Education in England

Preliminary pages
Introduction, Contents, Preface
Chapter 1 Up to 1500
Beginnings
Chapter 2 1500-1600
Renaissance and Reformation
Chapter 3 1600-1660
Revolution
Chapter 4 1660-1750
Restoration
Chapter 5 1750-1860
Towards mass education
Chapter 6 1860-1900
A state system of education
Chapter 7 1900-1923
Secondary education for some
Chapter 8 1923-1939
From Hadow to Spens
Chapter 9 1939-1945
Educational reconstruction
Chapter 10 1945-1951
Labour and the tripartite system
Chapter 11 1951-1964
The wind of change
Chapter 12 1964-1970
The golden age?
Chapter 13 1970-1974
Applying the brakes
Chapter 14 1974-1979
Progressivism under attack
Chapter 15 1979-1990
Thatcher and the New Right
Chapter 16 1990-1997
John Major: more of the same
Chapter 17 1997-2007
Tony Blair and New Labour
Chapter 18 2007-2010
Brown and Balls: mixed messages
Chapter 19 2010-2015
Gove v The Blob
Chapter 20 2015-2018
Postscript
Timeline
Glossary
Bibliography


Organisation of this chapter

Background

The major issues
The public schools
Secondary education
The school leaving age
The dual system

Towards an education bill
The Green Book (1941)
   Background
   Proposals
   Reaction
   Conclusions
Butler takes over
Norwood Report (1943)
White Paper (1943)
   Background
   Mixed messages
   Proposals
McNair Report (1944)
Fleming Report (1944)

1944 Education Act
The Education Bill
Provisions of the Act
Summary of the Act
   I Central Administration
   II Statutory System
   III Independent Schools
   IV General
   V Supplemental
   Schedules
The Act in practice
   The government of education
   The dual system
   The religious clauses
   Special educational needs
   Teachers' pay

Conclusions
Achievements
Criticisms
The major issues
   The public schools
   Secondary education
   The school leaving age
   The dual system

A moment of hope

References



Education in England: a history
Derek Gillard

first published June 1998
this version published May 2018

copyright Derek Gillard 2018
Education in England: a history is my copyright. You are welcome to download it and/or print it for your own personal use, or for use in a school or other educational establishment, provided my name as the author is attached. But you may not publish it, upload it onto any other website, or sell it, without my permission.

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Gillard D (2018) Education in England: a history www.educationengland.org.uk/history

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Chapter 9 : 1939-1945

Educational reconstruction


Background

The Second World War, which began in September 1939, quickly had serious effects on the country's children: by the end of the year a million of them had been evacuated from the major cities, having had no schooling for four months. Those still at school had to endure regular gas-mask practices. And, in 1940, a torpedo sank a ship taking ninety London children to safety in Canada.

By May 1940, Britain had been at war with Nazi Germany for eight months and Conservative Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had lost the confidence of his party and that of most of the public. He was forced to resign and was replaced by Winston Churchill (1874-1965) (pictured), who formed a coalition government with a war cabinet consisting of members of both main parties.

Churchill was 'capable of great warmth and generosity', but was 'remembered with bitterness in many working-class homes for the role he had played in the General Strike of 1926' (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:206).

His coalition government was based on the overwhelmingly Conservative House of Commons elected in 1935. Many of the 432 Tory MPs 'saw the end of the war as inevitably a return to the 1930s, for they could conceive of no other social order' (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:206). There were soon 'bitter clashes between them and the Labour leaders who had been persuaded into the government on the understanding that they would be able to carry out constructive reform' (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:206).

As the war dragged on, there was increasing criticism of the education services - and of the Board of Education in particular - over the persistence of half-time schooling, the delay in providing school meals and medical services for returning evacuees, and the primitive state of many schools: a Women's Institute survey, conducted as the war came to an end in 1945, revealed that more than half of village schools still had earth or bucket lavatories.

Education, then, became a major issue, partly because there was unfinished business left over from the inter-war years - notably the issues of secondary education for all and the raising of the school leaving age, and partly because the war persuaded people that 'a country worth dying for must also be worth living in - not merely for the fortunate few but for all citizens' (Simon 1991:35).

Wartime unity 'stirred the social conscience of the country' and it was in this climate that 'a passion for making social reconstruction plans seized the press, the politicians and the public' (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:207). Many groups - and not only those on the left - began campaigning on a number of fronts, and the coalition government, aware of the growing demands for a fairer system, began to make plans for an ambitious programme of post-war 'social reconstruction' in which education would play an important part.

With regard to the schools, three reports were commissioned - Norwood (1943) on secondary schools, McNair (1944) on teachers, and Fleming (1944) on the public schools. In higher education, committees were appointed to consider the nation's scientific and technological deficiencies, which had become all too obvious: Goodenough (1944) made recommendations for modernising and expanding the system of medical education; Percy (1945) recommended greatly increasing the number of graduate engineers; Barlow (1946) argued for doubling the output of graduates in science and technology; and Loveday (1946) called for improvements in higher agricultural education.

Herbrand Sackville (Earl De La Warr) (1900-1976) was President of the Board of Education when the war began. The two wartime Presidents who followed him were Herwald Ramsbotham and 'Rab' Butler.

Herwald Ramsbotham (1887-1971) (pictured) came from 'a well-established Lancashire family with a long tradition of public service' (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:230). He had been elected Member of Parliament for Lancaster in 1929, and in 1931 was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education by Ramsay MacDonald.

As President of the Board of Education (from 3 April 1940 to 20 July 1941), he was determined that educational reform should go ahead and he was responsible for the production of the 'Green Book' which set out plans for the post-war system of education. After the war he served as Governor-General of Ceylon for five years and was created Viscount Soulbury in 1954.

Richard Austen Butler (1902-1982) (pictured), commonly referred to as 'Rab' Butler, had first been elected to Parliament in 1929 and was Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs when war broke out. After his spell at education, he went on to hold various senior ministerial posts.

As President of the Board of Education (from 20 July 1941) and then Minister of Education (from 3 August 1944), he was as energetic as Ramsbotham had been. He commissioned the Norwood, McNair and Fleming reports within a year of his appointment, and it was under his leadership that the Board produced the 1943 White Paper Educational Reconstruction which would form the basis of one of the most significant of all education acts, that of 1944.

Butler was 'a forward-looking Conservative' (McCulloch 2007:145). In a Board of Education note on The Common School, dated 23 January 1942, he wrote:

I do not think that we should underestimate the extent of the social revolution through which England is passing. Moreover we have to consider the position of England vis-à-vis England and the Dominions. ... I feel convinced that any educational measure will have to make it clear that we in the Education Department are not afraid of change; that we wish to preserve quality; that we have not in this country two absolutely separate types of education; and that they converge at various points (quoted in McCulloch 2007:145-6).
The 1944 Act created the Ministry of Education, and Butler became its first Minister. He was followed, in May 1945, by Richard Law, whose brief term in office ended when Labour came to power two months later.



The major issues

The national debate about what sort of education system the country should have when the war was over focused on four key issues:

  • the existence of the public schools;
  • the arrangements for secondary education;
  • the school leaving age; and
  • the 'dual system' of local authority and voluntary (church schools).

The public schools

Two types of school were still independent of the state system of education - the 'direct grant' schools (including many of the old endowed grammar schools) and the 'public' schools. The former received grants direct from the Board of Education in return for taking a number of local elementary school pupils; the latter retained their 'leading position and total independence from both the state and local authorities' (Simon 1991:26).

Criticism of the public schools had become widespread during the 1930s, pupil numbers had fallen, and some of the schools seemed unlikely to survive. Their supporters began promoting the idea of linking them with the state system of education.

Writing in the Journal of Education in July 1939, former Rugby pupil Charles Douie (1896-1953) was severely critical of the schools' exclusiveness. It was, he argued, 'intolerable' that only the sons of the well-to-do had access to the public schools, which 'should be freely open to the sons of workers in office and factory as Oxford and Cambridge are today'. 'I cannot believe', he concluded, 'that the England of tomorrow will tolerate privilege in education' (quoted in Simon 1991:38-39).

In two articles on The Crisis in Education, Cyril Norwood (of whom more below) argued that the nation could not afford to lose the public schools, and that therefore the state should make grants for scholarships so that at least ten per cent of the schools' pupils would come from the elementary schools (The Spectator 16 February 1940, quoted in Simon 1991:39).

There was further criticism of the public schools, however, from Sir Fred Clarke (1880-1952), Director of the London Institute of Education from 1936 until his retirement in 1945. In his 1940 book Education and Social Change he argued that

We can hardly continue to contemplate an England where the mass of the people coming on by one educational path are to be governed for the most part by a minority advancing along a quite separate and more favoured path.

Nothing quite like this exists in any British Dominion or in the United States. Indeed, it would be hardly intelligible in such lands. Its continuance is probably doing more harm to English social unity and to English relations with the world than many other much more noticed and openly criticised influences (Clarke 1940:44).

And he warned that:
There is no honest defence, no democratic defence, indeed no genuine aristocratic defence, for the continuance of their [ie the public schools'] present position. To continue it against all the forces that are coming into play will both intensify social conflict and weaken the power of Britain to co-operate with the other free peoples of the world, even with those in the British Commonwealth itself (Clarke 1940:57).
While such criticism had been growing for some years, 'it was the events of May 1940 - the defeat in France and Belgium followed by the Dunkirk saga - that really set things alight' (Simon 1991:41). Now, the notion that the public schools were good at training leaders was no longer tenable. A particularly vicious attack came from within the public school sector. In Barbarians and Philistines (1940), TC Worsley, a teacher at Wellington, wrote:
We are where we are, and shall be where we shall be, owing, largely, if not wholly, to the privileged education which the ruling classes have received in the last forty years. ... If the public schools are national assets because of their leadership training qualities, what are we to think of those qualities when we survey the mess into which their leadership has brought us? (quoted in Simon 1991:41).
Worsley called for a common education for all, because 'the main problem which faces democracy may be expressed as the problem of achieving social cohesion' (quoted in Simon 1991:41). This could only be achieved democratically by a reorganisation of the educational system.

Churchill joined in the debate, declaring in a speech at Harrow School in December 1940, that

When the war is won ... it must be one of our aims to work to establish a state of society where the advantage and privileges which hitherto have been enjoyed only by the few should be more widely shared by the many and the youth of the nation as a whole (quoted in Simon 1991:81).

The public schools continued to defend themselves. In the autumn of 1940 the Journal of Education, acting 'as a kind of house journal for public school heads' (Simon 1991:43), published a long series of articles in which various contributors urged that the schools should be 'thrown open', that they must become 'an integral part of our national system of education', that they should stand 'at the apex of our secondary school system', and that they should be 'stepping stones' between the state schools and the universities (quoted in Simon 1991:43).

Fred Clarke responded in March 1941 with the first of two major articles entitled The Public Schools and the Nation, in which he criticised the 'amateurish and unprofessional' approach of the public school heads and condemned 'the serious social mischief now being caused by claims on behalf of the public schools' (quoted in Simon 1991:43).

Harold Dent (1894-1995), newly-appointed editor of The Times Educational Supplement, was equally critical. In his book A New Order in English Education, published in October 1942, he argued that the public schools had grown 'more aloof and exclusive rather than less, and steadily widened the gulf between the "two nations" of rulers and ruled, privileged and unprivileged' (Dent 1942:33).

Many groups proposed that the public schools should be brought into the state education system. In A Plan for the Future (1942), the influential Association of Directors and Secretaries of Education condemned the existence of two separate systems of education: on the one hand, the public and private preparatory schools which were available 'almost exclusively to those who can afford to contract out of the educational provision made from the public purse'; and on the other, 'the public system of education', which itself contained 'a differentiation by caste which has no educational justification' (quoted in Simon 1991:44).

All schools, the Association concluded, should be 'brought into one coherent whole which will provide in successive stages equality of opportunity for all children' so that there would be 'a common system of education national in scope ... free, compulsory and universal' (quoted in Simon 1991:44).

Other organisations - including the National Union of Teachers (NUT), the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and the Workers' Educational Association (WEA) - agreed, as did a group of four 'very respectable but also radical' grammar school heads who, in 1942, formed the Conference for the Democratic Reconstruction of Education to campaign for the 'absorption' of the public schools into local systems of education - or the use of their buildings for other educational purposes (Simon 1991:45).

Some went further still: the National Association of Schoolmasters, for example, produced a paper entitled The Post-War Reconstruction of Education (1942), which effectively demanded the abolition of the public schools (Simon 1991:44).

As such views became widespread, it was clear that some sort of government response was needed, so in July 1942 Rab Butler appointed a Board of Education Committee, chaired by David (Lord) Fleming, to advise the government on the relation of the public schools to the national educational system (details below). However, the appointment of the Fleming Committee was, as we shall see, not a serious attempt to deal with the issues, but a clever political manoeuvre on Butler's part.

Secondary education

The second major concern of campaigners concerned the arrangements for secondary education after the war.

First, they argued that there should be a single or common code of regulations for all schools catering for children over the age of eleven - a proposal which had been dismissed out of hand before the war.

This reform would bring elementary education, until now hived off separately, into the mainstream of a restructured system. It would, it was thought, make a reality of the great inter-war slogan and demand, 'Secondary Education for All' (Simon 1991:46).
The Association of Directors and Secretaries of Education, the Association of Education Committees and the Association of Municipal Corporations all regarded this as a fundamental issue, but it was the labour movement which gave it absolute priority.

In 1942, the TUC, the Co-operative Union, the WEA and the NUT formed the Council for Educational Advance to campaign for an education bill which would, among other reforms, make provision for 'free education under a single secondary code for all children after the primary stage', together with common standards of staffing, equipment and amenities in all schools (Simon 1991:47).

The demand for a single code of regulations, however, implied that there would still be different types of school. Many - especially, but not only, on the left - wanted to go further and create a system of secondary education based on the concept of a single type of school, called variously the common, multilateral, multi-bias, or (later) comprehensive school. They objected to the 'tripartite system' of grammar, technical and secondary modern schools (in descending order of status) which, it was becoming clear, was the government's preferred option.

There had been calls for comprehensive education since the early 1920s; London County Council had already decided (in 1935) to move towards a comprehensive system as soon as it became legally possible, a policy strongly supported by Graham Savage when he became London's Chief Education Officer in July 1940; and even the Board of Education had tentatively explored the idea of combining grammar and senior schools, albeit only for economic reasons, as Brian Simon notes:

A minute dated 20 July 1939 - apparently from President to Permanent Secretary - expresses regret that a joint committee of Board and Local Authority representatives had reported that it was impossible to combine grammar and senior schools. This could well be the best solution in a few areas, so it should have been the policy to plan both types of school 'in association' to avoid duplication of buildings and amenities. The economies so gained would be very acceptable to the Conservative Party. It is interesting to recall, in the light of this, that after the war, among the first to break out from the rigidities of tripartitism - which the Board succeeded in imposing more or less generally - were Conservative controlled county authorities (Simon 1974:270).
Support for the comprehensive ideal grew rapidly, reaching a peak in 1942. The Labour Party, urged on by the National Association of Labour Teachers, voted for comprehensive schools at its annual conference; the grammar school heads' Conference for the Democratic Reconstruction of Education came out as 'a very strong proponent and active propagandist for the single secondary school' (Simon 1991:48); and there was support from some members of the Conservative Party. Among education professionals, support for comprehensive schools was overwhelming (72 per cent), as an enquiry conducted by the psychologist Cyril Burt revealed in April 1942.

Harold Dent, who had by now 'developed a unique position as spokesman for the whole movement for educational change' (Simon 1991:57), declared:

I am utterly opposed to the idea of segregating adolescents in different types of schools. (Or even, for that matter, of segregating them on the score of ability in different classes in the same school.) All such segregation results inevitably in lack of mutual understanding, narrowness of outlook, and the formation of castes. A true democracy must be a community, united by a common purpose, bound by a common interest, and inspired by a common ethos. These ideals cannot be realised if from an early age children are segregated into mutually exclusive categories. All should be members of the one school, which should provide adequately for diversity of individual aptitudes and interests, yet unite all as members of a single community (Dent 1942:57-58).
With calls for a comprehensive system of secondary education growing, Maurice Holmes, Permanent Secretary of the Board of Education, arranged a meeting on 1 May 1942 at which senior officials and inspectors discussed the issue. In a briefing memorandum, Graham Savage set out the arguments against the tripartite system:
For these reasons the multilateral school has been and is being advocated. The view is that we ought to make progress in the direction of the evolution of a classless society. If we do not reformers will, sooner or later, try to force such a form of society by revolution, with the inevitable result that a new arrangement of classes separated by hatreds may emerge. Whilst it is true in some degree that our system of education must be a reflection of the order of society in which it is set, it is wise in planning reforms to look ahead and to plan education a little in advance of the existing state of society, and our ideas on education should be informed by sociological ideals (quoted in Simon 1991:49).
Savage thus saw - 'or thought it politic to sell' (Simon 1991:49) - the comprehensive school as a counter-revolutionary policy. This approach contrasted with that of many in the labour movement, for whom the establishment of the single school was 'an essential means of opening up educational opportunity, and as a blow against the early determination of educational and career chances at the age of eleven' (Simon 1991:50).

The school leaving age

The third issue - the raising of the school leaving age - enjoyed widespread support, with many organisations calling for the new education bill to provide for a leaving age of sixteen (or fifteen, with sixteen following later).

The Council for Educational Advance campaigned for a leaving age of fifteen without exemptions by the end of the war, and sixteen not less than three years later (Simon 1991:51).

The dual system

Finally, there was the question of what to do about the dual system of voluntary (church) schools and publicly provided schools, which had been created by the 1870 Elementary Education Act and the 1902 Education Act, and which had 'caused persistent trouble ever since the State began to assume responsibility for public education, and time and again has wrecked promising schemes of reform' (Dent 1942:24).

By 1938 more than half the schools in England and Wales belonged to the churches; they educated about a third of the nation's children. Almost all these 'voluntary' or 'non-provided' schools were housed in Victorian buildings which the churches (mainly the Church of England and the Catholic Church) could not afford to maintain. They were 'the epitome of low-level mass education' (Jones 2003:18). Many were in a state of chronic disrepair: NUT President GCT Giles (of whom more below) called them 'pigsty schools' (Giles 1946:35), and Dent said they were 'a disgrace to any civilised people' and were 'condoned and perpetuated by the very institution in society - organised religion - which properly ought to be most concerned to improve them' (Dent 1942:23). He went on:

To-day, in spite of the accumulated evidence that they are quite unable to provide and maintain schools of a satisfactory standard, the Churches resolutely refuse to surrender their buildings to the State. It is easy to appreciate their concern that children shall be instructed in the Christian Faith according to their particular tenets, but it is difficult for the impartial observer to reconcile the tender care they manifest for the children's souls with the disregard they exhibit for their bodies (Dent 1942:24).
Of particular concern was the churches' inability (or unwillingness) to carry out 'Hadow reorganisation': by 1938, 62 per cent of council schools had been reorganised, but only 16 per cent of church schools. Several million children were thus condemned to spend their entire school career within a single 'all-age' school with no access to specialised teaching. 'Local authorities, and others, were in despair about the situation' (Simon 1991:52).

It was hardly surprising, then, that when plans were being made for post-war educational reconstruction, many argued that this was the opportunity 'to bring all publicly provided schooling under local democratic control' (Simon 1991:53).

The Association of Education Committees argued that the voluntary schools would be unable to cope with major reforms; the Association of Directors and Secretaries of Education and the Co-operative Union called for the abolition of the dual system; the TUC demanded an end to state support for church schools; and similar views were shared by the WEA, the NUT and various other organisations. This matter was seen by many as 'perhaps the most crucial issue requiring settlement if the way was to be cleared for educational advance' (Simon 1991:53).



Towards an education bill

By the end of 1942, then, many organisations had contributed to the debate about how the nation's education system should be reformed for the post-war world and there had emerged a 'clear, radical policy' (Simon 1991:53) based on the four key issues:

  • abolition, or at least effective assimilation, of the public schools as a step towards the creation of a single, national system of education;
  • secondary education for all over the age of eleven - abolition of fees in all maintained secondary schools (including direct grant grammar schools), a common code of regulations for all secondary schools (and, in a more advanced form, the establishment of the single, common or multilateral secondary school);
  • the raising of the school leaving age to sixteen; and
  • abolition of the dual system - all schools to be under public control.
The campaigners faced a coalition government which was 'dominated by (or at least relied on) the serried ranks of Conservative MPs largely of the old fashioned traditional Tory type' (Simon 1991:66). Their attitude to education - expressed in two reports published by the Conservative party's Sub-Committee on Education in 1942 - 'seemed to many more akin to fascist ideology than to democratic reform' (Simon 1991:66).

The first report, Looking Ahead, declared that

It must be a primary duty of national education to develop a strong sense of national obligation in the individual citizen, to encourage in him an ardent understanding of the State's needs, and to render him capable of serving those needs (quoted in Simon 1991:84).
Children should be taught 'to be proud of their ancestors and their inheritance, and to accept the consequent responsibilities of a colonising and missionary world-power' (quoted in Simon 1991:84).

In the second report, A Plan for Youth, the Sub-Committee stressed the need for the enrolment of all young people aged fourteen to eighteen in organisations giving them opportunities for 'service to the State', and ensuring that all had opportunities 'for individual training of body, mind and character as well as for collective discipline' (quoted in Simon 1991:84).

The reports caused a furore and no more was heard from the Sub-Committee until January 1944, when it published a third report, The Statutory Education System which, under Butler's influence, 'adopted a more constructive approach than the earlier ones' (Simon 1991:84).

Meanwhile, the Council for Educational Advance campaigned vigorously for an education bill. In the year following its formation in September 1942 it organised two hundred meetings and conferences and published a series of leaflets, the first of which called for 'Immediate legislation to provide equality of educational opportunity for all children, irrespective of their social or economic condition' (quoted in Simon 1991:67).

The Green Book (1941)

Background

It was Robert Wood (1886-1963), Deputy Secretary of the Board of Education, who first suggested that the Board should respond to the views being expressed on post-war reconstruction. Sir Maurice Holmes, the Board's Permanent Secretary, agreed. 'It is clear from references in the press', he noted, 'that other persons and bodies have ideas on post-war educational reconstruction and I think this is a matter in which the Board should lead rather than follow' (quoted in Simon 1991:57).

As a result, in October 1940 Herwald Ramsbotham met with senior officers at the Board's temporary offices in the Branksome Dene Hotel at Bournemouth. The informal committee consisted of the six senior administrators, the three chief inspectors and the senior woman inspector, the official in charge of Welsh education, the Accountant General and the Permanent Secretary. Sub-committees were set up to consider specific areas. Interrupted by the occasional air raid, they discussed the educational measures which would be needed to achieve Churchill's aim of creating a fairer society.

On 17 January 1941 Wood presented the committee with the memorandum he had prepared, summarising the preliminary conclusions, and by the end of the month the committee had agreed the draft of a lengthy document. Early in February Ramsbotham, addressing representatives of the Workers' Education Association, the Trades Union Congress and the Cooperative Union, described it as the 'New Testament' of education (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:214).

At this point Ramsbotham - concerned that Churchill's attitude to reconstruction appeared to have hardened - considered resigning, but was persuaded to stay. 'Instead of just clearing out his desk he quietly took steps to ensure that, despite the attitude of the Prime Minister, educational reform would go ahead' (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:232). In June 1941 he had the memorandum, titled Education After the War, printed and bound (in green) to give it added authority. It quickly became known as the Green Book and was circulated, on a strictly confidential basis, 'to local education authorities, professional bodies and most of the organisations interested in education' (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:214). It was not made available to the general public and the letter which accompanied it stressed two points:

(1) The memorandum, as stated in the foreword represents nothing more than the personal views of the officers who compiled it, and does not commit the board in any way.

(2) As a necessary corollary to (1), it is essential that the strictly confidential character of the memorandum should be recognised and observed. Nothing could be more unfortunate than the premature disclosure of suggestions which may be abandoned or radically altered as the result of subsequent discussions (quoted in Middleton and Weitzman 1976:215).

Middleton and Weitzman suggest that it may have been Churchill himself who ordered that the Green Book be kept secret. He had memories of the 'prolonged and heated dissension' caused by the 1902 Education Act, was aware that 'religious interests were still active' (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:216), and wished to minimise any danger to national unity in wartime:
Education because of its association with religious dissension, was obviously inflammable political tinder, so that the open display of its issues through a public inquiry were therefore ruled out (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:217).
The attempt to maintain secrecy caused inconvenience and embarrassment to many influential people who had difficulty in obtaining a copy of the Green Book. These included Rab Butler, who 'never forgave the Board's officials for leaving him off the list' (Simon 1991:58).

It also proved 'an abysmal failure' (Simon 1991:58) because Ramsbotham toured the country explaining the contents of the Green Book in a series of public meetings:

It is inescapable to conclude that the President was doing his best to ensure that the whole educational establishment was talking about reform of the system in an informed and constructive manner, thus making certain that whatever the Prime Minister might say, some form of reconstruction would be necessary if only to satisfy the ground-swell of public opinion which had been started (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:232).
Proposals

The Green Book proposed that the existing differentiation between elementary and secondary education should be abolished and that instead there should be three stages of education: primary, secondary and further.

The provision of secondary education would be a duty - not just a power - of local education authorities. All secondary schools would be subject to a single code of regulations 'providing for equality of treatment in such matters as accommodation, size of classes, etc' (Board of Education 1941:397); they would all be free (with the exception of the direct grant grammar schools); and the leaving age would be raised to fifteen, followed by compulsory part-time attendance at continuation schools.

So a set of reforms that might have had to wait years for implementation were, under the pressure of war and its probable political outcome, as well, no doubt, of the developing progressive consensus, now conceded with no argument whatsoever (Simon 1991:60).
Brian Simon asks why the Board officials who compiled the Green Book were apparently so willing to accede to some of the demands of campaigners - notably for the single code of regulations - when, only two years earlier, following the Spens Report on Secondary Education, they had been so adamantly opposed. The answer, he suggests, is to be found in a minute sent to the planning group by Robert Wood who, being based in London rather than Bournemouth, was more in touch with political trends. The war, he wrote, was 'moving us more and more in the direction of Labour's ideas and ideals' (quoted in Simon 1991:59). If Labour came to power after the war and Board officials appeared intransigent, their views would be ignored and others would make the vital decisions.

The Green Book was not all good news, however. It made clear the Board's commitment to the tripartite system of grammar, technical and secondary modern schools - indeed, there was no discussion of the matter, it was simply taken for granted:

it is proposed that in the suggested educational lay-out all full-time education up to 11 should be termed 'Primary' and all full-time education from 11 upwards, within the range of school life, should be termed 'Secondary'. Secondary education will be conducted in three types of Secondary School. For the purpose of this Memorandum these three types will be referred to as:
(i) The Modern School, corresponding with the present Senior School;
(ii) The Grammar School, corresponding with the present Secondary School;
(iii) The Technical School, corresponding with the present Junior Technical School (Board of Education 1941:392).
With regard to the dual system (of local education authority and voluntary - 'non-provided' - schools), the problems inherent in the system were acknowledged but, instead of proposing its abolition, the Green Book recommended that further financial assistance should be offered to the churches,
accompanied, as it must be, by such extended public control as is necessary, not simply to secure a quid pro quo, but to ensure the effective and economical organisation and development of both primary and secondary education (Board of Education 1941:442).
Finally, it is worth noting that the public schools were not mentioned at all.

Reaction

The Green Book's proposals quickly came in for criticism - sometimes from some surprising quarters. Robert Barrington-Ward (1891-1948), editor of The Times, told a colleague: 'we are fighting for a new Europe not the old - a new Britain and not the old' and he called for 'drastic educational reform' (quoted in Simon 1991:36).

In the first of a series of four editorials in The Times Educational Supplement, Harold Dent argued that the principle of equality of opportunity demanded 'total reform based on a new conception of the place, status and function of education in a democratic State, not a patching and padding of the present system'. Such a reform, he warned, would meet with strenuous opposition from those for whom the existing educational system had been 'a most effective safeguard of the social stratification we all in our heart of hearts bow down to and worship'. It was therefore of supreme importance that 'every one of us makes absolutely certain that he or she realises to the full and precisely the implications of this most revolutionary principle' so that everyone could have 'the fullest opportunity to develop every innate power' (The Times Educational Supplement 28 June 1941, quoted in Simon 1991:36).

Dent was sharply critical of the proposals which Board of Education officials were said to be considering. These proposals, he wrote,

do not alter in the least the relation of the educational system to the social order as a whole, and by their nature they presuppose a social order after the war substantially the same as that of today - or yesterday (The Times Educational Supplement 5 July 1941, quoted in Simon 1991:37).
In the last of the four editorials, he insisted that 'the full working out of the principle of equality of opportunity will involve changes in the social order extending far outside the field of education' (The Times Educational Supplement 19 July 1941, quoted in Simon 1991:37) - in other words, in the structure of society itself.

Conclusions

Middleton and Weitzman argue that, in addition to its educational significance, the Green Book 'is of historic importance in the development of British constitutional practice' (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:215). For such a major public reform it would have been normal practice to set up a commission or committee. The creation of the Green Book led future governments to publish 'green papers', setting out their proposals for consultation and discussion.

As to Ramsbotham himself, he was clearly delighted with the Green Book and excited about the possibility of leading the implementation of its recommendations (Simon 1991:83). However, he was replaced as President of the Board by Rab Butler on 20 July 1941, possibly as a result of his decision to give a series of speeches outlining the Green Book's proposals, despite the confidential nature of the document.

Ramsbotham's contribution to post-war educational reconstruction should not be underestimated. He had 'sowed a harvest which his successor, Richard Butler, was to gather in' (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:221):

Mr Ramsbotham's avoidance of personal publicity should not prevent his contribution being noted, for his Green Book went forward as the educational basis of the new Bill and survived largely intact, leaving his successor in office free to concentrate on the tangled religious issues. Besides this, in his efforts to evade the intransigence of the Prime Minister, he developed a new method for the public debate of wide issues of concern to many interests which is now established as part of the machinery of open debate; significantly such public discussion documents are called green papers. Lastly, as one of very few who have resigned from high office in the cause of education he deserves a special mention in the history of the public system.

Butler takes over

The new President of the Board faced the formidable task of dealing with 'thirty years of neglect through financial stringency' (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:241). His first-class Cambridge degree and his three years as a lecturer 'gave him some authority among educationalists' (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:242), and he had a valuable ally in his Parliamentary Secretary, Labour's James Chuter Ede (1882-1965), a teachers' leader and prominent Nonconformist with a wide experience of local government. Ede was 'dedicated to the reconstruction of the educational system and refused promotion to see the negotiations brought to a successful conclusion' (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:242).

In his letter to Churchill on 12 September 1941, seeking guidance on how the matters dealt with by the Green Book should be taken forward, Butler listed three main issues.

The first concerned technical education, in which, he wrote,

this country has clearly lagged behind the practice on the continent and elsewhere. The apprentice system is in decline, and something is needed in its place if we are to keep in the forefront of industrial production (quoted in Middleton and Weitzman 1976:243).
Second was the the need to find a settlement with the churches on the position of their schools:
neither the Anglican nor Roman Catholic Church can find the necessary funds to discharge their statutory duties, and children in voluntary schools are in general at a serious disadvantage as compared with those in council schools. Any hope of improvement in education will be frustrated unless a desirable settlement of this long-standing controversy is reached, though there is no disguising the danger of old antagonisms being raised on this issue (quoted in Middleton and Weitzman 1976:243).
The third issue was the future of the public schools, which Butler warned might 'easily raise widespread controversy' (quoted in Middleton and Weitzman 1976:243).

There were other considerations, too:

Apart from these specific points, the machinery of education becomes increasingly ill-adapted to present-day requirements, and there are different views about raising the school-leaving age. The arrangements for the local administration of education call for early review, although this cannot be apart from the general consideration of local government organisation, which is now in hand (quoted in Middleton and Weitzman 1976:243).
Butler suggested the setting up of a joint select committee to allow the government to choose 'the best moment for introducing a Bill' (quoted in Middleton and Weitzman 1976:244) and he concluded:
the procedure suggested is designed to avoid trespassing too far on the ground of political or sectarian antagonisms just now, while yet providing a method of harnessing the spirit of the times to the cause of social reform. We should be showing the world that we have the urge and vitality, not only to save ourselves and civilisation but also to build for the future (quoted in Middleton and Weitzman 1976:244).

Churchill's reply - the following day - revealed 'a much more limited approach to the board's work' (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:244). He wrote:

It would be the greatest mistake to raise the 1902 controversy during the war, and I certainly cannot contemplate a new education Bill. I think it would be a great mistake to stir up the public schools question at the present time. No one can possibly tell what the financial and economic state of the country will be when the war is over.

Your main task at present is to get the schools working as well as possible under all the difficulties of air attack and evacuation etc. If you can add to this industrial and technical training, enabling men not required for the army to take their places promptly in munitions industry or radio work, this would be most useful. We cannot have any party politics in wartime, and both your second and third points raise these in a most acute and dangerous form. Meanwhile you have a good scope as an administrator (quoted in Middleton and Weitzman 1976:244).

Disappointed with this response, Butler decided to go ahead with planning his bill. He was able to do so because Churchill was engrossed with military matters and 'did not want to be bothered by schemes for reconstruction which he saw largely as a means of ensuring the people accepted the constant hardships of the war' (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:245). The government effectively consisted of two working parties: one (mostly Conservative) under Churchill concerned with the war, the other under Attlee (mostly Labour but including Butler) dealing with domestic matters and plans for reconstruction.

This exceptional wartime situation allowed Butler to proceed, and he began by delegating a number of issues to committees - curriculum to Norwood, teachers to McNair etc. - so that he could focus on the thorny problem of the churches, which was not made any easier by the fact that the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church and the Nonconformists all had different agendas.

Others were also concerned about any religious settlement: Educational Reconstruction, a pamphlet prepared for the 1942 conference of the National Union of Teachers, opposed the right of clergy to enter schools, called for the abolition of the Cowper-Temple clause, and argued that religious instruction should be based on a nationally agreed syllabus and treated like any other school subject.

A lengthy series of meetings with the various interests followed, culminating in March 1942 with the production of what was called the White Memorandum (to differentiate it from the Green Book) setting out the Board's proposals in the light of the consultations - proposals which were later incorporated into the White Paper. A turning point came in June 1942 when Butler met a deputation led by William Temple, who had just been appointed Archbishop of Canterbury. Butler pointed out that the churches were responsible for three-quarters of the condemned schools on the Board's blacklist. Temple realised that the government was serious about educational reconstruction and from then on worked with Butler to reach an agreement.

(For a detailed account of the discussions surrounding the religious settlement, see Middleton and Weitzman 1976:251-265.)

Norwood Report (1943)

With opposition to the proposed tripartite system growing, Board officials decided they needed some way of justifying the continued existence of the selective grammar schools. In the autumn of 1940, they enlisted the help of Sir Cyril Norwood, a strong supporter of elitism in education. Norwood, Chair of the Secondary School Examinations Council (SSEC), was invited to form a small committee, ostensibly to review the existing system of school examinations. The invitation was kept secret for almost a year: Butler announced the appointment of the committee in October 1941. It was asked 'To consider suggested changes in the Secondary School curriculum and the question of School Examinations in relation thereto' (Norwood 1943:iv).

The topic might have been referred to the Consultative Committee, but Board officials had never forgiven the Committee for the inconvenient proposals of the 1926 Hadow Report, and wanted it abolished 'before it had an opportunity to make more trouble' (Simon 1974:269). They knew they could rely on Norwood to produce the report they wanted; they did not want an independent-minded Consultative Committee providing the wrong answers.

Norwood (1875-1956) (pictured) had been Head of Bristol Grammar School (1906-1916), Master of Marlborough College (1917-1925) and Head of Harrow (1926-1934). Now, in addition to being Chair of the SSEC, he was also President of St John's College Oxford.

In his early career at Bristol, Norwood had been an 'ardent reformer', but 'his growing remoteness and aloofness, apparent since at least the 1920s, made him seem out of touch, and careless of the concerns of the rising generation' (McCulloch 2007:140). As noted in the previous chapter, he held outdated views - on the education of women, for example - and 'tended to favour the maintenance of existing structures and values in the face of real and imagined threats to established traditions' (McCulloch 2007:63). As a result, his influence had been 'clearly waning both in elite policy circles and among a newer generation of opinion formers' (McCulloch 2007:137).

Yet, as retirement approached, he was 'called back to intervene at a crucial stage in the making of new and major reforms of the education system' (McCulloch 2007:140) precisely because his old-fashioned views were exactly what the Board wanted.

The twelve members of the Committee - all nominated by Norwood himself in consultation with GG Williams, 'a traditionalist par excellence at the Board' (Simon 1991:63) - met 25 times and submitted their report, Curriculum and Examinations in Secondary Schools, on 23 June 1943. It was, as Board officials had hoped, 'a distillation of Norwood's ideas on the nature and development of secondary education that he had been promoting for the preceding forty years' (McCulloch 2007:148).

Brian Simon notes that the Committee reported directly to Butler without reference to the SSEC, of which it was officially a sub-committee.

Then, but only after the report was published, the SSEC was called together and simply presented with it. When objections were raised, according to one member (JA Petch), the SSEC was 'unceremoniously dismissed'. If there was ever a case of devious practice, this is it. Clearly the Board and its officials were determined that the policy they favoured should be thrust to the forefront - almost by whatever means (Simon 1991:63).

The Committee strayed well beyond their brief, endorsing the view of the 1938 Spens Report that there should be three types of school - grammar schools, technical schools and secondary modern schools - because children naturally had three 'types of mind'. Indeed, their report created 'a veritable ideology of "tripartitism" to fit a projected organisation of secondary education which could effectively maintain the old hierarchical pattern' (Simon 1974:269).

The grammar-school type, said the Committee,

is interested in learning for its own sake, who can grasp an argument or follow a piece of connected reasoning, who is interested in causes, whether on the level of human volition or in the material world, who cares to know how things came to be as well as how they are, who is sensitive to language as expression of thought, to a proof as a precise demonstration, to a series of experiments justifying a principle (Norwood 1943:2).
The technical school would be for
the pupil whose interests and abilities lie markedly in the field of applied science or applied art. The boy in this group has a strong interest in this direction and often the necessary qualities of mind to carry his interest through to make it his life work at whatever level of achievement. He often has an uncanny insight into the intricacies of mechanism whereas the subtleties of language construction are too delicate for him (Norwood 1943:3).
As to the majority of children, who would be consigned to the secondary modern schools:
The pupil in this group deals more easily with concrete things than with ideas. He may have much ability, but it will be in the realm of facts. He is interested in things as they are; he finds little attraction in the past or in the slow disentanglement of causes or movements (Norwood 1943:3).
Norwood thus imagined 'an entire mental and emotional universe for its groupings, each of which as it were lived on different worlds, inhabiting different subjectivities' (Jones 2003:21).

However, the Committee did suggest that 'in suitable circumstances secondary schools of different types should be combined' (Norwood 1943:139) and that transfer between schools should be as easy as possible. They also urged that grammar schools, technical schools and secondary modern schools 'should be accorded all the parity which amenities and conditions can bestow' (Norwood 1943:139). It soon became clear that this was little more than wishful thinking.

Selection of pupils for the different types of school should be made on the basis of primary school teachers' judgement, supplemented if desired by 'intelligence' and 'performance' tests (the 'eleven plus'), with due consideration given to parents' and pupils' wishes. All pupils up to the age of 18 should either receive full-time education or 'be brought under the influence of part-time education' (Norwood 1943:140).

It is worth noting that, as in the case of Spens, the Norwood Report made no mention of the public schools. Norwood himself had hoped - for more than thirty years - to develop connections between the state and the public schools: it had been his own 'personal project ... to reconcile the two sectors of education' (McCulloch 2007:149), but another Committee (headed by Fleming) was dealing with the matter.

This report, then, was clearly intended to settle the question of the organisation of secondary education following the concession of the single code and 'secondary education for all'. The multilateral school had been given its quietus; selection and an elitist structure was not only to be maintained, but strengthened. In particular, the grammar school would remain inviolate, catering for a reduced proportion of the child population. This is the importance of the Norwood report, and the real significance of the manipulations around its formation (Simon 1991:63-64).
Norwood's report was, of course, exactly what the Board of Education had wanted. 'This well written report', noted Butler, 'will serve our book very well - particularly its layout of the secondary world' (quoted in Simon 1991:62).

It was also welcomed by the press and - surprisingly - by Harold Dent, who described many of its proposals as 'enlightened'. He added that

by far the most interesting and significant feature of the report was the fact that all the recommendations were based upon and derived from a reasoned philosophy of education. The committee went right back to the ultimate question of purpose, and defined clearly their position in respect of education as a whole and secondary education in particular (Dent 1944:230).
However, as Brian Simon notes, the report 'made no attempt whatsoever to deal with the secondary curriculum as a whole' (Simon 1991:62): technical and secondary modern schools were dismissed in just two short sections (pages 20-21), while 'the great bulk of the text is confined to the secondary grammar school curriculum, which is discussed in some detail' (Simon 1991:62).

Fred Clarke and Cyril Burt criticised the limitations of the report and, in an article in The Times Educational Supplement, Julian Huxley condemned its reliance on the outmoded notions of 'knowledge for its own sake' and 'absolute values', and its contempt for science and scientific procedures (Philosophy of the Norwood Report 28 August 1943 quoted in Simon 1991:63).

Writing later (in 1952), the historian SJ Curtis declared:

Seldom has a more unscientific or more unscholarly attitude disgraced the report of a public committee ... The suggestion of the committee seems to be that the Almighty has benevolently created three types of child in just those proportions which would gratify educational administrators (Curtis 1952:114-5).
In conclusion, it is interesting to compare the attitude of Norwood's Committee, who condemned 'a tendency which we detect here and there, a tendency to assume that because a thing existed before the war it must be changed after the war' (Norwood 1943:viii), with that of the McNair Committee (see below), who noted that 'the nation as a whole has woken up to the deficiencies of its public educational system ... we are witnessing one of the most widespread and insistent of popular demands for its reform' (McNair 1944:56).

White Paper (1943)

Background

Frustration - both in Parliament and in the country - at the slow development of reconstruction plans came to a head in December 1942 when the Beveridge Report, which made radical proposals for social security, was published. The government 'remained noticeably silent' and Churchill 'pointedly ignored the report' (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:270).

A few days later, on 18 December, Butler - with impeccable timing - presented his proposals for an Education Bill which, with the support of Ernest Bevin and the Labour Party, was allowed to go forward.

Beveridge became the central issue in a series of six by-elections, seen as a mini-general election, in February 1943. The Tories - who were concerned about the financial implications of Beveridge's proposals - did badly; opinion polls showed Labour's popularity growing; and surveys conducted by Mass Observation reflected 'a profound sense of disillusion' with the government (Simon 1991:72).

In his famous broadcast of 21 March 1943, Church attempted to appease the critics by promising a four-year plan for economic recovery and social reform 'when hostilities end'.

It was a cleverly designed soporific to appeal to middle opinion and avoid committing the government to anything more than preparatory work on plans which would only become effective after the war was over (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:271).
It soon became obvious, however, that if the coalition government was to survive, at least one measure of reconstruction would have to be put into effect. There were three possibilities: one concerned urban replanning and a huge house-building programme; another was the implementation of the Beveridge Report, involving complete restructuring of the health and welfare services. Both these were expensive and contentious matters. The third was Butler's Education Bill, which had widespread popular support, in which costs had been kept as low as possible, and which avoided controversial subjects like the public schools.
The government whips, who had begun to despair of their task of preserving at least a show of unity, saw it as a measure commanding a wide range of moderate support from both sides of the House whilst still providing much material for discussion. It was just the topic to keep Parliament occupied in the tricky period following the Beveridge report and obviously worth a lavish allocation of parliamentary time (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:271).
Despite the lengthy and detailed discussions which had already taken place, therefore, the War Cabinet decided not to go ahead immediately with a bill, but to issue a White Paper which would further test public opinion - and provide material for (lengthy) parliamentary debates. Educational Reconstruction was published in July 1943 and was allocated two days for debate, 'an unusually liberal allowance of parliamentary time for a White Paper, which ensured the issues raised were kept simmering until October' (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:273).

Mixed messages

Butler's White Paper was, says Brian Simon, 'a curious document in retrospect' (Simon 1991:68). Based largely on the Green Book, it opened 'with unexceptionable rhetoric' (Simon 1991:68):

The Government's purpose in putting forward the reforms described in this Paper is to secure for children a happier childhood and a better start in life; to ensure a fuller measure of education and opportunity for young people and to provide means for all of developing the various talents with which they are endowed and so enriching the inheritance of the country whose citizens they are (Board of Education 1943:1).
This, however, was immediately followed by the warning that 'The new educational opportunities must not, therefore, be of a single pattern' (Board of Education 1943:1).

Education was henceforth to be seen as 'a continuous process conducted in successive stages' (Board of Education 1943:1). With regard to one of those stages - secondary education - the White Paper contained very mixed messages. On the one hand, it was progressive in arguing that:

There is nothing to be said in favour of a system which subjects children at the age of 11 to the strain of a competitive examination on which, not only their future schooling, but their future careers may depend. Apart from the effect on the children, there is the effect on the curriculum of the schools themselves. Instead of the junior schools performing their proper and highly important function of fostering the potentialities of children at an age when their minds are nimble and receptive, their curiosity strong, their imagination fertile and their spirits high, the curriculum is too often cramped and distorted by over-emphasis on examination subjects and on ways and means of defeating the examiners. The blame for this rests not with the teachers but with the system (Board of Education 1943:4).
On the other hand, it clearly accepted the prevailing view - based on Burt's flawed theories of 'innate intelligence' and promoted by the 1938 Spens report - that there were three different types of child who needed three different types of school - the tripartite system. It did, however, allow for the possibility of developing comprehensive schools:
the three main types of secondary schools [will] be known as grammar, modern and technical schools. It would be wrong to suppose that they will necessarily remain separate and apart. Different types may be combined in one building or on one site as considerations of convenience and efficiency may suggest. In any case the free interchange of pupils from one type of education to another must be facilitated (Board of Education 1943:8).
Although many of the White Paper's proposals had already appeared in the Green Book, there were significant differences relating to the dual system. 'It was here that Butler, as president, had concentrated his efforts, finally arriving at an agreed solution (though the Catholics remained recalcitrant)' (Simon 1991:69).

With regard to the public schools (dealt with in Section X), the government intended 'to devise ways and means by which these schools can be more closely associated with the national system' (Board of Education 1943:2). This, argues Brian Simon, was

a clear reassurance to these schools, and their supporters in the Tory Party and elsewhere that there would be no radical change in their position - though this seems not to have been clearly recognised at the time (Simon 1991:69).
Proposals

The White Paper proposed the following legislative changes:

(a) the improvement of the facilities for the training of children below compulsory school age by the provision of nursery schools wherever they are needed;

(b) the raising of the school leaving age to 15 without exemptions, with provision for a later raising to 16;

(c) the completion of the reorganisation of the present public elementary schools, so that well-designed and equipped primary schools are available for all children up to the age of 11 and secondary schools, with varied facilities for advanced work, for all children over that age;

(d) an amendment of the existing law so as

(i) to emphasise the position of religious instruction as an essential element of education; and

(ii) to enable the schools provided by voluntary bodies to play their part in the proposed developments;

(e) the introduction of a system of compulsory part-time education in working hours for young persons up to the age of 18;

(f) the provision of adequate and properly co-ordinated facilities for technical and adult education;

(g) the extension of the existing facilities for securing the health and physical well-being of children and young persons;

(h) the introduction of a system of inspection and registration of all independent schools which cater for children of compulsory school age;

(i) the adjustment of the present system of local educational administration to the new educational layout (Board of Education 1943:30-31).

Other changes, to be effected by administrative action, would include:
(a) a progressive decrease in the size of classes in primary schools;

(b) the abolition of the present Special Place examination and the adoption of other arrangements for the classification of the children when they pass from primary to secondary schools;

(c) the introduction of a common Code of Regulations applicable to secondary schools of all types, so framed as to secure that standards of accommodation and amenities generally are raised to the level of those of grammar schools;

(d) the remodelling of the curriculum of secondary schools;

(e) the further expansion of the Youth Service;

(f) the improvement of the facilities for enabling poor students to proceed to the universities;

(g) the reform of the present methods of recruiting and training teachers (Board of Education 1943:31).

The White Paper ended with an Appendix which set out the financial implications of the proposals and a timetable for their implementation. No reforms would be introduced before the end of the war: the school leaving age might be raised to fifteen in the first year after it ended, but the cost of a further rise to sixteen was not included in the total estimated cost of the programme. Reforming the dual system and abolishing fees for secondary education were likely to take three years, and the establishment of county colleges probably four.

This approach 'appeared both dilatory, and ineffective in terms of resources' (Simon 1991:69) and the Council for Educational Advance immediately launched a public campaign critical of the general tone of the White Paper and demanding immediate legislation.

Giles described the White Paper as 'a drastic recasting of our educational system' (Giles 1946:21). He and other reformers were delighted that it promised a free, common and universal system of education for students up to 18 underpinned by the principle that 'the nature of a child's education should be based on his capacity and promise and not by the circumstances of his parent' (Board of Education 1943:7).

McNair Report (1944)

In March 1942 - before the publication of the White Paper - Butler had appointed a committee, under the chairmanship of Arnold McNair,

To investigate the present sources of supply and the methods of recruitment and training of teachers and youth leaders and to report what principles should guide the Board in these matters in the future.
McNair (1885-1975) was a lawyer who went on to become one of the first judges of the new International Court of Justice in The Hague in 1946, and the first President of the European Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg in 1959.

The Committee met while the bill (which became the 1944 Education Act) was being debated in Parliament. Its report was published in May 1944.

In his Prefatory Note to Teachers and Youth Leaders, MG Holmes, Permanent Secretary at the Board of Education, wrote:

Legislative and administrative changes will not by themselves make effective the educational reforms upon which the country is determined. There must be a supply of teachers adequate both in quantity and quality. The Board of Education will therefore examine the far reaching proposals made in this Report with great care.
The 1944 Act replaced the Board with a new Ministry of Education, so it was the Ministry which took on consideration of the report and decisions as to its implementation.

The report's recommendations were wide-ranging. They included the rationalisation of teacher-training provision, a three-year course and salary increases. The Committee was split on one point - whether teacher training should be organised by University Schools of Education or by reconstituted Joint Boards.

Fleming Report (1944)

The Board of Education's Committee on Public Schools, appointed by Rab Butler in July 1942, was chaired by David (Lord) Fleming (1877-1944), a Scottish politician and judge. In the 1920s he had been Scotland's Solicitor General and Unionist MP for Dunbartonshire. He died a few months after his report was published, on 20 October 1944.

The question of what to do about the public schools was a divisive issue. On the one hand, RH Tawney, writing in 1943, questioned whether

the existence of a group of schools reserved for the children of the comparatively prosperous ... is or is not, as the world is today, in the best interests of the nation. It cannot be decided by the venerable device of describing privileges as liberties (quoted in Lawson and Silver 1973:420).
And in its submission to the Fleming Committee, the WEA argued that 'the position of the Public Schools is anomalous in a modern democratic society' (quoted in Lawson and Silver 1973:420). They should be included, 'if suitable', in the public system of education.

On the other hand, the Conservative Party remained committed to the preservation of the public schools, arguing that their contribution was 'too valuable to be jeopardised', and that the aim should be 'to increase the value of their special contribution' (quoted in Lawson and Silver 1973:420).

The setting up of the Fleming Committee demonstrated Butler's consummate skill as a politician. First, it was designed to persuade his own party's education sub-committee not to issue a strong defence of the public schools - something which would have aroused anger in the labour movement if not elsewhere. And second, it was a deliberate delaying tactic. Its appointment fooled the public into believing that action to 'democratise' the public schools was imminent, the Daily Express declaring that a 'public school revolution' was under way (Simon 1991:64). Yet the Fleming Committee was still sitting when the Education Bill was finally published, in December 1943, and did not submit its report until 26 July 1944 - two months after the Education Bill had been given its third reading, and just a week before the Act received the Royal Assent (on 3 August 1944). As Butler noted in his autobiography The Art of the Possible, published in 1971, 'the first class carriage had been shunted onto an immense siding' (quoted in Simon 1991:65).

For those who had campaigned for the public schools to be subsumed into the state system - or abolished altogether - the Fleming Report The Public Schools and the General Educational System was an utterly disappointing document. Perhaps this was unsurprising since most of the members of the Committee were themselves products of the universities and private schools. It failed to deal with the philosophical questions surrounding private educational provision and dismissed the arguments of the campaigners in six paragraphs.

The Committee identified three arguments. The first - 'made by those who are uncompromisingly hostile to the continued existence of independent Public Schools' (Fleming 1944:3) - was that the schools' endowments and premises should be 'appropriated by public authorities and put to a number of uses quite different from those they now serve' (Fleming 1944:3). It gave as examples:

short term boarding establishments; schools for advanced studies for Secondary School pupils; Youth Centres; Junior Universities; schools of instruction in special subjects like music, art and handicraft; Adult Education Colleges; Training Colleges for Teachers and Youth Leaders; Summer Schools; holiday centres; or Day Schools for their local areas (Fleming 1944:3).
These were 'admirable objects', said the Committee, but the public schools 'could not be appropriated to other purposes without a kind and degree of compulsion which we think would be repugnant to public opinion' (Fleming 1944:3).

The second argument - that the schools should be 'brought wholly under the control of the Local Education Authorities' was dismissed on the basis that the suggestion was not 'well suited to the circumstances of schools most of which draw their pupils from all over the country and from abroad' (Fleming 1944:3).

Finally, in answer to those who objected to any form of association between the public schools and the state system of education, the Committee commented:

this would be, not only to abandon the task entrusted to us, but to throw away a unique opportunity for incorporating the Public Schools with their distinctive characteristics into the general system, and of helping to close, in the world of schools, a social breach that follows and aggravates, if it does not actually cause, the much more serious divisions in society at large (Fleming 1944:4).
Thus the Committee rejected the proposal to abolish the public schools and argued that 'any changes we recommend for enabling them to be associated with the general system must be accomplished by voluntary means' (Fleming 1944:4).
We are equally agreed that things cannot be left as they are, with the independent Public Schools confined almost exclusively to the children of those able to pay the full fees, with the result that, with their social prestige and their very real educational importance, they are almost entirely outside the public system of education and out of due relation to the nation as a whole (Fleming 1944:4).
The Report went on to propose two possible schemes for linking the public schools with the maintained sector: in Scheme A, suitable independent schools would reserve at least a quarter of their places for children from grant-aided primary schools, who would be supported out of public funds. The less ambitious Scheme B related only to provision of boarding places.

In his autobiography, Butler described the Fleming Report as 'sensationally ingenuous' (quoted in Simon 1991:65). No one was interested in its ideas, no national policy was adopted, and the Committee's recommendations were quietly forgotten. 'The time for radical change had passed' (Simon 1991:65) and 'the public schools settled down to an undisturbed, prolonged period of prosperity' (Lawson and Silver 1973:421).

(The question of what to do about private education was raised again in the 1960s, when the Public Schools Commission published its two reports: the Newsom (1968) and Donnison (1970) reports.)



1944 Education Act

The Education Bill

The White Paper's proposals formed the basis of the Education Bill which had its first reading in the Commons in December 1943. The Times (17 December 1943) described it as 'a masterpiece of compromise and an inspiring embodiment of educational advance' (quoted in Middleton and Weitzman 1976:283). It was supported by Anglicans and Nonconformists.

Butler and Ede shared the handling of the bill in the Commons: Butler dealt with Anglican and Conservative interests; Ede with the Nonconformists and 'the more awkward Labour spokesmen' (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:283). Butler always managed, when pressed, to find a small concession, but he stood firm on the basic principles of the bill. Both men were able speakers - 'Butler perhaps pedestrian in style, but his logic was always formidable'; while Chuter Ede had 'a pert turn of phrase which could drive home a telling point without causing resentment' (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:283-4).

The original draft of the bill - containing 111 sections - was long and complicated. More than a thousand amendments were tabled, of which 340 were debated and 114 were accepted:

Although many of these were important to some section of the educational interest none of them materially altered the basic line of the Bill which was one of careful concession so framed that expenditure should be moderate and the timing of the advances should remain with the government (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:283).
The passage of the bill was not easy. On the Conservative side, the Commons contained 'a large number of old-style Tories who found the agitation for reconstruction most disturbing' (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:285). However, there were about forty 'progressive Tories' - including Peter Thorneycroft, Henry Brooke, David Eccles, Hugh Molden and Lady Astor - whose influence had grown as public support for social reconstruction policies had increased. Led by Lord Hinchingbrooke and Quentin Hogg, they formed the Tory Reform Committee.

The Labour Party, meanwhile, had no clear education programme of its own and its MPs would have preferred a measure on rehousing or reform of the social services. Nonetheless, they regarded the bill as generally acceptable and sought to ensure its success.

Concerns were expressed on both sides of the House that the proposed reduction in the number of local authorities posed the danger of over-centralisation. In a long and passionate debate about how schools should be linked with the communities they served, former Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education Kenneth Lindsay (1897-1991) argued that parents should be represented on governing bodies. Butler was 'unimpressed with these arguments' (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:293) but was forced to rewrite the clause relating to the appointment of governors.

There were calls for a maximum class size to be written into the bill; for nursery schools to be incorporated into the general school system; for a timetable for the completion of Hadow reorganisation; and even for a list of specific audio-visual items to be provided in schools. Butler managed to deflect them all.

However, proposals regarding the provision of school meals and the extension of the school medical service were passed, and a Labour amendment to upgrade the education department to a ministry was widely supported in the House, despite being resisted by the Cabinet.

Among the issues which roused most anger was that of equality. The bill, it was noted, said nothing of any significance about the public schools. During the second reading of the bill, MP for Romford John Parker explained the commonly held Labour view:

Educationally, today, this country is a country of three nations. If you take the adult population, only 2 per cent have been to the so-called 'public' school. What proportion of this present House of Commons have had the privilege of that type of education? Fifty-six per cent have had the privilege of going to these independent so-called 'public' schools. Looking at the other members of our education system, men and women educated at State-aided secondary schools form 5 per cent of the population, but in this House 21½ per cent have been to that type of school. If you take people who have only been to elementary schools, they form 92 per cent of our people, and in this House 22 per cent. Can you say, from these figures that we have an educational system at the present time which is a proper national system trying to make the best of the talents of the whole nation? Quite obviously, you cannot claim that the privileged 2 per cent of the nation is so highly talented as to justify a 56 per cent representation in this House of Commons. We take the view that we must have a national, all-embracing educational system for two reasons. First to find out and train the most talented to fill the most responsible posts. Secondly because if you are to have a democratic system working properly, the whole people must have a high standard of education - a standard of education which will enable them to form judgments on the issues coming before them and the knowledge on which to base those judgments (Hansard House of Commons 19 January 1944 Vol 396 Cols 234-5).
Another contentious issue was the notion of parity between the different types of school within the tripartite system. Kenneth Lindsay told the Commons:
there is a great deal of humbug going on at this time. Sooner or later there will come a clash. Anybody who says to me that the children attending the 450 odd unreorganised departments in London, with some 40,000 children, are attending the same type of school as the grammar schools which have existed for many years, with a sixth form producing classical and other scholars who have gone on to Oxford and Cambridge for the last 200 years, is talking nonsense. The two things have no relation to each other. Yet in this comprehensive way we say that these are all secondary schools Hansard House of Commons 9 March 1944 Vol 397 Col 2258.
One amendment called for the abolition of fee-paying in direct grammar schools. Butler rejected the idea:
One of the fundamental principles on which this Bill has been built is that there shall be a variety of types of schools. One of the varieties which I think is quite legitimate is that there shall be schools in which it is possible for parents to contribute towards the education of their children (Hansard House of Commons 28 March 1944 Vol 398 Col 1303).
The amendment was defeated by 183 votes to 97.

The religious issues had the potential to be the most divisive.

On the Nonconformist side, there were concerns about areas of the country where there was a single voluntary school - usually belonging to the Church of England. It had initially been decided that such schools would be taken over by the local authority - until it was realised that there were more than 4,000 of them: 'it was inconceivable that a Parliament with 430 Conservative MPs, mostly around the age of 60, could agree to such a handover, no matter the justice of the cause' (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:301).

However, Butler's political skill ensured that the question was settled 'without open rupture' (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:302): it was agreed that teaching according to the local agreed syllabus would be available in all these schools.

The Roman Catholic Church was unhappy about the financial arrangements for its schools. Butler offered long-term loans at reasonable interest and this 'went some way to meet the Catholic case without causing abrogation of the agreements on which the religious settlement had been built' (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:303).

The proposal to make religious instruction and collective worship compulsory roused much interest. Not all of it was favourable, with one MP declaring that the collective act of worship would become 'organised blasphemy'. Nonetheless, the vote on the clause was 121 to 20 in favour, so it stayed in the bill.

On 21 March 1944, the Tory Reform Committee forced a division on an amendment to include in the bill a firm date for raising the school-leaving age to sixteen. With the support of Labour backbenchers, they achieved the largest vote against any part of the bill, though the proposal was defeated by 137 votes to 172.

A week later, on 28 March, the Tory Reform Committee tabled another amendment, requiring equal pay for men and women teachers. A lengthy debate ensued, during which a number of MPs left the chamber for lunch assuming that there would probably not be a division and that, if there was, the government would easily win. In fact, the amendment was carried by 117 to 116.

What had started as a gesture to identify progressive Conservatism with women's rights had ended by threatening the Education Bill, and because of the political climate ... there was danger of the breakup of the wartime coalition (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:306).
Churchill was furious - anxious about how a government defeat would be seen in occupied Europe and elsewhere around the world - and treated the matter 'with theatrical severity' (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:306). He demanded that the original clause should be reinstated and called for a vote of confidence in the government which he easily won, with only 23 MPs voting against.

The rest of the bill went through without further trouble. The third reading was completed on 12 May and the Act received the Royal Assent on 3 August. 'The long saga was over' (Simon 1991:73). Butler was the hero of the hour: he 'acquired a prestige he had not previously enjoyed either in his own party or in the country; his political future was assured' (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:307).

Provisions of the Act

The importance of the 1944 Education Act (3 August) cannot be overemphasised: it replaced almost all previous education legislation and set the framework for the post-war education system in England and Wales.

There were corresponding Acts for Scotland and Northern Ireland:

Cabinet Papers and other documents relating to the 1944 Education Act can be found on the National Archives website.

The major provisions of the Act concerned:

  • the Ministry of Education:
    • the Minister
    • Central Advisory Councils for Education;
  • the statutory system of education:
    • local education authorities
    • primary, secondary and further education
    • school management
    • secular instruction
    • appointment and dismissal of teachers
    • transitional arrangements
    • special educational treatment
    • compulsory school age
    • provision of further education
    • ancillary services (medicals, milk, meals etc)
    • employment of children
    • miscellaneous (prohibition of fees etc);
  • independent schools;
  • miscellaneous provisions:
    • parents' wishes
    • inspections
    • administrative provisions
    • financial provisions.
Various sections of the 1944 Act were replaced by later legislation and it was repealed in its entirety by the 1996 Education Act.

Summary of the Act

Part I Central Administration

The Act provided for the appointment of a Minister of Education and the establishment of the Ministry of Education. The Minister's duty was:

to promote the education of the people of England and Wales and the progressive development of institutions devoted to that purpose, and to secure the effective execution by local authorities, under his control and direction, of the national policy for providing a varied and comprehensive educational service in every area (Section 1(1)).
Provision was made for the appointment of a Parliamentary Secretary and other staff (1(3)) and for the transfer of Board of Education property to the new Ministry (2(1)).

Two Central Advisory Councils for Education (one for England, one for Wales) were to be established 'to advise the Minister upon such matters connected with educational theory and practice as they think fit, and upon any questions referred to them by him' (4(1)).

The Minister was required to make an annual report to Parliament on 'the exercise and performance and the powers and duties conferred and imposed upon him' (5).

Part II The Statutory System of Education

Local education authorities

Every county and county borough would be the local education authority (LEA) for its area (6(1). Property and staff previously owned and employed for educational purposes would be transferred to the LEAs (6(3 and 4)).

The statutory system of education

shall be organised in three progressive stages to be known as primary education, secondary education, and further education; and it shall be the duty of the local education authority for every area, so far as their powers extend, to contribute towards the spiritual, moral, mental, and physical development of the community by securing that efficient education throughout those stages shall be available to meet the needs of the population of their area (7).
Local authorities were charged with providing primary and secondary schools
sufficient in number, character, and equipment to afford for all pupils opportunities for education offering such variety of instruction and training as may be desirable in view of their different ages, abilities, and aptitudes (8(1)).
LEAs were to ensure that there were separate schools for primary and secondary education; that nursery education was available for under-fives; that provision was made for 'pupils who suffer from any disability of mind or body'; and that boarding accommodation was offered where appropriate (8(2)).

Primary and secondary schools established by LEAs would be known as 'county schools'; schools not established by an LEA (ie mainly church schools) were to be known as 'voluntary schools' (9). The Minister would make regulations 'prescribing the standards to which the premises of schools maintained by local education authorities are to conform' (10). Each LEA was required to produce, within a year, a 'development plan' for schools in its area (11); the Minister would then issue a 'local education order' specifying which schools the LEA was required to maintain (12). LEA proposals for opening or closing schools, or for changing their status, were to be submitted to the Minister (13). Rules were laid down regarding the closure of voluntary schools (14). The Act specified three categories of voluntary school: controlled, aided and special agreement (15).

Section 17 set out the arrangements for the governance of schools: a primary school was to have a body of managers, a secondary school a body of governors, each having 'an instrument' providing for its constitution. Membership of these bodies was described in sections 18 (primary schools) and 19 (secondary schools). Provision was made for the grouping of schools under one management body (20).

In county schools (and most voluntary schools) the 'secular instruction' and matters such as the length of the school day and the dates of school terms were to be under the control of the local education authority. In aided secondary schools, this control would be exercised by the governors (23).

The appointment of teachers would be under the control of the local education authority (24).

Religious education

Section 25 dealt with religious education. On collective worship (school 'assemblies') it said:

the school day in every county school and in every voluntary school shall begin with collective worship on the part of all pupils in attendance at the school, and the arrangements made therefor shall provide for a single act of worship attended by all such pupils unless, in the opinion of the local education authority or, in the case of a voluntary school, of the managers or governors thereof, the school premises are such as to make it impracticable to assemble them for that purpose (25(1)).
And on religious instruction:
religious instruction shall be given in every county school and in every voluntary school (25(2)).
Parents had the right to withdraw their children from religious worship or instruction (25(4)).

In county schools, collective worship

shall not ... be distinctive of any particular religious denomination, and the religious instruction given to any pupils ... shall be given in accordance with an agreed syllabus adopted for the school or for those pupils and shall not include any catechism or formulary which is distinctive of any particular religious denomination (26).
Controlled schools could employ 'reserved teachers', 'selected for their fitness and competence to give such religious instruction as is required to be given' (27(2)). In aided and special agreement schools, religious instruction would be under the control of the managers or governors. However, if parents desired their children to be taught according to the local agreed syllabus and there was no county school which they could reasonably be expected to attend, the aided school would have to provide such instruction (28(1)).

LEAs were empowered to convene, and make appointments to, a standing advisory council on religious education to

advise the authority upon matters connected with the religious instruction to be given in accordance with an agreed syllabus and, in particular, to methods of teaching, the choice of books, and the provision of lectures for teachers (29(2)).
The Act allowed teachers a 'conscience clause':
no person shall be disqualified by reason of his religious opinions, or of his attending or omitting to attend religious worship, from being a teacher in a county school or in any voluntary school, or from being otherwise employed for the purposes of such a school; and no teacher in any such school shall be required to give religious instruction or receive any less emolument or be deprived of, or disqualified for, any promotion or other advantage by reason of the fact that he does or does not give religious instruction or by reason of his religious opinions or of his attending or omitting to attend religious worship (30).
Transitional arrangements

Transitional arrangements (for the separation of primary and secondary schools and for the management and maintenance of voluntary schools) were set out in sections 31 and 32.

Special educational treatment

The education of 'pupils requiring special educational treatment' was dealt with in sections 33 and 34. The Minister would 'make regulations defining the several categories of pupils requiring special educational treatment' (33(1)) and LEAs would be expected to provide places in special schools for more serious cases (33(2)).

It would be the duty of each LEA:

to ascertain what children in their area require special educational treatment; and for the purpose of fulfilling that duty any officer of a local education authority authorised in that behalf by the authority may by notice in writing served upon the parent of any child who has attained the age of two years require him to submit the child for examination by a medical officer of the authority for advice as to whether the child is suffering from any disability of mind or body and as to the nature and extent of any such disability (34(1)).
Where an LEA decided that special education treatment was necessary, it was required to inform the parents and provide the treatment (34(4).

If the LEA or parents requested it, the medical officer who examined the child would issue 'a certificate in the prescribed form showing whether the child is suffering from any such disability as aforesaid and, if so, the nature and extent thereof' (34(5)).

School attendance

Section 35 dealt with compulsory attendance at primary and secondary schools and defined 'compulsory school age' as between five and fifteen years, with the hope that, as soon as it became practicable, the upper limit would be raised to sixteen. (Section 38 set the upper limit for pupils in special schools at sixteen.)

Section 36 stated that:

It shall be the duty of the parent of every child of compulsory school age to cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable to his age, ability, and aptitude, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.
Section 37 set out the rules relating to 'school attendance orders' which could be served by LEAs on parents who failed to comply with section 36.

Sections 39 and 40 dealt with the enforcement of school attendance.

Further education

LEAs were charged with providing 'adequate facilities' for full-time and part-time education 'for persons over compulsory school age' and 'leisure-time occupation, in such organised cultural training and recreative activities as are suited to their requirements, for any persons over compulsory school age who are able and willing to profit by the facilities provided for that purpose' (41). They were to submit their schemes for further education to the Minister (42) and set up county colleges for this purpose (43). LEAs could serve 'college attendance notices' on under-eighteens, requiring them to attend a county college for (roughly) a day a month or for eight weeks in a year (44-47).

Supplementary provisions

The Act required LEAs to:

  • make provision for medical inspections in schools and colleges (48);
  • provide 'milk, meals and other refreshment for pupils in attendance at schools and colleges maintained by them' (49);
  • offer boarding accommodation where appropriate (50);
  • make clothing grants (51);
  • recover the costs of boarding and clothing where parents could afford to pay (52);
  • provide 'adequate facilities for recreation and social and physical training' (53);
  • ensure the cleanliness of 'the persons and clothing of pupils' in schools and colleges (54);
  • provide transport for pupils where necessary (55);
  • make 'special arrangements' in 'extraordinary circumstances' for children to be educated 'otherwise than at school' (56); and
  • arrange for the medical examination of a child considered 'incapable of receiving education at school' (57).
Sections 58-60 dealt with the law relating to the employment of children and young people and gave LEAs the power to prohibit or restrict such employment.

Other miscellaneous provisions were set out in Sections 61-69:

  • no fees were to be charged for admission to schools or colleges (61);
  • the Minister could require LEAs to establish and maintain teacher training colleges (62);
  • the Minister could exempt certain buildings from building byelaws (63);
  • voluntary schools were exempt from paying rates (64);
  • voluntary school endowments would continue to be payable to the managers or governors (65);
  • LEAs could make grants to voluntary schools in certain circumstances (66);
  • disputes between LEAs and school managers or governors could be referred to the Minister (67);
  • the Minister could intervene to prevent LEAs or managers or governors from acting unreasonably (68); and
  • the Minister could make regulations relating to medical examinations (69).
Part III Independent Schools

Part III of the Act:

  • provided for the appointment of a Registrar of Independent Schools and laid down the conditions of registration (70);
  • provided for a school proprietor to be served with a 'notice of complaint' if the Minister considered that the school's premises, accommodation, teaching or staff were inappropriate (71);
  • allowed a proprietor to appeal against the notice, such appeals being heard by an Independent Schools Tribunal, which could annul the complaint, order that the school be struck off the register, or lay down conditions for the school remaining on the register (72);
  • set the penalty for continuing to operate a deregistered school as a fine of up to 50 and/or a prison sentence of up to three months (73);
  • allowed the Minister to remove the disqualification if he felt it was no longer necessary (74); and
  • empowered the Lord Chancellor, with the concurrence of the Lord President of the Council, to make rules relating to the practice and procedure to be followed by Independent Schools Tribunals (75).
Part IV General

General Principle to be observed by the Minister and Local Education Authorities

Section 76 stated that:

In the exercise and performance of all powers and duties conferred and imposed on them by this Act the Minister and local education authorities shall have regard to the general principle that, so far as is compatible with the provision of efficient instruction and training and the avoidance of unreasonable public expenditure, pupils are to be educated in accordance with the wishes of their parents.
Miscellaneous Provisions

Sections 77-87 dealt with the following:

  • the inspection of schools and colleges (77):
    • regular and special inspections as required by the Minister (77(2))
    • LEA inspections by their own officers (77(3))
    • illegality of obstructing an inspection (77(4))
    • special rules relating to religious instruction (77(5 and 6));
  • the provision of LEA ancillary services to non-maintained schools (78);
  • the provision of LEA information to the Minister of Health (79);
  • the duty to keep registers of pupils and to make returns to the Minister and the LEA as required (80);
  • the power of LEAs to offer financial assistance and scholarships where appropriate (81);
  • the power of LEAs to conduct or sponsor educational research (82);
  • the power of LEAs to organise educational conferences (83);
  • the power of LEAs to provide financial assistance to a university to improve further education facilities (84);
  • the right of LEAs to accept gifts for educational purposes (85);
  • the right of the Minister to amend certain endowment schemes (86); and
  • amendments to some 19th century Acts relating to assurances of property (87).
Administrative Provisions

Sections 88-99 provided for:

  • the appointment by LEAs of Chief Education Officers (88);
  • the remuneration of teachers (89);
  • the compulsory purchase of land by LEAs (90);
  • the auditing of local authority accounts (91);
  • LEA reports and returns to the Minister (92);
  • the Minister's right to order a local inquiry (93);
  • the power of the Minister to intervene if an LEA or school management body failed to comply with the Act (99); and
  • various other technical matters.
Financial Provisions

Sections 100-107 provided for:

  • grants by the Minister to LEAs and others, and grants by the Minister of Health in respect of medical inspections and treatment (100);
  • special provisions relating to Wales and Monmouthshire (101);
  • grants by the Minister to aided and special agreement schools of up to 50 per cent of the cost of buildings maintenance (102);
  • grants by the Minister to aided and special agreement schools of up to 50 per cent of the cost of new premises (103);
  • grants by the Minister to aided and special agreement schools for displaced pupils (104);
  • power of the Minister to make loans to aided and special agreement schools in respect of initial expenditure (105);
  • contributions between LEAs (106); and
  • 'Any expenses incurred by the Minister or by the Minister of Health in the exercise of their functions under this Act shall be defrayed out of monies provided by Parliament'. (107)
Part V Supplemental

Part V of the Act covered various administrative matters including:

  • the commencement of arrangements under Part II of the Act (108);
  • temporary assistance for voluntary schools (109);
  • variation of rates (110);
  • revocation and variation of orders and directions (111);
  • regulations to be laid before Parliament (112);
  • the serving of notices under the Act (113);
  • interpretation of terms used in the Act (114); and
  • other technical matters (115-122).
Schedules

There were nine Schedules to the Act:

1 Local Administration (pdf page 93)
    Part I Joint Education Boards (93)
    Part II Education Committees (94)
    Part III Delegation of Functions of LEAs to Divisional Executives (95)
2 Transfer to an LEA of an interest in the premises of a voluntary school (98)
3 Special agreements in respect of certain voluntary schools (99)
4 Meetings and proceedings of managers and governors (101)
5 Procedure for preparing and bringing into operation an agreed syllabus for religious instruction (102)
6 Constitution of Independent Schools Tribunals (104)
7 Adjustment of variations of rates consequent upon commencement of Part II of this Act (104)
8 Amendment of enactments (changes to previous Acts) (106)
9 Enactments repealed (111)

The Act in practice

The government of education

The Act created a triangular system of educational administration: responsibility was shared between central government, which was to set national policies and allocate resources; the local education authorities (LEAs), which were to set local policies and allocate resources to schools; and the schools themselves, whose head teachers and governing bodies would set school policies and manage the resources.

Jones notes that some historians have seen in the 1944 Act a strengthening of central government over local control and he acknowledges that, in some respects, this was true. But he suggests that:

to stress centralisation too strongly is to miss something about the dynamic that 1944 in effect encouraged. Local authorities had some power to organise and reorganise schooling. In addition, because the Act made no stipulations about curriculum and pedagogy, teachers had considerable capacities to initiate school-level change ... these capacities were often under-used, but none the less the elements of decentralisation built into the Act were later the basis for significant initiatives of local curricular reform (Jones 2003:20).
The political historian and constitutional expert Vernon Bogdanor argued that the partnership model embodied in the Act prevented any one participant gaining a monopoly of power:
Power over the distribution of resources, over the organisation and over the content of education was to be diffused amongst the different elements and no one of them was to be given a controlling voice.

Such a structure ... offered clear and obvious advantages, not only for the administrator concerned with the efficient working of the system, but also for the liberal, anxious to avoid the concentration of power, and the pluralist, insistent that different interests should be properly represented. For parallel to the formal relationships between central and local government, embodied in statute and convention, there grew up a network of professional communities whose role it was to soften the political antagonisms which might otherwise render the system unworkable ...

The diffused structure of decision-making led, it could be argued, to better decisions, because it ensured a wide basis of agreement before changes were made (Bogdanor 1979:157-8).

Central government

The Act replaced the Board of Education with the Ministry of Education and gave the Minister 'a creative rather than a merely controlling function, charging him with promoting education in England and Wales' (Mackinnon and Statham 1999:54). The Minister had 'the duty to secure the effective execution by the local authorities, under his control and direction, of the national policy for providing a varied and comprehensive [ie full] education service in every area' (1944 Act, Section 1(1)). He (and later, she) was responsible to parliament and exercised this responsibility through the Ministry. He 'does not provide schools or colleges, nor employ teachers or prescribe textbooks or curricula' (Shipman 1984:39), but 'can identify areas for development and place duties on local authorities' (Shipman 1984:40).

In 1964 the Ministry of Education became the Department of Education and Science (DES) and the Minister became the Secretary of State for Education and Science. The Department has been renamed several times since then:

1992 Department for Education (DFE)
1995 Department for Education and Employment (DfEE)
2001 Department for Education and Skills (DfES)
2007 Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), with a separate Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS)
2010 Department for Education (DfE)
Local education authorities

The bulk of the 1944 Act (Part II) set out the way in which the national service would be locally administered by LEAs, which were based on the counties and county borough councils, the largest of which was the London County Council (LCC). They were to build and maintain the county (state) schools and the one third of schools provided by voluntary, mostly religious, bodies. The LEAs would usually appoint and always pay the teachers. They were to allocate resources to the schools, including staff, buildings, equipment and materials.

They would not have detailed control of the curriculum but were to 'contribute towards the spiritual, moral, mental, and physical development of the community by securing that efficient education ... shall be available to meet the needs of the population of their area' (1944 Act, Section 7). They were to provide sufficient places for 5-15 year olds, set the dates of school terms and the length of the school day.

Within this framework, LEAs had considerable autonomy:

Over the years these local authorities have often developed distinctive styles of administration and forms of school organisation. Cross a local government boundary and you may find different ages of transfer between schools, whether from primary to secondary, primary to middle or middle to secondary. There are sixth forms in schools, consortia of schools, tertiary and sixth form colleges. Some LEAs pioneered comprehensive secondary schooling, while others doggedly fought for the survival of their grammar schools. (Shipman 1984:48)
Every local authority was to have an Education Committee consisting of elected councillors, and was required to appoint a Chief Education Officer who would head the salaried officers of the LEA.

(For more on the role of the chief education officer see my article The Chief Education Officer: the real master of local educational provision?.)

The schools

The Act established a nationwide system of free, compulsory schooling between the ages of 5 and 15. (The school leaving age was raised to fifteen in 1947 and the Act said it should be raised to 16 as soon as practicable: in fact, this did not happen until 1973.)

Pupils could be taught in LEA schools ('county maintained schools'), schools maintained by other organisations ('voluntary schools') or, in certain circumstances, (under Section 56 of the Act) 'otherwise'. (The phrase 'or otherwise' came to be used by parents who did not wish their children to attend school but preferred to educate them at home. An organisation supporting such parents is known as Education Otherwise.)

Apart from requiring the provision of religious education, the Act left control of the school curriculum and resourcing to the LEAs, the governors and head teachers. The content of the secular instruction was a matter for the schools, not for central government. (Indeed, the word 'curriculum' does not appear anywhere in the Act.)

During the debates on the bill, Rab Butler had told the Commons:

the local education authority, as I see it, will have responsibility for the broad type of education given in the secondary schools ... The governing body would, in our view, have the general direction of the curriculum as actually given from day to day, within the school. The head teacher would have, again in our view, responsibility for the internal organisation of the school, including the discipline that is necessary to keep the pupils applied to their study, and to carry out the curriculum in the sense desired by the governing body. ...

It has been felt that, in certain areas, there is a danger that the Secretary, or director of education, may fancy himself in certain subjects, or in some branch of study, and may go into a school and, by an obiter dictum, try to direct the secular instruction of that school more, as he would say, according to the wishes of the authority. That sort of interference with the individual life of the school is undesirable (Hansard House of Commons 10 March 1944 Vol 397 Cols 2363-4).

As to the fate of the direct grant grammar schools, the 1944 Act made no mention of them and they were allowed to remain, with modifications. They were required to reserve at least a quarter of their places for non-fee-paying children from local authority primary schools.
Of the 231 existing schools, 160 retained direct grant status, 36 were rejected and 35 became independent. Four LEA grammar schools were accepted onto the list (another 27 applied and were rejected) (Lawson and Silver 1973:421).
The dual system

The Act categorised voluntary schools as 'aided' (where the church had greater control) or 'controlled' (where the LEA had greater control). Aided schools were offered 50 per cent of their building and maintenance costs from state funds; controlled schools 100 per cent. (The proportion of aided school building costs funded by the taxpayer was increased to 75 per cent in 1959; to 80 per cent in 1967; to 85 per cent in 1974; and to 90 per cent in 2001.)

Both Rab Butler and Archbishop of Canterbury William Temple assumed that only about 500 of the 9,000 Church of England schools would opt for voluntary aided status. In fact, around 3,000 of them did - along with all the Roman Catholic and Jewish schools.

The religious clauses

As part of his deal with the churches, Butler also promised that state schools would be required to provide a daily act of worship and non-denominational religious education based on the LEA's Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education. This was to be compiled by elected politicians, local church leaders, teachers and other education professionals. Controlled schools were required to teach the Agreed Syllabus, but in aided schools religious education was left to the discretion of the churches. Parents would be given the right to withdraw their children from religious education and worship.

It is interesting to note, as Lawson and Silver point out, that there was little opposition to the religious clauses: 'Neither in Parliament nor in the country was there serious opposition ... to the settlement with the voluntary schools' (Lawson and Silver 1973:419). Indeed,

From 1944, paradoxically, religious instruction was to retain a firm basis in schools, in a society that was predominantly secular. The nature of religious instruction itself was to be the subject of constant discussion; very often it came to be barely distinguishable from civics or general or social studies (Lawson and Silver 1973:419).
In the years following the 1944 Act, most Church of England aided schools taught the local Agreed Syllabus but supplemented it. Roman Catholic schools, on the other hand, tended to ignore the Agreed Syllabus and to continue to indoctrinate their pupils through a more confessional style of religious instruction, 'very much concentrated on introducing children to the Catholic community of faith' (Gates 2005:23).

Special educational needs

In 1929 the Report of the Mental Deficiency Committee (the Wood Report) had recommended that children with special needs should be

retained within the Public Elementary School system and that Local Education Authorities modify the organisation of the schools in their areas so as to provide suitable education for the whole group (Wood 1929:157).
However, the education of handicapped children had continued to be treated as an entirely separate category of provision.

The 1943 White Paper contained just two sentences relating to handicapped children: 'Provision for the blind, deaf and other handicapped children is now made under Part V of the Education Act, 1921. This Part of the Act will require substantial modification' (Board of Education 1943:23).

In the event, the 1944 Act (Section 33) effectively implemented Wood's proposal by requiring LEAs to include special needs provision in their development plans for primary and secondary education. The less seriously handicapped might be catered for in ordinary schools, while those with more serious disabilities would, wherever practicable, continue to be educated in special schools. (The 1953 Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act (14 July) extended these requirements to independent schools.)

The thinking behind this section of the Act was explained during the debate on the bill by Chuter Ede, then Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education:

May I say that we do not want to insert in the Bill words which will make it appear that the normal way to deal with a child who suffers from any of these disabilities is to put him in a special school where he will be segregated. While we desire to see adequate provision of special schools we also desire to see as many children as possible retained in the normal stream of school life (Hansard House of Commons 21 March 1944 Vol 398 Col 701).
The Act required LEAs to ascertain all types of disability: the Handicapped Pupils and School Health Service Regulations 1945 defined eleven categories of pupils: blind, partially sighted, deaf, partially deaf, delicate, diabetic, educationally subnormal, epileptic, maladjusted, physically handicapped and those with speech defects. Blind, deaf, epileptic, physically handicapped and aphasic children were considered seriously disabled and were to be educated in special schools. Children with other disabilities should attend ordinary schools if adequate arrangements could be made for them (see Warnock 1978:19-20).

Only the severely subnormal - those considered ineducable - were excluded from the provisions: they remained under the Ministry of Health until 1970, when the 1970 Education (Handicapped Children) Act (23 July) transferred responsibility for the education of severely handicapped children from health authorities to the LEAs.

As a result of the Act's rigid categories of special need,

children were to be diagnosed, principally by medical authorities, and then assigned to particular disability groups with which particular institutions and curriculum forms were associated. ... Intelligence testing and medical examination were thus crucial to the workings of special education, and - just as in the tripartite system - inclusion was a heavily qualified principle, while exclusion was justified on quasi-scientific grounds (Jones 2003:31).
Post-war planning of special educational provision proceeded on two main assumptions: that special educational treatment would be required for up to 17 per cent of the school population; and that ordinary schools would have the major share in providing it.

These intentions were not fulfilled: special educational treatment came to acquire a much narrower connotation than official guidance suggested and its provision in ordinary schools failed to develop on the scale envisaged, partly because in the decade after the war LEAs were hard-pressed to maintain the fabric of the education service (see Warnock 1978:32-35).

Teachers' pay

On 1 April 1945, when many of the provisions of the 1944 Act came into force, the Burnham Committee announced a new salary structure for teachers, 'after prolonged and difficult negotiations between the Local Education Authorities and the teachers' representatives' (Giles 1946:24).

New basic national scales for all qualified teachers were agreed, ending the previous discrimination against teachers in the old elementary schools (though not against women teachers).



Conclusions

Achievements

The 1944 Act was undoubtedly an enormous achievement - all the more remarkable for having been conceived in the depths of a horrific world war. Building on previous education acts, it effectively created an entire system of educational provision and administration. Harold Dent, writing shortly after it was passed, described it as 'the greatest measure of educational advance since 1870, and probably the greatest ever known' (quoted in Simon 1991:77). And Keith Evans, writing forty years later, suggested it was 'probably the greatest single advance in English educational history, its provisions showing real breadth of outlook and considerable educational vision' (Evans 1985:109).

In many respects, it was progressive and forward-looking. It extended the concept of education to include those older and younger than the school age and 'the community's needs for culture and recreation' (Mackinnon and Statham 1999:54). It aimed to provide a comprehensive School Health Service by requiring the provision of school meals, free milk, medical and dental treatment, and various support services including transport and clothing grants. And it established two Central Advisory Councils for Education (one for England, one for Wales) to advise the Minister.

Brian Simon has suggested that

After the dreary decades of the 1920s and 30s, the disruption of the war and the long battle against the Tories and the men of Munich, here was a measure which gave hope for the future, in terms of the life experiences of the mass of ordinary people. If this view was tinged with a certain euphoria, in the circumstances this was understandable. Something of real significance had, it seemed, at long last been achieved (Simon 1991:77).

Criticisms

Middleton and Weitzman are rather more critical:

The 1944 Act was basically a measure repairing a run-down system and it is difficult to find one area of innovation in its many clauses. It originated in a civil service study group which above all aimed at being safe, so the educational aspects of the schools system were probably the least considered. Policies were framed to suit the administrators and not for the benefit of the majority of children. The result is that although it rendered 'obsolete every work of law relating to education which had been written', it merely reconstructed the system built up on the 1902 Act, and put into effect the Hadow report of 1926 (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:307).
Nonetheless, they acknowledge that the Act was 'the greatest advance which could have been achieved in the time and circumstances' (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:308).

Among those circumstances was 'the virtual absolute rule of a Prime Minister who had little time for schools or educationalists' (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:311). Churchill described his own Harrow school days as 'an unending spell of worries that did not then seem petty, and of toil uncheered by fruition, a time of discouragement, restriction and purposeless monotony' (Churchill 1930:37); and he had turned down the post of President of the Board of Education in 1905 on the basis that it was about 'smacking children's bottoms and blowing their noses' (quoted in Middleton and Weitzman 1976:311).

Clyde Chitty argues that the Act had many positive features, but that it is easy to exaggerate its beneficial effects:

Although it came to be regarded by many as a cornerstone of the Welfare State, it could be argued that it had a number of weaknesses and shortcomings which undermined its good intentions. Above all, it provided no clear definition of the content or structure of secondary education (Chitty 1989:22).
Many, especially in the Labour Party, were disappointed that it failed to resolve two key problems: the involvement of the churches in state education and the existence of the public (and other private) schools. 'The notion of a universal system of state schooling was thus compromised from the first' (Jones 2003:16).

One of the critics was GCT Giles (1891-1976), who set out his views on the 1943 White Paper and the 1944 Act in The New School Tie, published in 1946. Giles had been Head of Acton County (Grammar) School since 1926. He became President of the NUT in 1944 and played a part in the negotiations for the White Paper and the Act. Despite his privileged upbringing (he had been educated at Eton and King's College Cambridge), he was a prominent member of the Communist Party and a lifelong campaigner for comprehensive education.

Giles argued that the Act bore 'the marks of its mixed origin': British capitalism needed a modern national system of education and the Act provided the framework; but the coalition government - dependent on a Tory majority in the House of Commons - had not had the courage to 'brush aside the obstacles in the path' (Giles 1946:64).

The Act makes concessions to privilege and vested interest. It does not sweep away all the class barriers in the education system. It tends to slow down the pace of reform by inadequate financial provision (Giles 1946:64).
Other commentators have also seen the Act as a characteristically 'Tory' measure. How, then, did it deal with the four key issues on which reformers had campaigned?

The major issues

The public schools

Many had hoped that the 1944 Act would either integrate the public schools into the state education system or abolish them altogether. For Giles, the public schools were 'privileged institutions, enabling the well-to-do to purchase for their children access to eligible careers, which is denied to those outside the charmed circle' (Giles 1946:29). In evidence to the Fleming Committee, the NUT had argued that the schools

should either come into the State system and accept the conditions which accompany the receipt of public money, or, if they wish to be independent, should give up all idea of subsidy in any form from public funds (Giles 1946:27).
Some of the public schools were already in financial difficulty, so 'withdrawal of financial support might be almost as effective a method of hastening their end as outright abolition' (Giles 1946:27).

But it was not to be. The Fleming Committee's report was published - as Butler had intended - too late for its recommendations to be taken note of, and was, in any case, an utter disappointment. The Act contained 'nothing of any significance about the public schools' (Simon 1991:73). 'Can one doubt', asks Brian Simon, 'that this was a major Tory objective, especially in view of the mounting radical critique in the early stages of the war?' (Simon 1991: 73).

The survival of the public schools was the Act's 'most obvious concession to privilege, and the one which has given rise to the most criticism and controversy' (Giles 1946:26).

Secondary education

While both the Green Book and the White Paper had taken the tripartite system of secondary schools for granted, it is important to note that the 1944 Act did not specify any particular kind of secondary school, as Chuter Ede pointed out in a speech reported in The Times of 14 April 1944:

I do not know where people get the idea about three types of school, because I have gone through the Bill with a small toothcomb, and I can find only one school for senior pupils - and that is a secondary school. What you like to make of it will depend on the way you serve the precise needs of the individual area in the country (quoted in Chitty and Dunford 1999:20).
Multilateral (comprehensive) schools were therefore a legal possibility under the Act. However, by emphasising the need to make provision for pupils' 'ages, abilities and aptitudes', the Act 'appeared to legitimise a tripartite structure of secondary schools, and to reject the multilateral idea' (Simon 1991:74).

The tripartite system was effectively the continuation of nineteenth-century class-based provision of education in a new form, as Raymond Williams noted in his 1961 book The Long Revolution:

One has only to compare the simple class thinking of the Taunton Commission's recommended grades with the Hadow, Spens, and Norwood reports, and the practical effects of the 1944 Education Act, to see the essential continuity, despite changes in the economy, of a pattern of thinking drawn from a rigid class society, with its grading by birth leading to occupation, and then assimilated to a changing society, with a new system of grading (Williams 1961:149-150).
Brian Simon argued that 'after all the discussion and legislation, the country emerged with an hierarchical educational structure almost precisely as planned and developed in the mid-late nineteenth century'. England's schools were still divided into 'five (or even six) grades or levels, serving differentiated social strata' (Simon 1991:74):
First, the established 'system' of public schools at the top; second, the direct grant schools, having won the right to continue to charge fees, survived unscathed; third, the grammar schools - the elite group within the maintained (or 'grant-aided') sector; fourth, technical, some 'central' and other types of 'trade' schools; and fifth (for the masses) the pre-war senior elementary schools now to be known as 'secondary modern'. For a considerable period there was also to be the remnant of a sixth level - the old, unreorganised 'all-age' elementary schools which, however, had received their death sentence in the Act. (These took another twenty years to extirpate.) (Simon 1991:74-75).
Thus no restructuring of a fundamental character had been achieved and there was no serious threat to the social order.

Nonetheless, the reformers had achieved some measure of success. With the creation of a single code of regulations, secondary education for all had been conceded, in principle at least: 'its form and structure, within the maintained sector, and therefore its essential content, were left for future battles' (Simon 1991:75).

The school leaving age

The Act acknowledged that sixteen was the desirable school leaving age, but it only made provision for a leaving age of fifteen (Section 35), to come into force on 1 April 1945.

However, on 17 August 1944 - just two weeks after the Act had received the Royal Assent - Butler issued an Order postponing implementation of this section of the Act 'to a date not later than 1st April 1947' (quoted in Simon 1991:97).

The leaving age was indeed raised to fifteen on 1 April 1947 (though even then, not without battles in Cabinet), but it would be almost thirty years before it was raised to sixteen (in 1973).

The dual system

The 1943 White Paper had described the co-existence of local authority and voluntary schools as 'An embarrassing feature of the public system of education' (Board of Education 1943:10).

The 'obvious and logical solution', wrote Giles, 'is the complete transference of the voluntary schools to the control of the local education authorities' (Giles 1946:35).

This has been for many years the policy of the National Union of Teachers and of the Free Churches. It was the policy of a majority of the representatives of the local education authorities. Complete abolition of the Dual System was accepted by an overwhelming majority at the Trades Union Congress in September, 1942 (Giles 1946:35).
Following intense pressure from the churches, however, Butler had opted for a compromise: 'to trade influence for cash - public funding of church schools in return for majority local authority representation on governing bodies' (Jones 2003:18). As a result, the 1944 Act cemented the church schools into the state system of education. From an economic point of view this was hardly surprising: to have transferred all church schools to the local authorities would have been seen by many as a waste of money at a time when the country's infrastructure had been devastated. However, the Act could have stated that this was the long-term aim and suggested a possible timescale.

The failure to tackle the church school problem in 1944 and the willingness of subsequent governments to kowtow to the religious lobby led ultimately to the scandal of religious fundamentalists being given taxpayers' money to indoctrinate children. For more on this topic, see my articles:

Glass in their Snowballs: the faith schools debate
Creationism: bad science, bad religion, bad education; and
Never Mind the Evidence: Blair's obsession with faith schools.



A moment of hope

Part II of the 1944 Education Act came into force on 1 April 1945. It was Easter Sunday and churches held special services to give thanks for the Act. In his diary, Chuter Ede recorded that 'I stayed awake until midnight in order that I might know the moment at which the elementary education system expired' (quoted in Middleton and Weitzman 1976:312).

The Times ran a leading article headed 'A Landmark in Education' which greeted the new era but warned that 'the government and the people have committed themselves to shouldering the task of turning policy into practice' (quoted in Middleton and Weitzman 1976:312).

It would be no easy task: the old system - which had never been generously funded - was crumbling under the stresses of war. There was a shortage of teachers and other professionals, with many younger men still away in the forces: 'a proportion of them would never return but move on to other prospects' (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:314). Many schools had been destroyed, damaged or commandeered; all had been neglected. New construction remained at a standstill because building materials were scarce. School supplies had suffered six years of extreme shortages. In fact, 'the old system which had grown out of the Education Act of 1902 was run down to the point of collapse' (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:314).

And now, more teachers and classrooms were needed to cope with the raising of the school leaving age, and many of the new secondary modern schools had very large classes.

There had, however, been one area of improvement: despite food rationing, children's health was better than it had ever been, partly because work in the forces or factories had provided almost all families with a regular income, and partly because, faced with shortages of essential foods, the whole nation had become nutrition-conscious. The introduction of universal school meals was quickly beneficial: 'the child of the 1950s was a very different pupil from his predecessor of the 1930s' (Middleton and Weitzman 1976:314).

A month after the new education system had come into being, on 8 May 1945, the war in Europe ended and the general election which followed in July 1945 resulted in a House of Commons with 393 Labour MPs, 213 Conservatives, 12 Liberals and 22 others. With a majority of 146 over all other parties, Labour had, for the first time, effective political power.



References

Board of Education (1941) Education After the War (The Green Book) London: Board of Education

Board of Education (1943) White Paper Educational Reconstruction Cmd. 6458 London: HMSO

Bogdanor V (1979) 'Power and Participation' Oxford Review of Education 5(2) 157-168

Chitty C (1989) Towards a New Education System: The Victory of the New Right? London: Falmer Press

Chitty C and Dunford J (eds) (1999) State schools: New Labour and the Conservative legacy London: Woburn Press

Churchill WS (1930) My Early Life London: Thornton Butterworth

Clarke F (1940) Education and social change: an English interpretation London: Sheldon Press

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Dent HC (1942) A New Order in English Education Bickley: University of London Press Ltd

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Evans K (1985) The Development and Structure of the English School System Sevenoaks: Hodder & Stoughton

Gates B (2005) 'Faith schools and colleges of education since 1800' in R Gardner, J Cairns and D Lawton (eds) (2005) Faith schools: consensus or conflict? Abingdon: RoutledgeFalmer 14-35

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

Jones K (2003) Education in Britain: 1944 to the present Cambridge: Polity Press

Lawson J and Silver H (1973) A Social History of Education in England London: Methuen & Co Ltd

Mackinnon D and Statham J (1999) Education in the UK: facts and figures (3rd edn) London: Hodder and Stoughton/Open University

McCulloch G (2007) Cyril Norwood and the Ideal of Secondary Education Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

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Middleton N and Weitzman S (1976) A Place for Everyone London: Victor Gollancz Ltd

Norwood (1943) Curriculum and Examinations in Secondary Schools Report of the Committee of the Secondary School Examinations Council London: HMSO

Shipman M (1984) Education as a public service London: Harper and Row

Simon B (1974) The Politics of Educational Reform 1920-1940 London: Lawrence & Wishart

Simon B (1991) Education and the Social Order 1940-1990 London: Lawrence & Wishart

Warnock (1978) Special Educational Needs Report of the Committee of Enquiry into the education of handicapped children and young people London: HMSO

Williams R (1961) The Long Revolution London: Chatto and Windus

Wood (1929) Report of the Mental Deficiency Committee: Report of the Joint Committee of the Board of Education and Board of Control London: HMSO

Chapter 8 | Chapter 10