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


On this page:

Abbreviations

Words and phrases

The education department
The department
The personnel


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.



Glossary

Abbreviations

APU Assessment of Performance Unit
ASCL Association of School and College Leaders
ATL Association of Teachers and Lecturers
ATO Area Training Organisation

BEd Bachelor of Education
BIS Department of Business, Innovation and Skills
BSF Building Schools for the Future
BTEC Business and Technology Education Council

CABE Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment
CACE Central Advisory Council for Education
CASE Campaign for State Education
CATE Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education
CE Church of England (as in 'St Jude's CE Primary School')
CEO Chief Education Officer
CESC House of Commons Education Select Committee
CNAA Council for National Academic Awards
CPAC Commons Public Accounts Committee
CPR Cambridge Primary Review
CSE Certificate of Secondary Education
CSFC House of Commons Children, Schools and Families Select Committee
CTC City Technology College
CVA contextualised value added

DCSF Department for Children, Schools and Families
DES Department of Education and Science.
DFE Department for Education (1992-95)
DfE Department for Education (2010- )
DfEE Department for Education and Employment
DfES Department for Education and Skills
Dip HE Diploma in Higher Education
DIUS Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills

EAZs Education Action Zones
EiC Excellence in Cities
EMA Education Maintenance Allowance
ESGs Education Support Grants
EWO Education Welfare Officer
EYFS Early Years Foundation Stage

FE Further education
FEFCs Further Education Funding Councils

GCE General Certificate of Education
GCSE General Certificate of Secondary Education
GLC Greater London Council
GM Grant-maintained
GNVQ General National Vocational Qualification
GTC General Teaching Council

HE Higher education
HEFCs Higher Education Funding Councils
HMCI Her Majesty's Chief Inspector
HMI Her Majesty's Inspector/Inspectorate
HND Higher National Diploma

ICT Information and Communications Technology
ILEA Inner London Education Authority
INSET In-service training
IPPR Institute for Public Policy Research
IQ Intelligence quotient
IRPC Independent Review of the Primary Curriculum
ITT Initial Teacher Training

KS Key stage

LA Local Authority
LEA Local Education Authority
LCC London County Council
LGA Local Government Association
LMS Local management of schools
LSC Learning and Skills Council
LSE London School of Economics

MSC Manpower Services Commission

NAA National Assessment Agency
NAHT National Association of Head Teachers
NAO National Audit Office
NAPE National Association for Primary Education
NASUWT National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers
NATE National Association for the Teaching of English
NC National Curriculum
NCC National Curriculum Council
NCSL National College for School Leadership
NCVQ National Council for Vocational Qualifications
NEU National Education Union
NFER National Foundation for Educational Research
NSPCC National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
NUT National Union of Teachers
NVQ National Vocational Qualification

OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Ofqual Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator
Ofsted Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills

PFI Private finance initiative
PGCE Postgraduate Certificate in Education
PISA Programme for International Student Assessment (run by OECD)
PPP Public private partnership
PRU Pupil Referral Unit
PSE Personal and social education
PSHE Personal, social and health education

QCA Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (replaced by QCDA)
QCDA Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency
QTS Qualified Teacher Status

RC Roman Catholic
RE Religious Education
RoA Record of Achievement

SACRE Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education
SATs Standard Assessment Tests
SCAA School Curriculum and Assessment Authority
SCDC School Curriculum Development Committee
SEAC School Examinations and Assessment Council
SEC School Examinations Council
SEN Special educational needs
SENCO Special educational needs coordinator
SHA Secondary Heads Association
SIPs School Improvement Partners
SLA School leaving age
SLTs Single Level Tests
SRC School report card
SRE Sex and relationships education
SSAT Specialist Schools and Academies Trust
STRB School Teachers' Pay and Review Body

TDA Training and Development Agency for Schools
TES The Times Educational Supplement
TGAT Task Group on Assessment and Testing
TTA Teacher Training Agency
TUC Trades Union Congress
TVEI Technical and Vocational Education Initiative

UCAS Universities and Colleges Admissions Service
UDE University Department of Education
UGC University Grants Committee
UKLA United Kingdom Literacy Association
ULIE University of London Institute of Education
ULT United Learning Trust (academies sponsor)

VA Voluntary aided
VC Voluntary controlled

WEA Workers' Educational Association

YTS Youth Training Scheme



Words and phrases

Academies (originally called city academies) publicly-funded schools with private sponsors; the first three opened in 2002. Controversial.

Advisory Committee on the Supply and Education of Teachers (ACSET) abolished in 1985

Agreed Syllabus syllabus for religious education adopted by an LEA as required by law.

Aided schools see Faith schools.

A Level Advanced Level - the exams usually taken at age 18 and often required for university entrance.

Area Training Organisation set up in 1947 to co-ordinate the provision of teacher training. Long since defunct.

Assembly the name often used in schools for the collective act of worship, required by the 1988 Education Reform Act to be 'mainly Christian'.

Assessment of Performance Unit set up in 1974 to look at national attainment in six curriculum areas; abolished in 1989.

Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) formerly the Secondary Heads Association (SHA).

Bachelor of Education four year degree course introduced in 1965.

Banding see Pupil grouping.

Black Papers a series of papers by right-wing educationists and politicians, published between 1969 and 1977, which condemned 'progressive' educational methods, comprehensive schools and egalitarianism in general. They were:

  • 1969 Fight for Education: A Black Paper edited by CB Cox and AE Dyson. Critical Quarterly Society.
  • 1969 Black Paper Two: The Crisis in Education edited by CB Cox and AE Dyson. Critical Quarterly Society.
  • 1970 Black Paper Three: Goodbye Mr Short edited by CB Cox and AE Dyson. Critical Quarterly Society.
  • 1975 Black Paper 1975: The Fight for Education edited by CB Cox and R Boyson. London: Dent.
  • 1977 Black Paper 1977 edited by CB Cox and R Boyson. London: Maurice Temple Smith.

Burnham Committee two committees - primary and secondary - established in 1919 to negotiate teachers' salaries; abolished in 1987.

Capitation allowance (before local management of schools) funds allocated to schools by a local education authority for the purchase of books, consumable materials and equipment on the basis of the number and age of pupils.

Campaign for State Education (CASE) founded in 1962 as the Confederation for the Advancement of State Education, later became the Campaign for the Advancement of State Education, now known as the Campaign for State Education.

Central Advisory Councils for Education (one for England, one for Wales) established by the 1944 Education Act, they produced, among others, the Plowden Report. Long since defunct.

Certificate of Secondary Education (CSE) introduced in 1965 for less academic children. See GCSE.

Chief Education Officer the senior officer of a local authority with responsibility for education; sometimes called Director of Education.

Child-centred a style of education focused on children's abilities, aptitudes and interests.

Church of England see Faith schools.

Church schools schools run by churches - see Faith schools.

City academies see Academies.

Combined schools schools with children aged from 5 to 12 in authorities with three-tier systems.

Comprehensive schools non-selective schools, usually for 11-18 year olds.

Consultative Committee established by the 1899 Board of Education Act, the Consultative Committee produced many reports; it was replaced following the 1944 Education Act by the Central Advisory Councils for Education.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) previously referred to as In-Service Training (INSET).

Controlled schools see Faith schools.

Corporal punishment banned in state schools in England and Wales in 1986; in all schools in England and Wales in 1998, Scotland in 2000, Northern Ireland in 2003.

Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA) abolished in 1992.

Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education established in 1984 to set standards for initial teacher training courses. Long since defunct.

Department of Education see Education department at the foot of this page.

Deschoolers those who believe children should be educated at home rather than in school.

Direct grant schools schools (mostly grammar schools) which were funded directly by central government; phased out in the 1970s.

Education Action Zones established by the 1998 School Standards and Framework Act; soon subsumed into Excellence in Cities.

Education department see the foot of this page.

Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) introduced in 1999 to promote greater take-up of post-16 education.

Education Support Grants (ESGs) central government funds given to LEAs for specific purposes; introduced in 1984.

Education Welfare Officer (EWO) an officer employed by a local authority on school attendance and welfare work.

Eleven plus (often written as 11+) the exam(s) used to select eleven-year-olds for grammar schools in LEAs which still have them.

Excellence in Cities three-year initiative which began in 1999.

Faith schools schools run by a church or other religious group. May be independent or funded by the state. Those funded by the state are either:

  • Voluntary aided (where the church or faith group has substantial influence in the running of the school, especially over religious education); or
  • Voluntary controlled (where the faith group has less influence).
Family grouping see Pupil grouping.

First school see Three-tier system

Foundation schools the name given by Tony Blair's New Labour government to schools which were previously grant-maintained.

Further education generally refers to non-university education for school-leavers; often vocational. See also Higher education.

Further Education Funding Councils established by the 1992 Further and Higher Education Act.

General Certificate of Education (GCE) see General Certificate of Secondary Education.

General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) the exam normally taken at age 16; introduced in 1986 when it combined and replaced the previous GCE O Level (Ordinary Level) and the CSE.

General Teaching Council established by the 1998 Teaching and Higher Education Act; abolished in 2012.

Grammar schools selective schools for 'academic' 11- to 18-year-olds who pass the eleven plus; most became comprehensive schools in the 1960s-80s; about 160 remain in 2018.

Grant-maintained schools schools which, under the 1988 Education Reform Act, opted out of LEA control. See also Foundation schools.

Greater London Council created in 1964; abolished, along with ILEA, on 31 March 1986.

Green Paper a government consultation document.

Her Majesty's Inspector/Inspectorate (HMI) school inspectors, still operating but much reduced in number and role since the creation of Ofsted in 1992.

Pre-1992 Senior Chief Inspectors (SCI):
1974 Sheila Browne
1983 Eric Bolton
1991 Terry Melia

Post-1992 Her Majesty's Chief Inspectors (HMCI):

1992 Stewart Sutherland
1994 Chris Woodhead
2000 Mike Tomlinson
2002 David Bell
2006 Maurice Smith (acting, Jan-Oct)
2006 Christine Gilbert
2011 Miriam Rosen (acting, Jul-Dec)
2012 Sir Michael Wilshaw
2017 Amanda Spielman

Higher education degree courses, usually at universities.

Higher Education Funding Councils established by the 1992 Further and Higher Education Act; abolished in March 2018.

Independent school see Public school.

Infant school usually for pupils aged 5 to 7 years; may be part of a primary school or a separate school.

Inner London Education Authority created in 1964; abolished on 1 April 1990.

INSET In-Service Training for serving teachers, now often referred to as Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Integrated day a form of class or teaching group organisation, usually in primary schools, in which different children undertake a variety of activities at the same time.

Integrated studies the integrated teaching of a group of subjects such as history, geography, religious education and English.

Key Stage the National Curriculum is divided into five Key Stages:

KS1 age 5 - 7 years;
KS2 age 7 - 11 years;
KS3 age 11 - 14 years;
KS4 age 14 - 16 years;
KS5 age 16 - 18 years.
Local authority (LA) see Local education authority

Local education authority (LEA) established under the 1902 Education Act to administer educational provision within the area of a local authority. Section 162 of the 2006 Education and Inspections Act removed the word 'education' so that all legislative references are now to 'local authorities'. The role of LEAs has been diminished by successive governments.

Local management of schools (LMS) the management by schools of their budgets, introduced in the 1988 Education Reform Act.

London County Council replaced by the Greater London Council in 1964.

Lower school see Three-tier system

Maintained school a school funded by the state.

Manpower Services Commission set up in 1974 to oversee the vocational training of young people. Long since defunct.

Middle school see Three-tier system

Ministry of Education see Education department at the foot of this page.

Mixed ability see Pupil grouping.

National Association of Head Teachers union for (mainly primary) head teachers.

National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) two separate unions until they merged in 1976; represents mainly teachers in secondary schools.

National Council for Vocational Qualifications (NCVQ) abolished by the 1997 Education Act - see Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.

National Curriculum introduced by the 1988 Education Reform Act and frequently modified.

National Curriculum Council set up to manage the National Curriculum under the 1988 Education Reform Act, now defunct.

National Education Union formed on 1 September 2017 by the merger of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL).

National Union of Teachers established in 1870, the NUT became the largest teacher union in England. On 1 September 2017 it merged with the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) to become the National Education Union (NEU).

Nuffield Foundation an independent trust founded by William Morris in 1943, it sponsors research and development in various fields including education.

Nursery School a school for 3- to 5-year-olds.

Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) established by the 1992 Education (Schools) Act to manage privatised school inspection teams; became the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills following the 2006 Education and Inspections Act.

O Level see General Certificate of Secondary Education.

Polytechnics institutions created in 1966 to provide higher and further education with a technical bias; granted university status in 1991.

Postgraduate Certificate in Education a year of professional training for graduates wanting Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Primary school for children aged 5 to 11.

Private schools schools not funded by the state but for which parents pay fees; also referred to as independent schools.

Public schools confusingly, in England this term usually refers to certain elite private schools.

Pupil grouping five main types:

streaming, where a class consists of pupils selected on the basis of overall ability;
setting, where a class consists of pupils selected on the basis of ability in a particular subject;
mixed ability, where a class consists of pupils representing the full range of abilities;
banding (usually in large secondary schools), where pupils are organised into groups of classes on the basis of overall ability.
family grouping (or vertical classification), a form of grouping found mainly in infant schools in which a class extends over two or three age groups.
Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) established in 1997 by the amalgamation of the National Council for Vocational Qualifications (NCVQ) and the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority (SCAA); became the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA) in 2009.

Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA) established in 2009; abolished in 2012.

Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) required for teaching in state schools in England; awarded to teachers after satisfactory completion of a training course and a probationary year.

Religious education (RE) required by the 1988 Education Reform Act to be 'mainly Christian' but to include the study of other world faiths.

Roman Catholic see Faith schools.

School Curriculum and Assessment Authority abolished in the 1997 Education Act - see Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.

School Curriculum Development Committee set up in 1984. Now defunct.

School Examinations and Assessment Council (SEAC) set up to manage assessment arrangements under the 1988 Education Reform Act. Now defunct.

School Examinations Council (SEC) set up in 1984. Now defunct.

School leaving age the age at which children may leave full-time education. It was set at:

11 in 1893
12 in 1899
14 in 1921
15 in 1947
16 in 1973
The 2008 Education and Skills Act set the 'education leaving age' at 18.

Schools Council set up in 1964 to disseminate ideas about curricular reform in England and Wales; abolished in 1984.

Secondary modern schools for children aged 11 to 16 who fail the eleven plus exam; they now exist only in areas which still have grammar schools where they are usually (illogically) referred to as comprehensive schools.

Secondary school for children aged 11 to 16 or 18.

Secretary of State for Education since 1964, the government minister heading the education department (the exact title has changed several times according to the name of the department).

Section 11 the part of the 1966 Local Government Act which dealt with the funding of education for immigrant children.

Section 28 the infamous section of the 1988 Local Government Act which forbade local authorities from 'promoting teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship'; repealed in 2003.

Selection the separation of children into different schools (usually at age 11) on the basis of intelligence, ability or aptitude (see Eleven plus).

Setting see Pupil grouping.

Sixth form the traditional name (still used) for students aged 16-18 years who have taken their GCSE exams and are (usually) studying for A Levels.

Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE) an LEA body responsible for the conduct of religious education.

Statementing the process, required by law, of creating a statement of the special educational needs of a pupil and the ways in which those needs will be met.

Streaming see Pupil grouping.

Task Group on Assessment and Testing produced the 1988 Black Report which set out the structure of National Curriculum tests.

Teacher Training Authority (TTA) established by the 1994 Education Act; replaced by the Training and Development Agency for Schools.

Technical and Vocational Education Initiative (TVEI) launched in 1982. Long since defunct.

The Times Educational Supplement weekly publication now calling itself the TES.

Three-tier system the organisation of schools into three tiers, usually consisting of first (or lower) schools for children aged 5-8 or 5-9, middle schools for ages 8-12 or 9-13, and upper or high schools for ages 12 or 13 to 18. Most local authorities have now reverted to two-tier systems with transfer at age 11.

Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDAS) replaced the Teacher Training Authority in 1994; replaced by the Teaching Agency in 2012.

Trust schools effectively the same as academies - state-funded schools backed by private sponsors.

Upper schools see Three-tier system

Vertical classification see Pupil grouping.

Voluntary aided see Faith schools.

Voluntary controlled see Faith schools.

Voluntary schools see Faith schools.

White Paper sets out proposals for inclusion in a government Bill.

Workforce remodelling a government initiative, begun in 2003, which aimed to reduce teachers' workload by employing more unqualified classroom assistants.

Youth Training Scheme set up in 1983. Long since defunct.



The education department

The department

The first UK government department with responsibility for education was the Committee of the Privy Council on Education, set up in 1839 to administer grants to schools. Sir James Kay (later, Kay-Shuttleworth) was its first Permanent Secretary.

In 1852 a Department of Practical Art was created under the Board of Trade; in 1853 it was renamed the Department of Science and Art; and in 1856 the Committee of Council and the Department of Science and Art merged to become the Education Department, still under the Privy Council.

The Board of Education, responsible for all the government's education functions, was established in 1899. The Board lasted until 1944, when the Education Act of that year created the Ministry of Education. Twenty years later the Ministry became a Department which has had its name changed several times:

1964 Department of Education and Science (DES)
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)
2010 Department for Education (DfE).

The personnel

Permanent Secretary of the Committee of the Privy Council on Education
10 April 1839Sir James Kay (later, Kay-Shuttleworth)

Vice-President of the Committee of Council on Education
5 February 1857William Cowper
12 March 1858Charles Adderley
26 April 1864Henry Bruce
26 June 1866Henry Lowry-Corry
19 March 1867Lord Robert Montagu
9 December 1868William Edward Forster
2 March 1874Viscount Sandon
4 April 1878Lord George Hamilton
3 May 1880AJ Mundella
24 June 1885Edward Stanhope
13 February 1886Sir Lyon Playfair
25 January 1887Sir William Hart Dyke
25 August 1892Arthur Dyke Acland
4 July 1895Sir John Eldon Gorst

President of the Board of Education
3 March 1900Spencer Compton Cavendish
11 August 1902Charles Vane-Tempest-Stewart
10 December 1905Augustine Birrell
23 January 1907Reginald McKenna
12 April 1908Walter Runciman
23 October 1911Joseph (Jack) Pease
25 May 1915Arthur Henderson
10 December 1916HAL (Herbert) Fisher
24 October 1922Edward Wood
22 January 1924Charles Trevelyan
6 November 1924Lord Eustace Percy
7 June 1929Charles Trevelyan
25 August 1931Donald Maclean
15 June 1932Edward Wood (as Lord Irwin)
7 June 1935Oliver Stanley
28 May 1937Earl (James) Stanhope
27 October 1938Earl de la Warr (Herbrand Sackville)
3 April 1940Herwald Ramsbotham (Viscount Soulbury)
20 July 1941Rab Butler

Minister of Education
3 August 1944Rab Butler
25 May 1945Richard Law
3 August 1945Ellen Wilkinson
10 February 1947George Tomlinson
2 November 1951Florence Horsbrugh
18 October 1954Sir David Eccles
13 January 1957Viscount Hailsham
17 September 1957Geoffrey Lloyd
14 October 1959Sir David Eccles
13 July 1962Sir Edward Boyle

Secretary of State for Education
1 April 1964Quintin Hogg
18 October 1964Michael Stewart
22 January 1965Anthony Crosland
29 August 1967Patrick Gordon-Walker
6 April 1968Edward Short
20 June 1970Margaret Thatcher
5 March 1974Reginald Prentice
10 June 1975Fred Mulley
10 September 1976Shirley Williams
5 May 1979Mark Carlisle
14 September 1981Sir Keith Joseph
21 May 1986Kenneth Baker
24 July 1989John MacGregor
2 November 1990Kenneth Clarke
10 April 1992John Patten
20 July 1994Gillian Shephard

Secretary of State for Education and Employment
5 July 1995Gillian Shephard
2 May 1997 David Blunkett

Secretary of State for Education and Skills
8 June 2001Estelle Morris
24 October 2002Charles Clarke
15 December 2004Ruth Kelly
5 May 2006Alan Johnson

Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families
28 June 2007Ed Balls

Secretary of State for Education
12 May 2010Michael Gove
15 July 2014Nicky Morgan
14 July 2016Justine Greening
8 January 2018Damian Hinds

Timeline | Bibliography