1943 Norwood Report (complete)
The Norwood Report (1943)
Curriculum and Examinations in Secondary Schools
Report of the Committee of the Secondary School Examinations Council appointed by the President of the Board of Education in 1941
London: HM Stationery Office 1943
Notes on the text
As the second world war raged around Europe, Churchill's coalition government was planning a new education system for post-war Britain. The 1943 white paper Educational Reconstruction set out the arrangements which were subsequently enacted in the 1944 Education Act.
As part of the planning, a Committee of the Secondary School Examinations Council was appointed by RAB Butler, President of the Board of Education, in October 1941:
To consider suggested changes in the Secondary School curriculum and the question of School Examinations in relation thereto.The chair of the Committee was Sir Cyril Norwood (1875-1956), who had been Headmaster of Bristol Grammar School (1906-16), Master of Marlborough College (1917-25), and Headmaster of Harrow (1926-34). At the time of the report, he was President of St John's College Oxford and chair of the Secondary School Examinations Council. Gary McCulloch (see note below) has described him as 'one of the most prominent and influential English educators of the past century'.
The twelve members of the Committee - who included Sir Percival Sharp, Secretary of the Association of Education Committees - met 25 times and submitted their report to Butler on 23 June 1943. They argued that children could be divided into three groups:
Although Norwood urged 'parity' between the different types of school, in practice the secondary modern schools were very much the poor relation of the grammar schools and it wasn't long before this became a cause for widespread public concern. The Central Advisory Council for Education was asked to investigate and the result was the 1963 Newsom Report Half our Future, which reviewed the education of 13-16 year olds of average and less than average ability.
The report online
The full text of the report is online in a single web page, scanned from the 1944 reprint.
I've modernised some of the punctuation (so that, for example, " secondary " is shown as 'secondary' and Mr. S. H. Shurrock is shown as Mr SH Shurrock); I've updated a handful of spellings (today instead of to-day etc); corrected a few misprints; and added a few explanatory notes. Anything I've added is shown [in square brackets].
The text is displayed with its original capitalisation which, by today's standards, is excessive and often inconsistent.
Unlike other reports of the time, Norwood did not have numbered paragraphs.
The formatting of the text (bold, italics, centred etc) is a reasonably accurate representation of the printed version, but the pages presented here are not exact facsimiles of the original: the font (Times, Arial etc) and size of print - and therefore the number of words to a line and lines to a page - are determined by the settings you have chosen for your web browser. However, the page breaks are correct. In other words, if something is shown here as being on, say, page 103, you can be sure it appeared on page 103 in the original.
Summary of the report's main recommendations
The 1943 Norwood Report and the above notes were prepared for the web by Derek Gillard. The report was uploaded on 10 June 2007; the revised notes on 12 November 2012.