Lewis (1917)

Notes on the text

The complete report (Volume I) is shown in this single web page. You can scroll through it or use the following links to go to the various sections.

(page numbers in brackets)

Preliminary pages (i-iii)

The Report (1-29)

Supplementary material (29-42)

The Lewis Report (1917)
Departmental Committee on juvenile education in relation to employment after the war

London: HM Stationery Office

[title page]









Presented to both House of Parliament by Command of His Majesty


To be purchased through any Bookseller or directly from
H.M. STATIONERY OFFICE at the following addresses:

or from the Agencies in the British Colonies and Dependencies,
the United States of America and other Foreign Countries of


[Cmd. 8512.]

Price 6d. Net.

[page ii]


MR J. OWEN (Secretary).
MR. G. McFARLANE (Assistant Secretary).


To consider what steps should be taken to make provision for the education and instruction of children and young persons after the war, regard being had particularly to the interests or those

(i) who have been abnormally employed during the war;
(ii) who cannot immediately find advantageous employment;
(iii) who require special training for employment.

[page iii]


Constitution of Committeeii
Terms of Referenceii

1. Procedure of the Committee.
2. Introduction.
3. Scope of the Enquiry.
4. Statistics of Enrolment.
5. Conditions of Juvenile Employment.
6. Apprenticeship.
7. Blind Alley Employment.
8. Effects of the War.
9. Tho Search for Remedies.
10. The Bill of 1911.
11. Other Proposals.
12. The Difficulties of Local Option.
13. Rural Conditions.
14. The Committee's Main Proposals.
15. Half-time.
16. The Law of School Attendance.
17. A Uniform School Leaving Age of 14.
18. School Terms.
19. Difficulties of a Higher Leaving Age.
20. Improvements Needed in Schools.
21. Compulsory Continuation Classes.
22. Need far Day Classes.
24. Age Limits of Compulsion.
25. Limitation of Hours of Employment.
26. Excuses for Non-attendance
27. Penalties.
28. Duty of Authority to provide Classes.
29. Curriculum from 14 to 16.
30. Curriculum from 16 to 18.
31. Physical Training.
32. Provision for Evening Hours.
33. Probable Reception of the Committee's Proposals.
34. The Attitude of Parents.
35. The Attitude of Employers.
36. Experiments in "Time Off".
37. Adaptation of Industries.
38. Uncertainties of the Future.
39. Buildings and Teachers.
40. Urgency of the Reform.
41. Cost of the Committee's Proposals.
42. The Employment of Children Act.
43. Problems of Demobilisation.
44. Abnormally Employed Children.
45. Possibilities of Special Training.
46. Anticipated Dislocation of Juvenile Employment.
47. Suggested Temporary Raising of School Leaving Age.
48. Special Classes for Unemployed Juveniles.
49. Juvenile Employment Bureaux.
50. Summary of Recommendations.

Note by Mr. R. A. Bray and Mr. F. Lavington29
Note by Mr. E. K. Chambers29
Note by Mr. F. W. Goldstone, Mr. Spurley Hey, Mr. J. P. Hinchliffe, Miss C. Martineau, Mr. F. Pullinger, and Lady Edmund Talbot30
Note by Mr. F. Lavington and Mr. C. E. B. Russell30
Summary Table showing Approximate Numbers under Full Time and Part Time Instruction31
Suggestions by the Committee for the Curricula of Day Continuation Classes32
Memorandum by Mr. Christopher Turnor36

[page 1]





WE have the honour to present to you our Final Report on the questions which your predecessor in office, the Right Honourable Arthur Henderson, M.P., referred to us in April 1916, with regard to the education and instruction of children and young persons after the war. We have already presented an Interim Report urging the desirability of extending the work of Juvenile Employment Bureaux.

Procedure of the Committee

1. In the course of our inquiries we have met on 35 days and have examined witnesses. These have included a large number of employers and Trades Union officials, of teachers, social workers, and Government officials.

The employers who have come before us have covered a wide field. Thus we have had representatives of agriculture, coal-mining, iron and steel manufacture, the textile trades, engineering, building, railway conveyance, food production, the dress and clothing trades, glass manufacture, commercial occupations, retail shopkeeping, and others. Those who have put before us the views of labour include representatives of various branches of the engineering and metal trades, the textile industry, the furnishing trades, printing, pottery making, and clerical occupations. We have also had the benefit of the views of representatives of the County Councils Association, the Association of Municipal Corporations, the Association of Education Committees, the Association of Directors and Secretaries of Education, the National Association of Education Officers, and the Workers' Educational Association.

Summaries of the evidence, which have been submitted to and approved by the witness in every case, are given in Volume II of this Report.

Besides taking oral evidence from the bodies and persons already alluded to, we have addressed an inquiry to the witnesses from England and Wales who gave evidence before the Consultative Committee in connection with the Report on attendance at Continuation Schools [the 1909 Acland Report] which was published in 1909. A summary of views will also be found in Volume II.

Through the Board of Education we have been furnished with a large amount of information from those Local Education Authorities which exercise powers under the Choice of of Employment Act on the subject of the changes caused by the war in the conditions of Juvenile Employment. That branch of the Board of Trade which is now the Ministry of Labour has also assisted us by instituting an inquiry into the same subject through the Juvenile Branches of the Labour Exchanges in all places in which there is an Advisory Committee. We desire to express our thanks to the two Boards and the Local Authorities and the Advisory Committees for their co-operation.

One of the members of the Committee, Mr. Christopher Turnor, has, at our request, contributed a special Memorandum on the Rural side of the problem which will be found at the end of this Volume.


2. Any inquiry into education at the present juncture is big with issues of national fate. In the great work of reconstruction which lies ahead there are aims to be set before us which will try, no less searchingly than war itself, the temper and

[page 2]

enduring qualities of our race; and in the realisation of each and all of these education, with its stimulus and its discipline, must be our stand-by. We have to perfect the civilisation for which our men have shed their blood and our women their tears; to establish new standards of value in our judgment of what makes life worth living, more wholesome and more restrained ideals of behaviour and recreation, finer traditions of co-operation and kindly fellowship between class and class and between man and man. We have to restore the natural relations between the folk and the soil from which the folk derives its sustenance, to revivify with fresh scientific methods and better economic conditions the outworn practice of our agriculture, to learn over again that there is no greater public benefactor than the man who makes two ears of corn to grow where but one grew before. We have to bring research to bear upon the processes of our manufactures, to overhaul routine and eliminate waste, to carry our reputation for skilful workmanship and honest and intelligent trafficking into new markets and to maintain it in the old. These are tasks for a nation of trained character and robust physique, a nation alert to the things of the spirit, reverential of knowledge, reverential of its teachers, and generous in its estimate of what the production and maintenance of good teachers inevitably cost. Whether we are to be such a nation must now depend largely upon the will of those who have fought for us, and upon the conception which they have come to form of what education can do in the building up and glorifying of national life. For ourselves, we are content to leave it to that arbitrament.

Scope of the Inquiry

3. The inquiries which we have undertaken have necessarily brought us into touch with many problems, not only of education, but also of industrial organisation, of administration, and of finance. With many of these we do not conceive ourselves as having either the competence or the mandate to deal. Nor have we regarded our reference as giving us a roving commission to overhaul even the educational system as a whole; and in steering our way through the problems we have endeavoured, as far as possible, to concentrate our outlook on those groups of children and young persons whose interests are particularly commended to our attention. These groups are three: children and young persons who cannot immediately find advantageous employment; those who require special training for employment; and those who have been abnormally employed during the war. Obviously, these three groups are not mutually exclusive. Even apart from war conditions, there have always been many who could not find advantageous employment because of the absence of a suitable training, while abnormal employment during the war may prove in many cases to be the direct cause of inclusion in one or both of the other groups. Taken, together, the three groups may be expected, after the war, to constitute a very large section of that great class of employed juveniles between the ages of 12 and 18, to which nearly all members of the community belong in their turn, and which for many years past has been the subject of grave searchings of heart amongst educationists and social reformers. They also include those children who are approaching the end of their day schooling, and are on the point of entering employment with such equipment as that schooling can afford. Our problem, therefore, is the standing problem of the adolescent wage-earner, aggravated by the effect of war-time conditions upon the serious difficulties which at all times it presents. We think it right to begin our survey by a recapitulation of the main factors of this problem as they stood before the war. Thereafter we will proceed to indicate the new factors, or the further intensification of the old factors, of which the war itself is the cause. And finally, we will consider how far the remedies which have formerly been advocated still remain applicable, or how far the new elements due to the war seem to call either for modifications of these, or for supplementary measures of an emergency character.

Statistics of Enrolment

4. We have endeavoured, on the basis of the census returns of 1911 and of figures collected by the Board of Education at about the same date, to arrive at a statistical picture of juvenile education as it stood before the war. The results are set out in a Table at the end of this Report. They are for various reasons not precise, but the following table may be taken as showing with approximate accuracy the

[page 3]

proportion of children and young persons in each age-group between 12 and 18 who were under some kind of public educational influence:

From the proportions given as unenrolled, at any rate in the earlier age-groups, should be deducted something for children educated outside the purview of the Board of Education. For this deduction 5 per cent would be a liberal estimate. The great weakness of the figures is that, while they show the proportion of children still enrolled at school on some date on which they were between 13 and 14, they do not show the proportion who remained until they were actually 14. This proportion cannot be more than 66 per cent or less than 12 per cent; if we place it at 50 per cent, the conjecture will probably not be far from the truth. Similarly, the proportion who stay to 13 must be something between 91 per cent. and 66 per cent; we suspect that the difference between these percentages is due in the main to withdrawals immediately after 13.

The story, then, amounts to this. The aggregate enrolment in public full-time day schools (Elementary, Secondary, and Junior Technical) reached its maximum of about 662,000 between 12 and 13, when it represented nearly 95 per cent of the total juvenile population of that age. During this year about 30,000 dropped out, mainly under the half-time system. About 185,000 dropped out at 13, about 85,000 between 13 and 14, and about 260,000 at 14. Only about 84,000, or 13 per cent of the 650,000, are likely to have received any fragment of full-time education after the age of 14, and not more than 5 per cent can have received this in Secondary Schools. Between 14 and 18 these small numbers rapidly dwindle. Even the nominal Elementary age terminates at 15, and although Secondary Schools are supposed to keep their pupils at least until 16, they are really at their fullest between 13 and 14. Even then they only get less than 6 per cent of the juvenile population, and between 17 and 18 this proportion has fallen to less than 1 per cent. Practically, therefore, public education after the Elementary School leaving age is a part-time affair. And there is very little of it. In 1911-12 there were about 2,700,000 juveniles between 14 and 18, and of these about 2,200,000, or 81.5 per cent, were enrolled neither in day schools nor in evening schools. The number who were being educated outside the purview of the Board of Education may be regarded at this stage as almost negligible. Here, then, are the two great causes of educational wastage; general disregard of the facilities offered by evening schools completes what early withdrawal from the day schools began. Statistics do not show the whole state of the case, and in interpreting them two additional points must be borne in mind. One is that, quite apart from the question of half-time exemption, many children, during the later years of their day school life, are employed outside school hours in ways and to an extent which seriously interferes with their educational progress. The other is that even the meagre amount of evening school enrolment does not represent anything like the same amount of continuous instruction from 13 or 14 up to 18. Many children enter evening schools during the session after they leave the day school, and then disappear. Many come after an interval of years, and have to spend their time in relearning what they had forgotten. Nor does an enrolment mean much. About 15 per cent of the students enrolled in evening schools for 1911-12 failed to complete the absurdly small minimum of 14 hours of attendance during the session, and the average hours of attendance were no more than about 50.

Conditions of Juvenile Employment

5. No doubt, however, education and, still more, industrial training, are not confined within the four walls of a school; there is a discipline of the workshop and the office as well as of the classroom. Can it be assumed, then, that the conditions of juvenile employment were such us in themselves, and without the aid of formal schooling, to establish the character and develop the industrial efficiency of young

[page 4]

citizens? The question is one which we cannot ask without a sense of irony, and its answer is written large in the records of former inquiries and in the sociological literature of the last decade. More than once already the country has gaped at it and passed it by. It is not for us to trace over again in detail the ground which has been covered by the Majority and Minority Reports of the Poor Law Commission, by Mr. Cyril Jackson's Report on Boy Labour, which appeared as an Appendix to the Reports of the Commission, by the Report of the Consultative Committee on Continuation Schools, and by Mr. R. H. Tawney's valuable Memorandum for that Committee. A brief analysis based on those documents must suffice.


6. The range of employment open to juveniles is a wide one, and any general statement of its conditions must be prefaced by the warning that these vary considerably in detail from industry to industry, from locality to locality, and even from business to business. At the top of the scale come the apprentices or learners; at the bottom many factory workers and others engaged in "blind alley" occupations. Apprentices are employed, not for their immediate commercial utility, but in order to maintain or increase at a future date the supply of skilled workmen in their industry. These, in theory, get a training which is of a practical kind, and has the advantage of being acquired in the atmosphere of business, not of a school. The fact that the age of apprenticeship is in some areas nearer 16 than 15 years of age unfortunately causes a considerable gap to intervene between the time when juveniles leave school and the time when they settle down to learn a trade. During this interval they have nothing but more or less casual occupations to fall back upon, and, when they finally enter their industries, are in most cases less well equipped than when they left school two years before. Moreover, apprenticeship does not by itself give a training which fits boys for modern industrial conditions. As a system of training, it was developed when industry was stable, methodical, and regular, and it is not fully suited to an age when it is unstable, changing, and irregular. A boy undertakes to serve seven years or five years in order to acquire a trade, but, after his skill has been laboriously obtained, it may at any moment be rendered entirely unnecessary by changes in the organisation of industry. What is required in addition to manual dexterity is general industrial knowledge and intelligence which will enable him to adapt himself to changing industrial conditions. But such general adaptability apprenticeship does not of itself give.

Blind Alley Employment

7. Far worse, however, is the state of the large number of children in blind alley occupations. These are not engaged to learn a trade with a view to practising it as adults, but are merely employed for their immediate commercial utility upon simple operations. The only reason for their employment is the fact that, as instruments of production, they are cheaper than adults. As there is generally an unsatisfied demand for cheap labour, they make good earnings in proportion to the cost of their maintenance, until the point comes when they need adult wages. Their economic value in the home renders them largely independent of parental control, just as the law of school exemption renders them independent of social control. At the mature age of 14 they have become free competitors in the labour market, and they use their freedom to the full. Many of them pass from job to job at intervals of a few months; others find their way to the even more complete economic independence of street trading. Their occupations give them no kind of industrial training which will fit them for skilled adult employment, and in many cases not even that general training of the faculties which makes the intelligent and adaptable, even though unskilled, labourer. Nor are these occupations necessarily an avenue even to unskilled employment within the same industries. Most of those following them will be dismissed whenever they begin to ask for an adult's wages.This is not because they are inefficient workers or for any other personal or accidental reason; it follows regularly and inevitably from the way in which the industries are organised. Either they have no adult workers or practically none, or they can absorb in adult employment a small proportion of those employed as juveniles. The rest drop out to become general labourers at the best, or, at the worst, to join the ranks of the permanently or intermittently unemployed.

[page 5]

Effects of the War

8. Upon this educational and industrial chaos has come the war, to aggravate conditions that could hardly be made graver, and to emphasise a problem that needed no emphasis. Many children have been withdrawn at an even earlier age than usual from day schools, and the attendances at those evening schools which have not been closed show a lamentable shrinkage. We are not prepared to say that much of the work which is now being done by juveniles in munition factories and elsewhere is in itself inferior to the work which most of them would have been doing in normal times, but there can be no doubt that many of the tendencies adversely affecting the development of character and efficiency have incidentally been accentuated. Unsuitable occupations in the distributive trades have largely been transferred from boys to girls. Parental control, so far as it formerly existed, has been relaxed, largely through the absence of fathers of families from their homes. Wages have been exceptionally high, and although this has led to an improved standard of living, it has also, in ill-regulated households, induced habits of foolish and mischievous extravagance. Even the ordinary discipline of the workshop has in varying degrees given way; while the withdrawal of influences making for the social improvement of boys and girls has in many districts been followed by noticeable deterioration in behaviour and morality. Gambling has increased. Excessive hours of strenuous labour have overtaxed the powers of young people; while many have taken advantage of the extraordinary demand for juvenile labour to change even more rapidly than usual from one blind alley employment to another. Whether these conditions will be complicated by a shortage of employment for juveniles at the close of the war, it is not at present possible to foretell. But it is reasonable to suppose that there will in any event be a considerable dislocation of employment, in the sense that many juveniles will have to find occupations other than those in which they are at present engaged; and the process of adaptation to lower ages and normal prospects is not likely to be other than difficult and disturbing.

The Search for Remedies

9. What, then, are the remedies? In a sense there is only one remedy - porro unum est necessarium [But one thing is necessary]. But it is a pretty thorough-going one; nothing less than a complete change of temper and outlook on the part of the people of this country as to what they mean, through the forces of industry and society, to make or their boys girls. Can the age of adolescence be brought out of the purview of economic exploitation and into that of the social conscience? Can the conception of the juvenile as primarily a little wage-earner be replaced by the conception of the juvenile as primarily the workman and the citizen in training? Can it be established that the educational purpose is to be the dominating one, without as well as within the school doors, during those formative years between 12 and 18? If not, clearly no remedies at all are possible in the absence of the will by which alone they could be rendered effective.

The Bill of 1911

10. In searching for means, the will once given, we are not surveying an uncharted field. Much of the ground which we have had to tread has already been covered by two Committees which reported in 1909. One was the Interdepartmental Committee on Partial Exemption from School Attendance; the other was the Consultative Committee of the Board of Education, which was asked to consider Attendance at Continuation Schools. The two Committees dealt primarily with distinct aspects of the problem of school attendance, but their conclusions inevitably overlapped. We do not think it necessary to set out these conclusions, which necessarily underlie our own investigation, in detail, since their common resultant took definite shape in a School and Continuation Class Attendance Bill, introduced into the House of Commons by Mr. Runciman as President of the Board of Education in 1911. It should be borne in mind that neither Committee was concerned, except incidentally, with the question of a general raising of the leaving age; and this fact perhaps explains some weaknesses of the Bill. It proposed the complete abolition of half-time and the establishment of a normal school leaving age at 14. This leaving age was, however, to be subject to variation in both directions on a basis of local option. Local option might raise the leaving age to 15; alternatively or concurrently, it might require attendance at Continuation Classes after leaving school, for not more than 150 hours a year, up to an age not higher than 16. On the other hand, local option might be

[page 6]

directed towards granting total exemption for beneficial employment to individual children over the age of 13, which might be unconditional if the employment was to be in agriculture, but could only be granted for other employment where an effective system of compulsory Continuation Classes had been established. Where such a system was in force, employers of children under 16 were to be required to notify the Local Education Authority of the employment, and the Authority was to be required to notify the employer of the amount and time of attendance at Continuation Classes required of the child. It was left open to the Authority to place compulsory Continuation Classes either during or after working hours, and no direct limitation was imposed upon the hours of employment of a child who became subject to continuation attendance. A useful gloss was put upon the old term "beneficial employment" by a provision that, in considering whether an employment was beneficial, the Authority was to have regard to the likelihood of that employment leading to permanent employment and affording the child useful training.

We note also that the Bill was in form a consolidation of the whole law relating to School Attendance, and we feel strongly that in any future revision of the law the advantages of consolidation ought to be taken into account. The confusion due to the existence of different byelaws and different standards of exemption in neighbouring areas is much complicated by the multiplicity of statutes hearing upon the question, and the consequent uncertainty at many points as to what the law actually is. Any step in advance that is now decided upon should incidentally be in the direction of simplicity and uniformity. In particular, it appears to us essential that any new legislation should override the Factory Acts, in so far as they are inconsistent with its provisions. It has been held by the Courts that in certain cases the Factory Acts give partial exemption, for factory employment only, to children who are not exempt under the local byelaws, and thus the very statutes which were originally conceived for the protection of juveniles have been converted into an engine of reaction. We regret to say that the Bill of 1911, which, although far from perfect, in our opinion would have been a considerable step in advance, was not proceeded with.

Other Proposals

11. Much more far-reaching proposals than those of the Bill of 1911 had already been made by responsible bodies at an earlier date, and have been repeated before us. Thus, the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws, which sat from 1905 to 1009, paid close attention to the problems of boy labour, especially in their relation to adult employment. The Commission submitted both a Majority and a Minority Report. The Majority proposed a leaving age, at any rate for boys, of 15, with exemptions at an earlier age for boys leaving to learn a skilled trade. They also suggested the desirability of some kind of school supervision until the age of 16. The Minority were more thorough-going, and definitely advocated the halving of boy and girl labour, not merely on educational grounds, but also in order to reduce the adolescent competition with adult labour. They recommended that no child should be employed at all before the age of 15, that no young person under 18 should he employed for more than 30 hours a week, and that all young persons so employed should be required to attend for 30 hours a week at suitable Trade Schools to be maintained by the Local Education Authorities. Very similar proposals have been brought before us by Mr. Sidney Webb, who laid special stress upon the importance of a high leaving age in minimising the competition of juveniles for employment, should there be a shortage of such employment after the war. A similar view, again, was advocated upon more purely educational grounds by representatives of the Workers' Educational Association, a body for whose educational achievements we feel the greatest admiration. The Association has since formulated its policy in a published memorandum setting out an elaborate scheme of educational reconstruction. It contemplates an immediate universal leaving age of 14, to be raised within a period of five years to 15, and an option to Local Education Authorities to raise the age to 16. Between the leaving age and the age of 18 the Association would limit the hours of labour for all young persons to a maximum of 25 per week, and would require attendance at part-time education for not less than 20 hours a week. It was submitted to us, again, on behalf of the London Trades Council, that the majority of affiliated bodies which have expressed opinions to that Council are in favour of a leaving age of 16. We should add that, both the Workers' Educational Association, and some, at all events, of the Trades Unions consider that a leaving age higher than 14 would entail the provision in all or some cases of maintenance allowances.

[page 7]

If we are unable in our recommendations to go all the way, for immediate and practical purposes, with these proposals, this is certainly not from any want of sympathy with the ultimate educational and social ideals upon which they are based. But legislative measures in order to be effective, must after all carry the assent not merely of the most intelligent members of the classes directly affected by them, but also of something like a fair majority of the average members of those classes. We have been impressed with the conviction of some of our witnesses as to the extent of the support which a vigorous educational policy would command amongst working men; but we are unable to find adequate confirmation for the belief that public opinion is as yet ripe for a universal prolongation of full-time education beyond the age of 14, without any vocational advantage accruing to the individual child from the additional school years, except such as he will share with all other children.

The Difficulties of Local Option

12. Our consideration, then, must start from the point reached by Mr. Runciman's Bill. We do not, however, suggest that the England of 1917 should be content with what the England of 1911 viewed with apathy. Some pages must now be torn out of the Sibylline book. In the first place, we have come to the conclusion that the age limits, whether for full-time or for part-time education, ought not to be left to local option. On this point there was great, and, in view of past educational history, rather surprising, unanimity among our witnesses, in particular among those most directly concerned with local administration. But they have some sound logic behind them. It must be borne in mind that, at any rate in the more populous parts of the country, the lines of administrative demarcation are often of a somewhat arbitrary kind. The areas of different Local Education Authorities are geographically contiguous, and neighbouring towns are competitors both in their business output and in their demand for child labour. It is easy to see that an Authority which might be perfectly willing to accept, and might even actually desire, a step in advance, provided that it was uniformly imposed upon all neighbouring areas, might be unprepared to take, or might be prevented by the ratepayers behind it from taking, such a step on its own initiative, at the risk of imposing a business handicap upon its own area. One dissentient Authority might, therefore, delay the progress of an optional reform far beyond its boundaries. The same principle must clearly also affect the attitude of rival firms of employers engaged in one of the many industries which cover areas much wider than that of any one Authority. We learn that it is in part on account of this competition between area and area that the optional provisions for compulsory Continuation Schools included in the Scottish Education Act of 1908 have, broadly speaking, proved inoperative. Business communities cannot afford to be quixotic. There is, and ought rightly to be, abundant room for the exercise of local discretion in every branch of the educational system. Our own proposals will tend, not to decrease, but to increase the difficulties and responsibilities of the functions entrusted to Local Education Authorities. We have no doubt that they will be faced, as other difficulties and responsibilities have already been faced, courageously and successfully. But we do not feel that local conditions much affect the broad general question as to the amount of education which a child can receive with advantage to the nation, as well as to itself, its locality, and its industry, before reaching the age of discretion; and on this particular point the balance of advantage appears to us to be undeniably on the side of national uniformity.

Rural Conditions

13. Secondly, we feel that there was a clear injustice to country districts in the proposal of 1911 to allow of differentiated exemption for employment in agriculture at the age of 13. There is no doubt that it will prove easier to raise the standards of education in the towns than in the villages, and we are fully prepared to find that a good deal of time may be necessary in order to make any changes now determined upon completely operative throughout all rural districts. Nevertheless, we consider that it would be a fatal mistake to accept a lower standard as the proper to be aimed at, and, when practical difficulties permit, attained, in these districts; not only for the sake of the large number of children who, although born and educated in villages, will certainly not spend their whole lives in those villages, but also for the sake of agriculture and of the agricultural population themselves. After all, agriculture is essentially from top to bottom a skilled

[page 8]

industry, and if there is to be an agricultural revival in England, one of the most potent means for bringing it about must be an improved education, resulting both in a higher degree of farming ability and in a higher conception of the possibilities of village life. Of this, those who most desire the revival are the most firmly convinced. We are glad to find that most of the agricultural witnesses who have appeared before us, while fully realising the special difficulties that will attend progress in rural areas, hold firm to the faith in equality of educational conditions as the essential objective. We have been much encouraged by Captain Bathurst, M.P., by Mr. G. A. Bellwood, and Mr. W. Elementary, on behalf of the National Farmers' Union, and by Sir Herbert Matthews, the Secretary to the Central Chamber of Agriculture, and we desire to call special attention to the resolutions placed before us on behalf of the County Councils Association, who are perhaps in closer touch than any other body with the problems of rural education. This Association would raise the school leaving age to 14 in all areas, urban and rural. It would require attendance at Continuation Schools up to the age of 18 in all urban areas, and it recognises that there is most urgent need for further education between the ages of 14 and 18 in rural districts, and, although it does not consider it practicable to require that Continuation Classes shall be universally provided in those areas, suggests that County Education Authorities should be obliged to extend the proposed provisions for Continuation Schools to rural districts wherever possible. This is an important pronouncement which, in view of the thoroughly representative character of the Association, by no means a purely educational body, must be held to mark a distinct advance in rural opinion.

The Committee's Main Proposals

14. We come now to our own suggestions. It is, we think, clear that there are two lines of advance which can be pushed forward concurrently. One is the strengthening of the existing system of compulsory full-time attendance at Elementary Schools; the other the bridging over of the period of adolescence by a new compulsory system of attendance at Continuation Classes. Early legislation is required -

(a) To establish a uniform Elementary School leaving age of 14, which entails the abolition of all exemptions, total or partial, from compulsory attend below that age;
(b) To require attendance for not less than 8 hours a week, or 320 hours a year at Day Continuation Classes between the ages of 14 and 18.
We do not, of course, contemplate that any child, who has already obtained statutory exemption, whether total or partial, when the new Act comes into operation, will be deprived of that exemption, or that any child, who has already reached the age of 14 at that time, will be required to attend Continuation Classes. Thus the obligation will only apply to each individual child who becomes 14 at a date after it comes into operation, and as a result it will not be until the completion of four years that all juveniles between 11 and 18 will have come within its scope. This arrangement will not therefore recall to compulsory education any child who has previously passed the new leaving age, and it will at the same time enable Authorities to plan the extension of their work by annual instalments. During the year after the Act begins to operate it will apply to all children between 14 and 15, during the second year to all between 14 and 16, during the third year to all between 14 and 17, and during the fourth and subsequent years to all between 14 and 18.

We propose to deal separately with each of the suggested reforms, but before so doing we desire to emphasise the principle that they are really integral parts of one reform, and that juvenile education, to be effective, must be continuous and progressive, with whatever change of methods and of orientation, throughout both the full-time and the part-time stage. Much of the weakness of the present system is due to the interval of oblivion which often separates the Elementary and the Continuation schooling, and sometimes reduces the latter to the mere repetition of childish lore. At whatever age the child leaves the Elementary School, there should be no gap between elementary and continuation teaching.


15. We do not think it necessary to detail once more the arguments in favour of bringing to an end at the earliest possible date the present detestable system of half-time exemptions below the age of 14. They have been fully set out in the

[page 9]

Report of the Departmental Committee on Partial Exemption, and are now universally accepted, except in a few localities in which the system has become a habit, and in which its removal would entail some modification of familial economic conditions. Our own investigations have been limited to an attempt to ascertain whether recent events have led to any material change of public sentiment in these areas. We do not find much reason to suppose that this is the case, but we are satisfied that, even within the textile industries, which are practically the only ones much affected, there is, and always has been, a strong body of opinion in favour of the change, and that, if t were once made, the necessary industrial reorganisation would not be a matter of serious difficulty. We regard it as imperative that it should be made at the earliest possible moment. Without this, no attempt to ameliorate juvenile conditions could carry with it a guarantee of good faith. There are at present about 20,000 part-timers in Lancashire, 11,000 in the West Riding of Yorkshire, and 4,000 distributed over other areas. Of these about 26,000 entered upon half-time employment at the age of 12, and 9,000 at the age of 13. The special provisions for agricultural half-time have been made little use of, and would not be missed. It is much more important from a farming point of view, and is wholly reasonable, that school holidays should be so arranged as to set children free during the local seasons for harvesting operations.

The Law of School Attendance

16. The half-time question is, therefore, numerically, a minor aspect of the wider question as to the age to which compulsory full-time attendance at school should continued. It is not necessary to trace here at length the history and complexities of the existing law of school attendance; they are admirably set out in a Memorandum printed as Appendix No. 18 to the Report of the Committee on Partial Exemption. Ina sense it is true to say that the statutory leaving age is already 14, but the ways in which earlier exemption can be obtained are so numerous, and in many localities are so freely taken advantage of, that the effective leaving age often approximates rather to 13 than to 14. The main determining factor is the nature of the byelaws adopted by the locality. These must by statute contain some provision for either total or partial exemption at an earlier age than 14. All byelaws provide for total exemption on reaching an educational standard, which may be either the Fourth or a higher Standard, as defined in the Code, and is in fact generally either the Sixth or the Seventh Standard. Many byelaws also make provision for a certificate of total exemption, irrespective of any standard of attainments, after a certain number of years of regular school attendance. This is often known as the "Dunce's Certificate". The degree of regularity of attendance required for this purpose is a very low one, and where this particular form of byelaw is in force, it is nearly always on the attendance rather than on the standard qualification that exemption is obtained. There is, however, this check upon the free use of the "Dunce's Certificate", that it only gives exemption to children who are going, in the opinion of the Authority, into beneficial and necessary employment. The value of the check depends entirely upon the interpretation which the Authority chooses to put upon the term "beneficial employment". In this respect the practice of Authorities is by no means uniform, but the commoner tradition has certainly been to look almost exclusively to pecuniary and not to educational benefit.

There are some further possibilities. The Factory Acts, as already indicated, are held to give partial exemption to children above the age of 12 for factory employment, even though no provision for partial exemption is made by the byelaws. Quite apart, moreover, from the grounds of exemption specifically set out in byelaws, the requirement of attendance made by those byelaws does not apply to children whose parents can plead some "reasonable excuse" for non-attendance. Certain reasonable excuses are laid down by statute. A child may be under efficient instruction in some other manner, or may be prevented from attendance by sickness or some other unavoidable cause, or no Public Elementary School may be available within a reasonable distance. It has, however, been held by the Courts that this is not an exhaustive list of reasonable excuses, and in particular that poverty in the home or the the need for a child's services at home may be accepted by the magistrates as a reasonable excuse. As a result of this decision, a practice has grown up whereby authorities refrain from prosecuting parents for the non-attendance of their children, if they think that such an excuse might be reasonably put forward; and there are areas in which the number of children who are allowed to discontinue attendance under this practice is nearly as large as the number who qualify for regular exemption

[page 10]

under the byelaws. It is not possible, in the face of these complications, to arrive at any statistical measure of the extent to which each separate means of obtaining exemption operates. It is clear that the presence or absence of an attendance qualification in the byelaws is one important factor. Where no such qualification exists, the standard selected for the attainments qualification becomes of the first importance. Most children cannot pass the Seventh Standard much before 14. A great deal, however, also depends upon the spirit in which the Authority carries out its administrative work under the byelaws, and a great deal upon the extent to which it has become habitual amongst the parents in any particular locality to apply for exemption on behalf of their children at the earliest possible moment. This in its turn is largely affected by the local demand for child labour. The give and take between educational enthusiasm on the one hand and the demand for child labour, coupled with educational inertia on the other, may indeed be regarded as the ultimate cause underlying all the apparent vagaries of local option.

It is not possible to obtain any precise statistics which will show, even for the country as a whole, how many children in fact remain at school until they are 14. The figures given in paragraph 4 of this Report show that the number of children between the ages of 13 and 14 in attendance on a given day was much smaller than the number in attendance between the ages of 12 and 13; they do not show how many of those recorded as in attendance between 13 and 14 continued in attendance until their 14th birthday. It is still more difficult to apportion the wastage between the areas of efficient Authorities, but, broadly speaking, we believe it to be true that the effective leaving age approximates to 14 in London, and in 105 other areas (6 Counties, 34 County Boroughs, and 65 Municipal Boroughs and Urban Districts), with an aggregate population of about 14,000,000; that in 63 areas (5 Counties, 13 County Boroughs, and 45 Municipal Boroughs and Urban Districts), with an aggregate population of 6,000,000, it approximates to 13; and that in the remaining 150 areas (51 Counties, 35 County Boroughs, and 64 Municipal Boroughs and Urban Districts), with an aggregate population of 16,000,000, the average leaving age is somewhere between 13 and 14. Even in the areas at the top of the scale there is always a certain percentage of early leavers, and some of the largest and most wealth-producing areas are at the bottom of the scale.

A Uniform School Leaving Age of 14

17. We have no hesitation in recommending, again with the support of the great majority of our witnesses, that a uniform minimum leaving age of 14 ought now to be enforced by statute, both in town and country. This will, of course, entail the sweeping away of the whole system of attendance byelaws and of the administrative machinery which has grown up around them. It will be necessary to retain the specific "reasonable excuses" for non-attendance at school, which were laid down in the Act of 1870. Apart from the statutory excuses, we think that the leaving age should be very strictly construed, and that the comparatively recent practice of granting individual exemptions on grounds of poverty should be brought to an end. This will presumably involve, in view of the decisions of the Courts already referred to, a direct statutory enactment that poverty is not to be regarded as a reasonable excuse for non-attendance. We are aware that there are cases in which it might be thought a hardship that children who are capable of earning, and whose earnings would just make the difference between insufficiency and sufficiency in the home, should be restrained from earning. Whatever may be the right remedy in such cases, we feel very clear that it is not the curtailment of education for just those children who stand most in need of education; and we would point out that the necessity of recourse to the Poor Law can be obviated by the use of the power given to Local Education Authorities by Section 11 of the Education (Administrative Provisions) Act, 1907, to provide bursaries for scholars in Public Elementary Schools from the age of 12 upwards. If our views on this point are not accepted, and it is thought necessary to continue some provision for individual exemptions on grounds of poverty, we would suggest that any power of this kind given to Local Education Authorities should be subject to control on the lines of Section 3 of the Education (Scotland) Act, 1901. This requires a register of all such exemptions and of the reasons for them to be kept, and to be submitted, if called for, to the Central Authority, which can take appropriate action in the case of any unreasonable exercise of the local powers. Without some such security as this any provision for poverty exemptions

[page 11]

would be liable to serious abuse should the Authority be a reactionary one or unable to resist local pressure towards a lax administration of the new statutory requirements. We consider that any provision for exemption is dangerous.

School Terms

18. Another principle which finds a place in the Scottish Acts should, we think, in any event be adopted. Children should not be allowed to leave school one by one as they reach their individual 14th birthdays, but should be retained until fixed dates, which would thus naturally come to mark the ends of school terms. This principle was, in fact, included in the Bill of 1911, which named the 31st days of March, July, and December as the fixed dates. The educational advantages of the arrangement are obvious. The schools could readily adapt themselves to a terminal organisation, where that does not already exist. The disturbance now caused in the upper classes by the sporadic dropping out of children would be avoided, and children passing to Continuation Classes or other places of further education would start their new work in homogeneous classes. We have inquired whether the arrangement would be likely to cause economic inconvenience by overstocking the labour market at certain times in the year, and we are assured that no substantial difficulty of this kind has arisen in those parts of Scotland in which it is in force. We recognise that the arrangement would probably involve a further use of fixed dates for the admission of infants.

Difficulty of a Higher Leaving Age

19. We have already given reasons in paragraph 11 for the view which we have adopted, not without some reluctance, that the time has not yet come for a universal leaving age of 15. It has been suggested to us that individual Local Authorities might be given the power of adopting this leaving age for their own areas. Even this limited application of the principle of local option to a matter which we regard as essentially one to be determined by national legislation is, in our opinion, to be deprecated. We do not think that many Authorities would be willing, or would be allowed by public sentiment within their areas, to make an isolated use of such a power. On the other hand, we feel sure that the existence of the power would excite alarm and hostility amongst many parents and employers who believe that Education Authorities, although popularly elected bodies, are prepared to sacrifice economic to educational considerations at every point. Those who are familiar with educational administration are conscious that this is far from being the case. Nevertheless, we do not desire to run any risk of prejudicing the acceptance of reforms which we believe to be indispensable for the sake of a quite uncertain gain. Moreover, employers will, in any event, have to be asked to make considerable changes of organisation in the interests of education. We are convinced that in the long run the results will be at least as much to their advantage as to that of the children. But it is only fair that the demands to be made upon them should, as far as possible, be of a definite and not an indefinite character, and should be uniform, or at least equivalent, throughout the country.

Improvements needed in Elementary Schools

20. One reason why we have not recommended that ordinary Elementary Schools should be organised to keep children up to the age of 15 is the fact that many schools still require a good deal of reorganisation before they can be regarded as wholly satisfactory even for children between 12 and 14. We have even been conscious in the course of our inquiry that the almost universal desire for a leaving age of 14 is somewhat qualified by the consciousness that all is not quite well with the upper forms of Elementary Schools. Some of the criticism which has reached us is probably based on ignorance as to what actually takes place in the schools, or on misunderstanding as to what the measurable results of education at the age of 14 ought to be. Rightly or wrongly, however, the opinion is freely expressed that in many schools the upper standards are marking time; and if the critics are asked for a remedy, the suggestion is generally made that the educational methods are not practical enough. We feel little doubt that there is a considerable element of justice in such criticism. We do not take the demand for a more practical education to be a demand for a more directly vocational education. It is only a demand for a less bookish education. Education is a mental process, but the truth that for many children, especially those

[page 12]

who will live by their hands, the best avenue to the mind is through the hands has not yet worked its complete revolution in the pedagogic methods of the 19th century. More manual instruction of various kinds is needed both for boys and girls in every type of school.

The complaints of outside critics are fully confirmed by the evidence of the Board's Chief Inspector of Elementary Schools, Mr. F. H. Dale, C.B., who told us that, although a great advance in the direction of a practical bias in teaching has of recent years been made in many areas, others are still very backward, and that it is still the case that every year thousands of boys and girls leave school without having had any training in manual subjects or domestic work, and that thousands more receive very little. The reasons are to be found partly in the disbelief of backward Authorities in new methods, partly in the greater cost of practical teaching, and partly in the want of qualifications of many teachers for such work. Generally speaking, the greatest weakness in this direction is to be found in village schools, where the predominantly urban training of the teachers often tends to prevent a sufficient adaptation of the teaching to the rural environment. But even in village schools a good deal has been done, and much more could be done, by the skilful use of such subjects as rural carpentry and gardening, and much encouragement may be found in the success of the experiment carried out by the Lindsey Authority, which is referred to in Mr. Christopher Turnor's Memorandum, and which has proved effective without entailing any great additional cost, either for staff or buildings or equipment. We do not think that the question of marking time is wholly one of curriculum. The remedy lies partly in the provision of better teachers and of smaller classes. We wish to emphasise the point that, if the uniform retention of children to the age of 14 is to be justified, it is essential that no time should be lost in taking steps to bring about such an organisation of the upper classes of all schools as will ensure the maximum of benefit from the additional period of school life. If this is not done, the parents, who are asked to forgo another year of wages, and the employers, whose supply of child labour is to be limited, will have a legitimate grievance.

Compulsory Continuation Classes

21. We come now to the new device of compulsory Continuation Classes. These are, so far us we can judge, the remedy to which educational and social reformers look with the greatest confidence as a step towards the final solution of the juvenile problem. There are, of course, no substitutes for a sound early education, but such education, when it terminates at 11, or oven at 15, leaves the child with intellect and character still unformed at perhaps the most critical stage of his development, when both his initial and his physical life are at the maximum of instability. Some handrail is required over the bridge which crosses the perilous waters of adolescence, and it is this that a sound system of Continuation Classes may help to provide. We have asked ourselves and have asked others, whether the few hours a week, which is all that it appears to us practicable at the present time to secure for education, will be of substantial value for the purpose, in view of the numerous hours that will still remain available for the counteracting influences. We believe that the answer is in the affirmative. Many will feel that the system of half-time employment and half-time schooling, which has been put forward in some schemes of reform, approaches more nearly to a counsel of perfection. But we do not believe this to be at present attainable, and we are assured by experienced teachers that, if they are given something like eight hours a week during a continuous period of years from the time of leaving school, they will be able so to utilise those hours as to maintain that effective contact with the forces of civilisation, which is at present in too many cases so soon broken. Even though the educational obligation may be a small one, it will still be sufficient to establish the principle that a child is no longer to be regarded as at once attaining, when he enters employment, to the fully independent status of wage-earning manhood. He will still be one under authority and open to the influences of encouragement and reproof, of the corporate life and the offered ideals, which, even more than mere instruction, are of the essence of the educational process. Over and above the four years' prolongation of formal education which they imply, we believe that compulsory Continuation Classes will carry on the moral and disciplinary influence of the Elementary School, will conduce to a far higher standard of physical well-being, will increase the industrial efficiency of the mass of the population, and will give those able to profit by it full opportunity for the beginnings of a valuable technical training.

[page 13]

Need for Day Classes

22. It is now almost universally admitted that Continuation Classes, if they are to be an effective instrument of reform, must be compulsory and must be in the day-time. The mere fact that they become a first claim upon the time of the child, and a condition to which all his labour contracts are subject, will in itself have a far-reaching importance as symbolising the new attitude to be adopted by the community towards its juvenile members. But there are, of course, more practical reasons than this. We should be the last to under-estimate the value of the work which has been accomplished by evening classes in this country; their history, their achievements, and their weaknesses are fully set out in the invaluable Report of the Consultative Committee. They have bestowed inestimable benefit upon many generations of children, fortunate enough in their parents, or in their employers, or in their own physical strength or force of character, to be brought within the scope of their influence. It is, of course, precisely those children who have not been so fortunate, and who therefore needed the beneficent influence most, who have been left out. The Report of the Consultative Committee seems to us to make it quite clear that no further substantial advance can be expected upon voluntary lines. On the other hand, the idea of a system of compulsory evening schools is now universally rejected; in view of the ample evidence that for a very large proportion of children anything of the nature of serious schooling after a full day's labour would. be not a benefit but a cruelty. We do not want any more of the waste and overstrain involved in the teaching of tired pupils by tired teachers.

Continuation Classes should therefore, we think, normally be in the day-time, and, so far as children in employment are concerned, the hours devoted to them should be hours which would otherwise have been spent in that employment. No employer should be allowed to engage a child except under conditions which will enable the child to attend his appointed classes at the appointed hours. It will therefore be only fair, as between employer and employer, that the amount of the Continuation Class requirements shall be clearly laid down by statute, and shall be such as to impose an equivalent burden upon all employers throughout the country. We propose that a definite number of hours of schooling, which shall be not less than 320 in each year, shall be required by statute, and that these shall all fall within fixed hours of the day-time, say, between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. The actual hours to be appointed for each individual child will, of course, have to be determined by the Local Education Authority, and on this matter we make some further observations below.

Age Limits of Compulsion

23. We must, however, first consider over how many years of a child's life the obligation to attend Continuation Classes is to extend. The Bill of 1911 did not propose to continue it beyond 16, that is to say, for more than two full years after the normal school-leaving age. The Consultative Committee suggested that compulsion should extend to 17, which is the age up to which boys and girls are regarded as juveniles for the purposes of the Labour Exchanges Act and the Choice of Employment Act. But we cannot feel that the period of maximum danger to health and character is over before 18, and we believe the value of continuous discipline and physical supervision from the Elementary School onwards to be undeniable. We therefore consider that compulsion should continue to 18.

Limitation of Hours of Employment

24. It has been urged upon us by several witnesses that any such measure as we are advocating should be accompanied by some general statutory limitation upon the number of hours over which juvenile employment and continuation schooling taken together should extend. The limitation most often suggested is 48 hours a week. We appreciate the desire to avoid an undue tax upon the physical strength of juveniles, and to secure for them full opportunities of reasonable recreation and free development. But we hardly feel that it is within our province to propose any further limitation of employment than is necessary in order to secure our principal object, which is the provision of facilities for education under conditions which will leave the child in a physical and mental state to profit by that education. Where there is already a statutory limitation upon the hours of labour, as in factories and workshops

[page 14]

and in shops, the permitted hours of labour should no doubt he reduced by the number of those claimed for the Continuation Classes. We should be glad to see a substantial reduction in the hours of van-boys and warehouse-boys, into which an enquiry was recently held by a Departmental Committee of the Home Office. Moreover, we are of opinion that the retention of the present hours of labour for adolescents in many industries will militate against the success of the educational recommendations which we now put forward.

Number and Distribution of Hours

25. So far we have only stated the number of hours which we desire to see spent in Continuation Classes as not less than 320 a year. The precise distribution of these hours will be a matter for the Local Education Authorities, and the working out of satisfactory schemes of distribution will give ample scope for all the administrative gifts which they have at their disposal. We regard it as of the first importance that in framing their schemes the Authorities should take representatives of the local industries, both employers and workmen, very fully into council. The employers will inevitably be put to some inconvenience in order to release their juveniles at suitable times, and it is essential that this inconvenience shall be minimised in every possible way. As a rule, we anticipate that it will be found convenient to require the attendance of each juvenile for 8 hours a week during 40 weeks in the year, and to arrange these 8 hours in two half-day sessions of 4 hours each. The length of these sessions should not prove excessive, in view of the part that physical and manual training will play in the curriculum, and the arrangement by half-days will have the advantage of leaving sufficient intervals for ablutions and meals between the hours of instruction and those of labour. We do not, however, think that there should be any hard and fast rule as to the distribution of time. Thus, in some exceptional cases, Authorities may find it necessary to arrange for the attendance of some children from 5 to 7 on four afternoons in each week, and so utilise the premises of Elementary Schools after day school hours. Moreover, there will be certain industries which are subject to seasonal fluctuations of employment, and for which it may be desirable to organise concentrated courses during the slack periods of the year. The system should be elastic enough for adaptation to such special conditions. It has been suggested to us that it might be of advantage if the Board of Education were to enter into conference with representatives of such industries, and arrive at model schemes for them, which might be adopted, with any necessary local modifications, by Local Education Authorities.

Excuses for Non-attendance

26. There will, of course, in the case of the Continuation Classes as well as in that of the Public Elementary School, have to be certain reasonable excuses which shall be held to justify the absence of a child. The question of poverty does not arise here, as the classes will be concurrent with wage-earning. We think that children should not be required to travel an unreasonable distance in order to attend Continuation Classes. Sickness or any similar unavoidable cause will obviously also be a reasonable excuse. We have considered with some care how far exemptions should be given on the ground of an efficient education obtained in some other manner. A considerable freedom should, we think, be left for alternative methods of education, provided that any question as to the efficiency of these should be a matter for expert decision, which in the last resort must mean decision by the Board of Education. We suggest that an approved certificate, given after a satisfactory course ending not earlier than 16 in a Secondary School recognised by the Board as efficient, might carry with it exemption from compulsory continuation attendances between 16 and 18. No doubt it is desirable that young persons leaving Secondary Schools should undertake some further study. But if they have duly profited by their educational advantages, they will have learnt to value study for themselves, and may reasonably claim to determine for themselves the direction which it shall take. We should be prepared to extend a similar exemption to anyone, however educated, who has reached the age of 16 and succeeded in passing the matriculation examination of a British University, or an examination accepted by a University as equivalent thereto.

[page 15]

These proposals do not, however, cover the whole ground. It will be necessary, even where further schooling is required, to accept certain alternatives to attendance at the public Continuation Classes. We have mainly in mind the needs of individual children who are in a position to obtain valuable instruction of a tutorial character. We should strongly deprecate the establishment of privately-controlled systems of Continuation Classes side by side with the public system, We therefore think that alternative instruction should not be accepted unless it entails a substantially greater amount of day-time study than would be entailed by attendance at the ordinary classes. This will meet the case of those who want, and have leisure for, something better than the public system can give; it does not offer a way out to those who want something less good, or merely something a little different. Extra subjects can, of course, be taken in leisure hours. If the community requires facilities for day-time instruction, it must take responsibility for seeing that these facilities are used to the best educational advantage. On the same principle, alternative instruction should also be open to the inspection of the Local Education Authority and the Board of Education, and should not be regarded as a reasonable excuse for non-attendance at the public classes, if it has been declared to be unsuitable by the Board of Education. We have deliberately at this point used the term "unsuitable", as a wider term than "inefficient", because in judging of the value of such instruction it is necessary to take into account the right selection of subjects as well as the actual efficiency with which they are taught. We should be unwilling, for example, to see a concentrated course of typewriting accepted as an equivalent for attendance at a carefully-planned Continuation Course.


27. The sanctions under which continuation attendance should be enforced involve some difficult legal questions. It is not, of course, possible to assume that all boys and girls up to the age of 18 are under the effective control of their parents, and therefore it is not possible to rely wholly upon that prosecution of the parent which is resorted to in the case of Elementary Schools. No doubt the parent, and also the employer, should be liable to a penalty in so far as any act or omission on his part is shown to be the cause of a failure in attendance. The young persons themselves, if old enough, might also be liable to a penalty. Whatever other sanctions the Legislature may deem it necessary to impose, in order to secure attendance at Continuation Classes, we should expect to find the most effective sanction in connection with employment, not merely in proceedings against an employer who failed to give the requisite facilities for attendance, but in making the right of a child to be employed and the right of an employer to employ that child both contingent upon the actual satisfaction of the requirement.

Duty of Authority to Provide Classes

28. It must not be forgotten that an obligation to attend Continuation Classes implies a corresponding obligation on the Local Education Authority to provide suitable Continuation Classes. This will mean such an amendment of Section 2 of Education Act of 1902 as will convert the power conferred on the Authority to supply or aid the supply of education other than elementary into a duty, so far as Continuation Classes are concerned. It will also, no doubt, involve the repeal of the twopenny limitation on the rate which a County Council may raise, without special sanction from the Local Government Board, for the purposes of higher education. It appears to us that the most practicable plan for bringing the new system into operation would be to require each Local Education Authority to submit to the Board of Education at an early date a comprehensive and systematic plan for the organisation of Continuation Schools within their area, together with proposals for bringing that plan into operation by such stages as may be practicable. Some power will have to be given to the Board of Education to enforce the duty upon any Authority which neglects to perform it, and we are not aware of any more effective means of enforcing such a statutory duty than the withholding of moneys to which the Authority would otherwise have been entitled. In some cases it might also be possible to transfer the neglected duties to another Authority having powers to aid Higher Education within an area. We do not attach much practical value to the constitutional device of a mandamus.

[page 16]

Curriculum from 14 to 16

29. What is to be taught in Continuation Classes? Obviously that is a question to which no complete and final answer can be given in advance. There is much garnered experience of evening schools to draw upon, but the new conditions will in many respects be different from those of evening schools, and the Continuation Schools will have to supplement and revise that experience for themselves as they develop. The planning of curricula suitable to the needs of its own locality is very much one or the matters in which the discretion of a Local Education Authority should, within reasonable limits, have full play. A few words may, however, be said on the general principles which should be applied. We need hardly say that we do not regard the object of establishing Continuation Classes as being merely an industrial one. The industries stand to benefit amply enough, both directly through the beginnings of technical instruction, and indirectly through the effect of education upon the character and general efficiency of those who come within its influence. But we are clear that the business of the classes is to do what they can in making a reasonable human being and a citizen, and that, if they do this, they will help to make a competent workman also. Though this is wholly true, it is also true that education must be approached, especially at the adolescent stage, through the actual interests of the pupil, and that the actual interests of pupils who have just turned a corner in life and entered upon wage-earning employment are very largely the new interests which their employment has opened out to them.

Although, then, at any rate in the earlier years, Continuation Classes should give a general and not a technical education, we think that they may with advantage from the very beginning have something of a vocational bias. This will not mean very much more than that the children will be as far as possible classified according to their occupations, and that four or five alternative courses will be planned, in which subjects will be differently grouped and differently treated, so as to give them some kind of living relation to the occupations of the children taking them. Certain subjects, such as English and Arithmetic, will probably find a place in all the courses, but these subjects will be somewhat differently handled, with a different selection of books and a different choice of material for exercises, according as the course is one for pupils engaged in handicrafts or for pupils engaged in commerce. For example, in the industrial courses stress will be laid upon measurements; in the commercial courses upon the keeping of accounts. Similarly, these fundamental subjects may be supplemented in industrial courses by Mechanics and Physics, and in commercial courses by Geography or Shorthand. There will be separate courses with a good deal of Drawing in them for pupils engaged in artistic industries. There will be nautical courses in seaboard towns and villages. And everywhere there will be special home-making and other courses for girls, in which domestic and practical subjects will play a considerable part.

Over the greater part of the country, specialisation is not likely to go much further, between 14 and 16, than this. But areas differ, and where there is a single predominant industry in an area, which most of the children will as a matter of course enter, there will be a natural tendency for the character of that industry to colour the instruction from the very beginning. Education, after all, must be based upon environment, and in such areas the industry is the central feature of the environment. This principle will have a special application in rural districts. It will not, as a rule, be possible to arrange more than two courses, one for boys and one for girls, in a rural village. The girls will require instruction in household and other practical subjects just as much as, or more than, in the towns, although upon somewhat different lines. And both for boys and for girls it will be both natural and right that the whole curriculum should relate itself to the rural atmosphere, just as it will relate itself to an artisan or a commercial atmosphere in a manufacturing town or a seaport. It is true, as we have already pointed out, that when they become adults many children brought up in villages will find their way to the towns. This is largely because the conditions of country life are not what they should be; the opportunities for betterment are too few, and for many youths farm work is a blind alley. But we are convinced that these conditions could and should be changed. Developing a rural atmosphere in the Elementary Schools should assist in checking the migration from the country, and this will be all to the good. We advocate no change in our methods of instruction which would unfit those who leave the country for town life or which would in any way curtail their opportunities - far from it, we believe that these changes will make more useful citizens of the rising generation, and give them a wider and a sounder outlook upon life.

[page 17]

Curriculum from 16 to 18

30. Between 16 and 18 a greater amount of specialisation will probably be introduced. A liberal basis is still essential, and the English teaching should now tend towards a deliberate stimulation of the sense of citizenship. For young persons engaged upon highly skilled work, however, technical subjects bearing upon that work will inevitably come to take a leading place in the curriculum, although even for them the civics and the humanities must by no means be excluded. The activities of farm schools and of travelling agricultural instructors will come in at this stage in rural districts. But it is only a minority, in towns at least, who find highly skilled work, and there is little room for technical instruction in any strict sense for those engaged in low-skilled or unskilled occupations. Here the experience of Evening Schools to some extent deserts us, since it is this great mass of low-skilled unskilled workers whom Evening Schools have most failed to reach. But here also there is bound to be a good deal of differentiation. In some cases, a desire for knowledge will have established itself which will require development upon humanistic lines, and which will reach upwards to the admirable ideals of self-education which lie at the heart of the Workers' Educational Association movement. In other cases, and we will hope in a diminishing minority of cases, the capacity for study on anything like academic lines will be approaching the saturation point. For these it will be necessary to plan courses in which the general subjects of the earlier period will be diversified by others directed to one or other of those multifarious personal interests which afford the amenities of life. Music, art, local history, home industries, first-aid, natural history, will all afford an opportunity for the skilful teacher, and can be treated suitably both for boys and for girls. We incline to think that in happily planned towns, no less than in villages, gardening will prove an invaluable subject at this stage, and it is obvious that, as the Continuation Classes will be carried on in summer as well as in winter, some of the difficulties which at present attend instruction in gardening will be overcome.

Physical Training

31. For all children, and throughout the period of compulsory attendance, we are convinced that physical training should be regarded as an indispensable element in the curriculum. The problem of adolescence is at least as much a physical as a mental one. The recent facts of recruiting have thrown a disquieting light upon the physical condition of large sections of the population of this country, and we fully endorse the view expressed before us by Sir George Newman, that active measures should be taken to continue throughout adolescence the system of physical training and supervision which has already been initiated with such happy results in the Elementary Schools. It is perhaps in this respect that the inevitable early termination of the Elementary School life is most unfortunate. Whatever may be thought of the advantages and possibilities of continued schooling in the ordinary sense after the age of 14, there is not the slightest doubt that from a physical point of view, the break in a child's life, when he leaves school, comes just at the moment when the disturbance of puberty brings him most in need of skilled and sympathetic direction. And this is also just the moment when he has to face the new strain of employment. The core of a system of physical training for adolescents should consist of formal gymnastic exercises aiming at definite effects on the development of the body. The exercises should be capable of employment for the correction as well as the prevention of physical defects and deformities, and should include some intended to develop bodily control, graceful movements, and a sense of rhythm. Sir George Newman advises us that such a course of training should be based generally on the Swedish system, and could with best advantage be given in daily lessons of about half an hour. If, however, Continuation Classes are organised on the system of two half days a week, he thinks that a lesson of 45 minutes on each of the two days should suffice, and if this time were extended to an hour, it would be possible to include some useful direct instruction in physiology and in the laws of health.

In our opinion not less than one hour a week ought in all cases to be devoted to physical training. But we feel that the inclusion of physical training renders it essential that the time for Continuation Classes should be planned upon the basis of eight hours, or the equivalent, rather than upon the basis of six hours. The experience of Evening Schools has shown that six hours a week is the minimum time in which reasonable

[page 18]

progress can be made in a reasonable number of educational subjects, and we should be extremely unwilling to trench upon these hours in order to provide those requisite for physical training. The introduction of physical training should carry with it the extension to the whole adolescent period of the advantages of a school medical service, and also of clinical treatment, except in so far as that is rendered unnecessary in the case of young persons in employment who have already become eligible for medical benefits under the National Insurance Act. Sir George Newman considers that it will probably be desirable to arrange for the medical inspection of all young persons at the age of 16, and again shortly before the age of 18. He also concurs in the view, which we had arrived at independently on other grounds, that careful consideration should be given by the Board of Education and the Home Office to the desirability of transferring from the Factory Certifying Surgeons to the School Medical Officers the work of certifying as to the physical fitness of children for employment under the Factory Acts. This is work which, by its very nature, should be closely co-ordinated both with the ordinary work of medical inspection and with the work of advising juveniles as to suitable employment.

Provision for Evening Hours

32. Evening Schools, over and above their educational functions, have in the past done valuable service in keeping children off the streets. It would be a regrettable set-off against the educational advantages, if the transference of Continuation Classes to the day-time were to remove one of the few facilities available in crowded towns for a wise employment of the evening hours. We do not anticipate that the schools will in fact be derelict after dark. Evening Classes will continue on a voluntary basis for students over the age of 18, and the education given in the earlier years will have failed in its objective if the number of these older students is not in a short time largely increased. But school buildings at least, perhaps in the main under voluntary supervision, should continue to be at the service of the juveniles, for whom the evening hours will in future be to a greater extent available as hours for wholesome recreation. In the summer, recreation should as far as possible be in the open air. The evenings will in future be longer, if the operation of the Daylight Saving Act, which we regard as one of the most beneficent by-products of the war, is continued in times of peace. There will be games, and gardening, and cadet training; and scout-craft. It is the winter which will demand resources other than the poor alternatives offered by the inclement streets, the gambling pitch under the railway arch, and the garish entertainments which appear to be all that the low-grade theatres and picture palaces care to provide. The Continuation School, like the Day School, ought to become a centre for the self-directed activities of its pupils, as well as for those imposed upon them, and its buildings should serve as a home for innumerable clubs, debates, study circles, concerts, and other forms of social gathering. In the evening, too, the serious instruction of the day-time may be supplemented by voluntary classes in recreative subjects for those who desire them. Moreover, since the Continuation Classes will require home-work, and since many homes are not adapted to home-work, it will be well that rooms should be open in which home-work may be done under responsible supervision.

Probable Reception of the Committee's Proposals

33. We look forward with confidence to the response which a scheme of educational reform, based upon a uniform leaving age of 14, with compulsory Continuation Classes up to 18, will evoke from educationists. Their only complaint will be, not that we have gone so far, but that we have not dared to go further. But our task will not be complete unless we express some opinion as to the reception which the proposals may expect to get from the persons whom they will most directly affect. These are, we think, on the one hand the parents, and on the other hand the employers. So far as the children are concerned, they readily accept an established order of things, and it will not be long before the juvenile takes his schooling up to the age of 18 as a matter of course, just as he now takes his schooling up to the age of 13 or 14. We have already hinted at our conviction that it will prove possible, with the help of the Continuation Classes, to create between 14 and 18 such a living interest in the things of the mind, as will flood the voluntary classes for after-study, and make us one of the best instructed of European peoples.

[page 19]

The Attitude of Parents

34. The attitude of the parents will he determined by a play of forces, the resultant of which we hardly feel able to calculate. On one side, there is the desire to do the best possible for the futures of their children, a desire which is far more widespread than social reformers always realise. On the other, there is much failure or uncertainty of judgment as to what that best possible may be, which leaves an open door to the conviction that early wages are at least an immediate and tangible good. The wages difficulty chiefly attaches itself to the proposal for a uniform leaving age; it cannot be pretended that, if a child stays at school until 14 instead of 13, the parent will not lose the child's wages during the additional year. This must inevitably affect the general sentiment in those areas in which, owing to an exceptional demand for child labour or other causes, the habit of leaving school at 13 has entrenched itself. These are mainly for one set of reasons the textile districts, and for another the rural districts. Sentiment is not logic, and we are therefore not much helped by the argument that there is no sound reason why parents in one area should expect their children to begin earning earlier than they could do in another area. So far as the textile districts are concerned, it would be difficult to maintain that adult wages are so low as to oblige families to fall back upon child labour in order to keep themselves above the poverty line. Even if it were so, the best economic opinion points clearly to improved education as a direct means of increasing the productivity, and therefore the wage-earning power of the adult. On this point we may refer to the evidence given by Professor S. J. Chapman, of Manchester, before the Consultative Committee. In relation to Continuation Classes, the wages question becomes comparatively insignificant; and here we think that the provident parent will easily recognise that the balance of advantage in the proposed change is all in favour of his child. At the most, the reduction by eight hours of a working week of anything from 48 to 90 hours could only mean a reduction of wages by anything from a sixth to an eleventh. We do not believe that it is feasible to stereotype, least of all by an Education Act, either the rates of juvenile wages which now prevail or those which prevailed before the war. There is, or was, some element of custom in them; but substantially they are bound to fluctuate, especially in unregulated industries, in accordance with temporary economic conditions. We do not, as a matter of fact, think that employers as a body will desire to make specific reductions in wages on account of the few hours to be devoted to schooling. We do not think that they ought to make such reductions. The incidental limitation of the supply of child labour will probably prevent them from making such reductions. The rapid effect of improved education upon the productivity of juveniles will leave them with little justification for making such reductions. We do not honestly think that the parents need have much fear on this score.

The Attitude of Employers

35. We turn to the employers. We may at once say that nothing has more impressed us throughout our investigation than the progress which has been made amongst employers in recent years towards sound ideals of working-class education. Two converging forces appear to have been at work. In the first place, we have become conscious of a growing uneasiness, which is rapidly becoming articulate, as to the ethical aspects of the prevalent attitude towards child labour. There have always been protests against this attitude, but during the nineteenth century they were mainly protests from outside; now they make themselves heard within the industries. Employer after employer has come before us to recount his personal experience of "time off", and in so doing has expressed a strong conviction of the responsibilities which firms incur by the employment of juveniles on a large scale, and of the greater reliance which must be placed on education if these responsibilities are to be more adequately discharged in future. Side by side with this awakening of conscience has gone a growing appreciation of the direct industrial value of education, both technical and general. This has no doubt been due in part to the example of other countries, which have had to face the problem of building up new industries and have found in education a potent means towards a solution. But we believe it to be to an even greater extent an outgrowth of the tradition of British industry itself, in which, in spite of the dissensions between capital and labour, there has never been a very sharp line of demarcation between the operative and the controlling classes. There is no industrial town but can point to flourishing businesses

[page 20]

wholly created by the brains and enterprise of founders who once laboured with their hands on the pot bank, in the weaving shed, or in the fitting shop. The British workman is famous for his ability to make a little theoretical knowledge go a long way, and the little theoretical knowledge, painfully and belatedly acquired, as the foundation of a glittering career, has proved an ever-present object lesson in what book-learning may do for a man. Quite apart from the cash value of strictly technical knowledge, it has proved an industrial discovery of the first magnitude that the personnel of a factory is part of its equipment, and that time and money are well spent in bringing that equipment to a high state of initial perfection, in keeping it properly lubricated, and in saving it from disastrous stress and strain. The conception, for example, of a statistical inquiry into the conditions and results of industrial fatigue is a significant indication of the altered point of view. The point of view of the farmers as a whole is no doubt at present less advanced than that of urban employers, but we have given reasons in an earlier paragraph for the belief that even amongst farmers there is a growing recognition of the advantage which agriculture may reap from improved education.

Experiments in "Time Off"

36. The ethical and business factors, then, have both contributed to a great extension of educational facilities for employed juveniles during the last decade. It is probably little known, outside the narrow circle of educational administrators, how many employers, in some way or other, encourage attendance at Continuation Classes. A variety of plans have been tried. Some employers make attendance at evening schools a condition of employment. This by itself is perhaps a somewhat crude method. But a real stimulus is provided when promotion or increased wages are made to depend upon regular school attendance and satisfactory progress; and the practical difficulty of fatigue is at least partly removed when students are excused overtime, or are allowed to leave the works on school nights before closing hours, or to arrive late on the following morning. It is, of course, a great step in advance when employers give definite time off for schooling in the morning or afternoon. This is now a growing practice, and many employers have either arranged with Local Education Authorities that the hours of time off should be devoted to courses specially organised to meet the needs of their younger workers, or have themselves established "works schools" on their own premises for the purpose. A great Government Department, as was only right, has been a pioneer in this direction. The Admiralty system of part-time day schools for dockyard apprentices was established as far back as 1843, and an interesting description of it has recently been published in pamphlet form by the Board of Education. Of schools established by private firms of employers, we may cite those of the British Westinghouse Electrical Manufacturing Company at Trafford Park, Manchester, and of Messrs. Cadbury at Bournville, merely as typical examples on which direct evidence has been laid before us. Similarly, as an example of the use made of Technical Schools during time off, we may point to the evidence given on behalf of Messrs. Boots, of Nottingham, with regard to the education of their scientific and clerical staffs. Many other instances of both types of training could easily be given.

Signs are now apparent that the movement which has been initiated by individual firms may in future be taken up by combinations of firms. The new development centres for the present in London, where a deliberate attempt has been made during the last few years to overhaul the Continuation Schools, and to make the most that can be made of them within the limits of the voluntary system. The creation of an interest amongst London employers in industrial training has been an indispensable step. In certain trades the response has been considerable, notably the building, printing, dressmaking, and drapery trades. In all of these, educational schemes involving time off are under consideration. In some cases, the schemes point in the direction of some revival of apprenticeship, and as an indication that the movement is not confined to London, or even to urban areas, we may note the Devonshire scheme for farm apprenticeship, to which our attention was called by Mr. Tremlett, of the National Farmers' Union. The principle of time off has hitherto been mainly applied to apprentices or learners who are expected to become skilled workmen. It has been carried further by certain firms, such as Messrs. Cadbury, Messrs. Rowntree of York and Messrs. Crosse and Blackwell of London, who give facilities to boys and engaged upon unskilled work for some continuance of a general education, in which physical exercises and, for girls, household subjects, play a considerable part.

[page 21]

Adaptation of Industries

37. We hold, then, that the present trend of thought and feeling amongst employers gives reasonable ground for hope that a more general reform in the direction to which they themselves point will be met with much sympathy and co-operation on their side. On the other hand, no one knows better than the progressive employers how limited is the advance which can be made on the basis of voluntary time off. The movement which we have sketched has been initiated by employers who have realised the importance of the forces of education to the nation, to their own industries, and to the young people in their employment. We believe that the great mass of average employers will be ready to adopt, and even to approve, a reform, on condition that it is imposed upon their business competitors as well as upon themselves. It must, of course, be added that the experiments hitherto carried out on voluntary lines have naturally been in those industries in which the reorganisation involved has been least. The proposal of a uniform requirement will be met with pleadings for the exemption of special industries or processes, in which it will be claimed that the release of juveniles cannot be effected without difficulties of organisation that will result in stopping production during their absence. Exemption will be, and will be felt to be, extremely unfair to the other industries. The view generally taken by our industrial witnesses is that many of the alleged difficulties are imaginary, or can be overcome by an exercise of that organising capacity in which British enterprise has never been lacking, and, as a rule, by some increase in the number of juveniles, or even of adults, employed. Juvenile labour is not as a rule highly specialised. The functions of individual boys and girls are convertible, so that if each had to be absent during two out of the ten or eleven half-days in each week, the case would be met by employing one-fifth or one-sixth more. The matter would thus resolve itself into one of working costs. After all, absences on account of illness or the like are already very numerous, and provision has to be made for them. Nor must it be forgotten that the possibilities of employing improved machinery for certain operations, which are at present carried out by juveniles, have not yet been fully explored. We are told, for example, that there might be a considerably increased use of mechanical doffers in worsted spinning. Similarly, a wider adoption of the Northrop loom in the cotton industry would enable employers to dispense with a number of children who are at present engaged in replacing shuttles in more old-fashioned looms. The cotton industry may, however, present another kind of difficulty, of an economic rather than a mechanical kind, owing to the custom by which the direct employer of "little piecers" is not the manufacturer, but the spinner in charge of a pair of "mules". Here, no doubt, some change in economic conditions of long standing may prove inevitable. We do not know what, if any, advantages, other than those of prescription, can be claimed for the present practice.

Uncertainties of the Future

38. It is certainly true that the present attitude, even of the best employers, may undergo modification if the war leads to a serious break of continuity in industrial development. The demand for substituted labour during the war has undeniably entailed a considerable suspension of educational facilities; it has not proved possible to spare "time off" when time was worth its weight, not in gold, but in blood. The set-back would be intolerable if there were no prospect of its being recovered, and more than recovered, when peace is re-established. For the moment the future of industry remains a sphinx and answers no questions. So far as the children are concerned, the evils of a period of bad trade might bring some compensation, when it became apparent that the limitation of juvenile employment is capable of being used as an effective means of reducing adult unemployment. It is in the alternative possibility of a period, long or short, of exceptionally brisk trade that the danger of a reactionary tendency amongst employers is involved. There may be an insistent demand for cheap labour, pushed even to the point of a claim that the sacrifice of child life, which has been reluctantly assented to for the purposes of the war, must be continued indefinitely for the purposes of an economic war. Some employers may feel that any period of prosperity is likely to be short-lived, and may be tempted to adopt a policy of rapid production and quick returns, as less speculative than the re-establishment of their businesses upon a broad foundation and with a long outlook. Any such policy, if widely adopted, would prove a serious danger to the hopes of education. We feel bound once more to emphasise the truth that if the juvenile

[page 22]

problem is to be solved it must be by treating it as primarily a moral and not an economic issue. Is the civilisation for which Englishmen have fought to be made a civilisation worth fighting for? We take comfort in the knowledge that those who will decide will be largely those who have fought.

Buildings and Teachers

39. Once the principle of Continuation Classes is upon the statute book, the rapidity with which it can be brought into general and effective operation will depend upon the administrative capacities of the Central and Local Education Authorities. There will be two great practical obstacles - the supply of buildings and the supply of teachers. We do not propose to say much about either of them. If a step forward is decided upon, each will have to become the subject of a careful expert inquiry or of a series of inquiries, both central and local. In many towns there are Technical Schools and Schools of Art, the buildings of which at present stand empty in the day-time, and will afford a nucleus of the new provision required. Additional accommodation will be necessary, especially for the junior classes. At the beginning, more use will probably be made of Elementary School premises between the hours of 5 and 7 p.m. than will ultimately prove convenient. The expert surveys will explore the possibilities of utilising for small numbers buildings which have been disused for Elementary School purposes, and even buildings which were not originally constructed for school purposes at all. Much may be done by a skilful process of internal adaptation, with quite satisfactory results so far as health and suitability for teaching go, even though the architectural result may not always be imposing. Temporary buildings, left derelict after the war by military units, munition factories, and Government offices, may prove available. Ultimately, no doubt, permanent buildings will be required, but there will be some advantage in waiting until experience has shown what type of permanent building is best fitted for Continuation Class work. On the other hand, it is just conceivable that the emergencies of demobilisation may make it desirable, in the interests of the building trade, to push ahead with building schemes for national purposes, and if such a contingency arises, some of the legal difficulties which at present attend the acquisition of sites for school purposes may find a rapid solution. In country districts, the advantages of adding on to village schools will have to be weighed against the advantages of establishing a common Continuation Centre for a group of villages, and arranging for the conveyance of pupils. Every county will need its central farm institute for the more advanced work.

On the whole, we anticipate that the difficulty of providing teachers will be much greater than the difficulty of providing buildings. There is already, owing to causes which we need not analyse, an admitted shortage of teachers for Elementary Schools. Large drafts, therefore, upon the Elementary School supply, to meet the needs of the Continuation Classes, will not be possible, although no doubt some individual teachers will pass from the one service to the other. The urban industries will, however, be good for a considerable number of teachers of technical subjects, and the disbanding troops may yield some teachers of physical exercises. In country districts the system of travelling instructors of agriculture and other rural subjects will be strengthened and extended. It is the academic supply which will require the most careful forethought, and probably also the stimulus of better conditions than those which rule in many branches of education at present. Obviously, in the long run, the only way to obtain an adequate supply of adequate teachers is to pay adequate salaries. It will also be necessary to provide courses of training both for the academic teachers and for those taken from the industries. The strengthening of the teaching force is an economic problem, and it is by economic inducements alone that a satisfactory and permanent solution can be found.

Urgency of the Reform

40. Whatever the difficulties may be, they must be treated as incentives to action, and not as excuses for inertia. We do not doubt that the majority of the Local Education Authorities will be prompt to discharge the new duties and responsibilities for which they have themselves asked. The progress made by the rural counties is bound to be gradual; ample time should be given them to complete the necessary provision for the remoter parts of their areas. We are assured, as the result of investigation in certain counties, that, at any rate as regards buildings, the

[page 23]

difficulties are not so great as might have been anticipated. At any rate there is no reason why the country as a whole should wait for its reform until the ultimate hamlet is ready to come into line. We feel strongly that as brief an interval as possible should elapse between the end of the war and the beginning of the new educational order of things; if only because this will enable the Continuation Classes, as we point out below, to do some salvage work amongst those children whose elementary schooling the exigencies of war have so ruthlessly cut short. We hope that the enabling statute will be so framed as to come normally into operation on an early appointed day; and where, in exceptional circumstances, preparations cannot be made in time, power might be given to the Board of Education to make a deferring order or a series of deferring orders, fixing for the area or part of the area of any Authority such later appointed day, within a limited period, as in all the circumstances it might find necessary.

The Cost of the Committee's Proposals

41. The buildings factor and the staff factor will ultimately govern the question of cost, of which, therefore, we can attempt no more than the roundest estimate. On the assumption that the cost of an Elementary School place remains much at its present figure, the cost of converting all half-timers into full-timers and keeping all children up to the age of 14 may be put at anything from 1,000,000, to 1,250,000. The cost of Continuation Classes will, of course, depend upon the extent to which they can he made universal. It is perhaps a somewhat improbable assumption that all juveniles between 14 and 18 not otherwise educated will come within their operation by 1921. If this were the case, the country would then have about 2,600,000 pupils to deal with, and these would require about 32,000 full-time teachers. The gross maintenance cost, on such a basis, may perhaps be put at anything from 6,000,000 to 8,000,000 a year, in addition to the 1,000,000 or thereabouts now spent upon Evening Classes for juveniles. We are not in a position to offer an estimate of the cost of providing buildings. All this is gross cost, but when the finance of Continuation Classes comes to be seriously taken in hand, the further question of the distribution of burden between the Exchequer and the local rates will inevitably present itself. It can hardly be treated apart from other aspects of the financial relation between the Central and Local Authorities. On this we desire to make two points. The first is, that the smaller the new burden which the change imposes upon the rates, the more readily it will be accepted by the councils and the ratepayers who stand behind the education committees; the second, that local willingness to accept even a reasonable addition to the rates must depend upon an equitable adjustment of other outstanding financial questions. Localities which think themselves hardly treated over one service are not in a mood to undertake another without closely counting the cost. We suggest that grants in aid of present as well as future expenditure should be simplified and very substantially increased.

The Employment of Children Act

42. The problem of juvenile employment is not confined to those children who have left the Elementary School. Many children under the age of 14, especially in poor districts, undertake wage-earning tasks outside school hours. In some cases these tasks are not merely uneducative, but positively harmful, and in some they are so laborious or prolonged as to interfere to a serious extent with the benefits to be derived from schooling. Powers for the regulation of employment outside school hours exist under the Employment of Children Act, 1903, but they are not widely adopted, and where they are adopted, they are often very laxly administered. In themselves, apart from the special question of street trading, they are probably adequate. They enable a Local Authority to make byelaws relating to children under 14, which may prescribe an age below which employment, either in any occupations or in any special occupation, is illegal, or the hours between which such employment is illegal, or the number of daily and weekly hours beyond which such employment is illegal; and may also prohibit absolutely, or permit subject to conditions, employment in any specified occupation. We suggest that these powers should be treated as powers under the Education Acts, and that all Local Authorities should be required to make byelaws under the Act and to administer these byelaws and the statutory provisions of the Act through their Education Committees. Any change should carry with it a substitution of the Board of Education for the

[page 24]

Home Office as the Central Authority for the approval of byelaws under the Act. The statutory provisions should be extended and less should be left to byelaws. The special question of street trading was considered by a Departmental Committee of the Home Office, which submitted Majority and Minority Reports in May, 1910. The Majority recommended statutory prohibition of street trading by boys under 17, and by girls under 18. The Minority assented with some reservation as regards girls, but desired to leave to Local Authorities the option of establishing a licensing system for boys over school age. Whichever solution is adopted, we think that the administration should be in the hands of Local Education Authorities. Apart from considerations of practical convenience in working, we feel that the integration of functions which we recommend will have the advantage of definitely establishing the position of the Local Education Authority as in some sense the guardian of the juvenile against those decivilising forces, within and without, against which the whole process of education is a constant warfare.

Problems of Demobilisation

43. We do not regard our reference as fully discharged by this general survey of juvenile education in relation to employment. Our attention was invited not merely to the standing problem, but in particular to the effects of the war upon that problem. Two questions call for consideration under this head. The first is whether the abnormal conditions of employment which have prevailed during the war call for any supplementary measures, over and above the scheme of reform which we have already outlined, in the interests of those juveniles who have been subject to such conditions. The second is whether, and, if so, how, the educational service can help in the process of demobilisation, especially if a shortage of employment for juveniles should declare itself after the war. We propose, therefore, to conclude with some observations on each of these two themes.

Abnormally Employed Children

44. We have already pointed out that the abnormality of juvenile employment during the war has been a matter of degree rather than of kind. There has been an abnormal intensification of most of the disquieting features which juvenile employment ordinarily presents. The trouble is perhaps due less to the actual character of the work done than to the incidental conditions under which it has been done. A very large number of boys and girls have been doing work other than that which would have fallen to them in times of peace. It may be doubted whether it has, in itself, been either more educative or less educative in any marked degree. There appears to be no doubt, on the other hand, that in many cases it has been so strenuous as to be physically injurious, and has been accompanied by a great further relaxation of bonds of discipline, which were already loose. The mischief has been done. It has affected individuals in different ways and to different extents, and it is hard to see how any educational remedies of an effective kind can be applied so far as these individuals are concerned. It is manifestly impossible either to subject the whole body of young persons who have been abnormally employed to some special educational discipline, or to pick out those who may be supposed to have suffered most and to apply a differentiated discipline to them. Some distinction may perhaps be made on an age basis, between those under and those over 14. One of the elements of abnormality has been the early withdrawal of children from school, not only for munitions work or for agriculture, but for many miscellaneous employments, of which it would be impossible to trace any record. This process of early withdrawal began early in 1915 and is likely to continue until peace is declared. If it ends with 1917, it will then have measured a span of three years, and the children affected by it will then be of all ages between 12 and 17.

Let us take first those who are still under 14 when the abnormal demand terminates. Some, perhaps most, of them will still be subject to the statutory obligation of Elementary School attendance. The first obvious remedy which suggests itself is to enforce that obligation and send them back to school. How far this will in fact be possible in individual cases must in the main be a matter for the Local Education Authorities. Much will depend upon the character of the individual child, upon the time he has been absent from school, and upon the time which has still to elapse before he reaches the leaving age; much, also, upon the number of such children in any particular locality, and upon the possibility of

[page 25]

arranging special classes for them within the Elementary Schools. Broadly speaking, we do not feel that this is a very hopeful way of dealing with the difficulty, at any rate for children who have been absent from school for more than a very short period. Children who have tasted freedom and have been initiated into the responsibilities of wage-earning will regard themselves as having put off childish things, and will not readily submit once more to the discipline which they believe themselves to have left behind. Perhaps this difficulty will be most strongly felt in rural schools in which, as often happens, no male teacher is available. There is not, of course, any statutory power under which children still of school age can be required to attend at any kind of full-time day school other than an Elementary School; nor do we think that any such power could readily be brought into existence for a temporary purpose. On the other hand, if the foundations of a compulsory Continuation Class system can be laid, as we have recommended, at a very early date after the war, we see no reason why Local Education Authorities who are ready to bring such a system into operation should not be allowed to apply it to children under 14 who have left the day school before the appointed day, whatever may be the reasons which have led to their withdrawal. This method would bring back into the educational fold a good many of the younger children amongst those who have been prematurely withdrawn. It would be necessary to form preparatory classes for them in the Continuation Schools, from which they would pass at the age of 14 into the ordinary classes provided for other children of similar age.

Possibilities of Special Training

45. We hardly think that it would be possible to deal in the same way with children who are already over 14 on the appointed day. The difficulties of discriminating between these and other children of the same age would be considerable, and the attempt to carry out such a process would certainly be resented by the children themselves, by their parents, and by their employers. The only plan, which would be generally intelligible, or would be accepted as fair, is to treat all children of the same age as upon the same footing. It has been represented to us that some children who have undertaken abnormal employment were of exceptional promise at school, and might normally have had opportunities of obtaining exceptionally good work, and perhaps of continuing their full-time education beyond the age of 14. And it has been suggested that such children should be given the opportunity after the war of receiving short intensive courses of technical training in preparation for some skilled employment. It is, of course, impossible to say how many children there would be in any one locality both desirous of receiving such a training and capable of profiting by it; probably there would be very few indeed unless maintenance allowances, which we are not prepared to recommend, were offered. Room might perhaps be found for a few such children in existing Junior Technical Schools, which might be able to admit them at a somewhat later age than usual. We hesitate to advise the establishment of special full-time courses, at any rate by direct state action, for the express purpose of dealing with such children. It is not much use starting any kind of full-time technical training without a very clear idea of the result which it is intended to produce, and without making careful provision in advance to secure that the pupils, when trained, will be able to obtain suitable employment in industry. A good deal of preparation and forethought are needed, and we fear that it would be very difficult for anyone to say, until the various industries have re-established themselves, in what direction there is likely to be nn effective demand for the kind of trained pupil whom such technical courses as are contemplated would turn out. It appears to us that the best plan would be to call the attention of Local Education Authorities to the possibility that such courses might be of service, and to leave it to them to bring the courses into existence if they see an opportunity.

Anticipated Dislocation of Juvenile Employment

46. It goes without saying that we should view with the greatest apprehension any widespread shortage of employment for juveniles after the war. Serious demoralisation would be the swift and immediate result, which no educational effort would be able to stem. We have no means of estimating what the probabilities of such a shortage are. The position may be largely eased by a scientific handling of the process of demobilisation, to which we look forward with confidence. Ultimately it becomes a problem of absorption. Sooner or later, the industries which are now on

[page 26]

a war footing must either absorb or discharge their juveniles. In some industries we understand that an optimistic estimate has been formed, both of the desire and of the capacity of employers to absorb juveniles without injustice to adult workers. But it is clear that large discharges must in time take place from arsenals and other establishments whose output cannot possibly be maintained upon a war level. The next stage will be determined by the capacity for absorption of other industries whose activities are at present in abeyance. No doubt there will be a demand from these, but its magnitude can hardly as yet be measured. Even if there is no general shortage of work, there must be a great deal of dislocation while juveniles are moving from one job to another, and it is quite conceivable that the period of dislocation may be a prolonged one. In the meantime, the juveniles will spend part of their time in making fitful applications for posts, and the rest in hanging about the streets; and their numbers will be rapidly increased as new generations of children leave school.

Suggested Temporary Raising of the School Leaving Age

47. Two remedies have been suggested to us. One is that power should be taken by the Government, in the event of a general or a local emergency arising, to raise the general or local leaving age by an administrative act, not merely to 14, but to 15. This step, if it were practicable, would no doubt be effective in limiting the competition of younger children with those already on the labour market. We very much doubt whether it is practicable, and we are quite sure that it would not be satisfactory from an educational point of view. The schools are not in most cases equipped to deal with children over the age of 14 on a large scale, and the process of re-organising them for a purely temporary purpose would he a difficult one, and would probably have made little progress before the temporary need had passed. Possibly the power ought to be kept in reserve, but it should be a last resource, and we sincerely trust that it will not have to be exercised. Obviously, the heartburnings amongst the parents of the children affected would be very great. Short of such an heroic measure, we think that a strong effort ought to be made, by teachers and all other persons capable of influencing children and their parents, to explain to them the difficulties of obtaining suitable work during the period of demobilisation, and the great advantages, both personal and national, of prolonged attendance at school. The Juvenile Employment Bureaux might render assistance by ceasing to call upon children to consider their occupations while they are still at school, and to some extent by giving a preference to older children in putting forward applicants for jobs. We are conscious, however, that there will be a tendency amongst employers to prefer younger applicants, who will not have been demoralised to the same extent by the experiences of war-time, and will be more ready to accept the lower rates of wage which must rule in peace. The competition for work of children still at school should clearly be reduced, if there is any general shortage, by a free use of the powers under the Employment of Children Act, which we have described in paragraph 42.

Special Classes for Unemployed Juveniles

48. The second suggestion which has been put before us is only a palliative. There was a temporary shortage in juvenile employment, of no great duration, at the beginning of the war, and the experiment was tried in various quarters of opening special classes which might be attended by persons out of employment during a half of each day. The demand for labour re-established itself before these experiments could be carried very far. They might no doubt be resumed in any further emergency, and, if so, should be organised in close relation to Employment Bureaux. The Bureaux might not unreasonably give a preference, as offers of work became available, to those in attendance at the classes. We do not profess to think that any education of serious value can be given in this way; the advantage would be a disciplinary rather than a strictly educational one. Children on tenter-hooks not to miss the chance of a job are not likely to be in a state of mind for systematic study, and progressive instruction will hardly be possible with a class which is in a state of flux as its component elements obtain their jobs and disappear. The experience of 1914, moreover, made it clear that nothing but the most intermittent attendance can be expected at such classes, unless maintenance allowances are given and their receipt is made dependent upon attendance. We do not think that such maintenance allowances ought to be a charge upon educational funds, but if they are provided out of relief funds, we think that class attendance should certainly be a condition.

[page 27]

Juvenile Employment Bureaux

49. Whether there is shortage or merely dislocation of juvenile employment, the remedy to which we should ourselves attach more importance than to any other is the effective organisation of Juvenile Employment Bureaux. We have already dealt with this point in an Interim Report, and we have therefore now only to confirm and, if possible, emphasise, what we there said. We recommend that more liberal financial aid should be given to Juvenile Employment Committees. The Bureaux cannot prevent, but they can minimise, the chaos which widespread unemployment will cause, and they will serve as a starting-point from which the abundant goodwill which is always forthcoming in times of national stress can be organised and turned into fruitful channels.

Summary of Recommendations

50. We therefore recommend -

(1) That a uniform Elementary School leaving age of 14 be established by statute for all districts, urban and rural, and that all exemptions, total or partial, from compulsory attendance below that age be abolished (§§10-17).

(2) That a child be deemed to attain the leaving age on that one of a reasonable number of fixed dates in the year, marking the ends of school terms, which falls next after the date upon which he reaches 14 (§18).

(3) That steps be taken, by better staffing and other improvements in the upper classes of Elementary Schools, to ensure the maximum benefit from the last years or school life (§20).

(4) That difficulties of poverty be met in other ways than by regarding poverty as a reasonable excuse for non-attendance in interpreting Section 74 of the Education Act, 1870 (§17).

(5) That the Factory Acts be amended in accordance with the amended law of school attendance, and that the law of school attendance be consolidated (§10).

(6) That the Board of Education and the Home Office do consider the desirability of transferring the work of certifying as to the physical fitness of children for employment under the Factory Acts to the School Medical Officers (§31).

(7) That it be an obligation on the Local Education Authority in each area to provide suitable Continuation Classes for young persons between the ages of 14 and 18, and to submit to the Board of Education a plan for the organisation of such a system, together with proposals for putting it into effect (§28).

(8) That it be an obligation upon all young persons between 14 and 18 years of age to attend such Day Continuation Classes as may be prescribed for them by the Local Education Authority, during a number of hours to be fixed by statute, which should be not less than 8 hours a week, for 40 weeks in the year (§§14, 21-26), with the exception of -

(a) those who are under efficient full-time instruction in some other manner (§26).
(b) those who have completed a satisfactory course in a Secondary School recognised as efficient by the Board of Education and are not less than 16 (§26).
(c) those who have passed the Matriculation examination of a British University, 01' an equivalent examination, and are not less than 16 (§26).
(d) those who are under part-time instruction of a kind not regarded as unsuitable by the Board of Education and entailing a substantially greater amount of study in the day-time than the amount to be required by statute (§26).

[page 28]

(9) That during the first year from the establishment of this system the obligation to attend classes extend to those young persons only who are under 15, during the second year to those only who are under 16, during the third year to those only who are under 17, and subsequently to all those who are under 18 (§14).

(10) That all classes at which attendance is compulsory be held between the hours of 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. (§22).

(11) That it be an obligation on all employers of young persons under 18 to give them the necessary facilities for attendance at the statutory Continuation Classes prescribed for them by the Local Education Authority (§22).

(12) That where there is already a statutory limitation upon the hours of labour, the permitted hours of labour be reduced by the number of those required for the Continuation Classes (§24).

(13) That in suitable cases the young persons be liable to a penalty for non-attendance; and that the parent or the employer be also liable in so far as any act or omission on his part is the cause of failure in attendance (§27).

(14) That the local administration of the Employment of Children Act, 1903, be transferred to the Local Education Authorities, that it be an obligation on every Local Education Authority to make byelaws under the Act, that the statutory provisions of the Act be extended, and that the Board of Education be the Central Authority for the approval of byelaws under the Act (§42).

(15) That the curriculum of the Continuation Classes include general, practical, and technical instruction, and that provision be made for continuous physical training and for medical inspection, and for clinical treatment where necessary, up to the age of 18 (§§29-31).

(16) That suitable courses of training be established and adequate salaries be provided for teachers of Continuation Classes (§30).

(17) That the system of Continuation Classes come normally into operation on an Appointed Day as early as possible after the end of the war, and that the Board of Education have power to make deferring orders fixing later Appointed Days within a limited period, where necessary, for the whole or part of the area of any Local Education Authority (§40).

(18) That the obligation to attend Continuation Classes be extended to children who are under 14 when the Act comes into operation, although they may already have left the day school (§44).

(19) That the attention of Local Education Authorities be drawn to the possibility in certain cases of providing special full-time courses for children and young persons who have been abnormally employed (§45).

(20) That in areas where maintenance allowances from public funds are available for the relief of unemployed young persons after the war, attendance at any classes that may be established for such young persons be a condition of relief (§48).

(21) That the system of Juvenile Employment Bureaux be strengthened and extended before the termination of the war, and that further financial assistance be given to Local Education Authorities for their maintenance (§49).

(22) That in areas where there is a probability of juvenile unemployment, teachers and other suitable persons explain to children and their parents the difficulties of obtaining work and the advantages of prolonged attendance at school (§47).

(23) That the State grants in aid of present as well as future expenditure on education be simplified and very substantially increased (§41).

[page 29]

51. We cannot quit our labours without expressing our deep gratitude to our Secretary, Mr. Joseph Owen, and his assistant, Mr. G. McFarlane, whose industry, resource, and wide knowledge of educational conditions have proved invaluable to us throughout.

We have the honour to be, Sir,
    Your obedient Servants.


J. HERBERT LEWIS (Chairman).
*R. A. BRAY.
J. OWEN (Secretary).
G. McFARLANE (Assistant Secretary).
    16th March 1917.


We desire to bring out more clearly certain points dealt with in paragraph 49 the Report, and recommendation (21) based on that paragraph, as their present wording appears somewhat ambiguous.

In the Interim Report, whose recommendations are confirmed in paragraph 49, the Committee, speaking of Juvenile Employment Bureaux, urge (1) that the fullest use be made of such existing agencies, (2) that, in those areas in which hitherto no such facilities have been provided, steps should be taken at once to induce Local Education Authorities to exercise their powers under the Education (Choice of Employment) Act, or (3) if they are not prepared to take such action, to enter into arrangements with the Board of Trade for the establishment of a Local Juvenile Advisory Committee.

To these recommendations is now added the further recommendation (4), that these Bureaux are established under the Education (Choice of Employment) Act, further financial assistance be given to Local Education Authorities for their maintenance.

With all these recommendations we are in full agreement.



I think that it would not be becoming for me, as an Officer of the Board of Education, to express any opinion upon the proposal in Recommendation (14) that that Board should be the Central Authority for the approval of byelaws under the Employment of Children Act.


*Subject to Note A on page 29.
†Subject to Note B on page 29.
‡Subject to Note C on page 30.
§Subject to Note D on page 30.

[page 30]


1. Whilst in agreement with the recommendations of the Committee in respect of other matters, we feel strongly that the question of the giving of advice and assistance to boys and girls between the ages of 14 and 18 years in the matter of employment is vitally important, and we are of opinion that the present permissive powers of Local Education Authorities should be made compulsory.

2. In their Final Report the Committee recommend compulsion upon all Local Education Authorities to provide suitable Continuation Classes for young persons between the ages of 14 and 18. The question of the giving of assistance and advice to adolescents in the matter of employment becomes, therefore, more urgent and necessary.

3. At the present time Local Education Authorities have permissive powers under the Education (Choice of Employment) Act, 1910, to provide such facilities. Whilst a number of Local Education Authorities have availed themselves of their permissive powers under this Act, others have failed to do so, owing partly to the question of cost and partly to the incidence of the war, which has largely stopped the initiation of new work.

4. If compulsion in the matter. of education be applied to young persons between 14 and 18 years of age, the duty of providing suitable classes will naturally fall upon the Local Education Authority. Each adolescent will pass part of his time at his employment under the supervision of his employer, and part of his time in attendance at classes under the supervision of the Education Authority. It will be absolutely necessary that there should be close co-operation between the Education Authority on the one hand and the employer on the other. There must necessarily be direct co-operation in such matters as -

(a) Schemes of education for Part Time Day Classes.
(b) Attendance at Part Time Day Classes.
(c) Conditions of work in respect of type of employment, hours, prospects.
(d) Provision of information, advice, and assistance to both employer and juvenile in respect of vacancies.
5. If the main recommendations of the Committee are accepted the Local Education Authority will be under statutory obligation to provide -
(a) Full time education up to the age of 14.
(b) Byelaws dealing with employment of school children out of school hours up to the age of 14,
(c) Continuation Day Classes for all young persons between 14 and 18 years of age.
6. The Local Education Authority already possesses permissive powers for the giving of advice and assistance to adolescents in the matter of employment, and since we are fully convinced that the body best fitted to carry out this work effectively is the Local Education Authority, it appears an urgent necessity that such permissive powers should be made obligatory at an early date.

7. We therefore recommend that it be made obligatory upon all Local Education Authorities to exercise their powers under the Education (Choice of Employment) Act, 1910.



We have signed the Report subject to the expression here of our dissent from the concluding sentence of Recommendation (14), to the effect that the Board of Education be the Central Authority for the approval of byelaws under the Employment of Children Act, 1903.


[page 31]


[page 32]



1. The following notes are intended to give some idea of the character of the education which may be provided by the proposed scheme of part-time day classes, and to show incidentally that the difficulties of providing for the needs of a great variety of students are not insurmountable, if certain guiding principles are recognised in arranging the curricula,

2. Whilst one of the prime objects of the scheme is to increase the industrial efficiency of the workman, the education of the future citizen is even more important. Consequently the instruction provided must not be narrowly technical, but must develop the general powers of the mind. It is not, however, desirable to separate sharply technical instruction from general culture. The antithesis between the education of the workman and the education of the citizen has frequently been pressed too far. If the teaching is given on sound educational lines, the process of acquiring technical knowledge becomes a good mental training; whilst the knowledge that enables a man to become an interested and intelligent co-operator in modern industry, instead of a mere tool, is in itself a valuable part of a good education for citizenship. Keeping in mind the dual object of education for citizenship and for industry or livelihood, the curriculum should preserve a balance between the technical and the humanistic elements. If, further, the technical subjects are treated as a medium of education, and not simply as a means to production, there is little danger of the curriculum becoming utilitarian in any narrow sense, although it will, rightly, be thoroughly practical, having regard to the ends in view.

3. General education should form the basis of the system, and during the first two years the curriculum will as a rule be entirely general; but this does not mean that it should be predominantly literary. The period between 14 find 18, or thereabouts, is the period in which young people are intensely interested in the objective world. The interest shown by boys of this age in mechanical contrivances and scientific appliances, in ships and aeroplanes and engines, for example, and in the objects of the natural world, in birds and animals and the "wonders of nature", is typical of their attitude of mind. It is the practical age, the age of exploration, experiment and discovery; and at this period exclusively literary studies are congenial only to a certain exceptional type. Consequently a curriculum which has for its object the training of the future citizen, as well as of the efficient workman, must take account of the natural development of mind at this stage and must give to the practical activities of boys and girls greater scope than is provided in the traditional curricula of the schools.

4. At a later stage (beyond the period of compulsory attendance) it is hoped that the boys and girls who have had their outlook widened and their intelligence disciplined by the teaching in these classes will interest themselves in matters which are of importance to the good citizen, but which are appropriate to maturer powers of mind - politics, economics, history, literature and philosophy. The experience of the Workers' Educational Association has revealed the possibilities of an intellectual life for working men and women in regions previously supposed to be inaccessible. But at the stage with which we are concerned serious study of such subjects is premature and is likely to defeat its own object. It is however possible, even at this stage, to keep alive such intellectual interests as are natural and have been fostered by the training of the good Elementary School. The literary interest is by no means to be repressed, and, as will be seen, provision is made in the curricula suggested for a substantial proportion of time to be devoted to "English".

5. It is suggested that the four years' course should be broadly divided into two equal stages. In the first stage, while the pupils are between 14 and 16, the curriculum will as a rule be general. In the second stage, begun when the pupils have mostly entered into the occupations in which they will remain, the technical and vocational aspects of training can most effectively be pursued. But even in the first stage some regard will be paid to future vocational needs, and in the second stage general education will not be discontinued.

[page 33]

The First Stage of Instruction

6. Broadly speaking, the junior students can be divided into three main groups - (i) those who have entered or are likely to enter industrial occupations of the kinds for which definite technical instruction will subsequently be of service, (ii) those who have entered or are likely to enter commercial or clerical occupations, and (iii) those whose requirements as to technical instruction are still undetermined. Whilst the general character of the education provided is preserved, an industrial, rural, or nautical bias will be given to the curriculum for the first group, and a commercial bias to the curriculum for the second group. In the first stage, four groups of subjects are of primary importance - (i) the English group, (ii) the Mathematical group, (iii) the Manual and Scientific group, and (iv) the Physical Training group.

7. The English group may be said to form the basis of the curriculum. It is at any rate the common ground, continued throughout the whole four years' course, receiving different developments in the later stages, according to the needs and capacities of particular categories of students. The aim of the teacher of these subjects should be that of any other teacher of the humanities, viz., the widening of his students' horizon, their training in self-expression, and the encouragement in them of a love of reading. Such subjects as History and Geography will naturally be included; and so much has been done in recent years to provide the means for teaching social and industrial history on lines interesting to young people, that it ought not to be difficult to give a sound elementary knowledge, which will serve as a basis for those who subsequently become serious students in such classes as those organised by the Workers' Educational Association. Geography, again, with its intimate connection with Economics on the one side and with the study of the culture of other nations on the other, is capable of being made an avenue to humanistic studies. The adaptation of the curriculum in the English subjects to the needs of the three main groups mentioned in §5 presents little real difficulty, although it will give scope for considerable initiative and ingenuity on the part of teachers. A teacher whose pupils are already engaged in mining or in engineering, or in agriculture, will use different illustrative material from that chosen by a teacher whose pupils are junior clerks. Most of the ground will be common to all, but in the selection of matter for reading and for composition and in the treatment of History and Geography there is room for considerable variety, in order both to appeal to the interests of students in widely different circumstances as regards occupation and outlook, and to make the instruction of practical utility.

8. In the second group - the Mathematical group - Practical Mathematics and Practical Drawing occupy the chief place for those engaged in industrial pursuits. The students are taught to measure, to make dimensioned hand-sketches and simple drawings to scale, and to make calculations based on the measurements recorded on the drawings. There is hardly any industry in which a training of this kind is not of practical utility. It is a common experience that older students wishing to take up some branch of technological study are frequently hindered, and even deterred, by the want of a very moderate degree of mathematical knowledge which can easily be acquired at this period, whilst the pupils are fresh from the Elementary School. Special groups of students might very well, even at this stage, derive some advantage from a particular bias being given to the instruction in Mathematics and Drawing. Thus in an engineering district the treatment will differ a good deal, both in subject-matter and in illustration, from that appropriate for rural students. But the subject will in all cases be treated as a subject of general education, profitable equally for boys proceeding to skilled trades and for those likely to remain in unskilled trades.

For boys and girls engaged in commerce and for girls following domestic occupations the subject will receive different treatment and will often be combined with Book-keeping or with Household Accounts.

9. In the third group - the Manual and Scientific group - the subjects are of great importance for all categories of students. Manual work has long been recognised as a valuable medium of intellectual training. For the large majority of those who will enter into manual occupations it affords opportunities of acquiring a knowledge of principles which it is difficult to acquire in the actual workshop, where production and not education is the main object. The young student can also acquire a knowledge of trade materials and certain fundamental trade processes, and can learn to recognise the application of scientific principles to trade work. Similar knowledge is

[page 34]

often found to be not less valuable for those who will not enter manual occupations, For all boys, and even for girls, the practical use of tools is very important, and if the instruction gives them a knowledge of the properties of ordinary household materials and the power to carry out simple repairs a good deal will have been gained. Lessons in Woodwork and Metalwork suitable for industrial and rural workers will no doubt be common, and wherever opportunities exist practical gardening will prove an interesting and instructive subject, not only in rural districts but in the outskirts of towns. For girls the usual subjects will be Cookery, Needlework, Dressmaking, Millinery and Laundry work.

For boys in the constructive trades, such as engineering and building, a practical course in Mechanics and Physics is essential, while in the country districts Rural Science related to soils, crops and farm animals will be an attractive and useful subject whenever suitable facilities and teachers can be found. If the time necessary for other subjects will permit, a course on the "Science of Common Life" might very well be given to all students.

10. A very important subject, some would say the most important, is Physical Training. Experience during the war has shown to a very marked extent how seriously deficient are the bodily health and development of our boys and young men, and what great improvements can be effected under suitable training. The undersized youth with slouching body and awkward gait, who was so often met with at street corners before the war, must disappear; and instead of him we must have a well-developed young man, erect, strong, sound in wind and limb, and capable of doing his work, whether manual or mental, as it ought to be done. Physical training in schools will lead us a long way towards this end, especially if it is accompanied by medical inspection and treatment, and it ought certainly to be provided for all boys and girls during each year of their attendance at Continuation Classes.

The character of the physical training will no doubt vary to some extent with the sex and occupation of the students. Whenever possible it should be associated with instruction in elementary Physiology and the Laws of Health, and in certain districts, such as the poor quarters of large towns, matters which are usually regarded as common knowledge may require to be made the subject of formal instruction.

The Second Stage of Instruction

11. At about 16 the students would enter upon the second stage of instruction referred to in §5, for at the end of two years a new classification of the students would be possible and desirable. By this time the majority would have entered into the occupations in which they are likely to remain. By this time also the teachers would have been able to gauge their capacities and the bent of their minds. It is a matter of common agreement that hitherto one of the hindrances to technical education has been the want of good preparatory general education. The curriculum outlined in the foregoing paragraphs will do much to remedy this, and it may reasonably be expected that a much larger number of those in the skilled trades will be able to profit by definite technical instruction than have been able hitherto to avail themselves of the classes in Technical Schools.

12. In the second stage of instruction the students might be divided into four main groups. The first group will be composed of those already engaged in the great industries of agriculture, engineering, building, mining, the textile trades, &c., and in the smaller industries in which technical knowledge plays an important part. These industries absorb a considerable proportion of young people over 16, and though not all of them can profit by technical instruction the proportion of those who can do so is increasing. For the whole of this large group the educational requirements are already known. The curricula of the existing Technical Schools and Colleges, developed during a long period and constantly undergoing revision, merely require to be modified in detail to suit the new circumstances of compulsory attendance at day classes for eight hours a week.

The second group consists of those large numbers of boys and girls who are engaged in commercial and clerical occupations. These occupations include trade (retail, wholesale, import and export), transport, finance (including banking), insurance and the commercial side of constructive and manufacturing industries. Here again the experience of the last ten years has enabled the lines of the most suitable courses of instruction to be clearly indicated.

[page 35]

The third group is composed of girls. In so far as girls are engaged in any of the occupations for which industrial or commercial instruction is required, they will fall into one or other of the categories referred to in the preceding paragraphs. But there remain a very large number engaged in domestic occupations of various kinds, and for these special provision of suitable classes must be made.

The fourth group, also a large one, consists of those boys who are engaged in occupations for which no form of vocational instruction is necessary.

13. To the young people in industrial employment three courses are open. The best students - those who throughout the first stage of instruction have shown capacity and determination - will very likely take up a course of study (called by the Board of Education a "Major Course") which will lead them later on to positions of great responsibility and usefulness. If the students are occupied in engineering their curriculum will consist of Engineering Science as the central subject, and will also include Practical Mathematics and Engineering Drawing. Such a course will further their general engineering training and, combined with suitable instruction and experience in works, may lead eventually to such positions as those of leading hands, foremen, designers, and heads of departments.

But for students who are not so capable and who do not aspire to the highest posts a "Minor Course" will be preferable. A Minor Engineering Course will assist in developing intelligence and usefulness in the operations of a single trade, such as pattern-making, moulding, fitting, or smithing. The instruction will be based on operations and processes with which the students are familiar, and the curriculum will contain Workshop Practice as the central subject, together with Workshop Calculations and Workshop Drawing.

There yet remains a third course, suitable for those students who, though engaged in industrial work, do not require technical instruction of the types already described. In the textile trades for example, the proportion needing ordinary technical instruction is small. The majority of textile operatives ought, however, to have a certain amount of vocational instruction. This would include the history and structure of their industry. It would deal with the mechanical inventions which have transformed the handloom into the automatic power loom and the old spinning wheel into the complicated series of machines now used in the production of yarn; with the origin and character of the raw material - cotton, wool or silk - and the changes this undergoes in the various machines which gradually turn it into cloth; with the marketing of yarn and and cloth and their export to different countries; and finally with the organisation of the industry as a whole, with trades unions and employers associations, and with the relation of the industry to the State. Such a course of vocational instruction would be of great value. It would not only tend to produce more intelligent workmen and workwomen, but would add an intellectual interest to their lives.

Nor would it be necessary to allot a great deal of time to this part of their instruction. The Major and Minor Courses which have been mentioned require some sic hours a week for technical subjects, whereas the vocational instruction just described could be given in one hour or at most two hours a week. The remainder of the time would be free for Physical Training, for English and for other subjects begun in the first two years of the course.

14. For those engaged in commercial and clerical occupations similar courses would be provided. There would be Major Courses for the cleverer students who show signs that they may rise to important and responsible positions. If a student is employed in the import and export trade, his curriculum would consist of the Theory and Practice of Commerce as the central subject, and would also include Commercial Arithmetic, Accounting and either Economic Geography or a Foreign Language. The central subject is based on Economics, and would provide the student with a knowledge of the structure and organisation of commerce.

There would also be Minor Courses for those who are engaged in such work as that done by shorthand writers and typists. These courses would provide instruction in English, simple Accounting and Shorthand, and would give some opportunities for practice in Typewriting.

In some of the commercial occupations there is required a great deal of account keeping, of record keeping, and of written communication of various kinds. For example in transport work, goods have to be followed with suitable records from place to place, and such matters as methods of conveyance, routes, speed and costs have to be dealt with. A knowledge of what may be called the "business methods" appropriate to particular occupations is required by a large number of subordinate

[page 36]

employees. Some instruction on these lines may therefore very well be provided for those classes of students who require it, though the amount of time required is not likely to be more than about an hour a week.

15. It may be expected that after the war an increasing number of girls and young women will find employment in industries and occupations which have hitherto been staffed entirely or almost entirely by men. There is already a good deal of evidence to show that in commercial, clerical, engineering, and some other occupations the increase in the number of women employees brought about by the war will to some extent be permanent, and there can be little doubt that in the future there will be a considerably larger number of women who will require technical instruction. In part these will be provided for along with men students in the industrial and commercial courses which have already been described.

But the industries which have always employed a preponderance of women workers will require increased attention from the educational point of view. There will have to be a larger number of part-time classes giving technical instruction for girls engaged in such occupations as trade dressmaking, trade millinery, trade Iaundrywork and upholstery. In the day classes established for these girls there ought to be ample time for technical (including artistic) instruction related to the trades, as well as for instruction in other subjects.

For the numerous girls employed either at home or elsewhere in domestic occupations a suitable course would include Domestic Subjects (say, 3 hours a week), Arithmetic and Household Accounts (1 hour), Physical Training (1½ hours), English subjects (1½ hours), and some other subject such as Vocal Music (1 hour). Wherever possible a wide choice of Domestic Subjects should be allowed. Some girls would prefer to devote most of their time to Needlework, Dressmaking or Millinery, some to Cookery or Laundrywork, and others to House management or Home Nursing.

16. It is necessary to deal, finally, with the boys who are employed in occupations for which no kind of vocational instruction is required. Unfortunately the work often done by these boys requires little intelligence and practically no skill. From their occupations they get neither training nor prospects. Under happier social conditions the work would either not be done at all, or be performed by machines, or possibly by adults. It is greatly to be hoped that the present upheaval will result in the extinction of all or at any rate of the great majority of the occupations in which these boys are now engaged. But if these occupations are to be continued even temporarily, it will more than ever be desirable that the boys who are employed in them should get such compensation as continued education may be able to afford. The education would necessarily be of a general character, though no doubt a practical as well as a humanising bias should be given to it. Some form of handicraft - Woodwork, Metalwork, or Gardening - will be essential, and to this should be added instruction in Calculations and Drawing, in English subjects, in Vocal Music (or some alternative), and, of course, in Physical Training.


As one of the few country members on the Committee, I have been asked by the Chairman to write this Memorandum. I shall confine myself to a consideration of the effects upon rural districts of the two main suggestions of the Report, viz., the raising of the school leaving age to 14, and the introduction of compulsory continuation instruction up to the age of 18.

The Raising of the School Leaving Age

1. In some respects the difficulties in the country will prove far greater than in urban areas. In many cases the present understaffing of country schools will be accentuated; for it is estimated that to raise the school leaving age to 14 throughout England and Wales an additional 5,000 teachers will be required: Undoubtedly the chief difficulty will be found in the case of small schools with a head mistress, and these constitute a very considerable proportion of our rural Elementary Schools. In many of these schools the brighter children are at present more or less marking time during their last year at school; where this is the case now, the education of such

[page 37]

children will not be improved merely by their remaining until 14. It is essential, therefore, that the staffing in country schools should be improved, and the time has come when it should be clearly recognised that the present system of paying low salaries to the single-handed teacher is altogether wrong. As a matter of fact, the small school calls for personal qualifications in the teacher quite as high as those required in larger and better staffed schools. Adequate salaries and a better system of promotion will prove an effective remedy for many of the present educational ills.

2. Another means of effecting improvement will be found in providing Saturday classes and holiday courses for teachers. Some counties already make provision for this, but the practice should be greatly extended. Experience shows that teachers eagerly avail themselves of such opportunities of improving their qualifications and of themselves abreast of educational developments.

3. Too much stress cannot be laid upon the need for the thorough reorganisation of the rural Elementary School. It will probably be found desirable to organise "higher tops" by bringing together in central schools the upper standards from the surrounding small schools. Such central schools could then be closely connected with the proposed Day Continuation Schools. The centralised combined Elementary and Continuation School should become the centre of intellectual activity and leaven the surrounding district. The Board of Education should take this work in hand with the least possible delay. If it was generally felt that the instruction in the Elementary School was really satisfactory, there would be less opposition to extending the period of education by means of Continuation Schools.

4. With regard to the curriculum of rural Elementary Schools, the Board of Education has issued excellent memoranda on practical work; yet development in this direction is slow in most counties. Care and caution are perhaps advisable, but the time has come for energetic action. Manual work for boys and girls must be developed in all our schools, and our rural schools must draw their inspiration from the surrounding country life. It is during the years which are spent in the Elementary School that the child most naturally expresses itself "manually"; it is, therefore, of the greatest importance to devote a sufficient time to the manual side, and experience has shown that three afternoons a week can be given up to manual instruction without injuring the literary side. Boys and girls can take many of the manual subjects in common. For instance, gardening, poultry, bee-keeping, rabbit keeping, and even cooking and simple sewing, can most profitably be taught to boys. In later life the youth often has to cook for himself when housed in a bothy or saddle room, and if he settles overseas a knowledge of cooking may be essential.

For girls, nothing is more healthy than light work on the land, if not actually on a farm at all events in the garden. Our country women are strangely without out-of-door occupation, and this is a great loss. The boys will specialise on carpentry and metal work, while the girls take up advanced needlework, laundry work, house work and cookery, and learn the rudiments of hygiene.

5. This development in the Elementary School must come, and come without delay, if the Elementary School is to be in the true sense preparatory to the Continuation School. Children must arrive at the Continuation School with their interest in manual work and in nature thoroughly aroused. And the continuation instruction must be no mere repetition of elementary school work (as was so often the case in the rural evening school), but it must confirm and ever expand that which the child has learnt during his years at school.

6. The difficulty of providing accommodation will not prove serious in the purely rural districts, for the school population has been decreasing of late years. But a difficulty of another kind will undoubtedly arise from the attitude of the farmers, or at any rate of the majority of them. Their real object, sometimes openly avowed, is to get boys on their farms at the earliest possible age. The average farmer does not believe in education, and considers that the longer a boy remains at school the less inclination he will have for work on the land. In the past the farmer has had some justification for this attitude, for our rural schools have been urban in outlook, and little practical work has been provided in them. Unfortunately the farmer has not the imagination to see that when the coming alterations in our system of education have had their full effect the situation will be very different.

[page 38]

At present a boy begins work upon a farm, say at 13. He comes without any active interest in the land or its cultivation; in most cases he does not know how to handle a tool intelligently. He is put to work; little is done to interest him in his work, or to show him how it should be done. There is not one farmer in a hundred' who knows how, or is willing to take the trouble, to instruct the boy upon his farm. Education in the school may be unsatisfactory, but so it is upon the farm, even with regard to the practical work on which the farmer prides himself.

7. Let us now consider the new and revised type of Elementary School. It will have a rural atmosphere, for the school work will take its inspiration from the surrounding country life. The boy's interest will he stirred in regard to the land and everything that grows upon it. He will gradually begin to understand that work upon the land, intelligently done, is the least monotonous of work. As a result of the full development of manual instruction in all Elementary Schools he will leave school knowing how to handle all ordinary implements and tools with skill.

There is no reason why there should not be Saturday farm classes for boys who elect to join them. Such classes would be held on some neighbouring farm, during the last two years of school life, and they could be made the means of familiarising the boys with horses and live stock There are one or two counties in which this is being done to a limited extent.

From the farmer's point of view there is no doubt that the boy so trained, and taking up farm work at 14, will be far more useful than the boy leaving school at 13 who has received no such training. Few farmers will admit this at first, but a period of actual experience will convince them. The intelligent farmer, however, fully realises that education of the right sort is of practical value. It is only the unintelligent and uninstructed farmer who denies it. It is noteworthy that the intelligent opinion of the farming community, as unanimously expressed by the Central Chamber of Agriculture, is in favour of raising the leaving age to 14 and of establishing day continuation classes for young persons up to 16.

Compulsory Continuation Schools

8. Although in the following paragraphs much attention is given to the effect the proposed extension of education will have upon agriculture, since agriculture is the chief industry in rural districts, the fact must be remembered that a large number of country children eventually migrate, and probably always will migrate, to the towns. Therefore country children must receive the advantage of continued instruction, or otherwise they will suffer great disadvantage when they enter upon urban life.

The establishment of a compulsory system of Day Continuation Schools will be a change far more drastic and difficult to effect than that of raising the Elementary School leaving age to 14. The difficulties in the country will be far greater than in the towns. In rural districts it will not be possible to introduce the compulsory system universally upon a given date. County Education Authorities must be given a period of some years in which to extend the system, until it becomes all-embracing. Attention should be concentrated in the first instance upon the most promising districts; in other districts the development must needs be gradual. But it should rest with the Board of Education, and not with the Local Authority, to say whether the provision of Continuation Schools should be deferred in any particular area.

9. The supply of suitable teachers will present the first and greatest difficulty, but with the demand will come the supply, as it did in 1870. It must be borne in mind that the Continuation School will be of a more advanced type than the Elementary School, and if an adequate scale of salaries is provided it should prove attractive to the keen teacher, and thus be the means of bringing into the country districts teachers of high attainment. It may be well, therefore, to examine the possible sources from which teachers for the rural Continuation School can come:

(a) If the system is adopted of taking a good Elementary School with a highly qualified head master and making it the centre for the upper standards from the neighbouring schools, and the centre for continuation instruction as well, the nucleus of the staff would be provided. The head master's salary would be increased and his staff enlarged.

(b) If teachers for Continuation Schools and for the increasing needs of Elementary Schools are to be found, it is quite clear that a larger number

[page 39]

of the rising generation must be induced to prepare for the teaching profession, and it follows that greater provision must be made for giving the necessary training. A Return of the Board of Education shows that County Councils are doing more than their share in this work, in fact they are training teachers for the towns. Towns must therefore increase their training college accommodation. Further, every effort must be made to attract country-born children to enter the profession. In Lindsey (part of Lincolnshire) this is being done by a new type of pupil-teacher centre; the pupils attend for two years at a carefully selected school, in which there is a highly qualified head master, who is given an extra assistant so that he may be able to devote some of his time to these special pupils. This method seems to be working well, since 68 out of the 71 pupils have passed their examination. To require the would-be teacher to attend a Secondary School is, in many rural districts, to shut completely the door to the profession.

(c) Assistant elementary school teachers could take special courses, and so qualify to take special subjects in connection with the Continuation School.

(d) The "two-year" students in the Training Colleges might be encouraged and enabled to take a third year's training at some college or institution specialising in rural and practical subjects. Trained certificated teachers might take a similar course. The Board of Education allows it, and more teachers would undoubtedly take advantage of this opportunity if the incentive were given to them.

(e) Untrained certificated teachers are also eligible for this one-year course, and Local Education Authorities might well encourage them to take it, as the Consultative Committee in their Report on Continuation Schools recommended, by providing scholarships or maintenance allowances.

(f) Although it would be more difficult to arrange in the country than in the town, some provision could be made to give courses of training to part-time teachers in special subjects, i.e. gardening, carpentry, butter-making, &c. Holiday courses might be organised for this purpose with great advantage.

(g) Once the system of County Agricultural Staffs becomes universal and properly developed, some of their lecturers could attend central Continuation Schools and take classes. This they could do without unduly interfering with their other important function of bringing instruction to the very door of the adult agriculturist.

Too much stress cannot be laid upon the importance of the county agricultural organiser and his staff; properly used he is the chief factor in agricultural progress; and, as has been shown, he can also play an important part in the system of Continuation Schools. It should therefore be made a statutory obligation upon every county to appoint an agricultural organiser. As long as this is left optional many counties will fail to appoint, or where appointment is made the reactionary element will have the opportunity of fighting against every case of re-appointment.

10. In any area with a really large continuation school population there would have to be undoubtedly an entirely separate Continuation School in no way connected with the Elementary School, but, at all events during the first ten years, these cases would be few in rural areas. In very sparsely-peopled districts peripatetic teachers will have to be resorted to.

11. Much of the value of the rural Continuation School will depend upon the character of the curriculum adopted. It seems desirable, therefore, to set forth in some detail the special needs of the rural students. Boys working on the land will be learning farm processes on the farm far better than they can be taught in any school. So far as this class is concerned, therefore, the practical work in the Continuation School should be, if the term can be used, practical-theoretic work with a direct bearing on their every-day work. In general terms, the practical work will be the continuation and amplification of the manual instruction given in the Elementary School.

For girls the practical work might well partake of the character of the instruction given in the "lower grade instruction centres" which have been in existence in Germany for some time, and which have shown excellent results.

[page 40]

12. As an example of what might be taught in most rural Continuation Schools, the following skeleton syllabus, for two sessions weekly each of four hours' duration is suggested:


(a) Arithmetical Subjects. General arithmetical principles. Arithmetical examples based on rural life and experience. Mensuration of plane figures contained by straight lines. Areas and volumes. Simple farm accounts and rural business methods. Practical examples based on drawings to scale.

(b) English Subjects. Simple essays on general subjects, and on rural life and conditions. Letter writing - general and business. Study of suitable standard works in English Literature. Correction of grammatical errors. The use of the dictionary. Geographical distribution of the various types of agriculture.

(c) Physical Education. Based on the syllabus issued by the Board of Education.

(d) Woodwork. Practice in rough and rapid sketching of tools, implements, and other objects met with in rural life. Recognition, qualities, and uses of various kinds of timber. Preservation of timber. Drawing to scale, and also full size, of articles which will afterwards be made in wood. Use and care of tools, particularly the chisel, plane, saw, gauge, brace and bit, &c. Making and mending garden fences, gates, hen coops, beehives, dog kennels, steps, garden frames, feeding troughs, &c.

(e) Rural Science. Science bearing on rural pursuits, taught mainly by means of experiments conducted in class. Soils and Manures, their classification and composition. Essentials of fertility. Plant Life. Seeds - germination, processes of growth, &c.


(a) Arithmetical Subjects. More advanced general arithmetical principles. More advanced examples based on rural life and experience. Mensuration of surfaces and solids, based on right [straight?] line figures, the circle, cylinder, and cone. Practical application of above to land measuring, stack measuring, thatching, &c. Use of chain and crosshead: simple levelling. More complete system of simple book-keeping, suitable for a farmer or small holder. Continuation of study of rural business methods.

(b) English Subjects. Composition and letter writing of a more advanced character. Study of suitable standard works in English Literature. Home reading. The use of the dictionary. Simple ideas of social and industrial history, with special application to rural development.

(c) Physical Education. Based on the syllabus issued by the Board of Education.

(d) Metal Work. Elementary knowledge of tools and materials. Properties and use of cast iron, wrought iron, and steel. Drawings to full size and to scale, to serve as the working drawings for subsequent practical exercises. The simpler processes of shearing, punching, bending, and filing of sheet metal. Exercises in riveting, chipping, drilling, filing, screwing, &c. Exercises involving the use of solder.

(e) Rural Science. Continuation of work of First Year. Manures, feeding stuffs, animal life, insect pests.


(a) Arithmetical Subjects. General arithmetical principles. Household accounts including dairy and poultry accounts.

(b) English Subjects. The same syllabus as that of the First Year Boys.

(c) Physical Education. Based on the syllabus issued by the Board of Education.

(d) Cottage Cookery. Cookery suitable for a rural working population. General Household Management.

[page 41]

(e) Home Dressmaking and Needlecraft. The cutting out and making up of a simple blouse and simple skirt, together with the prices of materials used, and the quantities required for different garments. How to use paper patterns and adapt them to different measurements. Mending of garments.


(a) Arithmetical Subjects. General arithmetical principles - more advanced than those of the First Year. Household accounts and rural business methods. Simple book-keeping.

(b) English Subjects. The same syllabus as that of the Second Year Boys.

(c) Physical Education. Based on the syllabus issued by the Board of Education.

(d) Laundry Work and General Housewifery. Care and management of infants. Revision of main principles learnt in First Year cookery courses. Simple lessons in Sick Nursing.

(e) Home Dressmaking and Needlecraft. Continuation of work begun in the First Year: more advanced exercises. Special attention to the repairing of clothing. Simple renovation of clothing: renovation of the bottom of a skirt, altering the sleeves of a dress where badly worn at the elbows, cutting down of larger worn garments so as to fit young children.

13. In the main, instruction in the rural Continuation School will have to be more general than in the town school. After deducting, say, one hour for physical drill, a fair division of time might be to devote one half to the literary side and one half to practical work. For however important the manual and practical side of continuation instruction may be, too much importance cannot be attached to the literary side, as one great object to strive for is the implanting of a real love of reading, than which nothing will do more to add an interest to life in the country.

14. The provision of adequate accommodation for the rural Continuation School may prove a matter of some difficulty. There are few institutes and spare buildings in the country. Schoolrooms will have to be provided, and temporary wooden constructions must be used, provided that they are well ventilated and lighted. Then as experience is gained in the work of these schools, and their permanent shape and purpose take form, the temporary buildings would gradually be replaced by permanent ones.

15. A more serious difficulty is likely to arise from the opposition of the employer, especially of the small employer, of juvenile labour. The farmer will suffer perhaps more than any other class of employer, and the inconvenience will be greatest in the case of youths between 16 and 18 years of age, for a certain number of these will be acting as under waggoners in responsible charge of teams of horses, and it will be necessary for the farmer to get some other man about the farm to take over the management of the team on two afternoons in the week. In some counties where ploughing ceases at 2 o'clock the afternoon session might be arranged to fit in with the farm hours. Everything possible should be done to meet the convenience of the employers of these youths, and generally the school vacations should coincide with the times of heaviest farm work, but in no case should the schooling be interrupted by a break of more than three months.

Employers, however, will have to adapt themselves to the new conditions. The patriotic employer will realise that the new system is raising the standard of intelligence and skill, and he will find that he can adjust his work to meet the new educational requirements; above all, he will find, if the methods of instruction are soundly devised, that he has an employee who is every day becoming a more and more effective worker, and worth more money to his employer.

16. Finally, there is the parents' point of view to consider. The more intelligent parents should not be hostile to continuation instruction, for it will benefit the child and will not cause the parent financial loss. Continuation instruction will affect the family earnings really less than will the extra year at the Elementary School, but with the imminent rise in wages the parents' opposition to this also should not be serious.

[page 42]

17. Compulsory evening Continuation Schools in rural districts were considered by the Consultative Committee to be unworkable, but compulsory day Continuation Schools are in an entirely different category. Although admittedly these schools will be more difficult to set up in the country than in the towns, yet in the national interest they must become universal in the shortest practicable time. And the system of continued education must perforce be compulsory, for to leave it optional and voluntary would be to do the greatest injustice to the country child, who in practice would often be denied the educational advantages offered to the rising generation in the towns.

18. In conclusion, it may be well to consider certain points of social and economic importance. The chief object of education is to produce the type of citizen of which the nation stands in greatest need. Education can be made the chief factor in forming the character of a race and guiding its inclination, if it be rightly regarded as a means to an end rather than the end itself. In considering the question of education in its relation to the land there are certain points of fundamental importance which it is necessary to keep in mind. First, that it is not only necessary to raise the standard of intelligence amongst the cultivators of the soil, but also to give the whole people, urban as well as rural, a sounder understanding in regard to the land. They must realise that it is in truth the nation's greatest asset, and that therefore it must not be neglected as in the past, but fostered and developed to the full. Further, the nation must realise that nothing will so assist rapid recuperation after the war as the speedy and systematic development of our land resources at home and overseas. It must realise also that we cannot maintain a virile race unless we have a large and flourishing country population. Finally, it must be realised that the solution of many of the town problems is to be found in the country. If the land is giving employment to its full quota of labourers the pressure on urban labour markets will be relieved; and if a decently high wage is fixed for agricultural labour, it will check the migration of cheap labour to the town and the disastrous competition which ensues. There is reason to believe that the nation is stirring, that it is beginning to understand these facts, and that it will demand a full development of the land and an increased supply of home-grown food.

The pressing question is: How are the desired results to be achieved? It is a question which no one considering the problem of education can put aside, for the land can only be developed if cultivators are forthcoming in sufficient numbers. What is the present situation in regard to cultivators of the soil? The land of the United Kingdom employs a million less men than it did 60 years ago; it employs per thousand acres only about one-half the number employed in Germany and other countries. Taking the Empire as a whole, our white agricultural population, i.e., all men, women, and children living by agriculture, amounts only to some 13½ millions, while Germany, with an area only 1/64th of the British Empire, has an agricultural population of over 20 millions. The mere statement of this fact should make clear the necessity for inducing as large a proportion as possible of the rising generation to follow a career on the land. And to this end we must arouse the interest of the present school generation in the land, and make them understand the importance of developing our lad resources to the full. Further, we must make them realise that there is no more patriotic work to be done for one's country than to consecrate one's life to securing a large and flourishing agricultural population - a population which will live in the open air and in the midst of fair fields and pleasant places, and whose high task will be to give the security to the nation which an adequate home-grown food supply alone can give.