There are now more than 420 historic education documents on this website, so you can read them in full online - or download them - in many cases for the first time since they were published.

They are presented as text, so they are searchable (using your web browser's Find facility or the Google search on the home page), and copiable.

Some of the reports and most of the Acts of Parliament and Official Papers are pdf files which have been downloaded from the National Archives website. The text of recent documents of this type is searchable and copiable, but there is a problem with pre-1988 documents: copied text does not include spaces between words. However, they can still be downloaded, read and searched.

The Acts and Official Papers listed here which are not available on the National Archives website have been photocopied (at the Bodleian Law Library in Oxford) and scanned. They are presented here as searchable and copiable text files, but you can also see copies of the originals.

Crown copyright material is reproduced here under the Open Government Licence for public sector information.

If you spot any errors, or have any comments, or if there's a particular document you'd like to see online, send me an email: contact details are here.

Documents Archive

The documents are listed chronologically under the following headings:

Major Reports
almost all the important reports on education in England and Wales since 1900

Other Documents
a selection of DES and HMI publications, government circulars, speeches etc

Official Papers
Green papers (discussion documents) and White papers (proposals for legislation) etc

a handful of historic texts

Acts of Parliament
Acts of the UK Parliament relating to children, schools and education are now listed separately.

If you would prefer to see a single chronological list, my Timeline includes links to all the documents.

Major Reports

on education in England and Wales

1867-8 Girls' Schools: a chapter from the Reports of the Schools Inquiry Commission on the education of girls.

1906 Dyke Report Questions Affecting Higher Elementary Schools (Board of Education Consultative Committee): made recommendations regarding the role, staffing and curriculum of Higher Elementary Schools.

1908 Acland Report School Attendance of Children Below the Age of Five (Board of Education Consultative Committee): made recommendations regarding the provision and content of nursery school education.

1909 Acland Report Attendance, Compulsory or Otherwise, at Continuation Schools (Board of Education Consultative Committee): argued that LEAs should be empowered to require under 17s to participate in some form of post-elementary education.

1911 Acland Report Examinations in Secondary Schools (Board of Education Consultative Committee): this was the Consultative Committee's second report on exams (the first - not online - was published in 1904). It argued that the existing system needed simplifying.

1913 Acland Report Practical Work in Secondary Schools (Board of Education Consultative Committee): argued that secondary schools should provide teaching in 'some branches of Educational Handwork', and should make them an integral part of the curriculum.

1921 Crewe Report The position of the Classics in the Educational System of the United Kingdom: report of a committee appointed by Prime Minister David Lloyd-George.

1921 Newbolt Report The Teaching of English in England: one of four reports on the teaching of English on this website. The others are Bullock (1975), Kingman (1988) and Cox (1989).

1923 Hadow Report Differentiation of the Curriculum for Boys and Girls Respectively in Secondary Schools.

1924 Hadow Report Psychological Tests of Educable Capacity and their possible use in the public system of education.

1926 Hadow Report The Education of the Adolescent: recommended a break at age 11 between primary and secondary education.

1928 Hadow Report Books in Public Elementary Schools.

1929 Wood Report Report of the Mental Deficiency Committee: made recommendations regarding the classification and education of 'mentally defective' children.

1931 Hadow Report The Primary School: informed many of the policies which were later enacted in the 1944 Education Act.

1933 Hadow Report Infant and Nursery Schools.

1938 Spens Report Secondary Education with Special Reference to Grammar Schools and Technical High Schools: recommended the 'tripartite' system of grammar, technical and secondary modern schools.

1943 Norwood Report Curriculum and Examinations in Secondary Schools: report of the Committee of the Secondary School Examinations Council which, along with Spens, underpinned the 1944 Education Act.

1944 McNair Report Teachers and Youth Leaders: a forward-looking report which made recommendations about the supply, recruitment and training of teachers and youth leaders in post-war England and Wales.

1944 Fleming Report The Public Schools and the General Educational System: considered how independent boarding schools might be integrated into the post-war education system.

1947 Clarke Report School and Life: the first report of the newly-created Central Advisory Council for Education (England) was an inquiry into the transition from school to independent life.

1948 Clarke Report Out of School: the second report of the Central Advisory Council for Education (England) looked at facilities for out-of-school activities.

1954 Gurney-Dixon Report Early Leaving: this report by the Central Advisory Council for Education (England) was an enquiry into the problem of premature school-leaving in England.

1955 Underwood Report Maladjusted Children: the committee appointed by Minister of Education George Tomlinson in October 1950 recommended that LEAs should set up Child Guidance Services.

1959 Crowther Report 15 to 18: report of the Central Advisory Council for Education (England) which advocated raising the school leaving age to 16 and made recommendations about the education and vocational training of 15 to 18 year olds.

1960 Beloe Report Secondary School Examinations other than the GCE: the report of a Committee appointed by the Secondary School Examinations Council which led to the introduction of the Certificate of Secondary Education (CSE) in 1965.

1963 Newsom Report Half Our Future: a report of the Central Advisory Council for Education (England) on children of average or below-average ability.

1963 Robbins Report Higher Education: recommended a massive expansion of higher education provision to cater for all who had the necessary ability. (See also Dearing 1997 and Browne 2010)

1967 Plowden Report Children and their Primary Schools: the full text of both volumes of the report plus articles by AH Halsey and Kathy Sylva, Maurice Kogan, George Smith, David Winkley, Neville Bennett, Maurice Galton, Philip Gammage, Andrew M Wilkinson and Bridget Plowden.

1968 Summerfield Report Psychologists in Education Services: the first government-commissioned report on the work of psychologists.

1968 Newsom Report The Public Schools Commission: First Report: like Fleming in 1944, made recommendations about integrating private boarding schools into the state education system.

1970 Donnison Report The Public Schools Commission: Second Report: considered the part independent day schools and direct grant grammar schools might play in a state education system which was in the middle of comprehensive reorganisation.

1972 James Report Teacher Education and Training: recommended major changes in the way teachers were trained.

1975 Bullock Report A language for life: major report on the teaching of English, including an extensive survey of 2,000 schools in England. One of four reports on the teaching of English on this website: the others are Newbolt (1921), Kingman (1988) and Cox (1989).

1977 Taylor Report A New Partnership for Our Schools: recommended major changes to the composition and responsibilities of school governing bodies, including roles for parents and the local community.

1978 Sneddon Report Learning to Teach: a report of the General Teaching Council for Scotland.

1978 Warnock Report Special Educational Needs: an important report on the education of children and young people with special needs.

1978 Waddell Report School Examinations: the report of the Steering Committee established to consider proposals for replacing GCE O Level and CSE with a common system of examining at 16+.

1981 Rampton Report West Indian Children in our Schools: the interim report of the Committee of Enquiry into the education of children from ethnic minority groups.

1982 Cockcroft Report Mathematics counts: a major report on the teaching of maths.

1985 Swann Report Education for All: the final report of the Committee of Enquiry into the education of children from ethnic minority groups.

1988 Black Report National Curriculum Task Group on Assessment and Testing (TGAT) (pdf file 889kb) set out structure of tests and school league tables.

1988 Higginson Report Advancing A Levels: its recommendations for broadening the sixth form curriculum were rejected by the Thatcher government.

1988 Kingman Report The Teaching of English Language: produced just before the imposition of the National Curriculum. One of four major reports on the teaching of English on this website: the others are Newbolt (1921), Bullock (1975) and Cox (1989).

1989 Cox Report English for ages 5 to 16: the report which formed the basis of the English component of the new National Curriculum. One of four major reports on the teaching of English on this website: the others are Newbolt (1921), Bullock (1975) and Kingman (1988).

1989 Elton Report Discipline in Schools: commissioned by Education Secretary Kenneth Baker, it includes the findings of a national survey of teachers (Appendix D).

1990 Rumbold Report Starting with Quality: the report of the Committee of Inquiry into the quality of the educational experience offered to 3 and 4 year olds, chaired by Angela Rumbold.

1992 'Three Wise Men Report' Curriculum Organisation and Classroom Practice in Primary Schools: produced by Robin Alexander, Jim Rose and Chris Woodhead at the request of Education Secretary Kenneth Clarke.

1994 Warwick Evaluation Implementation of English in the National Curriculum: within a year of its introduction, concerns about National Curriculum English prompted this investigation.

1994 Dearing Review The National Curriculum and its Assessment: Final Report: the Tories' National Curriculum and assessment arrangements were hopelessly complicated. Ron Dearing was called on to sort out the mess.

1996 Dearing Review Review of Qualifications for 16-19 Year Olds: Ron Dearing (then joint Chair of the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority) made recommendations on the development of 16-19 qualifications.

1997 Dearing Report Higher Education in the learning society: recommended wider participation in higher education. (See also Robbins 1963 and Browne 2010)

1997 Literacy Task Force The Implementation of the National Literacy Strategy: report of the working party under Michael Barber appointed by David Blunkett in May 1996.

1998 Crick Report Education for citizenship and the teaching of democracy in schools (pdf file 430kb) recommended that citizenship education should be a statutory entitlement in the school curriculum.

1999 Moser Report Improving literacy and numeracy: a fresh start (summary and recommendations only) (pdf file 131kb) set out National Literacy Strategy and National Learning Targets.

2003 Ofsted The education of six year olds in England, Denmark and Finland (pdf file 590kb) a comparative study.

2003 Ofsted/Audit Commission Report School place planning: The influence of school place planning on school standards and social inclusion (pdf file 98kb) warned of social divisiveness of parental choice.

2004 Smith Report Making Mathematics Count (pdf file 926kb) report of Professor Adrian Smith's inquiry into post-14 mathematics education.

2004 Tomlinson Report 14-19 Curriculum and Qualifications Reform (pdf file 920kb).

2004 Scottish Executive A curriculum for excellence (pdf file 229kb) report of the Curriculum Review Group.

2005 Steer Report Learning behaviour (pdf file 979kb).

2006 2020 Vision (pdf file 221kb) Report of the Teaching and Learning in 2020 Review Group, chaired by Christine Gilbert.

2007 Ajegbo Report Diversity and Citizenship (pdf file 1.2mb) pupils should have the skills to 'participate in an active and inclusive democracy, appreciating and understanding difference'.

2008 CSFC Report Testing and Assessment (pdf file 631kb) a report by the House of Commons Children, Schools and Families Committee.

2008 IRPC Interim Report Interim Report of the Independent Review of the Primary Curriculum (pdf file 2.1mb).

2009 CSFC Report National Curriculum (pdf file 1.5mb) report by the House of Commons Children, Schools and Families Committee.

2009 IRPC Final Report Final Report of the Independent Review of the Primary Curriculum (pdf file 3.3mb).

2009 Cambridge Primary Review Towards a New Primary Curriculum (interim reports): Past and Present (pdf file 623kb) and The Future (pdf file 737kb).

2009 Steer Report Learning Behaviour: Lessons Learned (pdf file 2.1mb) the follow-up to the Steer committee's 2005 report.

2009 Macdonald Report Independent Review of the proposal to make Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education statutory (pdf file 983kb).

2010 Browne Report Securing a Sustainable Future for Higher Education (pdf file 799kb) recommendations mostly ignored. (See also Robbins 1963 and Dearing 1997).

2010 Steer Report Behaviour and the role of Home-School Agreements (pdf file 1.1mb) advice on implementing changes to home-school agreements as specified in the Children, Schools and Families Bill.

2011 Tickell Report The Early Years: Foundations for life, health and learning (pdf file 1.8mb) made recommendations relating to the EarlyYears Foundation Stage.

2011 Bew Report Independent Review of Key Stage 2 testing, assessment and accountability (pdf file 340kb) recommended that published test results should be more comprehensive and seen as a part of a bigger picture.

2011 DfE The Framework for the National Curriculum (pdf file 946kb) a report by the Expert Panel for the National Curriculum review.

2011 All-Party Parliamentary Group for Education Report of the Inquiry into Overcoming the Barriers to Literacy (pdf file 328kb).

2011 HCEC Report Participation by 16-19 year olds in education and training (pdf file 844kb) a report by the House of Commons Education Committee.

2011 HCEC Report Behaviour and Discipline in Schools (pdf file 430kb) a report by the House of Commons Education Committee.

2011 HCEC Report The English Baccalaureate (pdf file 725kb) a report by the House of Commons Education Committee.

2011 Wolf Report Review of Vocational Education (pdf file 2.5mb).

2011 Henley Report Music Education in England (pdf file 827kb). See also the government's response to the review (pdf file 152kb).

2011 DfE/DCMS The Importance of Music: A National Plan for Music Education (pdf file 348kb).

2012 Ofsted Report Moving English forward (pdf file 639kb) action to raise standards in English.

2012 Lingfield Report Professionalism in Further Education (pdf file 672kb) the interim report of the Independent Review Panel.

2012 HCEC Report Great teachers: attracting, training and retaining the best (pdf file 516kb) a report by the House of Commons Education Committee.

2012 Henley Report Cultural Education in England (pdf file 733kb) an independent review for the Department for Education and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

2012 Lingfield Report Professionalism in Further Education (pdf file 438kb) the final report of the Independent Review Panel.

Other Documents

DES and HMI publications, circulars, speeches etc

Note An archive of Maintained schools inspection documents can now be found on the Ofsted website.

1943 Sex Education in schools and youth organisations: Board of Education Pamphlet No. 119.

1959 Primary Education Suggestions for the consideration of teachers and others concerned with the work of Primary Schools. This Ministry of Education publication provides a snapshot of primary education in the 1950s, eight years before the publication of Plowden.

1960 Music in Schools: a Ministry of Education booklet (48 pages) first published in 1956.

1965 DES Circular 10/65 The organisation of secondary education: requested LEAs to submit plans for comprehensivisation.

1970 Sir Alec Clegg The centenary of public education (mpeg-4 audio file 39mb): Sir Alec's address as one of the two guests of honour at the celebration in Westminster Hall, which was chaired by Rab Butler. Recording kindly supplied by Sir Alec's son, Andrew.

1972 Sir Alec Clegg Making the whole world wonder (text): an after dinner speech given on 3 August 1972 at the end of a vacation course for teachers at Bingley College of Education.

1976 School Education in England: problems and initiatives: the so-called 'Yellow Book', prepared by the DES, set out the state of school education in England in the mid-1970s.

1976 Jim Callaghan's Ruskin College speech (text): widely regarded as having begun 'The Great Debate' about the nature and purpose of public education.

1977-82 Matters for Discussion A series of 15 discussion documents from HMI:

  1 Ten Good Schools (1977)
  2 Classics in Comprehensive Schools (1977)
  3 Modern Languages in Comprehensive Schools (1977)
  4 Gifted Children in Middle and Comprehensive Secondary Schools (1977)
  5 The Teaching of Ideas in Geography (1978)
  6 Mixed Ability Work in Comprehensive Schools (1978)
  7 The Education of Children in Hospitals for the Mentally Handicapped (1978)
  8 Developments in the BEd Degree Course (1979)
  9 Mathematics 5 to 11 (1979)
10 Community Homes with Education (1980)
11 A View of the Curriculum (1980)
12 Modern Languages in Further Education (1980)
13 Girls and Science (1980)
14 Mathematics in the Sixth Form (1982)
15 The New Teacher in School (1982)

1978-85 HMI surveys In response to Plowden's suggestion that the quality of education in England should be reviewed every ten years, HMI produced, between 1978 and 1985, five major surveys covering the whole school age range:

1978 Primary education in England
1979 Aspects of secondary education in England
1982 Education 5 to 9
1983 9-13 Middle Schools
1985 Education 8 to 12 in Combined and Middle Schools

1981 The School Curriculum: DES booklet giving advice to LEAs on curriculum development.

1981 DES Circular 6/81 The School Curriculum: asked LEAs to review the curriculum offered in their schools.

1983 DES Circular 8/83 The School Curriculum: asked LEAs to report on progress in reviewing the curriculum offered in their schools, as requested in Circular 6/81.

1984-9 Curriculum Matters A series of 17 discussion documents from HMI:

  1 English (1984)
  2 The Curriculum (1985)
  3 Mathematics (1985)
  4 Music (1985)
  5 Home economics (1985)
  6 Health education (1986)
  7 Geography (1986)
  8 Modern foreign languages (1987)
  9 Craft, design and technology (1987)
10 Careers education and guidance (1988)
11 History (1988)
12 Classics (1988)
13 Environmental education (1989)
14 Personal and social education (1989)
15 Information Technology (1989)
16 Physical education (1989)
17 Drama (1989)

1985 Science 5-16: A statement of policy: DES booklet setting out policies for the school science curriculum.

1985 Better Schools - A Summary: DES booklet describing the government's policies for schools in England and Wales as set out in the White Paper Better schools.

1985 Quality in Schools: Evaluation and Appraisal: DES publication based on surveys by HMI of practice in a small number of schools and LEAs.

1987 The National Curriculum 5-16: the consultation document in which the government set out its plans for the introduction of the national curriculum and associated assessment procedures.

1990 Language Awareness and Foreign Language Taster Courses: an HMI survey of secondary schools.

1991 Religious Education: A Local Curriculum Framework: a National Curriculum Council paper offering advice to LEAs.

1993 Spiritual and Moral Development: a discussion paper produced by the National Curriculum Council.

1996 Tony Blair's Ruskin College lecture (text): given on 16 December 1996 to mark the twentieth anniversary of Jim Callaghan's Ruskin College speech (see 1976 above).

1999 The National Curriculum: Handbook for primary teachers in England (pdf file 1.6mb) information and advice for teachers from the DfEE and the QCA.

2004 Building Bulletin 98 (pdf file 7mb) Briefing Framework for Secondary School Projects (DfES).

2004 Building Bulletin 99 (pdf file 5mb) Briefing Framework for Primary School Projects (DfES).

2006 Primary National Strategy (pdf file 922kb) Primary Framework for literacy and mathematics.

2011 Training our next generation of outstanding teachers (pdf file 336kb) discussion document from the DfE.

2011 Training our next generation of outstanding teachers (pdf file 336kb) implementation plan from the DfE.

2012 Equality Act 2010: Advice for school leaders, staff, governors and local authorities (pdf file 328kb) non statutory advice from the DfE.

2012 Statutory Framework for the EYFS: Setting the standards for learning, development and care for children from birth to five (pdf file 143kb).

2012 2013 EYFS Profile Handbook published by the Standards and Testing Agency (pdf file 512kb).

2013 Ofsted New inspection arrangements:

The framework for school inspection (pdf file 442kb).
School inspection handbook (pdf file 557kb).
Subsidiary guidance: Supporting the inspection of maintained schools and academies (pdf file 541kb).

2013 DfE Revision of National Curriculum:

The National Curriculum in England: a framework document (pdf file 1.8mb).
Reforming the national curriculum in England - equalities impact assessment (pdf file 266kb).
Reforming the national curriculum in England - consultation summary (pdf file 221kb).
Statutory Instrument: the draft order laid before Parliament (pdf file 164kb).

Acts of Parliament

are now listed on a separate page.

Official Papers

Green papers set out the broad direction of government policy to inform public discussion; White papers contain specific proposals for government Bills, which, if passed, become Acts of Parliament.

1943 White Paper Educational Reconstruction: formed the basis of the 1944 Education Act.

1977 Green Paper Education in Schools: A Consultative Document: began the process of curriculum review called for by Jim Callaghan in his Ruskin College speech of 1976.

1992 White Paper Choice and Diversity: A new framework for schools: formed the basis of the 1993 Education Act.

1994 Labour Party Opening doors to a learning society: education policy document prepared for the party's annual conference in 1994 - Tony Blair's first as leader.

1997 White Paper Excellence in schools: formed the basis of the 1998 School Standards and Framework Act.

1997 Green Paper Excellence for all children: Meeting Special Educational Needs (pdf file 4.3mb) set out five year plan.

1998 Green Paper Teachers: meeting the challenge of change New Labour's first Green Paper on the teaching profession.

2001 Green Paper Schools: building on success (pdf file 1.4mb) New Labour's rewriting of the history of comprehensive schools.

2001 White Paper Schools: achieving success (pdf file 1.5mb) formed the basis of the 2002 Education Act.

2001 The Learning Country (pdf file 508kb) the Welsh Assembly's first major statement on education.

2002 Green Paper 14-19: extending opportunities, raising standards (pdf file 1.8mb) set out proposals for the 14-19 curriculum.

2002 Education (Middle School) (England) Regulations 2002 (pdf file 45kb) specified whether middle schools would be classified as either primary or secondary schools.

2003 Green Paper 14-19: opportunity and excellence (pdf file 4.6mb) set out proposals for the 14-19 curriculum taking into account responses to the 2002 Green Paper. (Published in two volumes but combined here into a single pdf file).

2003 White Paper The future of higher education (pdf file 627kb) controversially proposed allowing universities to charge variable top-up fees and formed the basis of the 2004 Higher Education Act.

2004 Five Year Strategy for Children and Learners (pdf file 1.2mb) formed the basis for the 2005 White Paper Higher standards, better schools for all.

2005 White Paper 14-19 Education and Skills (pdf file 524kb) rejected most of 2004 Tomlinson Report's recommendations.

2005 White Paper Higher Standards, Better Schools for All (pdf file 964kb) proposed independent trust schools. Led to 2006 Education and Inspections Bill.

2007 The Children's Plan (pdf file 640kb) ambitious plan for all future government policy relating to children, families and schools.

2007 Green Paper Raising Expectations: staying in education and training post-16 (pdf file 344kb) argued that all young people should stay in education or training up to the age of 18.

2009 Liberal Democrats Equity and Excellence (pdf file 246kb) set out LibDem education policies for discussion at the party's spring conference.

2009 White Paper Your child, your schools, our future (pdf file 2.2mb) wide-ranging proposals including the removal of central government prescription of teaching methods and reduction in the use of the private consultants to improve schools.

2010 White Paper The Importance of Teaching (pdf file 1mb) wide-ranging document covering teaching, leadership, behaviour, new schools, accountability etc.

2011 Green Paper Support and aspiration: A new approach to special educational needs and disability (pdf file 1.5mb).

2011 White Paper Higher Education: Students at the Heart of the System (pdf file 729kb).

2012 Admissions Code: Admissions Code (pdf file 418kb); Admission Appeals Code (pdf file 283kb).

2012 White Paper Reform of provision for children and young people with Special Educational Needs (pdf file 958kb).


1780 Gotthold Ephraim Lessing The Education of the Human Race An interesting historical text by the influential German philosopher, poet, dramatist and art critic.

1911 Edmond Holmes What Is and What Might Be Often seen as the first manifesto of the 'progressive' education movement.

1913 Edmond Holmes Introduction to A Montessori Mother Dorothy Canfield Fisher's book commended the Montessori system of education to mothers in the US and elsewhere.

1915 AF Leach The Schools of Medieval England An invaluable book charting the history of English schools before the Reformation. (Leach is not without his critics, however. See for example Joan Simon's Education and Society in Tudor England Cambridge University Press 1966).