The Leicestershire Experiment and Plan (1964)

This booklet, by Leicestershire's Director of Education, Stewart C Mason, outlined progress with the 'Leicestershire Experiment' (adopted in 1957) which set out how the county intended to organise its schools on a comprehensive basis.


The Leicestershire Experiment and Plan (1964)
Third Edition (Revised)

Councils and Education Press



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PREFACE

IN 1957 Councils and Education Press published a short pamphlet I wrote entitled The Leicestershire Experiment. It described the scheme which was adopted unanimously by the Leicestershire Education Committee on April 10, 1957. In 1960 a second chapter under the heading "From Experiment to Plan" was added, and the enlarged pamphlet appeared under the title The Leicestershire Experiment and Plan. This pamphlet is now reprinted with a few footnotes, and a fuller appendix to bring facts and figures up to date to the end of 1962.

From the two prefaces which accompanied each I give two extracts - partly because what I said in 1957 and 1960 I would like to repeat now, partly because there are references in the text which bear on these passages.

I am under no delusion that this particular experiment ushers in the educational millennium .... It has, however, the practical advantage of fitting pretty snugly into the pattern of school buildings as they exist in the County and should appeal to those who are old-fashioned enough to admire the particular virtues of the medium-sized school. There is nothing definite and final about this experiment. Perhaps its chief virtue is that it can so easily be modified if experience shows that to be desirable. Whether it proves to be successful or not can hardly be judged for at least five years, but that does not mean that the scope of the experiment may not be widened in the interim if that is the general wish.

*    *    *    *

.. what is of greater moment is the overwhelming support for the plan by those who will have to work it, without which I would certainly not have been willing to put it forward. Before the Committee reached their final decision it had been discussed informally with the heads of the grammar schools in the County, the heads of the modern schools, the heads of the larger primary schools, and the Council of the County Association of the N.U.T. At all these meetings it was the unanimous desire of those present that the experiment should be tried.

The Leicestershire Plan offers a "comprehensive" pattern of education. Every year that has gone by since 1957 reinforces my view that the swing of public opinion towards "comprehensiveness" is gathering momentum. But if the children of our generation


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are to benefit from it, some method more readily adaptable to the existing situation than building big new comprehensive schools containing the full age range of pupils from 11 to 19 must be found. By dividing the age range horizontally the Leicestershire Plan makes comprehensive education a practical reality in our time. Instead of creating one vast organisation, it takes a group of existing, more manageable schools and gathers them into a comprehensive family. The high schools do the work of the lower ranges of the all-age comprehensive school, the grammar or upper school does the work of the upper ranges. In each of the three areas where the Plan is now operating in Leicestershire this family group of high schools with their parent upper school contains more pupils than the largest all-age comprehensive school. Thus these upper schools have a potential for more students working at sixth form level than the largest all-age comprehensive school, and are able to offer an extensive variety of courses.

But I certainly do not regard the Leicestershire Plan as a second-best device to get comprehensive education quickly in an interim period (a long one) until we can replace all our medium-sized schools by enormous all-age comprehensive schools. Apart from all arguments which can be used in support of the medium-sized school as a good thing in itself, I am coming to appreciate more clearly as the Plan gets into its stride that its greatest advantage is the psychological one of a break at the age of fourteen. It is, I hope, reasonable to suppose that the watershed between childhood and adulthood is puberty, That, or very soon after, is when the break comes in the Leicestershire Plan. Five years ago we foresaw clearly enough how advantageous it would be for the young "grown ups" to move on to a new school community unencumbered by the pressing claims of three annual age groups of older "children". What we failed to see clearly, if at all, was the climatic advantages which would accrue to these older "children" once they were freed from the overpowering leadership of all these young "grown ups". Most of us lamented the prospect of their loss, never realising what fresh and tender sea breezes would blow in on their departure.

For the moment the high schools still retain around half the fourteen plus age group. But they do not exercise such heavy handed and dominating authority as the 15, 16, 17-year-olds. The years pass quickly and soon the school leaving age will be raised to 16. At that point of time I imagine, since our minimum condition of a stay of two years in the upper school will automatically be fulfilled by all, that there will be a clear break at


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14, all pupils proceeding to the upper school. The growing ethos of the really good "prep" school* which our best high schools are already beginning to acquire will then be able to blossom fully. The transition from primary to secondary school is already far less abrupt under the Leicestershire Plan; then it can become completely natural.

The greatest advances in educational methods over the postwar years have been in the primary schools. The good primary school now provides a wonderful environment for learning, where each child is considered as an individual and all his instincts for discovery and creativeness are encouraged and given scope. He reaches 11 years of age and suddenly over the summer holidays he finds himself in an institution geared to rigidly streamed and subject-divided class teaching. But the psychological outlook of the 11-year-old and the 12-year-old is very similar, and the attitudes of the good primary school can far more readily be carried over at the more robust level of the older age ranges of childhood up to the watershed of puberty in a school dedicated to their particular needs. Further there is a factor particularly favourable to their development. Under the three-tier system of the Leicestershire Plan, primary, high, upper, the two lowest tiers are entirely free of an external passing out examination.

It has been suggested that the break in continuity at the age of 14 is a defect in the Leicestershire Plan. I have tried to show that it is a psychological and emotional advantage. Our experience leads us to believe that it is educationally advantageous too. The break comes just at the time when pupils in grammar schools become jaded and apathetic. One is constantly told of the uphill grind of the fourth year in the G.C.E. course. This is the moment when the stimulus of a new start in a more adult atmosphere and within much closer range of the sixth form staff more than makes up for the break. It is remarkable how quickly the settling in process is completed. I have heard selective grammar school staff maintain how important it is for the sixth form master to bring his skill to bear on the brightest 11-year-olds. This is "money for jam". Let him exercise this skill on the new 14-year-olds revivified by a fresh start.

One of the happiest by-products of the Leicestershire Plan over these first five years has been the drawing together of the staffs at each tier with the one above or below. Now that the primary schools normally send all their children on to a single parent high school, and the high school depends almost entirely on the

*By this term I do not mean a school addicted to the classics and preparation for Common Entrance, but a school which psychologically gears itself to the 10-14 age range, a good "middle" school.


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reports and opinions of the primary school staff for the appropriate placing of its new entrants each year, the bonds of friendship and co-operation have strengthened immeasurably. There is much more visiting of teachers between the schools at each level, a growing desire to learn more about each other's methods, a greater feeling of family solidarity. If this is true of the relationship between primary school and high school, it is equally true of the relationship between the high school and its parent upper school. The placing of students in the upper school, their choice of options and so on, depend for success on the closest ties between the two schools and this is reinforced by regular subject meetings between the staffs of the two types of school.

Those who dislike a disturbance of the status quo prophecy or wishfully anticipate that G.C.E. "results" will show that the comprehensiveness of the Leicestershire Plan, the presence within the high and upper school of pupils who are not members of the selected intellectual elite, will drag the clever pupils back. I think no-one would deny - at least no-one who has visited the high and upper schools - that the presence of the clever pupils has stimulated the work of the rest. There is, however, no evidence that the rest have acted as a brake on the elite. Such little evidence as we have points in a contrary direction (see Appendix 3).

To measure the effect of the Leicestershire Plan solely by G.C.E. would indeed be blinkered. There are other dimensions and perhaps the most important would be the average length of school life. The national figure for the 15 plus age group still at school, according to Ministry of Education statistics for January 1961, was about 36 per cent. The proportion of 14-year-olds opting for the upper school in September 1962 and committed to stay at least till 16 plus was 55 per cent for one of the two experimental areas, 38 per cent for the other. The average for the whole of Leicestershire of 15-year-olds at school in January 1961 was just over 36 per cent and this figure includes the boost from these two areas.

As the second extract from the original preface shows we started off with a remarkable fund of good will. I am convinced that we still retain this and indeed that it has increased-not only within the county but beyond. There is no question of the parental support the plan evokes. The real test came a year or so ago when one of the two areas (for extraneous reasons over which the County Council had no control) was threatened with a possible return to the bi-partite system. No-one could brave had any doubt that the parents then stood solidly behind the Leicestershire Plan.

February 1963.


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SECOND PREFACE

A SECOND printing of the third edition gives me the opportunity to add a few words on recent developments.

This year has seen one important modification to the Plan. The quota of "high fliers", originally 8 per cent, subsequently reduced to 5 per cent, has now been eliminated altogether. In its place it is open to any primary school head after discussion with the high school head to recommend the early transfer of a boy or girl of exceptional talent who is judged to be of sufficient maturity. The extent to which this voluntary safety valve will be used remains to be seen, but I do not expect it will amount to anything like 5 per cent.

The announcement of the raising of the leaving age to 16 in 1970-71 is beginning to draw our attention to what will happen under the Leicestershire Plan to meet that situation. The Committee have not yet formally considered this question, but my guess is that they will decide that since everyone will automatically fulfil the existing requirement to stay at least two years in the upper school, everyone will go there.

To relieve the tremendous pressure on Guthlaxton School, Wigston, a new upper school, the Beauchamp School, will open in Oadby next September. The proportion of 14-year-olds who it is anticipated will opt from the Oadby High School next September is 80 per cent. If this kind of proportion continues I expect the Committee will in this area try the experiment of transferring the entire 14-year-old age group, and so acquire experience which will be useful against the year when the leaving age is raised to 16.

It was only natural that in the early years of the scheme the high schools should have adopted conservative and traditional methods in dealing with the most intelligent pupils. It was in their handling of this group that the high schools were "on trial". As they have steadily gained in confidence, courage to try new approaches and techniques is growing more manifest. Next September at least two high schools will be experimenting with unstreamed classes in the first year of the course. A vibrant educational advance will take place when these schools feel confident enough to look at these 11- and 12-year-olds in their own right for what they are at that age rather than for what they will be at 16. When that happens the way will be clear, should it ever be thought desirable, to let the high schools run a four-year course for all pupils from the age of ten.

At Guthlaxton School the VIth form, in the context of the 16 plus age group upwards, which numbered 170 in September 1962, was 262 in 1963 and is calculated to be 300 in September 1964. On


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present trends the figure could be around 350 in 1965. Any deductions from these figures are obscured by the fact that the school is situated in a growing area and has itself been growing from an initial intake of 76 selected 11-year-olds in 1955. The total numbers in the school in September 1962 and 1963 are 1,140 and 1,108 respectively, and the anticipated number in September 1964 is about 1,050, and about the same in 1965. The aspect I have in mind is the size of the VIth form relative to the size of the school as a whole. This is I believe a factor of growing importance in the ethos of a Leicestershire upper school. One cannot but be aware of arguments that are canvassed in favour of three tier schooling with the upper tier starting at 13. The only point I want to make here is that the fixing of the age of entry to an upper school at 13 rather than 14 is bound substantially to reduce the ratio of the VIth form to the rest of the school and also to decrease the feeling of "adulthood" in the school as a whole.

April 1964.




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THE LEICESTERSHIRE EXPERIMENT

THE SYSTEM of secondary education as it stands in Leicestershire and in most of the country is the result of developments which took place during the period between the two wars, and which were given statutory confirmation by the Education Act of 1944. It had been recognised that the successive raisings of the school leaving age had in effect added to the public elementary schools a secondary stage which they were not equipped to bear, and even before the Hadow Report of 1926 a movement was on foot, in which Leicestershire took a leading part, to reorganise public elementary education, and to provide in separate schools for all children over the age of eleven. This movement resulted in what is generally known as the bi-partite or tri-partite system in which children, when they reach the age of 11, are directed in accordance with an assessment of their abilities and aptitudes to a particular type of secondary school. The grammar school continued to perform its traditional role of dealing with those children who were able to benefit from an academic education, at least to the stage of the School Certificate examination, later the General Certificate of Education, at the age of 16, while, except in those areas where conditions and the policy of the Authority favoured the setting up of secondary technical schools, the remainder of the children attended the secondary modern school up to the normal leaving age of 15.

Ten years ago* I accepted without demur this system, backed as it was by the Norwood Report and by the Ministry of Education's pamphlet, The New Secondary Education (1947). I was not disposed to criticise the prevailing idea that children naturally grouped themselves into academic and non-academic types and that technical ability as a special aptitude could be diagnosed. I was also willing to believe that by means of standardised tests of intelligence and attainment backed, as necessary, by school reports and further examination refinements such as interview, the allocation of children to the type of school most appropriate for them could demonstrably be effected. In acknowledging the magnificent achievement of the grammar schools in the record of English education since the Balfour Act, I was ready to defend the status quo without perhaps sufficiently realising how greatly grammar schools themselves had changed over the period to meet the changing needs of the times. Equally, having watched the growth of the senior elementary schools whose achievements in their different sphere in a shorter space of time had been even more

*1962. "Ten" has now become "fifteen".


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spectacular, I welcomed the new opportunity given to them as secondary modern schools to achieve equality of status and "parity of esteem".

During the last ten years, the conceptions of education in both the grammar school and the modern school have been widened. The grammar school has come to look beyond its traditional academic curriculum to pay greater regard to such cultural subjects as art and music, and especially of late, to broaden its syllabus to meet the need for scientists and technologists. The secondary modern school, labouring under great difficulties of staff shortage and, in some cases, of very inadequate premises, has made remarkable strides towards the acquisition of real secondary status. In all schools, old as well as new, the curriculum has been broadened and the basic subjects have been enriched and strengthened by their association with expanding facilities for science as well as with a wider range of art and crafts and greatly improved arrangements for physical education.

While education appropriate in content and quality for the less intelligent sections of the modern school has continued to advance, the most notable development over the last five years has, I think, been the extensive provision of courses leading to G.C.E. for small but rapidly expanding groups of the more intelligent pupils. There seem to be two main reasons for this. The first is that selection at 11 in fact misses a large number of children whose subsequent development shows they are capable of taking G.C.E. in a varying number of subjects. The second is that social pressure is such that the secondary modern school is finding itself forced to offer a "grammar school course" if it is to achieve a sufficient degree of public esteem to satisfy the generality of parents. Under the circumstances in which secondary modern schools find themselves, no other course is open to them, and in Leicestershire they have been encouraged to establish courses of this nature. Nonetheless, these courses constitute a very great strain on an already overtaxed staff, since a large number of man hours have to be concentrated on a relatively small group of pupils, and inspection reports up and down the country seem to indicate that not infrequently these courses are only achieved at the expense of the main body of the school. From an overall planning angle, it is not only an absurd situation but a very wasteful one that we provide schools specially for the pupils who are capable of taking G.C.E. and then duplicate or rather quadruplicate these courses in other schools designed specially for those who are not capable. This brings us back to the central contention of all discussions on secondary education, selection at 11.


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However successful in many directions the bi-partite system has been, it has at best one very grave disadvantage. It places on the local education authority the duty of deciding for every child, in accordance with his aptitude and ability, what type of school he shall enter at the age of 11. There is considerable variety between one authority and another in the means adopted to collect evidence of ability and aptitude, but generally speaking, however many criteria may be brought into account, it has not been found practicable to abandon some form of examination to be taken by all children in the last year of the primary stage. Indeed, there is some evidence to suggest that some authorities which have propagated the idea that they are managing to select without the apparatus of the "eleven plus" are in fact compensating for the lack of a battery of tests at that stage by promoting the use of intelligence tests at more frequent and still earlier stages in the life of the primary school child. I believe that in so far as "the eleven plus" (or indeed as it should perhaps more accurately be described "the ten plus") is a necessary instrument in the present pattern, the arrangements in Leicestershire are as objective, as fair, and as effective as any. They are continually being re-examined and refined. But the once-held notion that intelligence is constant has now I understand gone by the board, and the experience of G.C.E. courses in secondary modern schools and more particularly experience gained from bi-lateral schools, show that it cannot accurately prognosticate what later growth of intelligence, parental backing in a good home and dogged qualities of character will do for a young person three or four years later.

Ten years ago* I had comparatively few qualms about the effect of the selection examination on the work of the primary schools. Only the very worst it seemed were prepared to allow it to distort the curriculum. Every year I grow a little more uneasy. It seems that increasingly we are reaching a point as a result of social pressures where this can only be said of the very best, where the head is a person of strong character as well as of liberal outlook. This external examination at this tender age is the most momentous for many children (or should one say for many parents?) in their whole life. The effect of it reaches right down to the infant school and not infrequently results in pressure on the part of the junior school to force the infants up to a level of mechanical processes which many of them are too immature to understand. There is, for example, today a growing realisation that mathematics is on the whole badly taught in England, and with the growing need for engineers and other technologists more attention

*1962. "Ten" has now become "fifteen".


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is being paid to this problem. It would seem that one of the fundamental weaknesses arises from the tendency in the infant and junior school to hustle children on to mechanical processes at the expense of the acquisition of true understanding and a feeling for numerical and spatial relationships. Although the effect of this may not be very apparent in the junior schools, where the natural eagerness of the child at that stage of his growth covers up many deficiencies, it is probably one of the root causes of the emotional distaste for mathematics and lack of comprehension displayed by so many children at the secondary stage.

But whatever may be the prognostic value of the "eleven plus", and whatever its influence on the work and curriculum of the primary school, it is its social effects which loom largest in the public mind. The years since the war have rolled by and the hope of the educationist that the public would come to accept selection procedures is further off than ever. However he may preach that in his eyes the whole flock is composed of sheep and that all he is trying to do is to direct them to the pens in which they will be most comfortable, the man in the street doggedly persists in regarding the operation as intended to separate sheep from goats. And though many (but not all) of the children may not naturally be predisposed to worry about the result, there is no doubt that parental anxiety remains unabated and builds up a state of neurosis in home and school which is to be deplored. No one would suggest that the case of the father who refused to speak to his daughter for three months after he learnt of her failure to "pass" the "eleven plus" until the educational psychologist had to be called in, is typical but it is certainly symptomatic.*

The persistence of the public in kicking against selection at 11 is tending to throw doubt in the minds of educationists. The Norwood Report now appears largely to be a rationalisation of arrangements which happily fit the status quo just as the psychological arguments in the Hadow Report for a break at 11 were rationalisations of the fact that with a leaving age of 14 it was not worth while running separate senior schools if you made the age of transfer any higher. In fact, there are just as good, indeed I believe better, psychological arguments to support the age of transfer adopted by the independent schools at 13 or 14. The percentage of places allocated to grammar schools is fortuitous and the arguments usually attest to what fits in with the local arrangements. In Leicestershire it is 25 per cent but

*1962. This was a Leicestershire case. But this December comes the tragedy of the little girl who ran away with her brother and was found dead on the moors.


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while perhaps the majority of grammar school heads would prefer to see it reduced - a view which is obviously supported by the modern school heads trying to build up their G.C.E. courses - experience at a bi-lateral school in Leicestershire shows that perhaps 40 per cent can profit from academic courses. The larger the percentage selected for grammar schools the greater the impoverishment of the modern schools. Yet why, apart from the chance of history, should 20 per cent of the children at the top end of the intelligence range be removed from contact with their fellows to be educated in separate schools any more than 20 per cent at the bottom end, or 20 per cent in the middle range? The main difference is that a large proportion of them are encouraged to stay at school longer than the rest and perhaps the most cruel feature of the bi-partite system as it stands today is the predicament of the good parent who wishes his non-grammar school child to stay at school till 18.

Ten years ago* it was not unreasonable to expect that the public would become used to the idea of selection and accept it. Today I am convinced it would be unreal to cherish any such belief. The public disapprobation of the bi-partite system as it exists today continues to gain momentum, and I believe that unless some satisfactory alternative is devised local education authorities will be relentlessly driven to adopt the large scale comprehensive school. I say this despite the fact that secondary modern schools in Leicestershire are in the main succeeding to a remarkable degree in winning the respect and gratitude of the parents of the children they receive - indeed to such an extent that today it is not a freak to hear of parents refusing the offer of a transfer at 13 plus. Nonetheless, it seems to me that however ill or well founded it may be the whole notion of segregation is steadily tending to accord less and less with the mood of the times. The social conscience may be unduly squeamish, it could be eloquently argued that it is misguided but undoubtedly it is stirring. I think we should be foolish to ignore it for in its gradualness it is as irresistible as the tide. It is better to take it at the flood.

It is not necessary here to expatiate on all the educational arguments for and against the present day comprehensive school. For the argument which I am developing the relevant point is that it is generally accepted both by the upholders and opponents of the comprehensive school that a school which has to provide for the whole range of secondary education, in respect both of the age of pupils and the content of the curriculum, must be a very large school. There are, I realise, a number of relatively small compre-

*1962. "Ten" has now become "fifteen".


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hensive schools, but I am led to believe that they tend to be impoverished in the sixth form. My own opinion is that the communal and educational stresses within a school of 1,500 or more pupils will create problems which outweigh the advantages which are claimed for it. I should certainly want to avoid any system where the headmaster or headmistress becomes a remote administrator shedding both teaching and pastoral duties, where the staff is so large that it is bound to associate in groups if not in cliques, where the pupil can never comprehend as a whole the social and educational organism of which he is a member. But apart from all this the practical difficulties for a county area with its schools already mostly built would be insurmountable without a new and very costly building programme.

It seems to me, therefore, that any new system which is to have the advantages of the comprehensive school in doing away with external selection, and at the same time be capable of being fitted into the existing secondary school buildings, must be one in which the division of children within the secondary stage is not as at present vertical, but horizontal. I believe that such a solution may be possible without wiping out, as the comprehensive system does, the secondary modern schools and the grammar schools, but by modifying their functions.

The Leicestershire experiment proposes a system in which the grammar school is associated with a number of secondary modem schools to form a single educational unit. All pupils would enter the appropriate secondary modern school and would be taught there for the first three years of the secondary course. For most of them the age of transfer from the primary school would be the normal age of 11, but a small proportion corresponding to the fast streams in the grammar schools which will probably take the General Certificate at Ordinary level at 15, will be able to transfer a year earlier, just as they are now able to enter under the age for the "eleven plus". At the end of the third year of the secondary course, transfer to the grammar schools would be open to all children whose parents were prepared to give an undertaking that they would leave them at school for an extended course at least up to the end of the school year in which they attain the age of 16. A few would thus go forward at the age of 13 and the majority at the age of 14, corresponding respectively to early or late entry to a public school. The remaining children would stay in the secondary modern school until they reach leaving age at 15, although they would be encouraged, for example with the aid of suitable vocational courses, to stay at least until the end of their fourth year.

This reorganisation obviously involves some changes in the func-


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tions of the two types of school. The modern school will have to provide from the outset a curriculum suitable for children who are to proceed to an advanced course. It will, for example, have to offer a second language and possibly at some point Latin. At the other end, the grammar school will have to provide suitable courses of a technical or semi-vocational kind for children whose parents wish them to follow an extended course but who would not be suited to the requirements of the Ordinary and Advanced levels of the General Certificate of Education. Indeed, it is a point to note that any pupil, whatever his level of intelligence, is eligible to go forward to the next stage of education provided he is prepared to stay at school long enough to justify it.

The experiment suggests some change in nomenclature. It envisages a pattern which could be described by the terms "Junior High School" and "Senior High School", for the two types of school instead of driving in pair would now drive in tandem. But these titles are too long and too explanatory. The Leicestershire Education Committee saw no reason why the grammar school should not continue under its traditional name, so long as those in charge of it were fully alive to its technical as well as academic role, indeed its all embracing role for pupils of more mature age. On the other hand the Committee thought it would be too confusing to retain the title secondary modern school for the "Junior High School" and decided it should be styled simply "High School".

It will be seen that there are now three links in a continuous chain of education - Primary School, High School, Grammar School, and that boys and girls move naturally on from one to the next. At no point is the next step forward dependent on an examination. Whether any form of external examination at the end* of the junior school course is retained after the experiment gets under way remains to be seen, but in any event the normal standardised tests in arithmetic and English are to be dispensed with in the experimental areas forthwith. It is expected that with their disappearance the primary schools in the "experimental areas" will spend less time on one word answers and more time on creative and continuous English and on mathematics as something significant to the life of the world. The admission to the high school of "high fliers" at the age of 10 would be an internal matter for discussion between the heads of the primary schools, the high schools and the grammar schools.

*1962. There has been no examination at the end of the junior school course. The primary schools send a full report on each child to the high school and there is close co-operation.


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There will have to be some minor adjustments in the staffing of the high schools to ensure that all the subjects required for the G.C.E. courses are adequately covered. There will also have to be a special initial text book and scientific equipment allowance. The Education Committee have made arrangements to meet these points. I do not think there will be any difficulty in staffing the high schools. I believe that the experiment will fire the imagination of many teachers, particularly the younger and more adventurous, and that this will carry these schools over the difficulties of their initial years.

The establishment of this new system involves a calculation as to the respective number of school places within the group in the grammar school and the associated high schools. There are three variables (i)† the number of "high fliers" to be admitted at 10, (ii) the percentage of children whose parents will give the undertaking at 14; and (iii) the size of the sixth form, that is to say, the number of pupils who will go beyond the five-year course. The first and third of these variables do not affect the calculations seriously. The number of the 10 plus transfers will be comparatively small and could be controlled, and the size of the sixth form could be assessed within reasonable limits by the existing trends in the grammar schools, making due allowance for new technical courses. It is by no means so easy to fix a definite figure for the percentage of children who will take the option at the end of the third year; it will almost undoubtedly vary as between one district and another, affected by such factors as the local industry and its openings, and it may indeed change in one direction or another as the scheme develops. Experience at the County's bi-lateral school suggests that it may be as high as 40 per cent.* The precise balance of the provision can be ascertained only by experience, but in any experiment it would be advisable to count on a high percentage.

Assuming that 40 per cent of the children will move on to the grammar school the ratio of grammar school to high school places is not widely different from the ratio under the present system of grammar school places to modern school places. There would seem to be no reason why the new system, provided that it is educationally successful and acceptable to the public, should not operate

†1962. The figure originally taken was around 8 per cent. After five years experience, on the advice of the high school heads and with the ready assent of the upper school heads, the number has been reduced to about 5 per cent. It may well continue to diminish.

*1962. See Appendix. I. In one of the two original "experimental" areas it has reached 55 per cent, and in the catchment area of the most favourably placed high school the figure is around 70 per cent.


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throughout the County in much the same way as admission to grammar schools operates now. In some areas the high schools would contribute to a defined grammar school and in others the children leaving the high school would have a choice of grammar schools in the same way as children have now on leaving a primary school.

At the outset and until the scheme has become established, the balance of accommodation between the grammar school and the high school cannot be secured. For the first three years the grammar school will not be receiving its normal intake of 11-year-old children, and it is likely that the proportion of children offering themselves for transfer at the age of 14 will be small in the early stages since many of the children in the second and third year of the modern school course will not have been prepared for transfer by the adjustment of the curriculum and the obligations of homework. The effect of the immediate change would be to reduce the numbers in the grammar schools and to place an additional load on the accommodation of the high schools. This temporary unbalance of the accommodation is to be mitigated for the first two or three years by admitting a selective entry at eleven plus of about 12 per cent to the grammar school direct from the junior school, an arrangement which will assist secondary modern schools in converting themselves into high schools by giving them some time to adjust their curriculum and organisation to the more academic pupils. H was felt that it would be a blow to the morale of the grammar school to cut off its intake too drastically for the first two years* and that in any event shortage of accommodation necessitated this compromise. Thus the Committee decided to let the clutch in gently.

One of the chief problems in the secondary school today is that of early leaving. It is not merely a financial one but also a psychological one. The provision of increased maintenance grants will do little to overcome the impatience which many adolescents, and particularly girls, feel at the rules which schools naturally impose. They are anxious to be thought adults and are irked by what they regard as petty restrictions and the sense that they are being treated as children. All this enhances the appeal of the world and increases their fretting for the independence of the young wage earner. I have referred to the dubious psychology of the Hadow Report in ascribing "secondary" qualities to the eleven-year-old. The plain fact is that at that age he is still very much a child and it is on1y as he reaches 13 or 14 that he begins to take on adult modes

*1962. It is now the general view of the grammar school heads that wherever possible this interim phase should be omitted.


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of behaviour. A school containing a large proportion of "prep school" children inevitably tends to adopt a more arbitrary and authoritarian attitude to its pupils. It is beyond the bounds of human nature to expect staff at one and the same time to react to situations in the manner appropriate to a prep school and in that appropriate to a technical college. The organisation proposed in this experiment goes a long way to meeting this difficulty. It should be possible to create in the grammar school a much more adult conception of staff/student relationships, and the prospect of going forward from the high school to a more adult school community should mitigate the desire of many young people to shake off the shackles of school.

By and large I think it will be found that the schools which gain most academic successes in terms of Open and State scholarships concentrate the bulk of the sixth form work in the hands of comparatively few members of staff. That is not to say that periods in subsidiary and general cultural subjects may not be more widely distributed, but the subjects pursued in concentration to' scholarship level are most effectively handled by men and women of genuine scholarship themselves. Such people are comparatively rare, and those with a flair for teaching rarer still. It is an extravagant way of using such talent to spread it over a wide age range. I am not suggesting that the born sixth form master may not often be a skilful teacher of eleven-year-olds too, but it is possible to be a first-class teacher of lower or middle school forms without having the flair and width of knowledge to handle sixth form work with artistry and inspiration. Recent investigations have disclosed on the one hand the narrowness of the range of studies available to sixth form students, and on the other the very wasteful staff-pupil ratios necessary to achieve even this narrow range in small and even average size grammar schools. Those who believe, as I do, in the virtues of the medium-sized school, will recognise that this has been the inexorable price to be paid for them, but bringing the age range of the grammar school into line with that of the public schools should result in a more effective and economic use of upper school teaching talent.

The modern school developing G.C.E. courses, when metamorphosed into the high school, has to face the disappointment of not seeing its pupils through to the end of the course. Against this can be set the compensation that it has in its charge all the bright children who would have been "creamed off" into the grammar school, those who give the school its intellectual fizz. The quid pro quo is not inconsiderable, and the majority of modem school heads I have consulted feel they would gladly seize it. Apart from this, one cannot altogether ignore the economics of G.C.E. courses in the


[page 19]

modern school. The majority of modern schools in Leicestershire have now started G.C.E. courses, and no doubt the rest will be following suit. No curb has been put on them in this respect-indeed they have received encouragement. I think no other course is open to the modern school if it is both to give its most able pupils the chance in life which the "eleven plus" denied them, and if it is to gain that esteem of the neighbourhood which is so necessary for its work among all its pupils. those below average in intellectual capacity as much as those above. None the less, just as the establishment of sixth form courses in the smaller grammar schools inevitably entails extravagant use of staff, so a similar situation is rapidly growing up in the modern school. Already the demand is being made for better staff-pupil ratios in order to deal satisfactorily with extended courses, and this will undoubtedly have to be met if the rest of the school is not to be handicapped. The extended courses can only be built up in modern schools at the present time by great self-sacrifice on the part of the staff in giving up their free time, and also by a tangible measure of sacrifice of the rest of the school. Even with improved staffing, the modern schools with their relatively thin "tops" will display a very uneven use of staff per pupil. The high school will also require the improved staffing ratio, but staff will be more evenly spread over the school and the volume of stimulating middle school work will be greater.

The high school stands to gain enormously over the modern school in morale on at least three counts. We hear on aU sides from modern school heads how much energy during the first year has to be expended in dispelling the idea prevalent in the minds of many of the first-year children that they are failures. This initial setback has to be overcome before the foundations for progressive work are secure. The high school will be freed at one blow from this handicap, for no one will be a failure for being there any more than for being in the junior school. Secondly, the high school will have the inestimable advantage of having half its pupils above average, most of them burning to get on. Traditions of regular homework and sturdy endeavour in class will be readily established. This will be of benefit to all sections of the school however intellectually endowed. Thirdly, there will be no need for the commendable but inevitably self-conscious efforts of the modern school by which it sometimes overtaxes itself to win equality of esteem in the eyes of the public, Though initially a few parents of the clever child may try (I think with mistaken motives) to divert him at the age of 11 to an "all age" grammar school,* the high school will stand in its own right as an essential link in a continuous chain. It will cultivate in its stride the good public relations that any good school

*1962. In fact the number has been negligible.


[page 20]

naturally cultivates, but it will never be under the temptation of trying to appear as something it is not.

Against these advantages may be set the problems in leadership at the top of the high school. The scheme envisages that any pupil whose parents will undertake to keep him at school to the end of the school year in which he reaches the age {If sixteen may go forward to the grammar school. It follows that those remaining in the high school for part or all of the fourth year will mainly be those who have no ambition (or who are not supported by their parents) to stay beyond the compulsory school age-or possibly beyond the end of the academic year in which that age is reached. To the extent that this group will be the oldest group in the school, it will presumably have to provide a large part of the leadership of the school. On the face of it this would seem to be a handicap, but it surely provides a challenge which may provide a stimulus to this section {If the school. Certainly the group will include some very sound material even if the majority of pupils will be in the lower half of the school from an intellectual point of view.

It may be argued that the "high flier" will not advance so rapidly if he spends the first three years of his course in the high school as he would have done in the grammar school. Indeed, it may be suggested that the same danger exists in respect of the other G.C.E. candidates. Experience of the working of the scheme alone will tell. I doubt it myself even as regards the high flier because for one thing this is the very point on which the high school will be most on its mettle. For the rest my feeling is that the gain will outbalance the loss. Those in the C or D stream in a grammar school are apt to be regarded as the duds, whereas in the high school that will certainly not be the case. Indeed, the comparative success of many modern school G.C.E. candidates with far less natural mental equipment has been ascribed to their superior morale. But the main gain should be the increase in the number of children going forward to G.C.E. and other appropriate goals. The stimulus for "the average child" which obtains in the bi-lateral school will certainly be present in the high school-indeed to a great extent the success of the high school will be measured in terms of the proportion of children who proceed to the next stage-and I believe that in this atmosphere as in the bi-lateral school we shall soon be seeing at least 40 per cent moving on to the grammar school. In this way the expansion of the sixth form in the grammar school will be given another tremendous fillip without which the goal of 20,000 scientists and engineers a year by 1970 will scarcely be reached.

The scheme not only banishes the shadow of the "eleven plus" but provides within the existing physical framework an alternative to the secondary all-age comprehensive school and preserves a


[page 21]

system of schools of manageable size. The Committee is confident that it will in no case restrict the educational opportunities which are now available, that for many children it will widen those opportunities, and that it will enhance the esteem and dignity of grammar schools and secondary modern schools alike.

May, 1957.





[page 22]

FROM EXPERIMENT TO PLAN

THOSE WHO are temperamentally or intellectually antagonistic to the pattern of secondary education which we are trying out in Leicestershire often make play with the title which it has so far carried-The Leicestershire Experiment. On the one hand there are the morally indignant who claim the lives of children are too precious to experiment with-rather as if we were injecting them with some unpredictable and dangerous virus which we ought first to have tried out on rats. On the other hand stand those who, taking a more apparently rational attitude, challenge me to whip out a Q.E.D. The kind of experiment they have in mind is akin to that performed by pupils in a chemistry lesson, where the master knows the answer in advance and the experiment is successful or not according to how near it comes to what has been premeditated. For these the Leicestershire experiment is just tolerable so long as it is kept tightly corked in its two test tubes. To bring any more into play before the "proof" of the first two is safely handed in seems to them, for reasons I have never been able to appreciate, an act of duplicity.

But what is the proof these people demand? It is almost exclusively concerned with the very intelligent child. We are expected to prove statistically that the child of high academic ability will do as well under the Leicestershire pattern as he would have done in a traditional grammar school. But which traditional grammar school? The championship table published in the Times Educational Supplement each year of open scholarships to Oxbridge clearly shows this would make a difference. Manchester Grammar School or Little Erpingham? Moreover a study of the table over a number of years will indicate that schools of national reputation move up and down and even in and out, probably largely due over periods of time to the particular attitudes and personalities of the reigning headmasters. It is so much easier in the laboratory to isolate the particular elements to be investigated. In comparing results under the Leicestershire scheme with those of traditional selective grammar schools, how are we to isolate that factor which alone is to be studied, namely the degree to which any differences which may emerge are due to the pattern of organisation, as opposed to a hundred and one other factors, human, educational and social?

If the quick answer of those who want chemistry lesson results is that we are concerned with the average, it is difficult to understand their objection to an extension of the experiment - for the most elementary knowledge of statistics immediately suggests that the smaller the sample the more unreliable are the results likely to be. With only two "experimental" grammar schools the hundred


[page 23]

and one extraneous factors have but a very slim chance of being evened out. But on what basis is the average to be calculated? Grammar schools which take ten per cent of an age group, or twenty-five per cent as in Leicestershire, or fifty per cent as in some parts of Wales? Indeed since the Leicestershire pattern is very largely comprehensive in character, is it not necessary to throw into the scales all the modern schools as well? But then we shall be measuring (or attempting to measure) the effect of the scheme on those of lower intellectual ability than the elite in which so many of those who press for "results" seem to be exclusively interested. And if it is the progress of the intellectual elite which is to be measured, at what point in the intelligence quotient scale and at what age of the pupil is the bar to be drawn, and how are qualities of character, home backing, late development, and so on, to be dealt with?

What is to be the yardstick? The quantity and/or the quality (some very complicated formula will have to be devised) of G.C.E. results at O Level? Certain inferences might reasonably be drawn from them (and it is certain that innumerable inferences according to the outlook of the "investigator" will be drawn from them). But from other angles it would be more appropriate to postpone judgment to A Level. And possibly from this same standpoint, till final examinations at universities and colleges of higher education. I said in the Preface that the scheme could hardly be judged for at least five years. I ought to have added "from the time it starts to be fully implemented". As was explained on page 15 the Committee decided to introduce the scheme by stages, retaining a reduced direct entry to the grammar schools of some 12 per cent for the initial years. It has only become fully operative in September 1959, in one of the two areas, and will not be in full swing in the other till September, 1960. Thus in the latter it will not be till 1965 that O Level results will be available from the 'first full group of children entering the high school at eleven. We must wait till 1967 for A Level results and till 1970 or 1971 for university degrees.*

What is certain is that if the results are good, those unfavourably disposed to us will soon find arguments for explaining them away. If they are not so good and we call attention to mitigating factors, we shall be accused of special pleading. However that may be, we in Leicestershire will be as interested as anyone in trying to evaluate the scheme fairly, since no-one will be more anxious to modify it if it seems to require modification than we.†

*1962. See Appendix 3.

†It has for example been intimated to the National Foundation for Educational Research that if they should care to conduct investigations the Committee would be glad to co-operate.


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The fact that it fits the existing plant of buildings and is therefore easily adaptable to changing circumstances has always been one of the arguments I have advanced in favour of it. But we shall, I hope, wish to be reasonably sure of our ground, and we shall try to judge it on a broad front. We shall indeed be anxious that the highly intelligent child has his talents fully exercised. But we shall also have our eyes on the average child, and we shall watch his success in technical and vocational spheres possibly through other forms of examination than G.C.E. We shall take into account such factors as length of school life - for the less intelligent child as well as for the clever one. And we shall not be so out of touch with reality as to ignore such factors as the social contentment of the parents whose children it is our fortune to educate. We shall try to avoid getting rattled and emulate the advice of John Pudney in his Epitaph on an Airman.

Keep your head
And see his children fed.
Whatever the reader's views on the preceding paragraphs may be, the Leicestershire Education Committee have concluded that it is neither desirable nor "scientific" to wait till some predetermined future date before extending the pattern to other areas. They have in fact demurred at the title "Leicestershire Experiment" and have decided to refer to it as the "Leicestershire Plan". This does not mean that they are not going to watch it closely as it develops, and modify it if it seems to require modification. But it does mean that the evidence so far available to them confirms their belief that it offers a method of organising secondary education which is preferable to the bipartite system at present in operation outside the two experimental areas. Nothing that had so far happened over the first two years of the "experiment" had given them cause for retreat-on the contrary their reading of the situation leads them to believe that the time is propitious for a further limited advance.

They are able to reach this conclusion with a clear conscience as educationists. For at no time has politics ever entered into the Committee's deliberations on this matter. As I explained in the Preface, the Committee at the inception of the scheme were unanimous. The proposal two years later to rename the scheme the Leicestershire Plan received overwhelming support. At every point each member has acted as his personal judgment and conscience persuaded. No caucus, no external organisation has at any time thrown its shadow across the open ground of individual opinion.

The Committee, however, remain staunchly averse to making sweeping changes before the ground in each particular area of the County is suitably prepared. They are not going to introduce the


[page 25]

Plan in any district where the modern schools are not adequately equipped, for example with science laboratories, to take on their new high school role. They wish to give the schools in each district the time they need to make their dispositions. They would not wish to extend the scheme to any part of the County where a majority of secondary schools as represented by their heads and governors are against it.

The two initial areas were the urban district of Hinckley together with a small area of surrounding countryside in the south-west of the County (population approximately 44,000), and the urban districts of Oadby and Wigston on the southern side of the City of Leicester, again together with a contiguous area of countryside (population approximately 50,000). The Committee propose that in September 1960 the plan be extended to a third area centred on Birstall on the northern side of the City of Leicester.* They have further said that when certain school buildings have been completed and provided they have the good-will of the areas concerned they hope to extend the scheme to the north-eastern parts of the County centred on Melton Mowbray, and to the western parts centred on Coalville in 1963 or 1964.†

What were some of the main questions the Committee asked themselves before projecting this further step?

A. The Grammar Schools

While maintaining their traditional role of educating children of academic ability were they showing sufficient flexibility and ingenuity to provide courses which would attract and develop children with fewer academic pretensions or none?
B. The High Schools
Were they showing themselves capable of meeting the needs of the able children who would otherwise have gone to the grammar school? Were they acquiring the necessary resources of specialist teaching to deal with such traditionally grammar school subjects as Latin, French and the sciences? Were they in sufficient touch with the grammar school of their area to ensure smooth progression at the time of transfer? Were the problems of leadership in the high schools being adequately solved? Were suitable courses being provided for those who did not transfer to the grammar school at 14?
*1962. This was done and the Plan is now in its third year in this area which consists in the main of the Parishes of Birstall, Thurmaston, Syston and Scraptoft.

†1962. It is the Committee's declared intention to extend the Plan to both the Melton Mowbray and the Market Harborough areas in 1964 and the Lutterworth area in 1965. The Coalville area is likely to follow next.


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C. The Primary Schools

Were they taking advantage of the opportunities for more lively work and of the freedom to find new growing points?
D. The Public
Was the scheme earning the support of the public generally and the parents in particular?
E. School Buildings
Was the number of children transferring to the grammar school roughly in line with expectation, and if not what would be the consequences? Would the normal balance of accommodation between subjects in the grammar school need to be adjusted?
The answers to these questions could not always be precise, certainly not definitive. They could only supply indications. But the indications were propitious enough to induce the Committee to look forward to the extensions described.

THE GRAMMAR SCHOOLS

The appendix on page 40 gives the numbers of 14-year-old children who have transferred since 1957 from the high schools to the grammar schools.* It will be observed that the proportion of pupils transferring at 14 from the high schools to the grammar schools at Hinckley and Oadby-Wigston are on different levels, though they both show over the three years a similar trend of increase. This difference in level is thought to be due to the fact that while Hinckley is a normal industrial town the Oadby-Wigston districts contain a high proportion of privately developed housing estates. The figures for Hinckley lead us to suppose that by the time a complete generation has passed through the high schools, the number transferring will easily have reached and may well surpass the 40 per cent we originally thought likely. In Oadby-Wigston the figure is already over 50 per cent and we are having to put up more buildings.

It is important to remember that all these boys and girls are "ex-secondary modern" pupils.† That is they were allocated to what were secondary modern schools at the age of 11, and the great majority of them were not pursuing courses leading to the G.C.E. In the next four paragraphs I shall attempt to give a very rough picture of the way the courses in the two schools have been organised for them. Both schools arrange for initial grouping of the

*This has now been extended up to and including 1962.

†This now applies only to the third area added in 1960. In September, 1962, for the first time the entire intake to Guthlaxton had spent three years in a High School. At Hinckley this will first occur in September, 1963.


[page 27]

children by taking account of the high schools' assessment of attainment and potential, a detailed report being submitted for each child. The high schools' recommendations are made in the knowledge of the courses and options available in the grammar school. As far as possible weight is also given to the desires of the children and the wishes of the parents.

At the Hinckley Grammar School, where the number of transfers, although not falling below the level expected, has been smaller than at Guthlaxton School which serves the Oadby-Wigston area, there has initially had to be some limitation in the courses which have been developed and the options which could be offered.* The pupils transferring at 14 have been divided broadly into two streams, one to include those who aim to take some subjects in G.C.E., and the second for those who will not be entered for that examination. Basically the curriculum for both groups is similar, including social studies, science, English and maths. Setting is practised in the last three subjects with the result that for nearly half their time the students are grouped broadly according to their individual ability. The G.C.E. group takes French, and for both art, music, handicrafts/housecrafts, and engineering drawing are optional subjects. In the second year the boys have the option of additional engineering drawing, plus half a day's workshop practice each week at the Hinckley Technical College. For girls there is the option of physiology and hygiene, with additional art and housecraft. It is clearly the trend for the number taking advantage of transfer to increase. More pupils will make possible a wider range of courses and options.

At Guthlaxton the greater number has enabled a wider if more complicated pattern of organisation to be constructed. In the first year (1957-58) the boys and girls transferred at the age of 14 were put into a variety of classes, differentiated partly by their ability and partly by their interests. A few joined a class of children who had passed directly into the school at eleven. Three other classes were aiming at G.C.E. so far as possible. One form had a craft bias and another a commercial bias, one was in fact a special class for those with no examination prospects, though no rigid barriers were erected against movement from any class to another where a pupil's record at the school indicated that this would be desirable.

In 1958-59 the pattern in the fifth form remained much the same after the normal individual adjustments had been made, but, as far as the fresh transfers were concerned, it proved possible, in the light of experience and in view of the greater number of entrants, to introduce a wider range of options. These options

*1962 With the increase in entrants at fourteen these difficulties have been overcome.


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applied for about five eighths of a pupil's time, with the result that each pupil was to a large extent on an individual time-table. The school was beginning to benefit from the existence of the larger numbers in the higher age groups.

In the academic year 1959-60 the system of options, which had already proved its value, has been extended. In 1958-59 the commercial class dropped out as far as new entrants were concerned, but commercial subjects were merged within the new range of options. The next step for the future may be to open up relevant courses leading to examinations other than G.C.E.*

At both schools it is the view of the Headmasters that the integration of the new entrants with the rest of the school has been satisfactorily achieved. There have of course been teething troubles, such as an unwillingness on the part of a few members of the staff to take kindly to them. This is being steadily overcome.† Although the numbers at Hinckley have been smaller than at Guthlaxton, it has not been found appreciably more difficult to absorb the new entrants into the total life of the school. I think it can be said that by and large at both schools they have settled in happily, and quickly acquired a loyalty to and pride in their new schools.

It should be borne in mind that the first three years are bound to be the most difficult, since the new entrants each year consist partly of 11 year olds, the cream of normal grammar school entrants, and partly the ex-secondary modern 14 year olds. This undesired dichotomy will cease as soon as the entire entry to the grammar schools comes at the later age from a single source, namely the High School. As regards discipline the traditional grammar schools have of course had a wicket to play on in comparison with the modern schools as smooth as Lord's in comparison with the village green. I certainly would not pretend that these two schools have as easy a task now as they had three years ago. Nonetheless they have the advantage over both primary and high schools that those who enter the school do so by their own choice or that of their parents. So far it can certainly be said that they have encountered no problems which they have not been able to take in their stride.

Both schools have made special staffing arrangements for the benefit of entrants of below average intellectual ability. At each school a head of department has been created to study the interests

*1962. There is little point in detailing minor changes in emphasis which have taken place over the last three years. Further changes of greater importance are bound to occur with the introduction of the Certificate of Secondary Education.

†1962. Both schools have now become exclusively schools for students who have completed three years of secondary education. The benefits are steadily becoming more apparent. See Appendix 4.


[page 29]

and needs of these groups and to organise their courses. Similarly in each school members of staff have been appointed with previous modern school experience to act as form masters or mistresses. The amount of specialist teaching each group receives depends on their ability and the subject, but all practical subjects remain in the hands of specialists.

An interesting and encouraging facet of the wider entry to the schools has been the strengthening of arts and crafts and of all practical subjects in the life of the school as a whole. The increased volume of work in these subjects is resulting in the need for more and better accommodation for them and has brought the opportunity to secure through appropriate allowances not only well qualified but very able staff. The work not only in wood and metal but also in art and lighter crafts such as pottery is reaching a very high level, and is increasingly attracting boys and girls of strong academic ability who have natural leanings in those directions. The prospect of sixth formers specialising at advanced level in maths. and sciences taking art or a craft as an additional subject is imminent, not as a rarity but as a commonplace. And girls are more ready to match their blue stockings with the cordon bleu.

Guthlaxton is not old enough yet to have entrants to the Universities,* but certainly the Plan has not so far resulted in any deterioration at Hinckley of work at sixth form level. Nineteen fifty nine proved to be the best year in the history of the school for academic successes.

People's memories are short lived. The accusation is frequently levelled against the Plan that the broadening of the basis of entry to the experimental grammar school is destroying the traditions of 400 years - as if grammar schools throughout their history had dealt solely with the top x per cent on an I.Q. scale. This notion of a grammar school really is of no great age; it has developed in comparatively recent times up to its official confirmation since the war. The fact is grammar schools have in the course of their history changed out of recognition to meet the prevailing needs of their times. So far as the range of intelligence to be found in a grammar school is concerned, it seems to me the Leicestershire Plan ones are nearer to the traditional grammar school than those whose entrants are strictly screened on an intelligence basis. If there is any continuous thread that has run through the grammar school tradition, I would have thought it was that they have been the main bridge leading to the universities and professions (which in the twentieth century also means the more responsible positions in industry and commerce). In Leicestershire this remains the main function of the new type grammar schools

*1962. See Appendix 3.


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as of old. I am convinced that the retention of the title of grammar school or the invention of a new one has no relevance one way or the other to the success or otherwise of the Plan. But when it is suggested that Leicestershire grammar schools with their continuous tradition over decades or centuries are sailing under false colours if they wish under the Plan to retain that title, they can surely reply that they are as much entitled to it as those which changed their role and pattern in 1902 and again in 1944. The title may stick or it may die out. That is immaterial. What matters is the job the schools do. We certainly shall not worry if they attract to themselves an alternative title.†

THE HIGH SCHOOLS

The high schools in 1957 and 1958 received only the lower half of the normal grammar school entry. In 1959 the Oadby-Wigston schools took the full entry but the Hinckley schools will not do so till 1960. None of the schools was without some experience of G.C.E. work since they had all started G.C.E. courses before the experiment began (though in some schools those courses had not reached the fifth year). When examining the teaching strength of the eight modern schools destined to become high schools, we were relieved and gratified to find how ample their resources in teaching power already were. Indeed we discovered that almost every school could offer to its appropriate level every subject normally included in the first three years of a grammar school course, including Latin. None the less the high schools as occasion offered have recruited additional members of staff with academic qualifications. In September 1957 out of 187 members of staff in the high schools 50 had degrees or degree equivalents. In September 1958 there were 68 out of 215. In September 1959 the number was 74 out of 236*. It will be seen that just under one third of the high school staff are graduates (or have graduate equivalent qualifications). As elsewhere graduates in mathematics and science have not been easy to secure, but even here the high schools have every reason to feel relatively satisfied.

The figures given provide a general indication of the ability of the staff to tackle the job, but it would be a great mistake to read too much into the possession of a degree. In the first place, though it may be ideally desirable, it is by no means essential to have a degree in order to be able to take children briskly along the first three years of a G.C.E. course. This is true of young people even on the swollen level of today's output from the universities. Quite a number of teachers coming out of training colleges as they are at

†There is a growing tendency to refer to them as "upper" schools.

*September. 1962. 90 out of 331.


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present constituted could do this job as successfully as the majority of graduates-and with three-year training imminent that number will increase, But quite apart from this it must be remembered that the opportunities for graduating which exist today were not available to prospective teachers 20 and 30 years ago. A large proportion of teachers who went to a training college before the war would today automatically have gone to a university. Such people with their mature teaching experience are in fact successfully running fully fledged G.C.E. courses in modern schools up and down the country.

While the practice varies from school to school the most common pattern seems to be to teach general science for four periods a week to all but the more able pupils, who after the first year normally increase their time allocation to six periods and tackle the three main sciences separately. French in most of the schools is taken by the abler pupils only, but one high school is trying an interesting experiment, so far with encouraging results, of teaching it throughout the school. An account of this appeared in the Times Educational Supplement on November 20, 1959. The temptation has been resisted of allowing the arts and handicrafts, including music and housecraft, to be crowded out from the timetable of those of academic pretensions. It is very rare for any boy or girl however clever to have less than six periods a week of those subjects.

All the high schools offer Latin, and it is a curious and perhaps unexpected result that more children are being introduced to this subject than ever before. Possibly when Latin assumes less importance for entry to Oxford and Cambridge it will be considered more profitable, with the advantage of a good foundation in French, to leave it to be dispensed by the grammar schools at a later stage to those for whom it is clearly vocationally necessary. Meantime Latin is having a Roman holiday. This is a difficult problem and one that is being watched by all concerned. It is possible that the present amount will tend to decrease* on the wise plea of Monsieur Jourdain in Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme -

Vous savez le latin sans doute?
Oui, mais faites comme si je ne Ie savais pas.
The question of continuity in the G.C.E. course was one of the! main worries in the high schools in the early days. Before the: scheme started a number of heads felt it might be necessary to agree on a common course supported by identical text books. Fortunately this view did not prevail. It was recognised that if the

*1962. This is happening. In the third area the schools have jointly decided that Latin shall be left till pupils reach the upper school.


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independent schools could receive boys and girls at 13 and 14 from numerous different prep schools nourished on different text books and taught by different methods, and yet get them hurtling over the G.C.E. hurdles, it was not really necessary to bind themselves in such chains. So long as they were aware of the general levels to be attained it was better that the teachers concerned should use the methods they personally favoured and the text books which best supported their particular approach. By means of joint meetings of the grammar and high school staffs on a subject basis a sense of partnership between the high schools and their parent grammar school is growing up. In certain subjects, for example the sciences, it is desirable to agree as to which broad areas of study should be covered, but it is not necessary to specify by what methods and with what illustrations each one should be tackled.

I am often asked how the high schools are organised, as if we have got together and worked out one royal passage. But the answer, I am glad to say, is in as many different ways as there are high schools. The aim of each of them, however, is to keep its organisation as flexible as possible. Methods for the initial individual allocations to streams* vary, but in each case account is taken of the opinions and recommendations of primary school Heads, and there is available the evidence of an intelligence quotient. Rigid streaming is avoided. The setting of subjects by pairs of forms or across wide ranges is practised. And in every high school with methods varying according to the opinion and organisation of each, mobility to meet individual development is provided. The provision for adjustments between streams exists throughout the whole high school course, but there are few cases where the need for an initial adjustment is not perceived and satisfied during the first term or certainly by the end of the first year.

The modem schools in the two areas were all schools of good reputation, with one exception all in tolerably good buildings. None the less, the presence in the schools of children of intellectual quality has stimulated and delighted the staff, and this coupled with their new position in the educational spectrum has had a striking effect on the schools' morale. To this the high school heads enthusiastically testify. By-products of this are that the high schools of their own volition now work the same hours as the grammar school (as modem schools a number had previously worked a shorter day) and in the great majority homework is now done throughout the school; indeed the less able children demand it as a privilege to which they have as much right as the clever ones.

The one dread of the high schools that the truncated fourth year would at best deprive them of leadership - at worst provide

*1964. At least two high schools will be experimenting in the coming academic year with unstreamed classes in the first year.


[page 33]

them with a kind of adverse leadership - has vanished into thin air. It is always argued on behalf of the modern schools that they give the less brilliant child a chance of leadership, and that from this angle there are positive advantages in being just the "wrong side" of the borderline. I have never understood why this argument should only be applicable to or hold good for those grouped around the seventieth to the eightieth percentile in the intelligence range. The fact is that those left behind have risen to the occasion.

Of course one must be sensible about this. The type of leadership which these 14-year-olds can offer is not of the same maturity and breadth as that which the 16-year-old G.C.E. candidate in the secondary modern school can provide. The tasks they are given must be adapted to their age and development. As soon as this is recognised and the machinery of government is adjusted to the realities of the situation, it works. I am not saying that the high schools, if they had the chance, would not prefer to keep all their children for the fourth year-of course they would. But each type of school, primary, high, grammar, has to throw a payment into the pool for corresponding advantages, and it is a relief to the schools to know that this payment has not been too heavy a one. Meantime an entirely new stratum of school society with considerable profit to itself is having a hand in training in leadership. The situation was well summed up in a letter to Education from one of the high school heads in reply to charges based on theoretical considerations. He wrote:

Finally, as far as the general tone of my school is concerned I can only say that I have never known it to be so high. The fourth form do not feel themselves to be cut off from the rest of the school, nor do they 'dominate them in the wrong direction'. Had I expressed this view two years ago I should have been making a conjecture as Mr. X is. Now I am basing my opinion on experience.
The number of children who stay in the high schools to complete a full fourth year, either because they choose to or because by age they must, has shown an increase since the introduction of the new plan. In the summer term, 1959, we found that in secondary modern schools outside the reorganisation areas, 46 per cent of the children in the fourth year in September stayed on to complete a fourth year. This is after deducting those who had a positive incentive to stay inasmuch as they were committed to a fifth year G.C.E. course. The corresponding total figure for the high schools was 54 per cent. (Further the proportion who have opted out of the high schools into the grammar schools, - 22 per cent in September, 1958, taking both areas together, - is


[page 34]

much higher than the proportion deducted from the modern schools -7 per cent-to arrive at the figure of 46 per cent.) The high schools are as interested in devising suitable courses for these as they are in pushing the bright child up the G.C.E. ladder. Those in the Hinckley area have for several years, going back to the days when they were modern schools, had an arrangement for seconding one day a week to the technical college boys and girls who agree or have to stay for the full fourth year, and this continues.

THE PRIMARY SCHOOLS

It would be foolish to claim that the sort of things which are happening in the primary schools in the two areas are never to be found in schools which have to work the "eleven plus". But the number of such schools which feel able to "throw their bonnets over the mill," and concentrate their energies wholeheartedly on the education of the child without the while furtively looking over their shoulders is very low indeed. While it is not true to say that every primary school in the two areas has fully seized its chances, the overall sense of exhilaration that new ideas, and indeed old ones too, can be tried out without fear of affecting 11 plus results has brought in its train a widespread increase in imaginative approaches to the job. The ozone of enthusiasm and the tang of enquiry are in the air, and one can't help breathing them in.

The trend in the larger primary schools where numbers are sufficient to allow streaming has been to abandon it. In one of the two areas it is disappearing altogether, and in the other for the most part it only remains in the upper part of the junior school.* As learning methods in the primary school become more and more individual, grouping by ability grows less important-in fact since by its very nature streaming is aimed at making class teaching easier, it can have the effect of impeding the newer methods centred on the individual progress of each child. Usually teachers in charge of unstreamed classes find it at first an uphill trek, but after they get used to it they say they prefer it. Those who have no experience of this way of organising the work are apt to state categorically that it must retard the pace of the brightest children. Those who practise it assert that it advances them more quickly.

A number of schools are experimenting in the teaching of science; nature study of course still forms a part of it. The main emphasis is to provide children with opportunities to discover for themselves by simple experiments and by direct observation,

*1962. The trend away from streaming continues. This applies equally to the districts brought into the Plan from 1960.


[page 35]

followed by recording. At one or two schools where members of staff have some competence in French, the language has been introduced to children at the junior stage.† The writing of English seems to have leapt forward as the individual interest of children in every topic under the sun becomes a theme for recording, descriptive or inventive writing; original poetry flowers along with prose in illustrated books which glow in the pride of their accomplishment. The arts, including music and dance, are receiving greater attention. But the most striking change of all is taking place in the teaching of mathematics. The emphasis is changing from the endless round of arithmetical computation to providing situations and apparatus through which fundamental mathematical ideas can be understood. In this elements of algebra and geometry are assuming an increasing importance. More and more the applied learning is being channelled away from textbooks towards Jive situations of intense interest to the child.

Now that children are no longer allocated to secondary schools on a battery of tests, the results of which are available to the secondary schools for purposes of classification, the high schools have to rely on reports from the primary schools in order to place their new entrants appropriately. This in itself is at least as reliable a method, but it has had the added advantage of bringing the heads and staff of the primary and high schools into much closer touch with each other. This is leading to better contacts between the two communities in other directions as well.

The price which the primary schools have to pay for their freedom is the loss of the high fliers at 10 instead of 11. While this was known by them from the start to be inherent in the scheme, it gave them at first not a little concern when the time came a year or two later for it to be implemented. The majority of the schools felt it was essential for them to have spent their last year or the greater part of it working in what normally would be fourth-year classes, and in many cases this had not proved practicable. They have quickly accustomed themselves to making this adjustment, and indeed where children have moved to the high schools straight from third-year junior forms they appear to be none the worse for it.

The question is often asked as to how the selection of the 10-year-old entrants to the high schools is effected. The answer is that it is done entirely on the recommendation of the heads of the primary schools, who draw up an order of suitability. Each

†1962. The introduction of French is gathering momentum. In one of the Plan areas a full-time peripatetic teacher of French has been appointed solely to give help to the primary schools.


[page 36]

school, however, is given a quota, and this is settled by means of a single standardised intelligence test taken in the summer term by the 10-year-old age group as a whole. At present the high fliers are reckoned at eight per cent* - roughly the equivalent of the "fast stream" in the average grammar school-so a line is drawn beneath the top eight per cent and the total number from any school above the line constitutes that school's quota. The scores, apart from settling the quota, have no bearing on the selection, since the school's lists have been compiled in advance of the test.

The emphasis on weighting the results to compensate younger children in the ordinary 11 plus selection procedure, which is essential to give children born, for example, in April as great a chance of going to a grammar school as those born in October, is not relevant in this process, since everyone is going along the same route anyway. The children at the head of the primary school lists are those who in the opinion of the schools are most ready to go forward, not only from the angle of intelligence and attainment but also of emotional maturity, and it is natural to expect that the great majority of them will be in the upper half of the age range. It has the effect of blurring the sharp definitive line that is normally drawn between those born on August 31 and those on September 1. This single intelligence test taken at 10 is the only dose the primary schools have to take, and it is the only piece of external corroborative evidence in addition to a school report which the authority can offer when families move out of Leicestershire to other areas.†t

It is sometimes suggested that by promoting high fliers in advance of their age group we have merely succeeded in pushing 11 plus back to 10 plus. What I have already said about the primary schools will I hope be enough to dispel that illusion. There is no backwash, and there are no signs that parents are worried if their children are not in the advance party. On the contrary we have had cases of parents of high fliers who preferred their children to remain in the primary school for the full four years, and this preference was of course honoured. Its effects are more in the nature of internal promotion since there is no question of sheep being driven in one direction and goats in another.

THE PUBLIC

An administrator is apt to judge the public's enthusiasm towards

*1962. - now 5 per cent, see footnote on page 14. 1964 - see second preface.

†Over the last five years, whenever a child leaves a Leicestershire Plan area for another district, we have sent on a full explanation of how he has been placed and a report on his curriculum and progress. I am not aware of any pupil who, having started a G.C.E. course, has not been able to continue it on transfer elsewhere.


[page 37]

anything from the upside down view point of the volume of complaint he receives. It is certainly true that people who go to the trouble of writing letters or seeking interviews are more often inspired by a sense of grievance or dissatisfaction than by a desire to express approbation. If things are all right people take them for granted, and that is why a letter of thanks or appreciation always gives the committee much pleasure. Looked at from this negative angle it can certainly be claimed the plan has so far been a great success. It can be said that the only complaints which have been received, and those could be almost numbered on one hand, have arisen from the remnant of "bipartism" consisting in the continuance of direct entry to the grammar school during the transition period. But these have been relatively easy to deal with since entry to the grammar school has been but postponed, and have contained none of the heart rending element of trying to reconcile the irreconcilable.

It would, however, be a travesty to claim popular approbation solely on the ground that the educational administrator's life had now become a less unhappy one. There may be a small number of parents usually of one or at most two extremely clever children who are clear that they prefer the bipartite system. But members of the Education Committee and of the County Council generally who live in the areas would very soon be aware of any substantial degree of dissatisfaction if it existed. Their evidence all points in the opposite direction, and most members of the Committee outside the areas continue to look forward to its extension to their constituencies. The people, however, in closest touch with local feeling are the heads of the schools in the area. They all appear convinced of overwhelming support, and their reports to their governing bodies on this aspect make encouraging reading. The following extract from a high school head's report expresses the general theme :-

During the Autumn Term parents of first and second year children were invited on separate evenings to meet the staff and to discuss their children's welfare and progress. Over 150 parents attended on each occasion and it was very obvious to both staff and myself that we had the full support of our parent body. I was particularly interested in the reaction of parents whose children might have gained direct admission to a grammar school under the old system. Such parents were obviously impressed by the curriculum and quality of the work which their children were doing and repeatedly emphasised their children's happiness at the school. I did not encounter any feeling of injustice or snobbery.

[page 38]

BUILDINGS

Suppose twice the number of children you expected opt to go on from the high school to the grammar school, people have asked, what will you do about buildings? The answer is that that is so unlikely that it need not be seriously considered, but that even if it did happen, it would not double the numbers in the school but only the numbers in a single year's entry to the school. In fact the numbers show a steady trend and have not confronted us with any unexpected problems. Secondary schools generally with the national trend towards a longer school life are growing in size, and the problem is met by additional buildings. This is the position in the Oadby-Wigston district at Guthlaxton School -where incidentally since over half the 14-year age group are already there it will no longer be possible for the number of optants to double. Guthlaxton is a new school and is well equipped for the sciences, having six full-scale laboratories and two lecture rooms. The extra accommodation will consist in doubling the housecraft, wood and metalwork rooms. The school will then have two of each and it is our intention that the second metalshop will be for advanced work and have a range of machinery such as might be found in a secondary technical school.*

EXAMINATIONS

The first entry at 14 to the two grammar schools completed their second year last summer and the majority took various papers in the General Certificate of Education. Despite the fact that in my view the results are supremely encouraging, I am very loth to publicise them since they can so easily be misjudged or misinterpreted. I do not believe any definite conclusions can be drawn from them. However, if I said nothing we should doubtless be accused of covering up, so on balance the risks must be taken.

First it must be remembered that these boys and girls were at the time they opted not in high schools but in secondary modern schools. They were completing their third year and the majority of them, who would at most have spent one more year at school, were not being prepared for G.C.E. and therefore had not been given the necessary ground work, particularly in maths, science and languages.

In the two schools combined 141 pupils took 527 papers in G.C.E. at Ordinary level, and passed in 255. In one of the two schools some papers of the Union of Lancashire and Cheshire

*1962. This has now been done. The unforeseen success of the Plan together with the growth of total population in the catchment area has impelled the Authority to start building a second upper or grammar school for the area in Oadby.


[page 39]

Institutes Secondary School Certificate were also taken. In this examination there was one first-class pass, 13 second class, 29 passes and 11 failures. In the other school 12 children took 64 subjects in the examination of the Royal Society of Arts and passed in 34. An analysis of the stream origin of the pupils in relation to G.C.E. results at both schools taken together shows that children coming from the A streams of the contributory secondary modern schools (now high schools) scored 202 passes out of 383 papers. Children coming from the B streams scored 43 passes out of 119 papers. Children from the C streams scored 10 passes out of 25.

An analysis by subjects shows the following results for the two schools.

Subject
Pass
Failure
English Language1751
English Literature2615
French20
Latin10
Greek01
Religious Instruction144
History1926
Geography1730
Mathematics1020
Arithmetic2014
Commerce110
Biology313
Physics10
General Science32
Physiology03
Music11
Art1830
Art and Crafts12
Woodwork211
Metalwork2710
Technical Drawing2618
Cookery223
Needlework518

Again at the two schools -

1 pupil passed in 8 subjects
3 pupils passed in 6 subjects
9 pupils passed in 5 subjects
12 pupils passed in 4 subjects
17 pupils passed in 3 subjects

[page 40]

28 pupils passed in 2 subjects
29 pupils passed in 1 subjects
42 pupils passed in 0 subjects
At Guthlaxton 28 of these boys and girls are staying on at school for a sixth and possibly a seventh year of secondary education. At Hinckley the number is 10.

Because the great majority of optants have taken at least one paper in the G.C.E. it should not be thought that they were all being driven through a normal grammar school curriculum. For a number of them, their attempt at G.C.E. has been in only one or two subjects, probably in the main practical ones. The fact that a boy or girl has been considered good enough to attempt G.C.E., be it in only one subject, has provided a valuable spur to the morale of many for whom two years earlier there was no such prospect.

March 1960


[page 41]

APPENDICES






[page 42-43]

APPENDIX I

Number of children transferring from high schools to upper schools at 14+


[page 44]

APPENDIX 2

The Longslade School which opened in September 1960 entered its first candidates for Ordinary level G.C.E. in the summer of 1962. The results were even more striking than those quoted on pages 37 and 38. Forty-two candidates obtained 111 passes and they were all pupils who had been allocated to the secondary modern schools at eleven but who transferred to Longslade when the Plan spread to that area. Taking the total 14+ age group in the secondary modem schools from which they came the G.C.E. successes of these pupils represent .544 per head of the entire age group. The comparative figure for all the secondary modern schools in the bi-partite parts of the County is .143 of the total 14+ secondary modern age group.

APPENDIX 3

1962 G.C.E. 'O' Level Results

Statistics on G.C.E. are liable to be misleading. For that reason I am loth to give them. But supporters of the selective school system keep demanding them in the confident expectation that they will demonstrate that the intelligent children cannot do as well when they are subjected to the supposed drag from the less intelligent as when they are segregated into schools exclusively catering for them. Because of the inevitable unreliability of figures which do not compare like with like, such figures as are available are bound to have holes picked in them, but if they were to be withheld it would be proclaimed that we dare not face up to the truth they reveal.

1962 is the first year a group of students who would otherwise have gone to a selective grammar school have reached '0' level via three years in a high school. Even so the group which took '0' level in the two upper schools in 1962 contained some 12% of the total age group who entered the upper school direct at the age of eleven (compared with the 25% of an age group in the selective grammar schools in the bi-partite areas of the County). Apart from that 12% it is not possible to say exactly which of the remaining pupils would have passed the 11+ if it bad been in operation. I have never dared to suggest that the upper bracket in the intelligence range would do better under the Leicestershire Plan than in selective schools. If it appears that they are doing so, possibly owing to a release of overall creative energy which the Plan may have engendered, that would constitute an unexpected and welcome bonus. I am only concerned here with the defensive


[page 45]

parry to the accusation that they are bound to do worse. From that standpoint it seems not unreasonable to take the results in the two upper schools in order of merit (for the upper schools entered a much broader band of candidates than the selective grammar and secondary modern schools combined) and to stop at the point where the number of candidates equals 25% of the total fourteen year-old age group distributed between high schools and upper school two years earlier in 1960, i.e. when the whole age group were at school. On this basis the rate per head of G.C.E .. passes was 3.33 in one upper school, and 4.47 in the other. The rate per head for all candidates in the selective grammar schools in the County was 3.08.

G.C.E. 'A' Level Results and beyond

No pupils who started their secondary course in a high school have yet reached the age to take 'A' level, though some of the 'A' level candidates in the upper schools in 1961 and 1962 were secondary modern pupils who transferred to the upper school at fourteen. None the less presumably those who entered the school on the selective basis of the eleven plus would have been affected by the general drag in the school of less intelligent pupils if a drag was there.

Guthlaxton School dates only from 1954. It was not until 1955 that it had its first 11 + entry in its own right, and that numbered 76 children. The school's first entries for advanced level G.C.E. were in 1960, and a third year sixth form has existed only from the autumn of that year. In September 1961 the size of its second and third year sixth form was 57 (49 of whom were original 11 + entrants and 8 came as 14 + transfers). Of these, in the autumn of 1962 nine pupils went on to universities, eleven to training colleges and five to establishments of further education. In the summer of 1962 the school obtained two state scholarships and this was its first attempt. In September 1963 the first year of the sixth form is likely to number over 200.

The Hinckley Grammar School is a well established school. In 1956, the last year before it moved into the Leicestershire Plan, the size of its second and third year sixth form totalled 45, and in the autumn of that year twelve pupils went to universities, eight to training colleges and two to other institutions of further education. In 1959 the second and third year in the sixth form was 60, and twenty-two pupils went to universities, seven to training colleges and seven to other places of further education. In the school year 1961/62 its second and third year sixth form numbered 81 and last autumn twenty-five went to universities, eighteen to training colleges and fourteen to other institutions of further education.

December 1962


[page 46]

APPENDIX 4

The Headmaster of one of the Leicestershire Plan upper schools wrote in the autumn term 1962 some notes of his impressions for a team of visitors. With his permission I quote the following extracts:

ACADEMIC STANDARDS

The commonest criticism levelled against the Leicestershire Plan is that academic standards are bound to drop. Nobody has, to my knowledge, adduced any evidence in support of this claim - and indeed with the best will in the world such evidence would be extremely difficult to provide. The claim is based upon a much more insidious "feeling" that such is the case.

One can only answer such a "feeling" by a conviction based on living in the school and watching pupils develop intellectually. I do not believe that any of our best academic pupils would have done any better in any other school and I am quite sure that large numbers of pupils have done much better under this scheme than they would have done elsewhere.

THE PROBLEM OF INTEGRATION

How, it is asked, is it possible to make pupils feel a part of the school when they are with you in many cases for only two years, from fourteen to sixteen? The answer to this has, I think, been provided this term. We had considered that there might be a problem but that it would not arise really until the intake of September 1962. Always, before that, there had been in the school a nucleus of the same age group - the 12½% which had come at eleven. We had regarded these three forms as having a binding effect on the intakes - able to show them the ropes and help them to settle down quickly. But in September 1962 the whole fourth year would be new and there would be none of their contemporaries to meet them in, for the last eleven plus intake would now be fifth formers.

Already this term we are convinced that the nucleus of previous years, far from having an integrating influence, was in fact an irritant, for the new intake this term is quite different from that of previous years. They are relaxed, enthusiastic and eager and have settled down remarkably. They have flocked to join school societies and have made us feel that they are completely at home and a part of the school in a very real sense. They realise that some of them are brighter than others but it worries none of them because they have been together in many cases from the infant school, and there has been no segregation at any time apart from the fact that they were in different forms - as they are now.


[page 47]

RECRUITMENT OF STAFF

It is commonly supposed that a school such as this, with its wide ability range, experiences difficulty in recruiting staff with adequate qualifications. Experience has proved exactly the opposite. Every single year since the school came into existence additional staff have had to be appointed and apart from the difficulties which every school experiences in recruiting Mathematics and P.E. mistresses - there has always been a good field to choose from. I have always provided the fullest information to candidates about the general set-up of the school and always, having done this and before interviewing candidates individually I have invited them to withdraw if they so desired. No candidate has ever done so.

AN ADULT COMMUNITY

I am quite sure that a school with an age range of 14-19 has distinct advantages over one in which the range is 11-19. My experience is that in the latter school because of the presence of 11, 12 and 13 year olds, the regime tends to become authoritarian, and it is not until the sixth form that emancipation takes place.

The effect of making a change of school at fourteen, when other changes-both physiological and psychological-are also taking place is that a new impetus is given to work and every other branch of school life. We do not experience that sag in enthusiasm and interest which occurs so often at the end of the third year in a normal grammar school and which tends to make the fourth year such a problem. On the contrary our fourth year intakes come into an atmosphere of serious work and display much of the brightness and enthusiasm that the eleven year olds display on entering a grammar school.

It is possible, therefore, to treat the whole school as a much more adult community and this we try to do in the expectation that the pupils will respond in an adult way. It is possible to extend much further down the school that relationship between pupil and teacher which one expects to find between best sixth forms and staff-in fact an adult relationship.

Living with it all the time one is perhaps not the best judge of how far this has yet been achieved but new members of staff and many visitors to the school volunteer their opinion that it has certainly begun.

December, 1962