of these Direct Grant Schools, about which I shall have more to say presently.

Next in the social hierarchy come the "aided" schools, which receive grants from the local education authority in return for a number of free or special places. Most of these are denominational schools. Finally, there are the 876 maintained, secondary schools, entirely financed and controlled by the local education authorities. In this last category must be classed the Junior Technical, Commercial and Art Schools, together with a few Trade Schools. Between them the Direct Grant Schools, the aided and maintained secondary schools, and the technical schools provide some 5,000,000 secondary school places for boys and girls. Until 1st April, 1945, none of these schools was entirely free.

It is these schools which offer the only opportunity of a full secondary education to the vast majority of the school population. Entry to them is controlled partly by a selective examination - the "scholarship" or "special place" examination - and partly by the ability of the parents to pay fees. The percentage of children which manage to pass through this bottleneck is about sixteen. Of these, nearly half pay full or part fees. In addition, parents must face the loss of earnings due to a longer schooling, as well as fairly considerable extras in the shape of school uniform, fares, books and other incidentals. Thus, the bottleneck of the scholarship


[page 13]

examination is still further narrowed by cash difficulties. The path from elementary school to university is steep and stony, even for the brilliant child who does not choose his parents wisely.

Here, for instance, is the story of John Green, son of an engineer living in the County of Middlesex, who started his schooldays at an elementary school at the age of five. He was a bright boy, a good scholar and had the backing of a good home, though his father seldom earned more than 3 a week. At the age of ten, he sat for a scholarship, and, together with two or three other scholars from his school, won a place in the neighbouring County secondary school. At the age of sixteen - it was in 1931 - he took his School Certificate, and obtained his "matric" with distinctions in mathematics and science. That was a real triumph for John, for things at home were difficult. At the beginning of 1931, John's father had lost his job through no fault of his own, and throughout the year the family had existed on the "dole". John had a younger sister and two small brothers, and in spite of a small maintenance allowance which John had been receiving since the age of fourteen, it was a struggle for Mrs. Green to make ends meet. So John got a job delivering newspapers before and after school. It brought into the home a few badly needed shillings, but it didn't make it any easier for John to do all the homework which was necessary for his examination. He had to give up playing cricket for the school, as he had no time to practise, and no money for the necessary clothes.

But John was a plucky, cheerful boy, and with the encouragement of his father and mother, stuck to his books. When he sat for his examination in June, it looked as if John would have to get a job and abandon all hope of going on with his education, in spite of the fact that the Headmaster had sent for John's father and told him that John had first-rate ability, and ought to have a university education. This time, good fortune smiled, on the Green family. At the end of July, Mr. Green managed to find another job, so when the results came out in September, it was decided that John should return to school and work for his Higher School Certificate. That meant two more years at school. John liked his school, but he was also very conscious of the struggle against poverty at home. He wanted to help, and actually found himself a job. True, it was a blind alley job and badly paid, but even the 10s. a week which he could earn delivering groceries would make all the difference at home. But when he came home and told his mother what he had done, Mrs.


[page 14]

Green put her foot down, and insisted that he should return to school. Mr. Green, now back at work and enjoying a little overtime, backed her up. So in September, 1931, John set to work again, and for two years studied hard at physics, chemistry and mathematics. He was school prefect now, and captain of the football XI. He gave up his newspaper round, and put all his energies into his school life. It wasn't always easy, for times were hard, and John's father suffered several spells of unemployment. However, in 1933 John's efforts and the sacrifice of his parents were rewarded. He was brilliantly successful in the Higher School Certificate examination, and was awarded a State scholarship - one of the 360 open to all in that year. So John was launched on a university career. He went to Cambridge University, and after three years secured a good research post where he made rapid progress. He became one of the team of backroom boys who made such a tremendous contribution to victory.

But John Green is not an average boy. He is a brilliant exception. Indeed, some of his contemporaries, no less able than he, were compelled by home circumstances to leave school at sixteen, and some even earlier. Worse still, the vast majority of children, including John's sister, Margaret, never had the chance of a secondary education, let alone a university career. Margaret was a year younger than John, and had a bad illness which kept her away from school for nearly three months when she was nine. Consequently, though she was capable and intelligent, the scholarship examination was too much for her. She knew that she was weak in arithmetic, and her nerve failed her on the day. She didn't do herself justice. When, the results were known, poor Margaret had failed. It was a sad blow to Margaret, and but for her mother's understanding, and the encouragement of her teacher, Margaret would have accepted the verdict of the examiners, which stamped her, at the tender age of eleven, as a "failure". Ever since her brother went to the County School, she had made up her mind that she would go to the Girls High School. She wanted to be an artist, but that was not to be. Next term, she was transferred to the Senior School, fortunately a fine modern building with a well-qualified staff. Two years later she faced another hurdle, and this time successfully. She secured a place in the Junior Commercial School which had just been opened. Here, she learned shorthand and typewriting, and, in the all too brief period of two years, managed to get the foundations of a fair general education. At fifteen and a half, she got a job as a junior


[page 15]

in a big commercial firm, and proudly brought home her first week's money. It was not what she hoped for, nor were the prospects of promotion and responsibility very great, but it was a start. When the war came, she volunteered for the W.A.A.F., where she found greater scope for her abilities. At twenty-one she was a sergeant, and was soon recommended for a commission, only to be turned down because she hadn't matriculated. At the time of writing this, Margaret is still serving, and it may well be that on her release, a discerning employer will give her the chance which her abilities deserve, in spite of the fact that she lacks that passport to a career - the School Certificate.

The Green family were fortunate in that they lived in the area of a progressive educational authority, where provision was more generous than in many parts of the country. Tom Fetcham was not so fortunate. Tom's father was an agricultural labourer in a small village in truly rural England. He went to the village school with eighty other children, of all ages from five to fourteen. It was a church school built in 1883, and staffed by a Headmistress and two uncertificated assistant teachers. There was only one room in the school, which a miserly Education Committee made into three by putting in glass partitions somewhere about 1920. The nearest secondary school was ten miles away, and there wasn't a single technical school in the whole county. No one from Tom's school had ever won a scholarship. Tom might well have been the exception, for he had both brains and physique, and a father, who, feeling himself the lack of a decent education (he had left school at twelve), encouraged the children to read and study. Tom wanted to be an engineer. He knew all about wireless and motor cycles, and he was quite prepared to face the hard graft necessary to pass examinations. But it was not to be. Less than eight per cent of all the children in the elementary schools of his county qualified for secondary education. Tom missed his opportunity by ten marks.

These stories of gifted working-class children illustrate both the opportunities available, and the limits of those opportunities. Educational opportunity, except for the children of the well-to-do, depends almost entirely on success in passing a highly competitive test at the age of ten or eleven. As the White Paper on Educational Reconstruction says - "There is nothing to be said in favour of a system which subjects children at the age of eleven to the strain of a competitive examination on which, not only their future schooling,


[page 16]

but their future careers may depend. Apart from the effect on the children, there is the effect on the curriculum of the schools. Instead of the junior schools performing their proper and highly important function of fostering the potentialities of children at an age when their minds are nimble and, receptive, their curiosity strong, their imagination fertile, and their spirits high, the curriculum is too often cramped and distorted by over-emphasis on examination subjects, and on ways and means of defeating the examiners. The blame for this rests not with the teachers, but with the system." It might well have been added that the strain of the competitive examination dominates and distorts not only the early stages of education, but the whole of the process, right to the end of the university course. Further, it places undue emphasis on academic or bookish ability catered for by instruction of the grammar school type. The small number of technical schools receives only the second skimming, and offers only a shortened two- or three-year course, with little or no avenue to higher education.

Failure to pass this stiff hurdle of the scholarship examination means that the child spends his whole school life under elementary conditions, and ends formal school at fourteen. That is the fate of eighty-five per cent of all our children, who form the broad base of the educational pyramid. It is time to have a look at the "elementary" school.

The elementary school is - or rather was, for it has ceased to exist under the 1944 Act - the real "public school". It is the school of the average child. It is the standards prevailing in the elementary school, which are the only real test of our educational system. It is the inferior status and low standards of the elementary school which condemn our educational system as undemocratic and out of date.

The elementary school was by origin not a part of a national system, but a charity school for "the lower orders". The very idea of popular education was for long strenuously opposed. During a debate in the House of Commons at the beginning of the nineteenth century, a President of the Royal Society said that education "instead of teaching them subordination, would render them fractious and refractory; it would enable them to read seditious pamphlets, vicious books, and publications against Christianity." Even in 1861, a Government Commission reported that a universal and compulsory education system was neither attainable nor desirable.


[page 17]

On the other hand, there was a persistent and determined agitation on the part of the Chartist leaders and Robert Owen for popular education. Support also came from such humanitarian reformers as Arthur Young, Mr. Whitbread and Lord Brougham. This took the form of demands for state subsidies for the schools organized by the religious bodies, the most important of which were the National Society for Educating the Poor in the Principles Of the Established Church (1811), the British and Foreign Schools Society (1814), and the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge. The main aim of these philanthropic bodies was the indoctrination of a proper attitude to society. Arthur Young, for instance, supported education as the medium for "learning the doctrine of that truly excellent religion, which exhorts to content and submission to higher powers." In 1843, the Earl of Shaftesbury urged in the House of Lords "the need for instant and serious consideration of the best means of promoting the blessings of a moral and religious education among the working classes."

Thus the basis of these forerunners of the elementary school was religious, charitable and voluntary (i.e., not under state control). Cheapness also was essential. This was achieved by the monitorial system evolved by Joseph Lancaster in the non-conformist schools of the British and Foreign Schools Society, and adopted by Dr. Bell in the Church of England Schools, provided by the National Society for Educating the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church. It was estimated that, under the monitorial system, the cost of education per child need not exceed 5s. per year! From 1833, when the first public education grant of 20,000 was made, until the passing of the Education Act in 1870, the policy of subsidies to the voluntary schools was the only form of State recognition of popular education.

It must be added that this policy gave rise to bitter sectarian controversies between the Church of England and the Non-Conformists, and between the religious bodies and the secularists. It has handed down the embarrassing legacy of the Dual System, which, in the words of the White Paper on Educational Reconstruction, "has given rise to endless complications in administration; which retard educational progress, engender friction and consume time and energies which could be spent to much, better purpose."

This policy of subsidy was continued in the Act of 1870, which


[page 18]

established the first State schools, and in the Balfour Act of 1902. It is retained in modified form in the Education Act of 1944.

The stigma of charity, the trail of cheapness and the legacy of sectarian controversy have dogged and handicapped the elementary school throughout its history. It is this, deplorable heritage which is the main cause of the shockingly low standards tolerated for so long, in spite of the efforts of the National Union of Teachers, and other pioneers of educational advance. Teachers salaries, size of classes, school buildings, cost of books and equipment, have never been at a level sufficient to ensure a proper standard of education for the mass of the people

In 1939, nearly one-third of the teachers in elementary schools were receiving less than 4 per week. Ninety per cent were receiving less than 7 per week.

Out of 5,248,000 children in attendance at elementary schools in 1938, more than 105,000 were being "educated" in classes of over fifty, and more than 1,700,000 in classes of over forty. This state of things is rightly described by the White Paper on Educational Reconstruction as "not education, but mass production".

Of elementary school buildings, Dr. F: H. Spencer, ex-Chief Inspector of the London County Council, wrote in 1938 - "We are keeping out future citizens, diminishing in number, and, if we value life at all, increasingly precious, in surroundings which were out of date a generation ago. The amenities of the elementary school have fallen well behind the general betterment of living. Even the black-listed, schools have not been replaced, and there are thousands of others which fall below any decent minimum of amenities or convenience. A thorough and almost universal replacement of our present school buildings is required. Four-fifths of our schools need to be rebuilt or conditioned within five, or, at the most, ten years."

An authoritative survey completed just before the war revealed that the average cost of books in elementary schools was 3s. 4d. per head per annum, 7d per head in infant schools, and 1s. 9d. in junior schools.

The picture I have painted of the elementary school is a black one. I am quite aware that it is relieved by many brighter patches. In most areas nowadays, there are some really first-rate senior school buildings, and a smaller number of junior schools which come up to the highest standards. But the fact is that these are still the exception.

Nor are material conditions - staffing, buildings, playgrounds and


[page 19]

playing fields - the only handicap. In far too many areas, particularly in the country districts where church schools are numerous, the scheme of "Hadow" reorganization begun in 1927 has never been completed. This means that one school has to serve children of all ages from four or five to fourteen. These are generally small schools with less than a hundred children, with a staff of three teachers. Often the Headmistress is the only qualified teacher. In such schools it is quite impossible to organize classes properly, graded according to age and ability. The bright must wait on the not so bright, or the average child must be sacrificed in the interests of his more intelligent brother, who may be able to win a scholarship. Games and other activities are difficult to organize in such a school. It was an unreorganized school of this type which robbed my friend, Tom Fetcham, of his chance. That was many years ago, butTom's old school is still there, and has still to win its first "scholarship".

In spite of inherited handicaps, the elementary school and its teachers have a magnificent record. It is no exaggeration to say that the elementary school in the last fifty years has been one of the main factors of social advance. In town and country, the elementary teacher, with little recognition, has worked devotedly and successfully for the betterment of the average child. According to the Education Act of 1925, the elementary school was to give efficient instruction in the Three R's - a humble, if necessary, task. It has done far more. It has trained and educated the average child of the common people, developed in them a sturdy independence, a good-natured tolerance, and above all, a faith in themselves, which, more than any other single factor, has enabled Britain to survive the grim tests of poverty, unemployment and totalitarian war.

I have never been convinced that the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton. I have always had a sort of idea that the press-ganged ploughboys had something to do with that victory. But, however that may be, I am absolutely certain that it was not the old school tie, but the product of the elementary school which beat Hitler and his Nazis. I take off my hat and my tie to the elementary school.

But the brutal truth remains - the elementary school system was never intended to provide, and can never provide, equality of educational opportunity. It cannot give proper scope to the abilities and aptitudes of the nation's children. From a human, from a democratic, from a national point of view, it needs drastic recasting. The 1944 Act does just that.


[page 20]

CHAPTER II

WHAT THE ACT PROMISES
The Government's purpose in putting forward the reforms described in this, Paper is to secure for children a happier childhood and a better start in life; to ensure a fuller measure of education and opportunity for young people and to provide means for all of developing the various talents with which they are endowed and so enriching the inheritance of the country whose citizens they are. White Paper on Educational Reconstruction.
THE system of education which we all know is based on class distinction. It is a pyramid with a narrow apex and a broad base. At the apex stand the Public Schools catering for the well-to-do. They are exclusive, expensive establishments entirely free from public control. At the base are the elementary schools providing for the vast majority of the nation's children the minimum of instruction in poor conditions - the schools for the future hewers of wood and drawers of water. In between are the secondary schools with high standards of scholarship and reasonable conditions, but providing only for some thirteen per cent of the school population of whom about half must pay fees. Between the elementary and the secondary school is the bottleneck of the "scholarship" or special place examination.

What changes does the Act propose in this out-of-date system? Does it wipe out or at least modify the class discrimination? Does it promise for the average child something better than the disgracefully low standards of the ordinary elementary school? Does it contain any advance towards equality of opportunity? Does it in fact establish a broader and more democratic system of education for the nation's children? Let us turn for an answer to the actual clauses of the Act. The aim and purpose of the education system and the duties of the Local Education Authorities are defined in Clauses 7 and 8 as follows:


[page 21]

"The statutory system of public education shall be organized in three progressive stages to be known as primary education, secondary education and further education; it shall be the duty of the local education authority for every area, so far as their powers extend, to contribute towards the spiritual, moral, mental and physical development of the community by securing that efficient education throughout those stages shall be available to meet the needs of the population of their area.

1. It shall be the duty of every local education authority to secure that there shall be available for their area sufficient schools:

(a) for providing primary education, that is to say, full-time education suitable to the requirements of junior pupils; and
(b) for providing secondary education, that is to say, full-time education suitable to the requirements of senior pupils, other than such full-time education as may be provided for senior pupils in pursuance of a scheme made under the provisions of this Act relating to further education: and the schools available for an area shall not be deemed to be sufficient unless they are sufficient in number, character, and equipment to afford for all pupils opportunities for education offering such variety of instruction and training as may be desirable in view of their different ages, abilities and aptitudes, and of the different periods for which they may be expected to remain at school, including practical instruction and training appropriate to their respective needs.
2. In fulfilling their duties under this section, a local education authority shall, in particular, have regard:
(a) to the need for securing that primary and secondary education are provided in separate schools;
(b) to the need for securing that provision is made for pupils who have not attained the age of five years by the provision of nursery schools or, where the authority consider the provision of such schools to be expedient, by the provision of nursery classes in other schools;
(c) to the need for securing that provision is made for pupils who suffer from any disability of mind or body by providing, either in special schools, or otherwise, special educational treatment, that is to say, education, by special methods, appropriate for persons suffering from that disability; and
(d) to the expediency of securing the provision of boarding accommodation, either in boarding schools or otherwise, for pupils for whom education as boarders is considered by their parents and by the authority to be desirable."
These clauses - the most important of the Act - envisage a drastic recasting of our educational system. First the word "elementary" with its stigma of inferiority, disappears from our educational vocabulary. The new system is to be a continuous process in three


[page 22]

progressive stages for all children according to their ages, abilities and aptitudes - no longer a minimum of efficient instruction in the Three R's for the many and the something better for the selected few. This is confirmed by the immediate abolition of fees in nearly all secondary schools - not in all, unfortunately - and by the promised raising of the school-leaving age to fifteen not later than April 1st, 1947, and to sixteen as soon as practicable. By implication - and as we shall see by regulation - the new conception means a vast levelling up process in the existing "elementary" schools to at least "secondary" standards. At long last all children will have the opportunity of a full and free education, under decent conditions, to the age of sixteen at least. Nor is that all. The scope of education is extended and broadened. Nursery schools or classes which up to now have been provided only by some progressive Local Education Authorities, must in future be part of the normal facilities. Special schools for pupils who suffer from any disability of mind or body must also be provided. Boarding schools where necessary may also be provided. Compulsory education is carried beyond the age, of sixteen. Authorities are required to provide in County Colleges part-time education in working hours for young persons up to the age of eighteen. The power of Local Education Authorities to provide higher and adult education in future becomes a duty. After consultation with the universities and with the Educational Associations schemes must be submitted to the Minister of Education for providing adequate facilities for technical, commercial and art education and general adult education.

Not less important is the extension of provision for physical welfare of the children. In addition to medical inspection, Local Education Authorities are obliged to provide free treatment in all types of school. Milk and meals become a permanent feature of school life, no longer as a charity but as an important social service. Boots and clothing may be provided, as well as the cost of transport. Local Education Authorities are, given the power to prohibit or restrict the employment of children where it is prejudicial to health or education.

In order to facilitate the operation of these drastic reforms the Act makes important changes in the administrative system of education in England and Wales.

Control of the system has up to now been shared between a Government department and 315 Local Education Authorities.


[page 23]

The President of the Board of Education - a nebulous body which never met - was a member of the Government-in-power and controlled a staff of civil servants including a number of His Majesty's Inspectors, the local advisers and agents of the central government. It is a somewhat ironical fact that even today many of these Inspectors were not themselves educated in the schools which they inspect! Until recent years, at any rate, they were almost entirely Public School men, as were also most of the Presidents of the Board. The Board exercised control - a somewhat remote but nevertheless effective control - by the grants which it paid to the Local Education Authorities as owners and managers of the schools and employers of the teachers. In general, government grants covered about half the cost of the schools.

Until the Act of 1944 there were 315 Local Education Authorities, consisting of County, County Borough, Borough, and some of the Urban District Councils. County Councils and County Boroughs had full powers over both elementary and higher education. Borough and Urban District Councils had only elementary powers and were generally known as "Part III Authorities from the fact that Part III of the Education Act of 1921 dealt only with elementary education.

Under the 1944 Act this partnership between central Government and Local Education Authorities continues in a new form. The President of the Board has become the Minister of Education with very considerably increased powers. The Minister is charged with the duty of securing the effective execution by local Education Authorities of the national educational policy instead of with a mere "superintendence of matters relative to education in England and Wales". In the place of the Consultative Committee which could deal only with questions referred to it by the President of the Board of Education, the Minister will be advised by two Central Advisory Councils, one for England and one for Wales, upon such matters connected with educational theory and practice as they think fit and upon any questions which may be referred to them by the Minister.

The Local Education Authorities reduced in number from 315 to 170 remain in actual control of administration. Only County Councils and County Boroughs become Local Education Authorities, with full powers, including the power to raise money through the rates. The Part III authorities cease to exist as Local Education


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Authorities and become Divisional Executives or Excepted Districts. To these local bodies certain important administrative duties must be delegated by the County Education Authorities and the scheme of delegation must be approved by the Minister.

These changes have given rise to a deal of criticism and discussion, but they appear to meet the admitted need of larger areas of local administration with wider powers while providing for local bodies nearer to the electors and able to maintain and stimulate local interest.

The first duty of the Local Education Authorities thus reconstituted is the submission to the Minister not later than April 1st, 1946, of development plans for their areas. The scope of these plans which is set out in the Act and in subsequent communications, is very comprehensive.

This brief summary of the Act indicates the fundamental nature of the changes and the magnitude of the task. Of equal importance for the speedy and efficient carrying-out of the changes is the new relation between the Ministry and the Local Education Authorities. The increased power of the Minister will help to speed up those Authorities who in the past have neglected their responsibilities to the children and the nation.

In July, 1944 the Act became the law of the land. On April 1st, 1945, many of its provisions came into operation. (In spite of the obvious and at present insurmountable obstacles due to the war, some progress has been made.) The levelling-up process has begun.

On April 1st, 1945, after prolonged and difficult negotiations between the Local Education Authorities and the teachers representatives a new salary agreement was reached by the Burnham Committee and subsequently approved by the Minister. The most significant and welcome feature of the agreement is the wiping-out of discrimination against teachers in the old elementary schools and particularly those in the rural areas. The new agreement lays down basic national scales for the qualified teachers in all types of school and in all areas, though it retains the quite unjustifiable discrimination against women. The new minimum of 300 for men and 280 for women does, however, give practical recognition to the status of the teacher and offers a reasonable hope that thousands of properly qualified men and women will enter the profession in the years ahead. Without them no real educational progress is possible.


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The same principle of unification and the same process of levelling-up govern the large number of regulations issued since the passage of the Act. The most important are the Draft Regulations for Primary and Secondary Schools issued in March, 1945, and the Draft Building Regulations issued in November, 1944. While some of the details of these regulations do not completely fulfil the spirit of the Act the general effect of their operation will be an all-round improvement of material standards. The trail of cheapness will at long last disappear from the people's schools.

In my judgment the 1944 Act registers a big step forward. It contains certain weaknesses, compromises and evasions, as we shall see. But it concedes the principle of a full and free education for all. It is a charter for the average child. It aims to remove many of the obstacles in the way of equality of opportunity. It sketches out a framework for a democratic and national system of education. Great and sustained effort will be needed to get it working, but the job will be well worth doing, and how much depends on its being done well!




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CHAPTER III

WHAT THE ACT DOES NOT DO
A system under which fees are charged in one type of post-primary school and prohibited in the other offends against the canon that the nature of a child's education should be determined by his capacity and promise and not by the financial circumstances of his parent. White Paper on Educational Reconstruction.
THE Act offers us a great opportunity. The fact that it was accepted by an overwhelming majority in a Parliament dominated by a Conservative majority in both Houses, is a significant and encouraging indication of the changed attitude to education on the part of influential sections strongly represented there. A Tory majority, however, could hardly be expected, at that time, to accept, without some qualifications, the revolutionary conception of complete equality of educational opportunity which was expressed in the Bill; Tories could not be expected to give up entirely the idea that wealth and social position entitled them to special educational privileges. The adherents of the Established Church and the Church of Rome could not be expected to do other than defend their vested interests. Thus the Education Act, 1944, is the result of a political compromise, negotiated with great diplomatic skill and patience by an able Conservative Minister on behalf of a Coalition Government. It is a great progressive measure, but it contains sundry compromises and anomalies.

The most obvious concession to privilege, and the one which has given rise to the most criticism and controversy, is the treatment of the so-called Public Schools.

As I see it, the continuance of "a system of Public Schools standing outside the main education system and enjoying a prestige out of proportion to its size", is incompatible with a democratic system.


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In a democratic system; the Public Schools should be completely absorbed. Democracy has no place for old school tie privilege. But, needless to say, this solution of the problem was never even considered by a House of Commons in which a majority of M.P.s enjoyed the privilege of wearing the old school tie.

Democratic criticism of the privileged position of the Public Schools, notably that of the National Union of Teachers, takes other forms besides the demand for abolition. In evidence submitted by the Executive of the National Union of Teachers to the Fleming Committee on Public Schools, the view was expressed that these schools should either come into the State system and accept the conditions which accompany the receipt of public money, or, if they wish to be independent, should give up all idea of subsidy in any form from public funds. A sharp protest was added against "a species of nepotism", by which the deciding factor in the granting of posts in the public service is the type of school attended by the candidate, and not his qualifications.

A policy along these lines would certainly be democratic and effective. It is known that some of the Public Schools are already in financial difficulties; withdrawal of financial support might be almost as effective a method of hastening their end as outright abolition. If, at the same time, we could insist that merit, and not "the old school tie" should be the guiding principle in appointments to posts in the Higher Civil Service, etc., even Eton, Harrow and Winchester might find it difficult to maintain their privileged positions. Presumably, the Tory Members who formed the majority in the Government when the Fleming Report was under discussion, saw quite clearly where these proposals would lead; at any rate, the Public Schools, as such, are not mentioned in the Act. They are affected only by the clauses dealing with inspection and registration, which is made compulsory for all schools, including the independent schools, i.e., those not in receipt of any form of public grant. Even here a loophole is provided:

If the Minister is satisfied that he is in possession of sufficient information with respect to any independent school or any class of independent schools, and that registration of that school, or the schools comprised in that class is unnecessary, the Minister may by order exempt that school or schools of that class from registration, and any

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school so exempted shall be deemed to be a registered school. (Education Act, 1944 Part III, Section 70(2).)
Meanwhile, the defenders of the Public Schools and their poor relations, the Direct Grant Schools (of which more later), were busy behind the scenes. At the request of the Headmasters Conference and the Governing Bodies Association (the two bodies representative of the interests of the Public Schools and their satellites), the President of the Board of Education set up in July, 1942, a Committee under the Chairmanship of the late Lord Fleming:
To consider means whereby the association between the Public Schools (by which term is meant schools which are in the membership of the Governing Bodies Association or Headmasters Conference) and the general educational system of the country could be developed and extended.
The terms of reference of this Committee obscured the real issue of the Public Schools by the inclusion, along with eighty-nine independent schools, of ninety-nine other schools which are already in receipt of grants from public funds and more than half of which are day schools. These are not in any accepted sense of the term "Public Schools". The recommendations of the Committee regarding these schools, and the regulations subsequently issued by the Minister, will be dealt with later. Here I am only concerned with the recommendations concerning the Public Schools proper.

Briefly, the proposal is that the Public Schools should be invited to set aside not less than twenty-five per cent of their annual admissions to qualified pupils who have been previously educated, for at least two years, at a grant-aided primary school. The Ministry of Education should grant bursaries to such pupils to cover remission of tuition and boarding fees, and other expenses. Candidates for bursaries would be selected by a Committee appointed by a Minister, but final acceptance would rest with the school. The scheme of admission should be reviewed every five years, with a view to the progressive application of the principle that schools should be equally accessible to all pupils, and that no child otherwise qualified should be excluded solely owing to lack of means. The Governing Bodies of schools participating in the scheme should include persons nominated by the Minister of Education, who should normally be not more than one-third of the whole Governing Body.


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In attempting to estimate the effect of the Fleming Committee's recommendation on the Public Schools, we have to ask ourselves this question: Does the scheme represent a step, even a hesitating step, towards a democratic and national system of education ? No one denies that the Public Schools, as they are today, are privileged institutions, enabling the well-to-do to purchase for their children access to eligible careers, which is denied to those outside the charmed circle. Do the proposals weaken the position of the Public Schools, or curtail their privileges?

It will be noted that there is no suggestion of compulsion on the Public Schools to come into the scheme. Hence it is reasonable to assume that they will only accept it if they regard it as strengthening their position, or at least as postponing a doom with which they are menaced by the advance of democracy. It may well be that it will be accepted by some of the lesser Public Schools whose financial future is uncertain, and can only be safeguarded by some form of State subsidy. The scheme certainly offers a subsidy in the most acceptable form. It may even be regarded by the richer and stronger schools as a lesser evil, as a concession which will enable them to retain the substance of privilege, while gracefully and magnanimously making some concessions to the claims of democracy. For it will involve a minimum of control - not more than one-third of the Governing Body will be appointed by the Minister of Education; neither is any limitation of fees proposed, and little inquiry into the finances, of the school. Final selection of the admissions is left in the hands of the school concerned. The percentage of admissions, is (for five years at any rate) to be limited, to twenty-five per cent - a proportion which could be easily absorbed and assimilated to the standards and attitudes of the privileged. On the other hand, the quid pro quo is substantial - a subsidy in the form of guaranteed fees amounting to twenty-five per cent of their total expenditure.

Let us look at the effects on the rest of the secondary schools. If past experience is any guide, they will lose a number of their most promising pupils, who will be enticed by the lure of the old school tie, and by the material advantages of an exclusive employment agency. The continuance and recognition by the State of a number of "super" schools will tend to degrade the status of the secondary schools in the eyes of some parents.

The questions are answered. The proposals of the Fleming


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Committee do not represent even a small step towards a democratic system of education. On the contrary, they are a sham concession to democracy which, if operated, will tend to bolster up privilege and subsidize snobbery.

It is not surprising that one minor Public School has already concluded an agreement with the Middlesex Education Authority, presumably with the approval of the ex-Minister of Education. It is to be hoped that the new Minister will at least put a stop to further schemes of this kind and warn well-meaning parents not to be fooled by such specious enticements. Triumphant democracy must set to work to establish a new and more wholesome tradition - that of the People's Schools, open to all on equal terms and second to none. The new school tie must replace the old.

We must now return to the Report of the Fleming Committee. It will be remembered that, included in the terms of reference of that Committee were a number of Direct Grant and Aided Schools, on which separate recommendations were made in the Report. Most of these schools are, in effect, part of the existing secondary school system. Nevertheless, they are regarded as the outposts of the Public Schools; and as such, they have received the powerful patronage of the Headmasters' Conference and the Governing Bodies Association. Their complete absorption in the secondary school system would leave the Public Schools in splendid, but precarious, isolation - lone citadels of privilege. Such people suffered a severe, shock from the interim recommendation of a majority of the Fleming Committee to abolish fees in all schools in receipt of public funds, though it was, of course, completely in accord with the principle stated in the White Paper on Educational Reconstruction: "A system under which fees are charged in one type of post-primary school, and prohibited in the other offends against the canon that the nature of a child's education should be determined by his capacity and promise, and not by the financial circumstances of his parent". However, the effect of this recommendation, which was not fully implemented by the ex-Minister, was largely nullified by the subsequent recommendations which were quickly implemented in the Grant Regulations of March, 1945. Here, again, Mr. Butler made important concessions to privilege, and departed from the principle of equal opportunity by retaining this group of secondary schools in a special and privileged position, as compared with the maintained and aided-secondary schools, and even offering to schools which are


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not at present on the Direct Grant list the possibility of attaining that position. Schools which wish to remain, or to be placed, on the Direct Grant list, will be required to offer to the local education authority twenty-five per cent of their places, and may be required to offer fifty per cent. These places will be free of fees as far as parents of the pupils are concerned, but will be paid for in full, either by the local education authority, or the Ministry. The remaining fifty per cent of places will be under the control of the Governors. In the rather vague words of the Ministry of Education circular, these "residuary places" will be filled "in accordance with the general conditions governing the admission of pupils". Pupils admitted in this category will pay fees according to an income scale. The difference between the full fee and the fee received from the parent will be paid by the Ministry of Education. In addition, the Ministry will pay a capitation grant of 16 for every registered pupil. One-third of the Governors will be nominated by the local education authority, or by the Ministry of Education.

Thus, in spite of the general acceptance of the principle of free secondary education, these schools will be allowed to charge fees for at least half their pupils. Comment is superfluous! Secondly, they will remain independent of the local education authority, that is, of the publicly elected body on which responsibility for education is laid by the Act: "It shall be the duty of every local education authority to secure that there shall be available for their area sufficient schools .. for providing secondary education." It will be difficult enough during the next few years to provide adequate and suitable secondary education; the existence of specially privileged schools, which are outside the control of democratically elected, and constitutionally recognized, local authorities, will make the task still more difficult; in any area where such schools exist, planning is bound to be more complicated. However, the Minister of Education will have little difficulty in checking this racket. According to the regulation, every application to be placed on the Direct Grant list must be approved by the Minister. Moreover, the local education authority concerned is entitled to make its observations. If these checks are strictly applied in the interests of the school population in the area, it should be possible at least to reduce the list very considerably. The Minister can count on the support of the Association of


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Education Committees and of the National Union of Teachers. Once the general body of parents realizes that this form of snobbery is depriving their children of opportunities to which they are entitled, they, too, will give their full and active support to any measures which will help, to open the way to a full and free education for all children.





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CHAPTER IV

THE DUAL SYSTEM
In practice, the legal safeguards and the divided responsibilities of this system of dual control have given rise to endless complications in administration, which retard educational progress; engender friction and consume time and energies, which could be spent to much better purpose. The system is inconsistent with proper economy and efficiency. White Paper on Educational Reconstruction.

THE tangled history of our education system, the privileged position and interests of the Churches, and the political character of the Parliament which passed the Act, combined to cause another important departure from the idea of a completely unified national system of education - the retention, though in a modified form, of what is known as the "Dual System". As the White Paper on Educational Reconstruction mildly complained, "an embarrassing feature of the public system of education for many years has been the existence within it of voluntary (or non-provided) - schools, the control of which is divided between the local education authority and the Managers."

This "Dual System" arose from the fact that, up to 1870, public education (such as it was) was provided solely by means of State subsidies to the religious bodies which built and controlled the schools and employed the teachers.

By the middle of the nineteenth century, the inadequacies of this system had become so gross that they could no longer be tolerated. In spite of State subsidies amounting to nearly 5,000,000 and something like 8,000,000 provided from the funds of the religious bodies themselves, there were a million children between six and ten, and 500,000 between ten and twelve not provided for at all. Of the 2,000,000 children on the school registers, about two-thirds were at school for less than two years. So the Act of 1870 set up schools (later known as Board Schools), provided and maintained entirely


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out of public funds, and existing side by side with the subsidized but privately controlled voluntary schools. Such was the origin of the Dual System.

By 1902, there were 5,875 board schools and 14,275 voluntary schools. The religious bodies proved quite incapable of bearing the increasing costs of these voluntary schools. So, under the Education Act of 1902, the whole cost of the maintenance of voluntary schools was transferred to the newly established local education authorities. The Managers of the voluntary schools, appointed by, and responsible to, the religious bodies, retained the right to appoint the teachers, though their salaries were paid by the local education authority. While the local education authorities have the control of secular (i.e., non-religious) education in voluntary schools; their powers are strictly limited. The Act of 1902 aroused bitter and prolonged opposition, particularly from Non-Conformists, who objected to paying rates for the purpose of subsidizing denominational schools. Thousands of "passive resisters" went to prison rather than pay the rates. Although in course of time this "Dual System" has come to be accepted, it has failed disastrously to provide for the educational needs of the people. In the words of the White Paper on Educational Reconstruction: "... the legal safeguards and the divided responsibilities of this system of dual control have given rise to endless complications in administration, which retard educational progress, engender friction and consume time and energies which could be spent to much better purpose. The system is inconsistent with proper economy and efficiency ... "

Most voluntary schools are in old, out-of-date buildings; ninety per cent of them dating from 1900 or earlier. Of the 753 schools on the "black list" of the then Board of Education (a list issued in 1925 and now very much out of date), 541 are voluntary schools. In 1939, only sixteen per cent of the voluntary schools had been "reorganized" (i.e., divided into senior and junior departments), as against sixty-two per cent of council schools. Faced with such facts we are not surprised that both the total number and the proportion of children attending voluntary schools has steadily decreased. In 1880, more than half the school population was attending voluntary schools, Even in 1902, there were 3,074,000 children in voluntary schools, as against 2,344,000 in council schools. By 1938, the number of voluntary schools had dropped to 10,533, and the number of children in attendance to 1,374,000. At the same date,


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there were 10,363 council schools, with an average attendance of 3,151,000. Thus, the percentage of children attending voluntary schools decreased between 1902 and 1938, from fifty-six per cent to thirty per cent, and. the numbers decreased by 1,700,000.

Nevertheless, the problem was - and still is - a very real one, especially in the country districts where most of the voluntary schools are to be found. Their existence and the inability of the Churches to bring them up-to-date, or to replace them, have been perhaps the biggest obstacle to educational advance.

There are other serious objections to the privileged position of the Churches in British education. Especially is it resented by teachers, who are often obliged to serve two masters - the local education authority, which pays their salaries, and the person, who, in fact, appoints them, and too often regards the school as his. Friction between parsons and teachers is common, and often has a disastrous effect on the smooth running of the school where it occurs. In the voluntary schools, too, appointment and promotion depend frequently more on adherence to a particular religious denomination, than to teaching ability and experience. Most serious of all - the general attitude of the Church to popular education and to modern ideas has been a hostile one. It still reflects the decaying feudalism of the English countryside. With some honourable exceptions, it is a strong supporter of the old school tie tradition. Even today some Church dignitaries do not hesitate to defend pigsty schools in the name of religion.

The Dual System cannot be reconciled with a democratic and national system of education.

What should be done? The obvious and logical solution is the complete transference of the voluntary schools to the control of the local education authorities. This has been for many years the policy of the National Union of Teachers and of the Free Churches. It was the policy of a majority of the representatives of the local education authorities. Complete abolition of the Dual System was accepted by an overwhelming majority at the Trades Union Congress in September, 1942. The abolition of the Dual System does not involve the removal of religion from the schools. Undenominational religious instruction is given in all council schools with the safeguard of a "conscience clause" for parents (though not for teachers). There is, however, increasing support for the secular solution, the complete removal of religious instruction from the


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schools, which has been adopted in New Zealand, the United States and in Russia. But neither the Church of England, nor the Roman Catholic Church was willing to surrender its privileges. Both claimed to be pioneers and to have a special mission to secure Christian education in the schools. So, realizing that any drastic reform of the educational system was bound to tackle the question of dual control, the Churches began to prepare their defences. In 1941, during the early stages of negotiations which preceded the publication of the White Paper, a Five Point Statement on the Teaching of Religion in Council Schools was issued by the Archbishops of the Church of England. The most important and the most controversial of the Five Points was a proposal to legalize the inspection of religious instruction in council schools. Regarded as a whole, the Archbishops Five Points were a direct challenge to the famous Cowper-Temple clause of the 1870 Act, which forbids tenets distinctive of particular religious denominations being taught in publicly provided schools. As this clause was regarded both by the Free Churches and the teachers organizations as their main safeguard against clerical interference and control, a lively reaction might have been expected, especially as the occasion was exploited by certain people to launch vicious attacks against the so-called "godless" council schools. But when the Five Points received the support of 224 Members of Parliament, including some members of the Free Churches, it became clear that some kind of agreement had been reached behind the scenes. The negotiations for a new Education Bill were well under way. For nearly two years, Mr. R. A. Butler, who succeeded Mr. H. Ramsbotham as President of the Board of Education, and his Parliamentary Secretary, Mr. J. Chuter Ede, M.P., negotiated with the leaders of the Church of England, of the Free Churches and of the National Union of Teachers. Mr. Butler was handling dynamite, and he knew it, but his diplomatic skill and patience were equal to the occasion. A precarious compromise was reached and embodied in the White Paper.

There was still another party to be reckoned with - the Roman Catholics. On former occasions they had provided the shock troops of the clerical army. The Catholic Church has the advantage of a clear and uncompromising policy, and a well-disciplined rank and file. They had not taken part in the preliminary negotiations. They denounced the White Paper compromise as a gross injustice


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to Catholics. "The Catholic schools are in danger. A National unified system of education is totalitarianism." They demanded Catholic schools with Catholic teachers for Catholic children - financed one hundred per cent from public funds. They organized a vigorous and, at times, virulent campaign, which continued right up to the passage of the Act. But the violence of the campaign alienated public opinion, and even some of the Catholics. It failed to attract the support of the Church of England, though it undoubtedly helped to secure very generous concessions for the voluntary schools - concessions which complicate the operation of the Act.

The final result is a compromise which is embodied in the Act.

WILL THE COMPROMISE WORK?

The "religious" issue in the nation's schools is really an administrative and political issue. It is not settled by the Butler Act. Thanks to past history and the political colour of Parliament at the time, the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church have been able to maintain their claim to a privileged position. They have secured generous financial concessions which may give a new lease of life to their voluntary schools. The Church of England has not even been obliged to surrender its 4,000 schools in areas where the only school is a church school - a long-standing grievance of the Free Church Community. The new regulations for compulsory religious instruction and inspection give to the Churches increased influence in the schools maintained by the local education authorities, and are viewed with justifiable anxiety by many teachers whose fears are not entirely removed by the introduction of a "conscience clause". Vigilance and firmness on the part of the National Union of Teachers will be more than ever necessary.

On the other hand, the Act will certainly bring about an extension of public control over the schools. It is expected that, for financial reasons, many of the Church of England voluntary schools will become aided schools, and thus come largely under the control of the local education authority. The greatest gain from an educational and democratic standpoint is the new power of the Minister of Education to enforce higher standards in all schools including the voluntary - or, as they will now be called, auxiliary schools. The generous financial concessions remove any excuse for the inconvenient, insanitary, dilapidated hovels which many children are compelled to attend by the law of the land. It was this determined


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popular insistence on decent standards which was decisive in the negotiations, and will continue to be decisive during the operation of the Act. Most parents are determined to secure for their children a decent schooling in decent surroundings. They are not actively interested in dogmatic religion. They are quite satisfied with the undenominational religious instruction provided in the old council schools. They are not likely to allow clerical interests or sectarian controversy to stand in the way of the improvement of educational standards, or with the reasonable professional freedom of the teacher. It is this attitude of the average parent which provides the best guarantee for the effective working of the compromise.

A Labour Minister of Education, insisting on decent standards in all schools, in town and country, maintained or auxiliary, will have the full support of the people.




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CHAPTER V

IT CAN BE DONE
Upon the education of the people of this country the fate of this country depends. White Paper on Educational Reconstruction.
THESE concessions to privilege and vested interests are weaknesses, but they do not destroy, or even dangerously impair, the comprehensive framework of the new educational structure. They may be described as pockets of resistance which, if they do not surrender, can be dealt with at a later stage. They are, however, often the starting point of a form of criticism which demands an answer, if only because it tends to produce a cynical attitude, and to demobilize many sincere and enthusiastic educational reformers at a time when every effort is urgently needed to translate paper into action.

These critics are openly pessimistic. They minimize the progressive features of the Act, and exaggerate its weaknesses and compromises. Above all, they lay great stress on the very real obstacles that stand in the way of its operation. They ask: How are the teachers to be found? And the new school buildings? Where is the money coming from? While they admit the generally progressive and democratic character of the Act, they dismiss it as electioneering eyewash. They remind us of the fate of the Education Act of 1918, which was placed on the Statute Book during the last war and never carried out. They point to the concessions to the religious bodies, to the vagueness of the time-table for the operation of important sections of the Act, and to the inadequacy of the financial provisions. They argue that the recognition of senior and modern schools as secondary is nothing but a change of name, leaving untouched the real difference in status and conditions between the old and new secondary schools. Others, particularly teachers in pre-Act secondary schools, go still further and declare that the real purpose of the Act is a general levelling-down of the standards to


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the old elementary school level, which will leave only elementary education for the many and Public Schools for the few.

No sensible person will deny that there are very real difficulties ahead, especially in the next few years. But nothing worth having has ever been won without a struggle. The first question we have to answer is: Is the Act worth a struggle? Taking the Act at its face value, there can only be one answer. The Act presents the British people with a grand opportunity to establish in the next few years a progressive, unified and national system of education - something we have never had, and the lack of which has been a very serious blot on our democracy. The significance of that opportunity is well summarized by Mr. Ernest Green in his book Education for a New Society - "It is only when educational privilege is seen in the light of the social and political power it confers, that the claim for equality of educational opportunity is fully understood. The average citizen has never fully appreciated its importance. He has thought of it in terms of better opportunity for his children than he, himself, enjoyed, as a means to social security or as the means by which he and his children may enjoy their rightful cultural inheritance. It means access to all these things, but it means much more. Its full fruition should lead to making the personnel in the public services, and particularly in the key positions, accessible to, and broadly representative of, the common people. The significance of this, on social and political policy, should be obvious. It would mean at least that the aspirations of the common people would be understood, and offer a much more certain guarantee that the will of the majority would be implemented. In short, it is essential to a democratic society."

But the doubters will ask: Can we take the Act at its face value? Is it not just another trick which the all-powerful "they" are putting over on the long-suffering "us"? Will "they", when the time comes, whittle down or destroy all the progressive clauses and operate only those which make concessions to privilege and vested interests?

It must be admitted that such doubts have a real foundation in the lamentable history of popular education in our country. Time and again, reaction, privilege and sectarian controversy have been able to block long overdue educational reforms.

The Fisher Act of 1918, by avoiding any attempt to tackle the thorny problem of the Dual System, secured a safe passage through Parliament - only to be decapitated a little later by the Geddes


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economy axe, to the accompaniment of sighs of relief and some crocodile tears from the reactionaries. The Trevelyan Bill of 1929 was defeated on the religious issue. In 1931, the notorious Committee on National Expenditure, under the Chairmanship of Sir George May, of the Prudential Insurance Company, made further drastic cuts in educational expenditure. A sentence from this report is worth quoting, because it expresses admirably the attitude of mind, which has consistently and stubbornly opposed a decent education for the mass of the people. Here it is:

Since the standard of education, elementary and secondary, that is being given to the children of poor parents is already, in very many cases, superior to that which the middle class parent is providing for his own child, we feel that it is time to pause in this policy of expansion.
It is the belief that this attitude of mind is still widely prevalent in influential circles which inspires suspicion, cynicism and defeatism in the minds of many sincere supporters of educational advance - "They" will never allow equality of opportunity.

This fear of "them" is often reinforced by doubts as to the attitude of the average parent. Do they really believe in education? Do they support a longer school life for their children? Or do they regard school as a necessary evil to be ended as soon as possible; so that children can start on the real business of life - earning a living? Are they prepared to foot the bill for higher standards? Or will they be stampeded into violent opposition by an extra 2s. on the rates?

Again, it must be admitted that there has been some justification for pessimism. There was little mass support for the Fisher Act of 1918, and little mass protest against the economies that killed it. It was not until 1931 that there was a really widespread and vocal opinion against educational economy and inequality. In the following years, education began to become a popular topic, with the result that educational programmes featured in the election propaganda of all the parties. This resulted in the abortive Act of 1936, which was itself the cause of widening discussion and more lively interest. In the years just before the war, propaganda, inspired mainly by the National Union of Teachers and the Workers Educational Association, reached and convinced much wider sections of the public than ever before. But though it can be said that these pioneer efforts paved the way, it was the impact of the war on the minds of the people


[page 42]

that brought about a deep and wide demand for democratic reconstruction in education, as in all other spheres.

Towards the end of 1941, Mr. H, Ramsbotham (now Lord Soulbury), then President of the Board of Education, issued for private circulation and discussion a book of suggestions for the reconstruction of post-war education. In spite of a very limited circulation, this little book roused very great interest, and stimulated every organization and many individuals interested in education to publish programmes. In 1942 the Annual Conference of the National Union of Teachers discussed and passed a very comprehensive plan of educational reconstruction - generally known as the "Dark Green Book". The Trades Union Congress followed suit in September, 1942, with a "Memorandum on Education after the War". In the next few months, every political party, the Workers Educational Association, the Co-operative Union, all the teachers organizations, and those like the Association of Education Committees representing the local education authorities, published comprehensive statements. All of them, including that of the Conservative Party, were based, on the need for drastic reforms. The efforts of the pioneers began to bear fruit. For the first time there was real evidence of a popular demand for a democratic system of education - a demand which has been sustained and fostered right through the war years, and the long period of preparation which preceded the publication of the Government White Paper on Educational Reconstruction in July, 1943, and the final passage of the Act in July, 1944. In stimulating and leading this popular demand, a most important part has been played by the Council for Educational Advance, an alliance, under the Chairmanship of Professor R. H. Tawney, of the National Union of Teachers, the Co-operative Union, the Trades Union Congress and the Workers Educational Association, formed in September, 1942, with the aim of "immediate legislation to provide equality of educational opportunity for all children, irrespective of their social and economic condition, in order to equip them for a full life, and for democratic citizenship." The Council for Educational Advance is significant as being the first direct and official alliance between the National Union of Teachers and the working-class movement. It has been directly responsible for many hundreds of delegate conferences and meetings throughout the country, and can justly claim a large part in securing the passage of the Education Act, of 1944. Since the passage of the Act, the activities of the Council for Educational Advance have


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continued and have assumed a more localized form. Many local education authorities, in response to a request from the Minister of Education, have organized parents meetings to explain the meaning and purpose of the Act. Teachers have begun to realize the great opportunity presented by the Act and the importance of popular backing. At the Annual Conference of the National Union of Teachers in 1945, Sir Frederick Mander, the General Secretary, called for 20,000 parents' meetings before the end of 1948. Education was a live issue in the General Election, and at the municipal elections. The combined result is a lively and sustained interest among parents. Meetings and conferences dealing with the Act are almost invariably well attended. Speakers are bombarded with pointed and practical questions. For the first time in our history, there is a strong and growing popular demand for educational advance.

This evidence of popular demand. has undoubtedly affected the attitude of influential sections not hitherto favourably inclined towards popular education. Reactionary and sectarian opposition has been much less vocal and much less effective in blocking educational progress. Popular demand cannot be ignored in a democratic country.

There are other and equally important influences at work. The war has revealed the glaring inadequacies of our educational system. The intake of recruits into the armed forces has brought some startling revelations. In 1942, a News Chronicle report showed that two to two and a half per cent of the recruits were found to be almost totally illiterate. "It is a common criticism of our present full-time education, which for most children, ceases at about the age of fourteen," says the White Paper on Educational Reconstruction, "that its effects are thin and liable to wear off quickly once the child has left school for work. The reason for this is not difficult to see; to borrow the language of photography, the process of education for the vast majority of children offers at present an example of underexposure, under-development and insufficient fixing."

In industry, our educational shortcomings were equally apparent. Speaking to the British Association for the Advancement of Science, in January, 1945, Mr. E. Bevin disclosed that when he became Minister of Labour, he had to train, in the first year, 70,000 radio mechanics. He also found, when he took office, that there were only


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14,000 draughtsmen in the whole of Britain - not as many as a single large concern in America would employ.

Comparisons with other countries show that we are falling behind. In the United States, eight-five per cent of all children between fifteen and sixteen years old remain full-time at school, and sixty-seven per cent of those between sixteen and seventeen. In Great Britain, the respective percentages are sixteen and eight. All of the Dominions and the Scandinavian countries have a higher school-leaving age. In Russia, education is compulsory up to the age of fifteen, even in regions which before 1917 had no educational facilities at all, and in spite of the war, which to some extent interrupted educational progress, there has been a tremendous expansion in the number of secondary and technical schools for children over fifteen. The economic argument for far-reaching reforms was well put in the White Paper on Educational Reconstruction: "The initial and natural advantages that gave this country, almost for the asking, its place of pre-eminence in world manufacture and world markets, have long been fading. More and more, in the future, it will be necessary to rely on the capacity, adaptability and the quality of our industrial and commercial personnel. Had fuller attention been given earlier to the all-important question of the training of young workers, some of the difficulties experienced by the Services and by industry during the present war would have been markedly less acute." It was driven home by Mr. Winston Churchill in his broadcast of March, 1944: "... you have the greatest scheme of improved education that has ever been attempted by a responsible Government ... I do not think we can maintain our position in the post-war world unless we are an exceptionally well-educated people, and unless we can handle easily, and with comprehension, the problems and inventions of the new scientific age."

Here, long before the General Election of July, 1945, is undeniable evidence of a most significant change of opinion in the minds of influential people, some of whom, to put it mildly, have not in the past shown much sympathy for a democratic system of education. Like Mr. Winston Churchill, representatives of Big Business, the successors of Geddes and May, have also realized the urgent need for educational reform in their own interests, and have gone on record in the columns of The Times in favour of the Act.

They realize that, without a much larger supply of scientists and


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technicians of all kinds, British industry and commerce cannot maintain its position in the post-war world. No one, least of all hard-headed business men, supposes that this supply can be found in the Public Schools, whose function is quite a different one, as I have tried to show elsewhere. Actually, the existing secondary and technical schools cannot meet the need, if only because but a small percentage of their pupils stay on after the age of sixteen. The McNair Report on "Teachers and Youth Leaders" estimates the total number of secondary school pupils staying on after the age of seventeen at 21,000. This is the main source of supply for the professions as well as for the scientists, higher technicians and administrators. As the Report points out, it is hopelessly inadequate. For teachers alone, without whom the supply cannot be increased, 15,000 must be taken from the pool every year. Nor can the pool be increased to any considerable extent merely by paying more attention to the later stages of education. An improvement in the standards of general education, beginning in the earliest stages, is essential. This is one good reason why there is no real danger of levelling down instead of up. This does not mean, of course, that short-sighted reactionaries and die-hard Colonel Blimps will be converted overnight to enthusiastic support of educational advance. There will no doubt be many who will fight hard to maintain privilege in education, even if it threatens the vital interests of the country. There will be others blind enough to attempt delaying tactics. But it does mean that never again in Britain wiII the forces of reaction and privilege be so solid and so ruthless in their opposition to educational advance, as they have been in the past. History does not repeat itself. 1945 was not 1918 - even in the Federation of British Industries and the City of London.

There is another and stronger reason why the levelling-up process has begun and will continue. There is a change in the attitude of the British people since 1918. If any lingering doubts remain about the possibilities of social and educational advance, the results of the General Election, 1945, should remove them once and for all. Never in British history was there such a sweeping victory over Tory reaction and privilege.

The return of a Labour Government with a decisive majority cleared the way for democratic advance in education as in other spheres. The opportunity is here. We can secure for our children "a happier childhood and a better start in life". "Equality of


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opportunity" is within our grasp. We are in no mood to tolerate privilege or vested interest, which stand between us and a democratic system of education. Let us grasp the opportunity with both hands, and move forward to tackle the material obstacles, which still hinder but cannot permanently block our path.

There is no justification for pessimism. There is need for hard thinking, hard slogging, and for speed and punch.





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CHAPTER VI

WANTED ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND TEACHERS
The truth is that we have not yet emancipated ourselves from the tradition of educating our children on the cheap. Report of the McNair Committee (1944).
THERE is no justification for pessimism, but there is no excuse for complacency. The Act offers to the British people at the same time a great opportunity and a tremendous task. More than a century of class discrimination and neglect of the mass of the children has induced in many parents a very sceptical, and even in some cases, a hostile attitude to education. They are not unnaturally sceptical of the value of schooling which has been restricted to little more than the Three R's except for a favoured few. Too many are inclined to regard compulsory education as a doubtful blessing to be got over as soon as possible. But the willingness of poor parents to make great sacrifices for their children, when they are convinced that they are getting something worth while, shows that this attitude can be altered. Thousands of parents whose children have won places in secondary schools have stinted themselves of the comforts and even of the necessities of life, in order to give their children a better chance than they had themselves.

Here is an example of such sacrifice revealed in a recent letter to the Press:

I have a son who will be nineteen in August. He won a scholarship to a small public school when eight years and nine months old. He should have been eleven years old to enter, but he had shown so much promise at the small village school that I was advised by the Headmaster to give him his chance. He got through easily. We did our best to fit him out like the other boys. My husband was then earning 2 per week. Two years later, my husband lost his job, and we were unable to get work near the school. The scholarship was not transferable, and if we moved far away, the boy would lose the chance he had gained. The school said they would take the boy as a boarder at reduced fees, but it meant

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fitting him out. We mortgaged our home, bought his new outfit with most of the money, paid part of a term's fees and left him at his school. It was a success.

We got work in London. It was a great sacrifice, as I had to give up my liberty as well as my home, and for more than seven years, I have worked on.

Before the boy was fourteen, he had got school certificate with the matriculation exemption. At fifteen years, we put him to a technical college in London, paying for his lodgings and fees because he wished to become an engineer. In one year, he had won a technical award of 40 a year, and the Education people made it up to 80, so he was able to go to the Polytechnic and keep on his studies.

At this time, I had drawn out all my savings, and we have had to use every bit we could spare on his clothes and books and other essential things, including his board. He hopes to take his degree this July, and I have every confidence in his doing it.

It has been well worth it. The public school life made a fine boy of him. If he is a useful citizen and a good man later on, and able to earn a place in the world, and perhaps make a name for himself, I shall feel I have done right, and that the sacrifice has not been in vain. My son seems a sensible, broad-minded boy, not too proud to own his parents, who are both working for him and poor because of his need. He has gained his great wish to become a member of a University. He is an internal student of the London University; and I am proud of it. We would do it again.

In 1932, at a secondary school, one in ten of the boys were eking out their fathers' "dole" by earning a few shillings delivering newspapers before and after school. A young man now well on his way to qualifying as an accountant was kept for five years at a secondary school by his grandparents who had nothing but their old age pensions.

Most parents want the best possible education for their children. Many make great sacrifices to obtain it. But old school tie privilege and deliberate restriction of opportunity effectively deprive all but a small minority of the chance to develop their abilities and use them to the fuIl.

In Scotland and in Wales, where opportunity is less restricted, the value of education is more widely appreciated than in England. Real and complete equality of opportunity will do much to remove the doubts and objections of English parents. The sharing of the cost by the whole community - this is the real meaning of "free" education - will largely remove the need for individual sacrifice. Education will no longer be regarded as a luxury, only justified by


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exceptional promise, but as a necessity for everyone in the interests of the individual and the community.

But equality of opportunity must be real and complete. It must start from the beginning in the nursery, infant and primary schools. Thousands of children are denied any real chance right at the outset of their school lives by failure to provide sufficient qualified teachers. Before the war there were something like two million children being herded into classes of over forty. Of these, more than half a million were infants - children under seven. It is not surprising that some parents showed little enthusiasm for education in such conditions. Large classes are a crime committed on the nation's children. It is a crime arising out of "the tradition of cheapness which has dogged the elementary school for a hundred years and more."

Equality of opportunity is denied not only by large classes but equally by the all-age school still typical in the country districts. It is quite usual to find a school catering for upwards of fifty children aged from five to fourteen with a staff of two teachers - a qualified Headmistress and an uncertificated assistant, or perhaps even a "supplementary" teacher, with no qualifications whatever. Until 1st April, 1945, even the qualified teachers in the country districts were paid a lower scale than their colleagues in the industrial areas. "Uncertificated" teachers, who make up nearly half the establishment in some country areas, received salaries scandalously low. "Supplementaries" have had no fixed scale at all, being paid according to purely local arrangement. In addition to miserable salaries, country teachers suffered, and still suffer, from the lack of social and cultural facilities, and in too many cases from the domination of squire and parson. Conditions in country schools are largely dictated by councillors who never think of sending their own children to the village school, which is still the school for the children of the "labouring poor". In spite of their handicaps, these underpaid country teachers have done much in the last forty years to raise the standards of education in the countryside. But not even their devotion could remove entirely the handicaps of the country child. It is not to be wondered at that better qualified teachers have sought in urban areas better conditions of work and better pay.

All-age schools in the villages, large classes in the towns, both denials of equal opportunity, are both due to the hopelessly inadequate staffing of the elementary schools. The fact is that, even counting the large numbers of the partially qualified and the totally


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unqualified, there are not enough teachers. In 1939, before the war, there were 167,000 full-time teachers in elementary schools for some 5,000,000 children. Of these eighty per cent were certificated teachers, with at least a two-year college training. Of the remaining twenty per cent, the majority were "uncertificated", that is, they had received a secondary school education, but no training. Finally, there were some "supplementary" teachers, from whom no academic qualifications whatever were demanded. This total of 167,000 included some 29,000 heads of schools, of whom more than 17,000 were solely responsible for a class in addition to their duties as heads. But let us take the gross figure - misleading as it is - 167,000 teachers for 5,000,000 children, an average of one teacher for more than thirty children. Compare this with the ratio at Winchester College - one teacher for eleven boys. Or if you regard the comparison between elementary and public school as unreal, take the position in the grant-aided secondary schools. Here we have 25,000 teachers - most of them university graduates, and, until this year, paid on a much higher scale than their elementary colleagues - for some 500,000 children, an average of one teacher for twenty children. And no one has ever dared to suggest that the secondary schools are overstaffed. The conclusion is unavoidable. As the McNair Report comments: "We have not yet emancipated ourselves from the tradition of educating our children on the cheap." The first, most urgent and most essential step in the levelling-up process demanded by the Education Act of 1944, is the provision of more qualified teachers.

How many will be needed in the next few years? At the present moment there are some 5,500,000 children in all types of school maintained or aided from public funds. To these must be added another 600,000, when the leaving age is raised to sixteen, and perhaps another 500,900 children between two and five in nursery schools and classes, making a total of 6,600,000. Providing for these on the modest standards of the pre-war secondary schools, i.e., one teacher for every twenty children, and without making any extra allowance for more generous staffing in the nurseries, this gives a total of 340,000 teachers. If we add 10,000 for the County Colleges, we get a final total of 350,000 teachers needed to carry out the full provisions of the Act - an addition of eighty per cent to the pre-war establishment.

But this figure, large as it is, does not complete the picture. Of the 200,000 pre-war teachers, less than 25,000 had undergone both professional training and a university course. 7,000 were untrained


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graduates, 30,000 uncertificated, and, the remainder had received a two-year training. In accordance with the recommendations of the McNair Committee, the Minister of Education has already announced that as soon as practicable the minimum requirement for a qualified teacher will be a three-year course of training.

It is not easy to estimate the annual output of trained teachers required to maintain an establishment of 350,000. Pre-war annual wastage from all causes was about six per cent, but this will no doubt be reduced by the removal of the ban on the employment of married women. Improved pay and conditions ought to effect a further reduction. But while giving full weight to these favourable factors, a normal output of 15,000 should be regarded as a minimum. The pre-war output of training colleges and of the university training departments was about 6,250! How is this great increase in the number of teachers to be achieved?

Even before the publication of the White Paper on Educational Reconstruction, the Minister of Education had appointed a Committee of experts - already referred to above as the McNair Committee: "To investigate the present sources of supply, and the methods of recruitment, and training of teachers and youth leaders, and to report what principles should guide the Board in these matters in the future." The report of the Committee, published in 1944, provides an answer to our question, and a caustic comment on the "trail of cheapness" which lay across the elementary schools, "... and has also cast its spell over the training colleges which prepare teachers for them. What is chiefly wrong with the majority of the training colleges is their poverty and all that flows from it." The Report, therefore recommends not only a substantial increase in teachers salaries, but a basic salary scale for all qualified teachers, which would have the effect of wiping out the discrimination against the elementary school. This very important recommendation has already been acted upon. As from April, 1945, new salary scales negotiated in the Burnham Committee between representatives of the teachers and the local education authorities, have been approved by the Minister. They mark a substantial advance and embody the principle of a basic minimum for all qualified teachers, thus ending discrimination against the elementary-school teacher and the country teacher. Unfortunately, discrimination against women teachers, who constitute seventy per cent of the profession, remains, though another recommendation of the Report - the ending of the ban against


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married women teachers - is also incorporated in the Education Act, 1944. The Report also recommends drastic changes in the organization of the training of teachers, in particular the close linking of the training colleges with the universities, and a minimum three-year course. These recommendations, when carried out, will undoubtedly have the effect of improving the economic and social position of the teaching profession, and of increasing its attraction.

But they do not reach the root of the problem, which is to be found in the niggardly provision of educational facilities for the mass of children. The sole source of supply of teachers for the public service is the secondary schools, and is limited to boys and girls who remain at school beyond the age of seventeen, the earliest age of admission to a training college. The Report points out, in a section which has not received the attention it deserves, that this group is also the major source of all the professions. But the total number in the group only amounts to 21,000 boys and girls. Thus "the problem of supply (of trained teachers) from the existing field of recruitment reduced itself to an absurdity. There are 21,000 people available for teaching and comparable professions, and the teaching profession requires 15,000 of them!" The Report goes on to make a series of recommendations designed to induce more boys and girls to prolong their time at school, to offer opportunities of entering the profession to pupils of technical and other schools, and to ensure that the importance of education and the profession is brought to the notice of parents. This is all to the good, but it still does not provide an effective answer to the problem. The only real solution is the wide and rapid extension of secondary education to all children. The present restriction to a privileged minority is disastrous, not only for education, but for all the occupations which require a full secondary education as a necessary foundation. Once again, neglect of our most valuable asset, the nation's children, has landed us in a dangerous position. If Mr. Winston Churchill is right in saying that the future is to the highly educated races, we have no time to waste in breaking down the prejudices and the class barriers which have denied a full and free secondary education to our children. In particular, the raising of the school leaving age is an urgent necessity. To quote the McNair Report once more: "It is true that the raising of the age to sixteen will require still more teachers. We agree, however, with those who say that the problem may prove to


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be not so much one of finding the teachers to raise the age, as of raising the age to find the teachers."

The proposals of the McNair Committee, even if carried out at once, would have little immediate effect. Students entering college in September, 1945, will not be available in the schools before September, 1947. The increase in their number is hardly likely to meet the additional wastage which must be expected in the next few years. Teachers who have carried on beyond retiring age, married women who have returned to school during the war, and young women whose husbands have returned from service - many of these must be expected to give up teaching in the next few years. To meet this wastage, we can look forward to the return to the schools of a considerable number of the 20,000 teachers now in the Services. On the other hand, the raising of the school leaving age to fifteen, already postponed once, must not be delayed longer than is unavoidable. As we have already seen, the raising of the age is an essential condition of meeting the demand for additional teachers. Finally, the shortage of teachers is acute, and is already causing a serious deterioration of standards in the schools.

We are faced with an emergency. How serious it is can be seen from the following rough balance sheet. Let us start from the estimated position on 1st September, 1946, and look ahead two years to 1st September, 1948. On the credit side, we can place the output of the colleges and university training departments - 5,000 in 1946, increased to turn out 7,000 students in 1947, and 10,000 in 1948. We can confidently expect the release of some 20,000 teachers from the Forces before the end of 1947. This would provide by 1st September, 1948, something like 44,000 additional teachers.

But wastage, though difficult to estimate accurately, is bound to be heavy in the next few years. It would be rash, therefore, to reckon that this anticipated reinforcement of 44,000 teachers will do more than restore the 1939 position by 1st September, 1948. That is to say, we cannot count on more than 200,000 teachers from normal sources on 1st September, 1948, even if the annual output of training colleges and university departments is increased to provide 10,000 by that time.

Meantime, the raising of the school leaving age to fifteen, postponed to 1st April, 1947, will add 390,000 to the number of children in school, making a total of nearly 6,000,000. This figure makes no allowance for a probable and desirable increase of the number of


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children below the age of five attending nursery schools and classes. It makes no allowance for a reduction in the size of classes. It means that, unless emergency measures are taken, the position in September, 1948, three years after the end of the war, will be actually worse than it was in 1939. That is a prospect which cannot be tolerated. The strain on the teachers in many parts of the country is already so heavy that breaking point is near. It cannot be borne for another three years.

What can be done?

First, there are immediate administrative, measures which would greatly ease the strain. The distribution of teachers in the different areas is very uneven. Some of the big cities have actually considered going over to part-time schooling because the shortage of teachers and the size of classes have produced an intolerable burden. On the other hand, one local education authority has recently dismissed 105 married women teachers! A continuation and extension of the present quota scheme for new entrants will be necessary to prevent a worsening of the situation in, the areas most hard-pressed.

Second, as was recommended by the McNair Committee, it must be made easy for teachers, especially married women and retired teachers, to give part-time service. A third and very considerable contribution can be made by the generous provision of clerical and other non-teacher assistance in the schools, in order to free trained teachers from the clerical and other "extraneous" duties which have been piled upon them during the war. By these expedients, it may be possible to balance the budget by 1st September, 1948.

But the hopes of parents and the national needs demand something more than a mere balancing of the budget in 1948. They demand a progressive reduction in the size of classes, the staffing of nursery schools and County Colleges, and the raising of the school leaving age to sixteen. All this demands an estimated increase in the number of full-time teachers from 200,000 to 340,000 - a net addition of 140,000.

How is it to be done?

In the long run, it can be done only by a very big expansion and improvement of facilities for teacher-training along the lines of the McNair Committee's Report. It is, therefore, discouraging to have to admit that, so far, little has been done. Worse still, some universities appear to be reluctant even to contemplate the necessary expansion. No doubt the Minister of Education will attend to this


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urgent question, and will be strong enough to insist on the necessary measures being carried out speedily and efficiently. There can be no effective educational reforms without an adequate supply of trained and qualified teachers.

But we are faced with an emergency which can only be met by emergency methods. A very large number of teachers has to be found in a very short time. A conservative estimate would be 100,000 new teachers in the next five years. Fortunately, the emergency was foreseen, and plans made to meet it. In November, 1943, the then Board of Education announced its intensive training scheme for suitable candidates selected from men and women in the Forces, and in other departments of national service. The training is provided free, and maintenance allowances are paid during training. The course lasts for a minimum of twelve months, and is roughly equivalent to five terms of a normal two-year training course. On successful completion of the course, students are recognized as qualified teachers, subject to two years probation. The target figure is 10,000 students a year - 8,000 men and 2,000 women - in some fifty centres.

The Emergency Training Scheme is sound. Indeed, it is the only possible way of finding the teachers in the next few years, for the vast pool of men and women in H.M. Forces and other forms of national service is the only source of immediate recruitment. Already there is good evidence that there are large numbers of suitable applicants. By September, 1945, some 13,000 applications had been received. Of the applicants so far interviewed, sixty per cent come up to the standard required. There is every reason to expect that the number and quality of the Service candidates will be high.

The promise of the Education Act of 1944, and the improvement of teachers salaries have struck the imagination of thousands of capable and intelligent men and women. Many of them were no doubt denied the chance of secondary education in pre-war years, and may lack academic qualifications. But the varied experience of war service in the armed forces, or in industry and office, the adaptability which they have shown in acquiring and practising new and complicated techniques, will serve them in good stead in a new field of service. They will bring into the classroom and the playing field a fresher and broader outlook, which will prove invaluable in planning the life of the post-war school. From the children, they will receive a welcome and a response which will more than make up for any


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temporary shortcomings of academic and professional training. They will be welcomed, too, by the teachers now in the schools, and helped to find their feet in their new life. When the proposal for the Emergency Training Scheme was first announced, there was naturally a good deal of talk of "dilution". But the detailed arrangements for selection and training have largely dispelled these suspicions. The appointment of practising teachers to the Selection Boards and to the staffs of the Emergency Colleges has been welcomed as a guarantee that everything possible will be done to secure a high standard of entry into the profession, and a fair chance for these very badly needed recruits.

So far, so good. The Training Scheme is a workable one, and the students can be secured. But so far the results are negligible. Up to September, 1945, only three colleges had been opened. In a public pronouncement made at the beginning of October, 1945, the Minister of Education expressed the hope that twenty more colleges would be opened by January, 1946, and another twenty during 1946. Delays in securing buildings and interviewing candidates may jeopardize the whole scheme. The pace has been far too slow. The target figure set is too low. When the scheme was first worked out, the plan, of a five-year duration, seemed to be in line with a gradual demobilization beginning with victory over Germany and continuing until general demobilization after victory in the East. The sudden collapse of Japan changed the whole tempo. It now seems that demobilization will be completed by 1948. Instead of training 10,000 students a year, the total number will have to be recruited and trained in the next three years. Finally, the number of teachers needed for the scheme is nearer 100,000 than 50,000. This means an annual intake and output of something like 35,000. It is a tremendous task. The resources of the Ministry of Education and of the local education authorities will be taxed to the limit. But it can be done. Indeed, it must be done if the Act is to be made to work.



[page ]

CHAPTER VII

MANPOWER, MATERIALS AND MONEY
The war has revealed afresh the resources and character of the British people - an enduring possession that will survive all the material losses inevitable in the present struggle. In the youth of the nation we have our greatest national asset, Even on a basis of mere expediency, we cannot afford not to develop this asset to the greatest advantage. It is the object of the present proposals to strengthen and inspire the younger generation. For it is as true today as when it was first said, that the bulwarks of a city are its men. White Paper on Educational Reconstruction.
THE Three M's - manpower, materials and money - are the keys to the door of opportunity for our children.

Manpower, in the form of men and women fitted for the teaching service, and willing to be trained, is available. The rapid expansion of the training colleges and the university training departments - the normal source of supply - can be supplemented by a speed up of the emergency training scheme. If the urgency is realized, and the opportunity grasped, the 100,000 teachers can be found in the next few years.

Second only to the need for teachers is the need for buildings. It is estimated that something like three-quarters of existing school buildings fall below reasonable standards of decency and modern convenience. Accommodation for no less than 200,000 schoolchildren has been destroyed by enemy action during the war. The result is that even if all existing buildings, unsatisfactory as they are, continue in use, accommodation will be quite inadequate when the leaving age is raised to fifteen and later to sixteen; when nursery schools and classes are provided and County Colleges established.

In November, 1944, the Ministry of Education issued "Regulations Prescribing Standards for School Premises". These regulations lay down the minimum standards for new and reconstructed school


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buildings. They take the place of the suggestions for secondary and elementary school buildings issued before the war. Not only are these regulations a tremendous advance on previous standards, but they are regulations which can be enforced by the Ministry instead of being mere suggestions. But regulations, welcome as they are, will not in themselves provide buildings. Manpower and materials must be found. Here, too, the Ministry of Education has made a useful contribution to the problem. In March, 1943, a Committee was appointed by the then President of the Board of Education, representing the local education authorities, the teaching profession, the Royal Institute of British Architects and the building industry. In November, 1943, the Committee issued a report on the standards and construction of schools, which contains some valuable suggestions for the speeding up of school building. In particular, the Committee recommend the adoption of a measure of standardization in school construction.

More recently still, the Minister of Education has announced that temporary buildings will be available by 1948 to accommodate the children remaining at school when the school leaving age is raised to fifteen.

Thus it is possible to record some progress in the matter of school buildings. Proper standards can now be enforced. The possibilities of new methods, new materials, new technique are, being examined and popularized - immediate minimum needs will be met. But, as yet, there is little evidence of an overall plan for new construction, either on the part of the Government, or of most of the local education authorities. Houses for the people are clearly priority number one. But priority for houses need not, and ought not to, mean the indefinite postponement of new school buildings. Houses alone are not enough. That is the lesson of the London County Council Housing Estates built on the outskirts of London after the last war, where the provision of schools and other amenities lagged disastrously behind the provision of dwellings. The new housing estates must be complete communities, meeting all the needs of the residents. The London County Council Plan for London, and similar proposals in other areas, point the way. Planning is essential, not only because of the shortage of manpower and materials, but also to assure provision for the cultural and social needs of the people.

This brings us to the third M - Money. Much larger sums of money will have to be expended if the standards of education are


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to be raised. Good education cannot be got on the cheap.. But where is the money coming from? This is the question most often asked when the Education Act is under discussion.

The experience of the war should help us to look at the question from a new angle. During the war, all problems of production had to be examined primarily from the point of view of priorities. When something for the war effort was needed, it was not a question of whether we could "afford" the money or not. It was a question of planning priorities, and of allocating manpower and materials accordingly. We went without certain things because we needed others more. Under the spur of war, we planned and organized our resources in a scientific way. By planning and organization we found the manpower and the materials, and we produced the goods on a scale that we had never thought possible. In 1943, total production of goods - not paper money, but guns, tanks, aeroplanes, machines and food - actually increased by more than thirty per cent over the pre-war figure, in spite of the absence on war service of some 5,000,000 people. If we plan for peace as we did for war, and make the necessary effort, there is no doubt that we can, within a reasonable time, carry out all the plans of social reconstruction in the programme of the Labour Government. That is the verdict - not only of the "man in the street", as shown in the General Election, but of the "backroom boys" in finance and economics.

The first question, then, which we have to answer with regard to money, is not where is the money coming from, but how much importance is to be attached to the recasting of the education system of the country. The answer to that question has already been given. The almost universal welcome for the Education Act of 1944 indicates that it is regarded as a necessary factor in the future prosperity of the British people, and that, therefore, the necessary expenditure is not only justified but essential. All the evidence points to the fact that we cannot hope to increase our productive capacity without a much higher general standard of education. That is why educational reconstruction secured high priority in the plans both of the National and Labour Governments.

The question is not can we afford the cost of bringing our education system up to date; it is rather how can we put aside from our national income the necessary expenditure. For this necessary expenditure, when the Act is in full operation, is bound to be heavy, especially if it is compared with the shamefully low standards of


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pre-war days. In 1938, we were spending on education in rates and taxes rather less than 100,000,000 per annum. Of this total, some 73,000,000 was spent on the 4,500,000 pupils in elementary schools, and some 16,000,000 on the 470,000 pupils in the secondary schools. The cost per pupil was thus about 16 per annum in the elementary school, and 34 - more than twice as much - in the secondary school. The new Act will eventually raise the number of pupils in the schools from 5,000,000 to something like 6,500,000.

The Act also abolishes elementary education once and for all, and by implication promises a levelling up to secondary school standards. This means that eventually the cost per pupil cannot be less than the pre-war figure for secondary pupils - 34 per annum,

The cost of 34 per pupil for 6,500,000 pupils gives a total of 221,000,000 per annum. To this must be added at least thirty per cent to cover the general rise in the cost, making a total of 294,000,000. Further additions must be made to cover the cost of County Colleges and increased university grants. Thus we arrive at a total of 320,000,000 per annum, compared with the pre-war total of some 100,000,000.

Even in these days, 320,000,000 is a large sum. Actually, it is half again as large as the estimate of 203,000,000 given in the financial memorandum on the Education Act. It is necessarily an approximate figure only, since the actual expenditure will depend on the interpretation given by the Government and the local education authorities to the clauses of the Act. My estimate, however, is based on the spirit of the Act. The adoption for the nation's children of any standard lower than that of pre-war secondary education would mean abandoning all pretence to equal opportunity and a genuinely democratic national system of education.

Having arrived at an estimated total of necessary expenditure, let us put it in perspective. A parent making a family budget naturally adjusts the different items of expenditure to total income. What is the total national income? In 1943, the net national income was 8,172,000,000. Our 320,000,000 works out, then, at something like four per cent of the national income. Not an extravagant sum, surely, to spend on the development of our most valuable asset! Some further comparisons may help us to look at the balance sheet in a commonsense way. 320,000,000 is between one-fifth and one-sixth of the total of private savings in 1943. It is rather more than half of the 600,000,000 raised in 1943 from taxes on, beer and


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tobacco. It is about thirteen per cent of the amount received in interests and profit in 1942.

Finally, the larger the national income, the smaller in proportion will be the sum expended on education. If, with 5,000,000 producers otherwise employed, we can raise production by thirty per cent under the spur of war, we can surely with proper planning raise the national income in the next few years far beyond the 1943 total of 8,172,000,000.

But though the total amount when seen in perspective need not frighten us, the question as to how the amount is to be raised is important. In the past, educational expenditure has been shared roughly on a fifty-fifty basis between the national exchequer and the local education authorities. The complex formulae applied need not trouble us here. Since the passing of the Act, certain modifications have been made which were intended to relieve the local education authorities of a further five per cent, particularly in the early stages of the operation of the Act. It is, however, still the case that nearly half the total expenditure on education has to be raised through the rates. It is now generally agreed that the rating system at present in operation is antiquated and unjust. The rates fall more heavily on the poor than on the well-to-do; they fall more heavily on the thickly populated industrial areas than on the better-off residential areas.

The result was that, even before the war, in many areas the rates were becoming an intolerable burden and a serious obstacle to the expansion of social services. The far-reaching plans of the Labour Government cannot be carried out without drastic changes in Local Government finance. Already, before any of the reforms of the Education Act are in operation, the problem is becoming acute. Since 1939, the education rate has risen steeply. Already the increase in the average mean rate for education is 1s. 8d. in the pound. By 1948, when the full effect of raising the school leaving age is felt, the estimated expenditure from the rates will have risen to 78,000,000, as against 47,000,000 in 1938. Unless there is an increase in the proportion of exchequer grant to rate expenditure, the cost to the rates of the full operation of the Act will be in the region of 130,000,000, as compared with the pre-war figure of 47,000,000. This will mean a mean average rate for education alone of something like 10s. in the pound - an impossible burden. Clearly, the cost of operating the Act cannot be borne by the rates


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either on the pre-war basis of fifty-fifty, or even on the somewhat more favourable one set out in the financial memorandum of the Act. A complete reform of Local Government finance is long overdue, and a full inquiry has been promised. But complete reform will take time. Education cannot wait. The benefits of the Act are intended, and must be obtained, for the children of this generation. Delay in corning to the aid of the ratepayer will inevitably mean fatal delay in the operation of the Act. An immediate increase in the grant to local education authorities is urgent and essential.

The problem of the Three M's is now stated. It is a measurable and a manageable problem. Manpower, materials and money can be found. The problem can be solved. How speedy and how complete is the solution will depend finally on one thing - the realization by the Government, the local education authorities, and, above all, the general public, of the value and necessity of education.




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CHAPTER VIII

A NEW AIM AND PURPOSE
Public opinion will, undoubtedly, look for a new approach to the choice and treatment of school subjects after the war ... Education in the future must be a process of gradually widening horizons, from the family to the local community, from the community to the nation, and from the nation to the world." White Paper on Educational Reconstruction.
WHAT should be the aim and purpose of those whose job it is to get the Education Act working, of the Labour Government, of the local education authorities, of the thousands of administrators and teachers? What should be the outlook of the citizens, whose understanding and goodwill must provide the drive behind the great effort needed?

Without a clear vision of the goal, there is bound to be confusion and waste of effort.

The first aim is to replace an out-of-date and inadequate system of education by one suited to the needs of this modern age. The educational system which has to be changed is based, as I have tried to show, on an economic and social system already obsolete and dying. It is based on the economics of restriction and monopoly, unemployment and low wages, poverty in the midst of plenty. Within such a system, there could be no general demand for a high standard of education. For the great majority of the people of this country, working long hours for low wages, there has been no need for knowledge or culture. To educate the mass of the people beyond the immediate practical needs of the system in which they work would pay no dividends, and would even endanger the position of the privileged few. This is the economic fact behind low standards of popular education and refusal of equal opportunity to all.

In such a social and economic system, class distinctions are inevitable and correspond to the social and economic functions of the


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classes. For each social class there is a distinct kind of education provided. That is the explanation of the educational pyramid which I have described in earlier chapters.

But times have changed and are changing. Even after the last war there was no reason for a world of scarcity. British capitalism could no longer face foreign competitors without improvements in the technical level of industry. The Education Act of 1918 was an attempt to remedy the position, by supplying the human material from which the needful technologists, scientists and skilled workers of all kinds could be taken. It was to a large extent a failure owing to the short-sighted opposition of the more reactionary sections of the ruling class. British democracy was not yet strong enough to force reform. But the need remained, and was made more obvious by the test of war. At the same time, the idea of modern democracy made progress. The claims of the British people could no longer be resisted.

The Education Act of 1944 bears the marks of its mixed origin. British capitalism needs an up-to-date national system of education. The new Act provides the framework. But the Coalition Government, dependent on a Tory majority in the House of Commons, had not the courage to brush aside the obstacles in the path.

The Act makes concessions to privilege and vested interest. It does not sweep away all the class barriers in the education system. It tends to slow down the pace of reform by inadequate financial provision.

Such was the situation when the Act went through Parliament in July, 1944. But history is advancing with a giant's stride. In one year the Tory majority in the House of Commons has been overthrown. The Government is in the hands of a Party pledged to build real democracy, in education as well as in other national affairs. There is now a fine opportunity to speed the effort, to finish the job, to establish a democratic and national system of education. Most of this great task can be completed within the framework of the new Act.

First, the pace must be increased. The money must be found. The local education authorities must be relieved of the intolerable burden on the rates. The levelling-up process must begin now, and continue until the pre-Act secondary standards are normal at every stage and for every child. This means more teachers, better buildings, more generous equipment. Without a rapid improvement in


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material conditions, there can be no radical change in the quality and content of popular education. What we teach and how we teach it depend, in the first instance, on the conditions under which the teaching is carried on. You cannot educate a class of fifty children. You can at best instruct and regiment. You cannot practice democratic citizenship in a slum school - to starve children in order to teach them the value of food smells of Mr. Squeers. You cannot educate scientists with nothing but a Bunsen burner and a test tube.

But important as they are, improvements in material conditions are not enough. A new conception is needed of education and of its aim and purpose. The awful shock of the atom bomb is a warning to mankind of the power of applied science, but it is still more an inspiration to those of us who believe in the power of man over matter and over his own destiny. The knowledge, the skill, and above all the teamwork of an international band of scientists can not only bring peace to the world, but also herald the stormy dawn of a new age - an age of technical triumph, an age of plenty. The rapid progress of research in the methods of using atomic energy, though at first for the purposes of war, proves beyond all doubt that no technical problems need daunt us, given the determination to solve them and the will to co-operate in their solution. It proves, too, that the application of science is not, and cannot be, the work of some solitary inventive genius, nor even of a selected and highly trained few. It demands the willing co-operation of tens of thousands - scientists, administrators, technicians, workers. Science is the job of every man. Its use or abuse will be decided by the common people. The common people must master science or be mastered by it.

A new conception of education which can bring life and vigour into the nation's schools and inspire children with faith in their own future and the future of mankind will do more than insist on the training of technicians, who will harness and develop the powers and properties of all matter for the service of man.

The Fascists and Nazis and the Japanese militarists devised "education for death". We must build "education for life". This idea is implied in the dry, legal phrases of the Act, and stated directly in the more colourful words of the White Paper on Educational Reconstruction. But both the Act and the White Paper, because of their origin, fail to answer, bluntly and boldly, the key question: What kind of life? If we are to make the most of the


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opportunity which the Act provides, we cannot shirk the answer to that blunt question. I have no doubt what the answer should be: "Education for life in a planned democracy of the British peoples playing their full part in the world family of democratic nations."

This new conception has been finely expressed in a leading article of The Times Educational Supplement (21.4.45):

The ideals, structure, and temper of English society have changed profoundly during the past half-century. They are changing still, but now with discernible purpose - that of a democratic society based on a planned economy. It is for life in such a society that the nation's children should be prepared. The major problem which it poses is the preservation of the freedom of the individual in a society which will structurally be built on massive concentrations of power. This can only be solved by devising means whereby the individual can play a responsible part in any of the activities of society; and this in turn can be secured only if the institutions of society are made up of, and function through, hierarchies of groups ranging from the very small to the very large. If this be so, the primary function of the school is clear: it is to provide a progressive series of societies in miniature designed to give experience in individual and social living appropriate to the ages, abilities and aptitudes of their members, and so to interpret and lead up to life in great society. No preconceived ideas of what must be taught in school will provide that interpretation, but only analysis of the life of society.
And again, The Times Educational Supplement (5.5.45):
The central educational problem of today is to create a modern synthesis, a common core of studies and activities as integrative of culture as has been for centuries the study of the languages, the literatures and the thought of Greece and Rome.
If we accept this new conception - and I believe most progressive thinkers do accept it - certain things must follow.

First, we must discard all ideas of old school tie privilege, of opportunity limited by social or financial circumstances of class discrimination. The new school tie will be the symbol of democratic citizenship and equal opportunity.

Second, with the improvement of material conditions, and especially the reduction in the size of classes, we must substitute self-discipline and co-operation for the authoritarian discipline, which is too often the outcome of bad conditions and class differences.

Third, we must free the curriculum - especially in the secondary


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school - of slavish acceptance of the old classical and academic tradition, putting in its place the new discoveries of science and of psychological research.

The school must become, not merely a place of instruction, but more and more the training ground for all the varied needs and activities of individual and social life in a democratic community.

There is, of course, nothing new or startling in this attempt to outline in a general way the principles which should guide and influence the nation's schools in a democratic Britain. They have been for some years, and still are, a topic of teachers conferences and discussions. They reflect the questionings of parents as to the why and wherefore of much that is taught - especially in the secondary school. It can even be claimed that they have won acceptance in the nursery and infants schools. But up to now material conditions and the weight of tradition have prevented their adoption in the schools as a whole. The Act provides the opportunity to bring about a change which has been long prepared, and which reflects the spirit of the times.

Bearing these principles in mind, let us see how they apply to the three stages of the education system as defined in the Act.

At the primary stage or at any rate in the nursery and infants' schools (though, of course, I write as an outsider without first-hand experience as a teacher in these schools), these principles are already accepted and widely practised. In the Report of the Consultative Committee of the Board of Education on "The Primary School", it is stated:

Curriculum is to be thought of in terms of experience rather than of knowledge to be gained and facts stored.
In the nursery and infants schools in particular, activity and social discipline are the keynotes. Thanks to the pioneer work of Miss Margaret McMillan and Madame Montessori, child nurture has replaced child instruction. There is no more lovely and encouraging sight than a class of toddlers in an up-to-date infants' or nursery school. One can only regret that up to now there are so few nursery schools or classes, and rejoice that the Act makes it a duty for every local education authority to provide them where the need is shown. Surely the need is universal for rich and poor alike. The nursery school does not, of course, replace the home, but supplements it. It provides the first steps in social training for the child, and skilled


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help and advice for the mother. It provides companionship, surroundings and equipment such as no home can offer. Here can be seen at its best the beginnings of that "happier childhood" which the White Paper promised to all children. The provision of nursery schools or classes for all who wish to take advantage of them is an essential part of equal opportunity.

In the junior school the new ideas, though widely accepted in theory, are not yet the common practice - largely owing to practical difficulties. For the junior school has been too often, and for too long, the Cinderella of the system. Most of the new buildings of the last few years have gone to the seniors, leaving the juniors in the bad old buildings. Junior schools are, generally speaking, less favoured with special equipment and amenities than either the infants' or the senior school. There has been less care given to the specialized training of junior school teachers. Classes are larger. The official standard has been fifty in the junior, as against forty in the senior school. Just fancy one teacher trying to give individual attention to fifty children of five years of age. Finally, and perhaps most serious of all, the scholarship examination has cast its grim shadow over the junior school. The natural anxiety of parents to ensure their child a chance of secondary education, and the laudable pride of teachers in their professional skill, have meant an undue concentration on the Three R's. Not that the tools of life are unimportant, but their use should be learned gradually, rather than forced at too early an age. There is general agreement among educationalists that, at this stage, the spoken word is far more important than the written, that the formal sums and spelling must arise naturally and gradually from the needs and interests of the growing child. But too often the ideal of a child-centred curriculum has to give way to the grim reality of the scholarship examination.

The Act of 1944 gives new hopes to the junior school. The abolition of the elementary school as such, and the recognition of the equal importance of the three stages of education - primary, secondary and further education - are bound, in the long run, to raise the status of the junior school, and to give it its proper place of independence in the continuous process of education. The achievement of national salary scales removes one discrimination against junior school teachers. The promise of secondary education for all should, by, degrees, lift from the junior school the shadow of the scholarship examination.


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But to some extent these are only hopes and promises. Indeed, the Grant Regulations of 1945 have already disappointed these hopes in at least one respect. While the maximum size of classes to be aimed at in the senior school is thirty, forty is the immediate goal for the junior school. Nothing can justify such discrimination. The sooner the regulation is amended, the better for all, even if the goal of thirty per class cannot be immediately achieved. For the freedom of the junior school to develop its own technique and curriculum is essential to the successful development of the system as a whole. Much of the backwardness of children at the later stages can be traced back to the large class in the junior school, which makes individual attention on the part of the teacher impossible. A child who loses a month or a term of schooling owing to illness has little chance of picking up, loses heart and interest, and at the age of twelve may well be "dull and backward", if not a "problem" child.

Next in importance to staffing are buildings, Here again the junior school has had a raw deal. We all know what is wanted - sun, air and space, freedom to move, ease of access. It is encouraging to find that in the L.C.C. Plan for London these needs are recognized. The junior school is situated within each neighbourhood unit, so that there is no crossing of a main road for the children going to and from school. When this is achieved, it will bring with it the closer relationships between home and school, between parent and teacher, which are already a feature of the nursery schools.

There is need, too, of special equipment, extra rooms and new and better text-books.

Finally, the future of the junior school is bound up with that of the secondary school. But that is another story.

For the junior school, then, the future is bright with hope. The battle of ideas is already won. The expected increase in education will give it a firmer base. The levelling-up process will bring it much-needed relief. In the years ahead it will make a worthy contribution to the democratic way of living.


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CHAPTER IX

THE SECONDARY SCHOOL OF THE FUTURE
It is just as important to achieve diversity as it is to ensure equality of educational opportunity. But such diversity must not impair the social unity within the educational system, which will open the way to a more closely knit society, and give us strength to face the tasks ahead. White Paper on Educational Reconstruction.

AT the primary stage of education, the most urgent needs are improvements in material conditions. In curriculum and method, in what is, taught and how, the primary school is ready for the new conception, which is the most important implication of the Education Act of 1944.

At the secondary stage a more fundamental change is needed. It is here that a long history of class distinction, of inequality and of segregation has left the deepest blemishes. It is here that the "educational pyramid" is most obvious. Public Schools, secondary schools, technical schools, modern schools - here we have a regular graded hierarchy.

At the secondary stage all existing schools are sectional schools, and more or less narrowly vocational. Even a complete levelling-up process, essential as it is, cannot achieve equality of opportunity - the first aim of a democratic system of education - without a drastic re-modelling of the whole structure.

We must first ask ourselves what is meant by equality of opportunity. Let us examine this well-known slogan from the point of view of the average parent. In his own words the average parent is demanding for his children a better chance than he had himself, and as good a chance as anybody else's children. Primarily, it means the chance of a career or at least of something better than an unskilled, uncertain, blind-alley job. The present system is condemned by parents because it does not provide that opportunity for the average child. By means of the scholarship system, illustrated in Chapter I,


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it does provide to a certain extent an opportunity for the bright child. Even that opportunity is severely restricted, first, by the virtual monopoly of the plums enjoyed by the old school tie, and secondly, by lack of means, which is too often an insurmountable obstacle for even the brilliant child of poor parents. Limited as it is, the opportunity has been denied to all but the few who have managed to secure admission to the secondary school and, to a lesser extent, to the junior technical school. Rightly or wrongly, parents take a poor view of the senior or modern school, even when it is conducted in a good building, and by up-to-date methods. It is difficult to "sell" the modern school to parents, because it does not appear to them to lead anywhere. The natural anxiety of parents for their children's future induces them to face all kinds of sacrifices once they have negotiated the scholarship hurdle, and secured a place among the elect. But if they do not succeed, both parent and child lose interest in further education, which they tend to regard as mere marking time. It is very doubtful whether improvements in material conditions will satisfy parents that there is real equality of opportunity or real secondary education for all. Parity of esteem - to use the educational jargon - will be very difficult to secure so long as the aims and functions of the different types of secondary school remain entirely different and distinct. The difficulty is accentuated by the early age of selection and by a widespread distrust of the methods of selection. To quote the White Paper on Educational Reconstruction once again:

There is nothing to be said in favour of a system which subjects children to the strain of a competitive examination on which not only their future schooling, but their future careers may depend.
Postponement of the age of selection is often suggested as a solution, or at any rate a partial solution of the difficulty. It is very doubtful whether the reasons put forward in the Hadow Report for a break at eleven, and more or less generally accepted at that time, are based on sound educational, psychological or physiological arguments. The real reasons were, and are, administrative, arising out of the length of the compulsory school life. So long as the school leaving age remained at fourteen, a reasonable period of secondary or post-primary education could be obtained only by a break at eleven. To a lesser extent that will remain true when the age is raised to fifteen, and even to sixteen. For the immediate future, therefore, it would


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seem to be impracticable to postpone transfer from primary to secondary school until the age of thirteen or even twelve. Even were it possible, there is no convincing evidence that aptitudes and interests of the individual child can be scientifically gauged even at the age of thirteen. In any case, postponement of transfer for a couple of years could only mean postponement of the difficulty.

Is it possible to overcome the difficulty by improvement in the methods of selection? This is the solution suggested both in the White Paper and in the Ministry of Education pamphlet The Nation's Schools - Their Plan and Purpose. The Nation's Schools lays particular emphasis on the discovery of "special aptitudes and marked abilities". The object would appear to be the discovery of differences in interest and aptitudes, rather than of measuring and grading attainment and general ability, which have been the main aim of the special place examination up to now. The methods of testing attainment and ability have been much improved in the last twenty years, and it can reasonably be claimed that it is now possible to produce a fairly accurate order of merit based on attainment and general intelligence. But this order of merit does not enable the examiner to say how many on the list are likely to profit by grammar school education or technical education. The list is, in fact, a competitive list - a list of "scholars" or prizewinners. The prize is a place in the secondary school. The number of prizes varies enormously from area to area, in accordance with the number of secondary school places available, but it has very little, if any, relation to the number of children suited for this particular type of education. In one area a child who was two hundredth on the list might secure a place; in another he might have to be in the first fifty. The authors of The Nation's Schools are, in fact, suggesting that what is wanted is not such a test, but a method which will predict at the age of eleven whether a child should go to a grammar, technical or modern school. The Norwood Committee's Report on "Curriculum and Examinations in Secondary Schools" solved this difficult problem - to their own satisfaction, at any rate - by discovering three psychological types of children who, curiously enough, fit neatly into the three existing types of school - grammar, technical and modern! This does not satisfy the authors of The Nation's Schools, doubtless because this specious classification has been repudiated by most educational psychologists. Not having any solution of their own,


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the authors of the pamphlet - and this is the second important modification of present practice - pass on the responsibility of finding one to the teachers. It is the teachers who are to have the invidious, and so far impossible, task of selecting children for schools. It is the teachers who will then have to persuade parents, often against their own wishes and the inclinations of the child, and this in spite of clause 76 of the Act, which states that ".. so far as is compatible with the provision of efficient instruction and training, and the avoidance of unreasonable public expenditure, pupils are to be educated in accordance with the wishes of their parents". I venture to prophesy that parents will refuse to be persuaded so long as the type of school decides the future career of the pupil. Already an indignant Stockport ratepayer has threatened to issue a writ against the local education authority if they refuse to honour their obligation under the Act to provide secondary education for his eleven-year-old daughter, in spite of failure in a preliminary test. To parents the Act means both secondary education for all and equality of opportunity. The latter is denied by the present character of post-primary education, with its three-tier pyramid system. For the fifteen per cent at the top of the list, the grammar school, "which will continue to follow a curriculum related to university standards, and directed primarily to the service of Church and State, and the professions". For the second skimming, the technical school, attached to a particular industry and with a more restricted opportunity of reaching up for the plums. And for a large majority of the children "whose future employment will not demand any measure of technical skill or knowledge", i.e., the majority of the working classes, the modern school, which is earnestly enjoined to keep itself "free from the pressures of any external examination" - and thereby to deny its pupils any possible chance of competing with the pupils of the grammar and technical schools.

Thus The Nation's Schools poses this new problem of the Act - "the figure of some 500,000 pupils in secondary schools must be replaced in our thinking by some 2,500,000 pupils receiving secondary education", but does not attempt to solve it, for it cannot be solved by putting new labels on old bottles. The three-type arrangement - grammar, technical and modern school - belongs to a past in which social and economic distinctions as sharp as the caste system of India were reflected in our schools. Today democracy is on the move. "The common man is marching towards


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his just and true inheritance." Part of that inheritance is equality of educational opportunity, a career open to the talents, the right to a full and free education, which will help him to be master of his own destiny.

Nor is the problem merely a social one. The present system of education was dangerously inadequate to meet the economic needs of the country in the grimmest struggle we have ever had to face - the World War against Fascism. We were saved only by the spirit of the people and our talent for improvisation. The needs of post-war Britain are no less urgent. To quote Mr. Winston Churchill once again:

The future of the world is to the highly educated races, who alone can handle the scientific apparatus necessary for pre-eminence in peace, or survival in war.
We need to advance both the quantity and the quality of our education. We cannot afford to fob off 2,000,000 out of the 2,500,000 secondary pupils with a second-rate substitute article. We have to provide the real thing - for all. Only by bringing everybody within the educational net can we hope to bring to the top all the ability, talent and genius which we possess and need. Equality of opportunity is not only a social, but an economic necessity.

Does this mean, then, that we must aim to provide grammar or technical school education in their present forms to all secondary pupils?

Certainly not. The grammar school - or to give it its old and honoured name, the secondary school - has a fine record. The same is true of the junior technical school. But both have a limited and special function. Both cater for sections of the selected few. Both have serious shortcomings in relation to the great tasks of the immediate future - the all-round training of 2,500,000 of the future citizens of a planned democracy. Without drastic reform, neither can develop rapidly into the secondary school of the new democratic era.

The secondary school has been built up in the last forty years on the ancient and honourable tradition of the old grammar school. For centuries the curriculum of the grammar schools was based on the study of the languages, the literature and the thought of Greece and Rome - the common culture of the comparatively small literate classes of Europe. To this have been added in the last hundred


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years, in response to the pressure of a changing world, English language, mathematics and the natural sciences. But the old tradition, strongly upheld by the universities, which have exercised a rigid control by means of the Certificate Examinations, has retained a scholarly, academic and literary approach, even in the newer subjects of English, mathematics and science. At the outset, when the secondary school was new and untried, these academic controls served a very valuable purpose in maintaining high standards of attainment. They helped the secondary schools to break the Public School monopoly of university scholarships. They offered to children from poor homes opportunities which they were quick to grasp. In science and mathematics they soon set a pace which the Public Schools have found too hot for them. So far, so good. But these successes have been costly. The old scholarly conception of education is too narrow for a new and expanding world. Attempts to introduce new "subjects" have produced a hopelessly crowded curriculum. A praiseworthy determination to maintain the high all-round standards has imposed too heavy a burden on the teachers, and on all but the ablest of the pupils. The School Certificate, in spite of recent modifications, has become a real bogey for a large proportion of secondary school pupils. The cramming process, which can hardly be avoided for a large number of the pupils, has tended to kill interest and initiative, and to preclude participation in wider activities. The effect on the few who survive the process, and reach the universities, has too often been to deprive them of originality and independence. They are too well taught. Many who get no further than School Certificate or matriculation cast aside their books with a sigh of relief, and take no further interest in the things which they have learned for a special purpose. These are the successes. But what of the large number of failures, who give up the struggle between the ages of fourteen and sixteen, the C and D forms of secondary schools? Too often they are regarded as "duds" or "slackers", and go out into the world with a feeling of frustration, and a loathing of books and learning. Every secondary school teacher must have an uneasy feeling that something is wrong with the food provided when it is so clearly indigestible by so many. The rate of wastage, i.e., of pupils who do not complete the course, is appallingly high. Finally, the secondary school, true to the grammar school tradition, has remained a vocational school in a narrow sense. It is the training ground of the blackcoated worker. But the model of


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the medieval grammar school will not serve for the modern secondary school. It is time to strike out on a new path.

The junior technical school, on the other hand, does not suffer from the cramping effects of an old tradition. It has sprung direct from the needs of a great industrial community. Its approach to education is modern and practical, and far more acceptable to the average pupil. It combines theory with practice. It is in much closer contact with the modern world of science and machinery. But the junior technical school, too, has serious limitations. First, it has never had a fair chance. The superior prestige of the secondary school and the earlier age of admission - eleven, instead of thirteen - have robbed the technical school of its fair share of the abler pupils. Owing to its origin - it has developed largely from the Trade School - it is too narrowly vocational, too closely attached to a particular industry or trade. Finally, it is too often less a school in the full meaning of the word than a junior annexe of the technical college. It has not yet achieved a separate life of its own.

Thus, neither the secondary school nor the technical school can in its present form meet the needs of the 2,500,000 secondary pupils of the future. What of the modern school? In the twenty years of its existence, the modern school has undoubtedly made a real contribution to secondary education. It has done so in spite of handicaps and difficulties, which must have seemed insuperable to all but the most determined pioneers. Inferior conditions of staffing, equipment and general amenities, a leaving age of fourteen, the skimming off of the cream for the benefit of the secondary and technical schools, the lack of incentive and opportunity - these handicaps do not encourage the working out of a new educational method and content.

All existing, secondary schools - the grammar school, the technical school, the modern school, and the so-called Public School - have developed in an undemocratic social system. They are vocational schools in the narrowest sense of the word. The Public Schools provide for the predestined leaders, the secondary and technical schools for the technicians; the modern schools for the hewers of wood and drawers of water: "whose future employment will not demand any measure of technical skill and knowledge". This conception of society and education, which is complacently accepted by the authors of The Nation's Schools, recalls the Hitler idea of leaders and followers. It is quite out of keeping with the democratic


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progressive spirit of the new Act, and still more at variance with the aspirations of the British people. Nor does it meet the needs of a planned economy and a rapidly expanding production. A modern industrial democracy could not depend on a small minority of highly skilled persons and a majority of unskilled. A rapidly changing technique and the continuous advance in methods of production demand a widely diffused understanding of scientific method, an adaptability and initiative, which can only be based on a sound and thorough education. Nor is production the sole function of the citizen. All men and women have a vital part to play in the governing of their own country, and in controlling its elected rulers and appointed administrators. The future offers to all a wider outlook of leisure and culture, but the full enjoyment of music, art and literature is only possible if the way is opened early in life to these and other expressions of civilized life.

A new conception is needed, based on the experience of the past, but recognizing also its limitations and looking forward to the future. Equality of opportunity, a freer atmosphere, a wider and more modern curriculum - these must be the guiding principles of the secondary school of the future. This new conception is given challenging expression in the report of the Education Committee of the London County Council on the Organization of Secondary Education:

Education is not a matter merely of intellectual achievement. It is a matter of all-round growth and development, physical, intellectual, social and spiritual, and it seems indefensible to categorize schools on the basis of intellect only. It is, for example, a matter of first-rate importance for modern society that life in school should promote a feeling of social unity among adolescents of all kinds and degrees of ability.
The secondary school of the future is beginning to emerge in general outline. It will help us to get a clearer picture if we examine briefly the experience of two great democratic and industrial communities - the U.S.A. and Russia, in both of which there is a high degree of industrial efficiency, together with equality of opportunity. In Russia the national schools are the only schools; in the United States only a tiny minority remain outside the "neighbourhood" schools. What forms do these national schools take in the two countries?

In the United States, though education is a jealously guarded


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prerogative of the different States, the high school is the normal type of secondary school, and caters for nearly all children at this stage. It is a comprehensive school. The curriculum is much more varied and more practical than that of any of our secondary schools. On the other hand, its critics argue that standards of attainment are two years behind that of our grammar school. This may well be, since it is a non-selective school, and caters for almost one hundred per cent of the school population, whereas our grammar schools cater for a carefully selected minority, and offer a somewhat restrictive curriculum. Is it necessarily a grave defect, if a lower standard of academic attainment is balanced by a more leisurely acquisition of knowledge, and a wider training in other activities?

Too little is known of the Russian secondary school to justify dogmatic statements about its character. But certain features are well established. Like the American high school, it is a comprehensive, non-selective school. It takes in a cross-section of the school population. It would appear to be more closely attached to what we call the junior or primary school. Indeed, in most cases it would appear that the Russian child spends all the years from seven to fifteen in the same school. The curriculum is less varied - there are fewer options - than that of the American school. Its bias is scientific with an approach more practical than that of our grammar school, somewhat similar to that of our junior technical school. All children must pass a leaving examination at or about the age of fifteen, whether they go into part-time employment, enter the 'technicums" (vocational training schools), or remain in the higher forms of the secondary school.

Certain common features emerge from this very brief survey of the American and Russian schools of the secondary stage. Both schools are comprehensive and non-selective. Both favour a modern and practical curriculum. Both appear to cope with remarkable success with a wide range of ability and aptitude, without endangering a high standard of academic and theoretical attainment at the later stage, for no one would deny the high standards of technique and research achieved in both countries. In both cases their schools - at least, in the big cities - tend to be considerably larger than our secondary schools, though here again it must be remembered that, in both countries, the average school does not usually have more than 450 pupils. In the Russian school, the common core of culture is the accepted practice; in the United States, experience of a widely


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varied curriculum, with a multitude of options, is leading educational opinion in the same direction.

The advantages of this type of secondary school are obvious. It has no need of selection. It brings together in one school a cross-section of the community. It makes possible a wider and more varied curriculum, while preserving a common core of culture. To quote again from the L.C.C. Report:

Secondary education must, for every individual, be a liberal education, ministering to three main types of interest - cultural interests for the enrichment of personal leisure, vocational interests in preparation for the successful gaining of a livelihood, and community interests leading to responsible participation in the duties of citizenship.
In short, the multilateral secondary school will put into practice the new conception of education implied by the new Act.

Here, in general outline, is the multilateral school - the secondary school of the future.

It would be a mistake to attempt to lay down in detail the organization of this new secondary school. One of its chief advantages is its flexibility. Size, for instance, can be varied according to the nature of the area, travel facilities, available sites, and existing buildings. The multilateral school can be of any size. In.thickly populated areas the large school with 1,000 or even 2,000 pupils has considerable advantages. It will effect economy of staffing, accommodation and equipment, while providing the maximum diversity of curriculum in the upper forms. Nor is there anything appalling, as has been suggested, in a school of this size. Eton College, Manchester Grammar School, and some existing secondary schools have long since solved the problems of large numbers. With proper organization of the form system, as suggested in the Norwood Report, there is no reason why any pupil should feel lost. On the contrary, each of the 1,100 boys at Eton probably receives more individual attention from tutor and housemaster than the average pupil in a small secondary school. Indeed, what is urged as an objection is an advantage, and a necessity to correspond with the needs of our highly urbanized and industrialized society.

But a large school is by no means essential. In the U.S.A. where the high school (a form of the multilateral school) is the normal type of secondary school, schools of 1,000 or more are exceptional. The normal size is about 400. In scattered rural areas distances and lack


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of travel facilities dictate a smaller school. Not only is this feasible in this country - something like it is already in existence. The only essential is that the multilateral school should serve the whole community in any given area.

So, too, with the details of curriculum. The multilateral school is something new arising out of the needs of new and changing social conditions. It must be allowed to develop by experiment the curriculum most suited to the needs of the community which it serves. I would suggest only that it should combine with a core of subjects, common throughout, a variety of choice widening as the pupil progresses through the school.

As the result of much investigation and research, there is general agreement among educationists that the common core should comprise:

1. English and literature.
2. Social studies (an integrated source of History and Geography, Civics, and some descriptive Economics).
3. General Science.
4. Elementary Mathematics.
5. Modern languages.
6. Music and Art.
7. Handwork (including the study and practice of simple machines).
8. Physical Education (including personal and social hygiene).
The content of the basic subjects will be less bookish, more related to practical life and the world as it is than is at present the case in most secondary schools. More attention will be devoted to art, music and the study of simple machinery, as well as the general principles of science. Here the recent experience of junior technical and senior schools, and of secondary schools which have experimented along these lines, will be of great value. It is as important for the academically clever children to be trained to use their hands, as for the other children. Education shall be as practical and realistic as possible at all stages.

For the first two years the curriculum would be general, based on the common core, broadly the same for all pupils. In subjects such as mathematics, languages, and perhaps English and other subjects, the "set" system would operate, thus enabling the children to find out their own level in these subjects. After two years, that is, at the age of thirteen, a considerable number of pupils would have shown a more or less definite bent in one direction or another. At this age,


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therefore, differentiation of curriculum would be introduced, but the common core of studies would occupy at least seventy per cent of the time for all pupils. For the greater part of the week there would be no differences, as all pupils would work together in their usual forms - music, physical training, English, etc. For a part of the week, however, some children would specialize in fresh groupings in mathematics and science, others in language subjects, others in handicrafts, music, general science, etc. In the parallel classes, therefore, there would be regroupings for some periods of instruction, three or four specialized streams following rather different courses, each with its own bias, while one or two streams would remain general in character. The balance of numbers could easily be secured by fitting into the specialized groups the pupils showing good all-round, but not specialized, abilities. Transfers could be effected easily without the child bearing any stigma or suffering undue disturbance.

At the age of fifteen the pupil might be given a wider choice of subjects, and more broadly vocational subjects might be introduced. But the main divergency should not come until sixteen.

At the leaving age of sixteen every child would receive a leaving certificate, specifying the nature of the course taken, and the standard attained. At this age some pupils would go on to technical colleges, art or commercial schools. Some would leave for employment, and do part-time work in the new county colleges. Others, especially those wishing to enter a university or the professions, would remain in the sixth form.

It is argued by some critics that the postponement to sixteen of vocational training neglects the needs of industry. This is a short-sighted view, which ignores modern industrial developments and their effect on the training of technicians and industrial workers. The trend - quite apart from the raising of the school leaving age - is to postpone definite technical training and to base it on a general education. This is a significant feature of the training schemes now under discussion in several industries. It is generally agreed that the boy with secondary education has proved the most adaptable and valuable recruit for the technical branches of the Services.

Another objection to the multilateral school, sometimes put forward by technical teachers, is that schools in which technical education is given should share staff, equipment and building with a senior technical institution. I am convinced that definite technical education should not begin before the age of sixteen; nor do I favour the


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separation of pupils who are preparing for an industrial career from those entering other occupations.

Some teachers in secondary schools are apprehensive that in the multilateral school there will be a lowering of academic standards, and that the clever child will be sacrificed in the interests of the average, or even the dull, child. This criticism is sometimes put in another form - that multilateral organization means uniformity and even regimentation: that every pupil in a multilateral school will be subjected to the same curriculum and syllabus, and will be obliged to proceed at the same pace of the slowest pupil. The answer is that the characteristics of the multilateral school are its great flexibility in organization, the wide scope of its curriculum, and its adaptability to the attitudes, abilities and interests of the pupil, whether he be "clever" or "stupid", quick or slow. The multilateral school will bring together a staff with a wide range of varied and specialized knowledge and training, able to cater for an equally wide range of aptitude and ability in the pupils.

This is also the answer to those who fear the bogey of the "dull child", a problem arising mainly out of social circumstances, which too often fail to provide a home environment in which a child can develop mentally and physically. The problem is aggravated by over-large classes, and lack of proper amenities in the present elementary school, and by the segregation of the so-called dull children into separate schools, with a lower standard of staffing and amenities. It is just this system which a properly organized multilateral school will be able to solve, The "dull boy" is no problem in the Public Schools. Rarely does he feel inferior to the clever boys in the school. Indeed, he will often feel superior to the "swot", especially if he has a secure place in the social or athletic life of the school. The multilateral school can provide a niche for every child. It offers a new conception of education. A "dull child", who incidentally is so dubbed because he is not academically minded in the present sense of the word, or because he cannot pass certain intelligence tests at a certain age, has as much right to attend such a school as any other boy. Taught with the new techniques which are evolving from the experience of the senior and special schools, and from the results of recent educational research, the dull child can acquire - if at a slower pace - the values of a liberal education. He has a right to go there for training as much as for learning - training to be a conscious democrat, to be a useful member of society, and to


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enjoy leisure and the vast opportunities for physical and cultural development that a growing standard of social amenities will provide. He has a right to attend a school where he can become an active and respected member of his community.





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CHAPTER X

THE COUNTRY SCHOOL
In England's green and pleasant land. WILLIAM BLAKE Jerusalem.
No attempt to set out the defects and inequalities in our educational system, and to indicate the possibilities of the 1944 Act would be complete without a reference to the country school. It is above all in the country districts, where the influences of the Dual System and of decaying feudalism are still active, that these defects and inequalities are seen at their worst.

As President of the National Union of Teachers in 1944-45, I took the opportunity of seeing country schools for myself. Thanks to well-planned arrangements made for me by some of the County Associations of the National Union of Teachers, and with the generous help of the Education Committees, I was enabled, in a short time, to get a fairly comprehensive view of the problems of education in rural districts. Since then I have discussed with colleagues in some of these districts the impressions which I gathered and the suggestions I have outlined in this chapter.

Many school buildings are quite unfit for their purpose. Many country schools fail to reach a minimum standard of hygiene and sanitation. Many are actually without water. Here is a brief extract from a memorandum published by the National Union of Teachers in 1936:

Not only are many rural schools in a bad state of repair, but they never were architecturally suitable to their purpose. High-pitched lancet windows, frosted glass and wide mullions prevent proper lighting. This type of window is often made so that it cannot be opened, or is so difficult to open that it has become a fixture through disuse. One Medical Officer of Health has stated that on an ordinary afternoon in the autumn, he was obliged to take a child out of doors to examine its vision.

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Heating is sometimes very inadequate, open fires or coke-stoves being the usual method of heating village schools. In the depth of winter, such schools have been known to assemble with ink frozen in the wells, and the temperature of the room down to freezing point. Such conditions must be inimical to the health of the children, who in such circumstances, cannot be reasonably expected to do satisfactory work.

In 1944, the National Federation of Women's Institutes published the results of a rural water and sewerage survey:

Some village schools have no water supply at all. Leicestershire and Rutland report twenty-five with no water, out of a total of a hundred and six. Gloucestershire reports seventeen, out of a hundred and twenty-six. Norfolk has fourteen out of one hundred and eleven; Yorkshire, twenty out of two hundred and fourteen. In Thorney Toll (Isle of Ely), the children have to fetch water from a farmhouse a quarter of a mile away. Tydd St. Mary School (Isle of Ely) has its water carted from Wisbech six miles away. In Cheshire, two schools have pumps not fit for drinking, and in another, drinking water is obtained from a spring in a muddy lane a hundred and fifty yards away.
Referring to sanitary arrangements, the same survey states that village schools "mostly have earth or bucket lavatories, and too few of them for the number of children. Little wonder that Broughton Astley (Leicestershire) writes: 'The school is a standing disgrace, and is not fit to send small children into. It is both filthy and unhealthy.'

"In twenty-one counties, over fifty per cent of the village schools investigated have earth or bucket lavatories. At Aldsworth (Gloucestershire), the school closets drain into a dry well. At Mordiford (Herefordshire), the school drain runs across a road under a row of houses to an open brook. In Cosford St. Mary infant school (Wiltshire), there are three buckets for sixty children ... The school urinals at Wetheringsett-cum-Brockford (East Suffolk) drain into an open ditch, which runs along Church Street ..." and so on.

Strange as it may seem, the vast majority of country schools are without any kind of playing field. I remember in one country town visiting an elementary school of over 400 children situated right alongside magnificent, well-kept playing fields of wide extent. "You lucky man", I said to the Head. "Oh", said he, "those fields belong to the Public School. We use a recreation ground on the other side of the town."

In another village I was shown, with great pride, the school


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playing field - sloping and uneven, and not big enough for one football pitch. The gymnasium is, of course, unknown outside the grammar schools, and a few up-to-date modern schools.

The conditions for the children are paralleled by the conditions of the teachers. Country teachers, until the 1945 Burnham Agreement, were paid far less than their colleagues in the towns with the same training and qualifications. In some counties more than half the teaching staff were women uncertificated teachers, whose scales ranged from 93 per annum to 156. Some County Councils still employ "supplementary" teachers, most of whom are without any training or qualifications of any kind.

But the worst handicap of all is the small "all-standard unreorganized" school - the typical village school, in which two or three teachers are expected to teach anything from fifty to a hundred children of all ages from four to fourteen.

It is only fair to say that, in some areas, real efforts have been made to overcome the special difficulties of the countryside, and to set a higher standard. East Suffolk and Cambridgeshire have led the way. Other County Councils in the years before the war had begun to build new senior schools which are as good as any in the towns.

It must also be recorded that, in spite of the bad conditions in which all too many of them have had to work, the nation owes a big debt to the country teachers. For years they have been trying to make bricks without straw. The measure of their success is to be seen in the bearing and mental alertness of the country children. In many villages the teacher is the well-respected friend, and leader of the little community. The devoted service of hundreds of ill-paid harassed teachers deserves the highest recognition. Nevertheless, it is a deplorable fact that Britain has in the past wasted much of the excellent potentialities of its village children by leaving village schooling in a very backward state.

The condition of the average country school is a reflection of the backward state of rural Britain. It is aggravated by the feudal outlook of the people who have up to now dominated local education authorities and boards of managers in the country areas. Few landowners and parsons would ever think of sending their children into such schools. It never occurs to them that the village child has a right to a decent education under decent conditions. Unfortunately, it is these people who still sit on many Education Committees and boards of managers.


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The time has passed when the nation can afford to treat its country people as of less importance than the others. Britain is not a country of industrial areas only. Agriculture, dairying and stock breeding are an important part of our national life. The wartime economic revival of the countryside must be maintained, and this requires well-educated rural, as well as urban, populations.

A great effort is needed on the part of the County Education Committees, supported by the nation as a whole, in the task of bringing up to date the education of our village children. The Act provides the opportunity. It establishes nation-wide standards for town and country alike. It gives generous assistance to the Church of England to enable it to bring its schools up to standard. It gives power to the Minister to enforce these standards.

The most important thing to be done is to bring to an end the small village school for children of all ages. These schools, even if sometimes picturesque, are in every way unsatisfactory for their purpose. It will prove quite uneconomic to make these small school buildings up to date, and provide in each village the full range of education in nursery schools, primary schools and secondary schools, with the different types of fully-trained and qualified teachers, now compulsory under the Act. The solution lies in the centralizing of the schools for older children, and providing transport to and from chosen centres in small market towns or larger villages. Such daily transport can be organized; indeed, it should prove easier and less expensive than attempting in each village to build secondary schools of the standard now required under the Act. This process had already begun before the war, and must now be continued for all but the youngest children.

The all-purpose, multilateral type of school should conform to the needs of rural areas far better than three separate schools for children over eleven. To run three secondary schools - a grammar school, a technical school and a modern school - without wasteful and extravagant use of public money, means they would have to be so far distant from each other as to make too much travelling for the pupils. The all-purpose school could meet in one organization the need for specialized teachers and equipment in academic subjects, and in technical training suited to rural life, and be provided more frequently.

It would be fatal if the younger children were left to inherit the old buildings as they are. The majority of village schools cannot


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possibly, even with great changes, reach the new standards for primary or nursery schools in space, hygiene or amenities.

Nursery schools are new to most of our villages, and they can now be set up where there is a need. It is up to the village parents to show this need for the little ones is as great in the country as in the towns. Why should the village toddlers be deprived of their own playrooms, resting-rooms, dining-rooms, gardens, their own special furniture and toys, that are the recognized features of the nursery school?

If a new building for the primary school is not possible in the village, then such schools should also be centralized. The buildings must be provided with practical workrooms as well as classrooms, an assembly hall and playing fields. There must be a garden and a paved playground for wintertime.

The serious malnutrition among village children in the years between the two wars must not be forgotten. It is essential for the meals service to be expanded under conditions that will make it more popular amongst children, parents and teachers.

There is one other provision of the Act which can be of great benefit to the village. If the village lad has, in the past, missed the doubtful blessing of the evening class, let him not miss the undoubted blessing of the County Colleges. The seasonal nature of the work of our farms would suggest that these County College courses might well be telescoped into two periods at a boarding establishment. Indeed, in view of the heavy building commitments implicit in the single task of bringing the normal schooling of the village child up to date, approaches might well be made to the County Boroughs with the suggestion of short reception periods for boarding students from the countryside. Real college life could be made a most valuable experience for country youths.

There is no denying that the costs of ending the backwardness of the village school in building alone will be very great. The new Burnham scales, which bring the salary of the village teacher up to that of the towns, and prevent the employment of any new unqualified teachers, will make the bill much heavier.

But these things are worth while, and have to be done. No longer will it be possible for the village teachers, after twenty years experience, to earn less than the bus-conductorette or the woman porter at the station. The status of the village teacher is raised with the salary, and when the new buildings go up, status in town and country will be equal.


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In February, 1945, the Government introduced a new grant to poorer areas, designed to hold the balance against sparsity of population, us well as poverty. This is the first time a grant has been allocated specially to help the village schools.

In spite of this concession, it is the rural areas that have the leeway to make up in education: the financial burden of the minimum improvements required would be a crippling burden on the rural authorities.

The County Councils will have the support of all progressive organizations in pressing the Government for larger grants from the Treasury.

The nation as a whole has a debt to pay to the villages of Britain, and not least to their children.




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CHAPTER XI

THE COUNTY COLLEGE
The process of education for the vast majority of children offers at present an example of 'under-exposure, under-development, and insufficient fixing'. White Paper on Educational Reconstruction.
WHEN the leaving age is raised to fifteen, and later to sixteen, we shall have something like a complete national system of schooling for every child. This long overdue reform is undoubtedly the Act's greatest benefit for the average child - for the eighty-five per cent who, at present, leave school between fourteen and fifteen, and are plunged, ill-prepared, into the wage-earning world. It wipes out the worst inequality of the existing system, and will go a long way to prevent the present appalling waste of talent and ability. When conditions are levelled up to existing secondary standards, it will give every child an opportunity to acquire the basic skills which are a necessary foundation for a full and free life.

But at fifteen, and even at sixteen, there is still need of guidance and maintenance of contact with education. The decay of the apprenticeship system, and the rationalization of industry, have produced a wide gap between learning and writing. The period of adolescence, which marks the transition from childhood to adult life, is a period of great difficulty for many young people. For the children of the well-to-do, this difficult transition period is eased by the discipline of school and an ordered community life. Many of them remain at school until eighteen or nineteen, and then go on to a university, or perhaps spend a year in travel.

The establishment of County Colleges is an attempt to bridge for the average child the gap between childhood and adult life.

The County Colleges will provide part-time compulsory education for all young persons between the ages of fifteen and eighteen, who are not receiving full-time education elsewhere. Under the Act,


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this education will be provided on one day, or two half-days, per week during forty weeks in the year, or in special cases in one period of eight weeks, or two periods of four weeks, full-time. Thus, the students of the County Colleges will, in the first few years, consist of the majority of the age groups fifteen to eighteen, a total of about 2,000,000 boys and girls, of whom one-fifth will be attending on any given day. Some 20,000 teachers will be needed, and a large number of premises specially designed or adapted for the purpose. The legal phrases of clause 41 of the Act will in due course launch an educational experiment of very wide scope and tremendous possibilities.

For the first time in its history the nation accepts a measure of responsibility for the general welfare of its young people, even after they leave school. In the Ministry of Education's pamphlet No.3.: Youth's Opportunity - Further Education in County Colleges this responsibility is widely and generously interpreted.

The aims of the colleges are formulated as follows:

1. (a) To help young people to understand how to live a healthy life.
(b) To give opportunities for regular physical exercise and to develop physical skills.

2. To develop their knowledge and understanding so that, when they reach eighteen, boys and girls shall have:

(a) learned to concentrate on a piece of work and to carry it out systematically and thoroughly;
(b) learned to use their leisure to find out more about subjects that already interest them, and acquire a desire to explore new fields;
(c) received a stimulus to the imagination through the enjoyment of music, drama, art and literature, and the excitement of scientific discovery:
(d) improved their knowledge of the English language, and their power to use it (in Wales, both English and Welsh);
(e) acquired an appreciation of the place and responsibilities of the family in a healthy community;
(f) obtained a good knowledge of conditions in their own country, and how they can help to improve them;
(g) learned more about the people of other countries;
(h) learned something of the leadership and co-operative service necessary for good citizenship in a democratic community.

3. To develop their characters so that they will:

(a) be honourable, tolerant and kindly in dealing with their fellows;
(b) have an independent and balanced outlook on life.


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The comprehensive aims so set out should be regarded as a final goal rather than an immediate possibility, because it would be a mistake to expect too much from an institution which sees its students one day a week only. Only when the County Colleges are half-time institutions will it be possible for them to achieve their full aim and purpose.

Nevertheless, a great deal can be done. First, the County College will replace in part the evening classes which are at present the only opportunity of the elementary school child to add to his general knowledge and qualifications for employment.

In 1938 no less than 120,000 - sixteen per cent of the age groups affected - were part-time students in technical schools and evening classes. For the adolescent who has already done a full day's work, intensive learning two or three nights a week is a drudgery and physical strain which we have no right to expect from young people. It is to be hoped that, on the vocational side at least, much wider opportunities will be open to young people in the future, in addition to the facilities provided in the County Colleges, for the primary purpose of the County College is not narrowly technical, but rather to help young people to find their place as full citizens in our modern society.

Health, leisure, recreation and culture are as important at this stage as vocational qualifications. This does not mean that the approach to the young person in the County College will be a school approach. On the contrary, one thing is quite certain. Boys and girls leaving school at fifteen or sixteen will resent and resist any attempt to put them back to school for one day a week. It is only natural that both young people and parents will be extremely critical of this new institution. Their first question will be: "Will the college help him to find a better job?" Hence the approach will have to be through the interests and demands of the students rather than something imposed upon them by adults. In other words, the colleges must live up to their name. They must aim to establish not only standards of culture, but social and club life, which has long been recognized as an important side of university life.

In the colleges will be gathered students living divergent lives, having various ambitions, tastes and opinions, whose one thing in common is membership of a local community, and of the nation with its wider international responsibilities.


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Training for citizenship, in the widest and most popular forms, must be one of the main aims of the County College. Training for citizenship involves not only learning something about the forms of Government and administration, of trade unionism and political parties, but actual experience of the democratic way of life. Student-run clubs and groups of all kinds are perhaps the best way of giving training for leadership and citizen responsibilities. It is by such means that students will best be induced to continue their general education and special studies in their leisure hours. The colleges will be closely linked with all other educational institutions in the locality, so that special tastes and abilities can be fully met. Above all, opportunity must be provided for those who may wish at a later stage to resume full-time study. There are many young people who do not develop any particular taste or interest until they have been some years away from school. For those who show the ability and will to complete at this stage a full course of further education, the way must be made easy by means of free tuition and maintenance allowance.

The County College must not be an educational backwater, but a possible channel to the highest stages of education.

How and where are the colleges to be housed? To a large extent their success will depend on proper accommodation. One of the main reasons for the collapse of the day continuation schools and the Fisher Act, and, later on, the juvenile instruction centres, was unsuitable accommodation. Disused and out-of-date school buildings are quite unsuitable for the purpose. As soon as possible, new and specially designed buildings must be provided with all the amenities necessary for college life.

In the pamphlet, Youth's Opportunity, an account of premises needed is described as follows:

The building as a whole must be dignified and beautiful, as well as suited to its purpose. It should be an addition, in every sense, to the amenities of its neighbourhood. It would be a poor compliment to call these buildings colleges if they looked only like institutions. The time is past when educational architecture was felt to require the Gothic style, or the gloomy inconvenience of lancet windows, turret staircases and sunless cloisters. There is a contemporary school of architecture capable of meeting the demands that the colleges can make of it, and which, it is to be hoped, they will make.
The pamphlet goes on to lay down some of the essential things -


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administration, and staff-rooms, assembly hall, gymnasium, library, craft-rooms, cloakrooms and lavatories. It would be foolish, however, to hope that these new buildings can be provided in every case by 1950. In the meantime, large houses, army camps and hostels are capable of temporary adaptation.

The County College will have great advantages over existing youth organizations. It will, for instance, in the course of the week reach the whole group, and not merely that small part which is at present drawn into youth service. It will gradually build up a full-time corps of trained and experienced teachers and leaders. It will, in due course, if the plans set out in Youth's Opportunity are duly carried through, have the tremendous advantage of properly designed accommodation.

It should be able to exercise a wholesome influence on the conditions of employment of young wage earners, and thus win their loyalty and interest. The college can become not only a self-contained community offering a variety of activities to its students, but also an organizing and stimulating centre for the educational and cultural activities of youth.

If it is to achieve, in due course, these ambitious aims, the County College will need the active support, not only of young people themselves, but of parents, employers and trade unionists. The pamphlet, Youth's Opportunity, already referred to, is a good start in explaining the aims of this important experiment, but explanation and directives from above are not enough. It is the local education authorities who will be directly responsible for the County Colleges. It is the young people themselves and their employers who will benefit from their establishment. It is, therefore, important at this stage to secure wider publicity for the Minister's pamphlet, and to give full opportunity for popular, discussion, wherever possible, among the people concerned.

The Ministry of Education has recently announced that the County Colleges will be established in 1950. Is it really necessary to wait five years? Postponement means that the young people who need them most, those who pave suffered from a curtailed and interrupted education during the war years, will not have their help and guidance. Undoubtedly, the raising of the school leaving age should have first priority. A general improvement in the material conditions of all


[page 95]

schools and in particular a reduction in the size of classes, are desperately needed. But with a real drive to speed up the emergency training scheme, and a well-organized building plan, it should be possible to staff and accommodate the County Colleges in 1948.





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CHAPTER XII

HIGHER EDUCATION
The aim of a national policy must be to ensure that high ability is not handicapped by the accidents of place of residence, or lack of means in securing a university education. White Paper on Educational Reconstruction.
THE establishment of County Colleges and the wide expansion of adult education, will fill what is at present a serious gap in our educational system. But these developments will cater only for those whose full-time education ends at sixteen, by providing facilities to make good the gaps in formal education, and to develop interests which students may discover after leaving school.

The Act, however, says very little about the smaller but very important section of students which will continue full-time education, some to seventeen and eighteen, and others through a full university course. It is from this section that are recruited the professions, higher administration officials, both local and national and the scientists and technicians of industry. A supply of trained and qualified people, adequate in quantity and quality, is vital to the prosperity of the country.

During and since the war it has become evident that the nation is faced with a serious shortage of trained and qualified people in all sections of the national life. This is undoubtedly a direct result of the present undemocratic system of education. Up to now a large proportion of the higher posts in administration, industry and commerce, and in the learned professions, has, in effect, been reserved for the children of the well-to-do. There is no broad highway from nursery school to university. There is a scholarship system which has allowed a few of the most gifted to find their way to the top, but it is a steep and difficult path. It is estimated that one-third of the ablest pupils in the public elementary schools do not succeed in getting a secondary education. Of those pupils who do reach the


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secondary school, less than ten per cent stay on after sixteen. Even of those who reach the standard of the Higher School Certificate, which is equivalent to the first part of the university course, less than one-half go on to the university. The pool from which we draw is small and shallow. In the fifteen-to sixteen age group, less than 100,000 - that is to say, fifteen per cent of the whole age group - are in full-time schooling. Of the age group sixteen to seventeen, it is less than seven per cent, and at eighteen the total is reduced to some 30,000, or about 2.3 per cent of the total age group. Compare this with conditions in the United States of America, where eighty-five per cent of the fifteen to sixteen age group, and sixty-seven per cent of the sixteen to seventeen group, are still in full-time schooling.

At the university level the position is even worse. In 1938, the total number of students in universities, teachers' training colleges and technical colleges, was 61,000, about two per cent of the age groups of eighteen to twenty-one. The number of university students per 100,000 of the population given in the 1934 report of the University Grants Committee is one in 1,013 for England, one in 741 for Wales. This is to be compared with figures for other countries as follows:

Italy1 in 808
Germany1 in 604
Holland1 in 579
Sweden1 in 543
France1 in 480
Switzerland1 in 387
U.S.A.1 in 125

While it is not possible to give an estimate of the national requirements, there is sufficient evidence from authoritative bodies to show that the shortage is serious, and may become disastrous at a time when scientific discovery is advancing at breakneck speed. Professor J. D. Bernal, F.R.S., estimates that it will be necessary to increase the annual output of scientifically trained graduates from the present figure of 3,000 to something in the order of 20,000, if we are going to get the number of scientists we need. The Association of Scientific Workers has stated that it will be necessary to multiply by five or six the number of technicians qualified at a level slightly lower than that of the university graduate. The establishment of the National Health Service will require a considerable increase in the number of doctors. The McNair Report, quoted earlier in this book, has


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estimated that the number of teachers required will be more than twice as large as before the war. As Professor Bernal puts it: "We must get away from the ideals which were suitable for the nineteenth century of producing merely a learned elite and a few professional technicians. You cannot run a modern state without raising the scientific level of the whole population."

There is another aspect of this policy of restriction which must be taken into account in a democratic age. The denial, or at best the restriction, of a career open to the talents has a bad effect both on the mass of the population, and on the few at the top. It creates an almost impassable barrier between them. There is a serious danger of breeding among the highly educated few something like contempt for the common people. On the other hand, among parents and children of the lower income levels, there is a widespread feeling of frustration, and a consequent lack of ambition to make the most of their talents and abilities.

The raising of the school leaving age, and the levelling up of conditions throughout the school system when the Act is in full operation, will do much towards meeting this shortage. The path from school to university will be made easier. The sources from which trained and qualified people are drawn will be enlarged. Even now, one obstacle can be removed. The financial assistance given by most local education authorities to pupils who remain at school after school certificate stage is quite inadequate. A working-class family has to meet not only the cost of maintenance, but the loss of wages involved when a child stays on at school.

The meagre maintenance allowance at present available is quite insufficient. If these young people are needed to pursue their studies, they must cease to be a burden upon their family. Only in this way will it be possible to increase considerably the numbers of pupils who stay on at school from the present figure of ten per cent, which is quite inadequate to meet the needs. More generous assistance is also needed in the form of maintenance allowances for university students. At present the Ministry of Education awards 360 state scholarships each year; in addition to a small number of other scholarships. There is also a varying number of scholarships in the different universities, as well as grants made by the local education authorities, but the total of awards open to pupils from the secondary schools is grossly inadequate to meet the demand, and the basis of award is far from satisfactory.


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During the war, it was found necessary to provide science bursaries in large numbers, which were available to pupils reaching a sufficiently high standard to benefit from university courses. These awards were wisely made in the form of maintenance allowances and payment of fees, rather than in the form of a scholarship. This system of award might be well continued and extended. In view of the present shortage of trained and qualified persons, any student who reaches the required standard ought to be able to take a university course without being a burden on his family.

But while these measures would increase substantially the number of students able to enter higher educational institutions, including the universities, there are other obstacles which must be removed before it is possible to ensure an adequate supply of highly qualified persons. Higher education in technology, for instance, does not receive proper recognition. Even before the war the need for expansion and development of technical education was recognized, and a big programme, estimated to cost 12,000,000, was approved by the Government.

The Departmental Committee of the Ministry of Education, under the chairmanship of Lord Eustace Percy, is now considering this matter. It would seem that the real trouble here is the low status accorded to technical colleges, as compared with that of the universities. Only one of them, Manchester College of Technology, has the status of a university. Most of the remainder are hybrid institutions, providing educational facilities at very different levels from the work of the junior technical school to work of university and professional level. The same trouble is met in the teacher training colleges, which are hindered not only by lower status but also by perpetual lack of resources. At the same time some of the universities, and in particular the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, tend to ignore their functions as vocational institutions. It is believed, for instance, that some of these universities are offering considerable resistance to proposals for expansion. The McNair Committee on the Supply and Training of Teachers was unable to agree on proposals to establish University Schools of Education. Even the recent increase in the Government grants to the University Grants Committee will do little more than meet the general rise in costs. Much more generous financial assistance will be needed if the universities are to fulfil their functions and meet the national needs. Indeed, the whole position of the universities as autonomous


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institutions is somewhat anomalous. They receive a very large proportion of their finances from Government and local education authority grants, but there seems to be no authoritative body which can direct their energies in the direction required by the needs of the nation as a whole. The policy of equal opportunity has been accepted in the lower levels of the educational system, but it has yet to be applied in the universities.





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CHAPTER XIII

THE DEVELOPMENT PLAN
Any scheme for the constitution of local education authorities must be such as to preserve and stimulate local interest in educational affairs. White Paper on Educational Reconstruction.
IN previous chapters I have fried to sketch the possibilities of the Education Act. To a large extent these possibilities have still to be translated into realities. Undoubtedly the sweeping Labour victory in the General Election has put new heart into those who have laboured long and hard in the cause of popular education. The British people have said goodbye to 1939 and all that. It has elected a new Government, and given it marching orders to go ahead - equality of opportunity in education has a prominent place in the programme of the Labour Government. In the November municipal elections, equally definite instructions were given to many Borough Councils. No I doubt next spring the County Council elections will reveal the same determination on the part of the people to go ahead with the building of a better Britain.

In the tremendous task of educational reconstruction, the Borough and County Councils are all important. For it is on these bodies, or rather on the Education Committees appointed by them, that the chief responsibility rests for carrying out the provisions of the Education Act. They are the bodies who actually do the job - train the teachers, build the schools and find a great deal of the money. Thus clause II of the Act is most important. It instructs every local education authority to draw up and submit to the Minister of Education, not later than 1st April, 1946, a Development Plan, estimating the immediate and prospective needs of its, area, and showing the action which it proposes to take for securing that there shall be sufficient primary and secondary schools available for all the children in its area.

When completed by the local education authorities, approved and


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co-ordinated by the Minister, these plans will constitute a complete blue-print of the new educational system. It is vitally Important, therefore, that the Development Plan of every area should be not only comprehensive and well balanced, but that it should be thoroughly understood and accepted by all those concerned in its operation - parents and teachers as well as administrators.

In this connection, clause 76 of the Act contains an important innovation. It reads as follows:

In the exercise and performance of all powers and duties conferred and imposed upon them by this Act, the Minister and local education authorities shall have regard to the general principle that, so far as is compatible with the provision of efficient instruction and training, and the avoidance of unreasonable expenditure, pupils are to be educated in accordance with the wishes of the parents.
Here is the opportunity for parents to have their say in the carrying out of the Act, not only through the councillors whom they elect, but even more directly. How is this legal right of consultation to be made effective? The most obvious form of organization for this purpose is the Parents' Association, bringing together the parents of the children in each school or group of schools, with the help and guidance of the teachers. Such organizations have played a very active part in the progressive development of education in the United States and in Russia. Up to now in this country, Parents' Associations have not been general, though those that do exist have been effective in obtaining the practical co-operation of parents in the interest of the school in which they are particularly concerned. Some secondary schools, and nearly all nursery schools, have set up active and enthusiastic associations of this kind, a number of which are linked together by affiliation to the Home and School Council of Great Britain. Since the passing of the Act, many parents are taking an increasing interest in the new reforms, and are asking what they can do to help things along.

Here is something that they can do now. At the Easter Conference of the National Union of Teachers, the General Secretary, Sir Frederick Mander, called for 20,000 parents' meetings before the end of the year. There is no doubt that a network of parents' organizations throughout the country would be a most effective guarantee for the speedy operation of the Act. The issue at this moment by the Minister of a circular encouraging their formation would undoubtedly meet with an immediate response.


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Teachers too are vitally concerned, and have a lot to contribute to the Development Plans. They, better than anyone, know the needs of their own areas and of their own particular school. They are in intimate and daily contact with parents and children. Their experience and first-hand knowledge will add the human and personal touch, which is too often lacking in official plans and documents. Through their teacher representatives on the local education authorities, and their local organizations, they must be encouraged to play their part in the drawing up of the Plan.

Parents and teachers are most directly concerned, but every citizen ought to be drawn in to make his or her contribution, either as an individual or as a member of an organization. The work of the Council for Educational Advance, since its establishment in 1942, must be followed up by the setting up of local committees in every area, bringing together representatives of all organizations on the widest possible basis.

I have written at some length about the part that parents, teachers and citizens in general can and should take in the working out of a Development Plan, because I am convinced that there is no other way of mobilizing the will of the people behind the Act, and that only by means of such a mobilization can we make certain of the speed and punch needed to get the Act working.

That is the job of the local education authority, working through an Education Committee, which has in its administrative service a number of officials headed by the Chief Education officer. Normally, the detailed work is done in a number of sub-committees reporting to the full committee. The important work of drawing up the Development Plan is usually delegated to a special sub-committee consisting of the chairman of the sub-committees and other leading members. This sub-committee starts its work by considering a draft memorandum submitted to it by the Education Officer.

How does the Education Officer go about his job?

Let us follow the progress of the Education Officer for Barset. He made a close study of the Act itself and of the various circulars and pronouncements of the Minister before and since the passing of the Act. For the benefit of his committee and to buttress his arguments for a wide and ambitious programme, he noted down some of the more striking passages, beginning with the quotation from Disraeli which stands at the head of the White Paper:

Upon the education of the people of this country, the fate of this country depends.
Also in the White Paper he found:
The Government's purpose is to ensure a fuller measure of education and opportunity for young people and to provide means for all of developing the various talents with which they are endowed, and so enriching the inheritance of the country whose citizens they are ... In the youth of the nation, we have our greatest national asset. Even on a basis of mere expediency, we cannot afford not to develop this asset for the greatest advantage.
In the Explanatory Memorandum to the Education Bill, issued by the then President of the Board of Education, he underlined this important sentence:
What is involved is a recognition of the principle that the public system of education, though administered locally, is the nation's concern, the full benefits of which should be equally available to all alike, wherever their homes may be.
Speeches of the ex-Minister and of members of the new Government also provided useful ammunition.

Next, being a practical man, he drew up, with the help of his colleagues in the office and in the schools, a comprehensive and realistic survey of his area - school population, actual and estimated, its distribution, numbers of teachers and schools, state of repair and adequacy, playing fields, and all the thousand and one things that come directly or indirectly within the purview of education in its broadest sense. This was, of course, a survey of things as they were, with all the deficiencies and inadequacies due to the past and to the ravages of war. He was then able to rough out a balance sheet, showing what was needed to bring the schools to the new standards laid down in the Act and the Regulations. The result was something of a shock, and he recalled regretfully the efforts he made in those dead years between the wars to get his Committee to approve expenditure for this and that. Then he was met too often with rebuff from the economaniacs, the careful custodian of the rates, and, the diehard Colonel Blimp, who used to snort wrathfully at the very mention of spending money on the education of working-class children, though he had two sons at Eton costing him not less than 500 a year. "Well," he said to himself with a hopeful smile, "old Blimp and his friend Bumble are not likely to give much trouble after November.


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All this may be a shock to the Committee, but I can count on the Chairman to back me up - he's no Red, but he is an old scholarship boy, and has always done his best for the schools."

At this stage he picked up his papers and went into conference with his Chairman. Talks with the Town Clerk, with the Borough Surveyor about housing schemes, with the teacher representative and last, not least, with the Borough Treasurer, followed.

Already the draft plan was taking shape, and the time had come for the Sub-Committee to decide on certain important questions of policy. It was a long-term policy, so that questions of priority did not arise immediately. Nevertheless, our Education Officer, being concerned to get something done as soon as possible, decided to ask authority to put forward an immediate programme as soon as the Development Plan had passed the Education Committee, and without waiting for its approval by the Minister. This proposal was accepted by the Sub-Committee, in spite of remarks about blank cheques from Mr. Councillor Bumble. The next question caused a sharp discussion. What should be the policy for the secondary stage? In addition to a new secondary school for boys, the Borough possessed a large and fairly modern senior school, but no girls' secondary school. Owing to war conditions, reorganization had not been completed, so that senior pupils were scattered in a number of buildings throughout the Borough. The Municipal Technical College also had a small junior technical school. The Education Officer's draft report showed that when the age was raised to sixteen, it would be necessary to provide secondary accommodation for some 2,000 pupils. He recommended the extension of the existing boys' school to take 600, the conversion of the senior school to take 600 girls, and the building at the earliest possible date of a new mixed secondary school on a site on the outskirts of the Borough. This proposal, he explained, would involve the adoption of the multilateral school idea. He was sharply opposed by the Chairman of the Technical Sub-Committee, who was anxious to retain the small junior technical school. He was reminded that all the accommodation at the Municipal College was already earmarked for full-time day students over the age of sixteen. The position of the Paper-maker's High School - a Direct Grant School for Girls - was also raised. The Chairman joined in at this point with strong support for the very sensible and realistic proposal of the Education Officer, which, while looking forward to a policy in line with the new


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conception of education in the Education Act of 1944, made the fullest use of existing accommodation. The adoption of the Plan would allow of an early reorganization of the primary schools, which was urgently needed, and could not wait for the provision of new buildings. Eventually, this section of the report was approved, in spite of strong protests from Councillor Bumble. It was also agreed to include in the Development Plan proposals dealing with further education - County Colleges, adult classes, including a community centre, youth service. On the question of finance, it was agreed that estimates should be submitted to the Council, on the understanding that expenditure would be spread over a number of years, and that a strong request would be made, through the Association of Education Committees, to the Government to provide additional grants from the National Exchequer. The Chairman and the Education Officer were authorized, subject to approval by the full Committee, to open informal negotiations with the managers of the one Roman Catholic school in the Borough.

Finally, and only after considerable discussion, it was agreed to ask the full Committee to authorize the publication, in an illustrated brochure, of the draft Plan, and to arrange for a series of parents' meetings round each school or group of schools, at which the plan could be explained by members of the Committee, and discussed by the parents themselves. A request from the local Teachers' Association for the attendance of the Education Officer to explain the plan was also agreed to.

The Education Officer had surmounted his first hurdle. A fortnight later the draft Plan was approved by a majority of the Education Committee, though some objection was raised to the proposed brochure and the parents meetings. This brought a spirited reply from a Labour Councillor, who was also the Secretary of the local Council for Educational Advance. He taunted the objectors with being afraid of their constituents, and of the forthcoming Council elections. At this stage Colonel Blimp, who had taken no part in the discussion beyond an occasional interjection, was heard to remark that the country was going to the dogs, and that the proposed plan would ruin the Borough anyway. After this bright interlude the vote was taken, only the Colonel and his friend Councillor Bumble voting against, though a number of councillors abstained.

In due course the brochure was published and turned out to be a best seller, thanks largely to the efforts of the Council for Educational


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Advance, and the local Teachers' Association, which undertook an independent campaign, generously supported by the local paper. An Educational Exhibition was organized illustrating by photographs and diagrams, the main facts about education, both in the Borough and in the country as a whole. Some of the schools invited the parents to open days. Another popular feature was an Educational Brains Trust, having meetings in many centres, where all manner of questions from parents and, often, children were answered. Thanks to this advance publicity, the parents' meetings were attended by more than fifty per cent of the parents in the Borough. The speakers were bombarded with questions, and a number of suggestions were made. Councillor Bumble made one appearance only. His gloomy prophecies about the effect on the rates, though listened to with with some impatience, made a certain impression. It was clear that the financial question was a real difficulty. Once again the Secretary of the Council for Educational Advance saved the situation. He made no attempt to deny the heavy cost, but argued that the expenditure involved was the minimum necessary to secure a decent chance for the children of the Borough. He pointed out that the whole question of Local Government finance was under review by the Government, and urged the meeting to support the draft Plan while pressing for immediate relief of the rates.

The cost to the rates was not the only controversial issue arising from the discussion of the Development Plan. One of the parents' meetings was held at the County School, and chaired by the Headmaster, a keen and progressive educationist. The Director was present in person to explain the plan. The Headmaster's opening remarks were a direct challenge to the multilateral idea, which was the kernel of the Borough plan.

"Multilateralism", he declared, "as interpreted by the London County Council, is a totalitarian monstrosity. The multilateral school of 2,000 pupils will be more like a barracks or a factory than a school. It will destroy individual initiative in teachers and pupils. It will sacrifice the able pupil to the less able, and so lower the high standards of scholarship, which the secondary schools have built up in the last forty years. The poor scholar will no longer have a chance to compete successfully with the wearer of the old school tie."

These criticisms, put forward with obvious sincerity by a much respected Headmaster, made a considerable impression on the audience.


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These parents were justifiably proud of the fine record of the County School. Their sons had successfully negotiated the "scholarship" hurdle. They had won on their merits "equality of opportunity". They were highly suspicious of anything which might seem to lower standards and to deprive their boys of the chance to climb the educational ladder. So our friend, the Director, when he got up to make his address, faced a highly critical audience. But he was equal to the occasion.

"I congratulate the Headmaster", he began, "on a forthright and courageous defence of the secondary school. I taught for nearly twenty years as Head and assistant to three secondary schools, and I yield to no one in my admiration for the achievements of our secondary schools. They have met and beaten the Public Schools on their own ground. They have enabled the free place scholar to compete successfully with all comers for the blue ribands of university scholarships. If I thought for one moment that the changes which I have advocated threaten these great achievements, I would resign rather than be the instrument of such a disaster.

"But is not my friend the Headmaster unduly fearful? If he were as sure, as I am, of the solid and unshakable success of the secondary school, I think he would be more willing to consider the next stage of advance. So far, the prestige of the secondary school has been built largely on the successes of its ablest scholars. Can it claim as much for its handling of the average pupil? I fear not. Too many of them have to be crammed - I will not mince my words - through a course which is designed, in the main, for a few academically-minded pupils, who are, and will always be, a small minority. I have no anxiety for these brilliant pupils. My experience teaches me that, given guidance and encouragement, they will always find their way to the top. But we must not sacrifice the many average pupils to the brilliant few. We need - and need desperately - both quality and quantity. We need, too, a new approach to knowledge and education. Neither the theories of Plato, nor the practice of Arnold of Rugby, are suitable for this atomic age. The secondary school must move with the times, or sink back into stagnation and obscurity, as did the grammar school in the nineteenth century, until it received a transfusion of blood from the free place scholars of the elementary school.

"Let me turn now to the second point of criticism of the multilateral idea, which has been advanced tonight - size.


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"The Headmaster has called the London County Council comprehensive school a totalitarian monstrosity. Well, abuse is no argument. The multilateral school has its home in the home of individualism - the United States - not in Nazi Germany. However, it may turn out that a school of 2,000 pupils is too big. Certainly in our Borough plan, the largest school contemplated is one of 800. Is that too big? Certainly, the Head of such a school will not be able to know each pupil individually. But I wonder if the Headmaster really knows individually each of his 350 pupils? If he does, he is even more of a superman than I thought! It can t be done by one person. Nor should it be attempted. Real, intimate knowledge of every pupil is only possible in much smaller units, and can only be achieved by a properly organized form system. A form teacher can really get to know his own form of thirty pupils, and should go up with them right through the school. That is possible, and should be the rule in all schools.

"My friend, the Headmaster, is appalled by the large school. But he will, I am sure, agree with me that it is not possible, except in a fairly large school, to get together a well-qualified and varied staff, able to cultivate all the different aptitudes, abilities and interests. Nor is it possible in a small school to provide all the facilities in the shape of laboratories, workshops, handicraft rooms and equipment necessary to provide variety. The fact is that many of our secondary schools, especially in the country districts, are far too small for efficiency. I have no dogmatic theories about the ideal number of pupils. I would only claim here, as in other matters, we must not be afraid to experiment.

"Well, I have given my answer to the two criticisms of multilateralism. I have left myself no time tonight to put before you the educational and social philosophy on which it is based. I believe it to be sound, democratic and in tune with our times. You here tonight are the parents of the fortunate few. Their opportunity was won by them largely by the efforts of a band of pioneers, who believed in equality of opportunity. In their day they were often dubbed Utopians and dreamers. Today, we have the responsibility of extending opportunity to all. Let us be sure that we are not depriving others of something that we value highly for ourselves and our children."

From the meeting at the County School, the discussion spread to other parents' meetings, into the local Press and to the homes of


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the people. Education had become a live issue in the Borough.

This little story is of course fiction, but like all good stories, it is founded on fact, and has a moral. Local education authorities are now discussing their Development Plans. Some, like the London County Council, the West Riding, the Boroughs of Southend and East Ham, have already published preliminary reports. It is also a fact that most local education authorities take a real pride in their schools, and that many education officers are progressive, and are keen to get things done. On the other hand, Colonel Blimp and his friend, Councillor Bumble, are by no means exceptional members of local education authorities. Indeed, it could even be claimed that Councillor Bumble at any rate has a case. But what I fear is the largest bit of fiction in my story is the full publicity given to the plan, and the consequent interest and support of the parents. And herein lies the moral. Local education authorities who seek popular support will find it. In a democracy, popular support is needed to give speed and punch to the great effort which is necessary if the benefits of the Act are to be secured for the children of this generation.




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CONCLUSION

IT'S UP TO US

IT remains now to attempt a definite answer to the three questions from which I started. Let me repeat them:

(1) Does the Education Act of 1944 give expression to a modern democratic outlook?
(2) Does it provide the framework needed for a thorough recasting of our educational system?
(3) Can it be made to work efficiently in the next few years?
To the first two questions my answer is - yes. On the whole, and in spite of certain weaknesses, the Act is progressive and democratic. It does provide a practicable working drawing for a new system.

What of the third question? I hardly think that I shall be accused of under-estimating the immensity of the task. Men, materials and money are in short supply, and are needed for all the urgent tasks of reconstruction. Among the administrators and teachers, whose job it is to make the Act work, there is much war-weariness. More dangerous still, previous disappointments have bred much scepticism and even cynicism. We have been fooled too often by promises of pie in the sky, by and by. The political records of some of those who supported the Act in its passage through Parliament, and of others who control the local administrative machine which has to make it work, do not inspire an easy confidence. Already some of the regulations issued under the Act have been used to level down rather than up. There is, up to now, all too little evidence of speed and punch in operation and administration. In the House of Commons the champions of the old school tie have plucked up their courage, and are fighting to retain their privileges. Others are exploiting to the full the delaying tactics of a defeated and retreating army. Even some of the staunchest supporters of educational advance seem inclined to reconcile themselves to a slowing down of tempo.


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The school leaving age is not to be raised to fifteen until April, 1947.

Must we then, if we are honest, admit that it is not possible to make the Act work efficiently in the next few years? That was my third question, and here is my answer. It can be made to work, and work soon. What is more, I believe it will be made to work. I base my confidence on the new spirit of the common people of Britain. I am convinced that, as a people, we have made up our minds to put an end to 1939 and all that - an end to poverty and insecurity, to privilege and to vested interest, to war and threats of war. We understand something of what this involves. A new democratic consciousness is arising. Already it has found practical expression in the surge of feeling which swept Labour into power at the General Election. As the municipal elections have shown, the tide is still flowing. In March it will almost certainly engulf many of the County Councils. It is sweeping away the political obstacles in the path of social, including educational advance.

The first Labour Minister of Education is a woman graduate of Manchester University, who has no claim to any old school tie. Miss Ellen Wilkinson has come up the hard way through the elementary and secondary school, and the pupil-teachers' training. She has shown already that she realizes that there can be no real and lasting democracy without a democratic educational system. We, the common people of Britain - parents and teachers, administrators and officials - share with her a tremendous task and a grand opportunity. It is up to us. "The old is dead. We shall die with it unless we can give birth to the new."

THE END