Education in England:
a brief history

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Education in England: a brief history
Derek Gillard

New version : notes on progress

The current version of Education in England: a brief history was revised and updated in 2010 and published in January 2011.

In November 2014 I started work on a major revision. So far, I have rewritten the chapters covering the period up to 1939 and also the chapter dealing with the period of the coalition government, 2010-2015. I am now working on the remaining chapters, covering 1939-2010.

Uploading individual chapters as I revise them would cause confusion both for me and for my readers, so the new version will not be available online until it is complete (apart from the chapter on the coalition government, a draft of which is already available as chapter 13).

The contents of the eight chapters revised so far are set out below. I will update this page each time I finish a chapter.

I hope to finish the new version of Education in England: a brief history in summer 2017. It will be more than twice as long as the current version and I hope you will feel that it was worth waiting for!

Derek Gillard
20 January 2017.

Contents of the revised chapters

Please note that some of these headings may be changed in the final version.

Chapter 1 : Up to 1500

AD43-1100 The earliest schools
The Romans
St Augustine
Grammar schools and song schools
King Alfred and the Vikings
The Normans

1100-1400 Expansion and development
The schools
   The schoolmaster
   Organisation and curriculum
The universities
   Curriculum and organisation
   Fourteenth century problems
Wycliffe and the Lollards

1400-1500 Growing demand for education
The schools
   Chantry schools
   Independent schools
   The teachers
   The teaching
Chivalric training and apprenticeships
The universities
   The curriculum
Preparing for change


Chapter 2 : 1500-1600
Renaissance and Reformation


Henry VIII 1509-1547
The schools
   The dissolution of the monasteries
   The first Chantry Act (1545)
   The curriculum
   The education of girls
   The teachers
The universities
Other issues
   Literacy and the vernacular

Edward VI 1547-1553
The schools
   The second Chantry Act (1547)
The universities
The poor
Edward's legacy

Mary I 1553-1558

Elizabeth I 1558-1603
Religious background
The schools
   The teachers
   The grammar schools
   The petties
   An Elizabethan schoolroom
   The plight of the poor
   Contemporary views on education
Other forms of education
   The chivalric system and the courtly academies
   The Inns of Court
   Gresham College
The universities
   The universities and the crown
   The students
   The colleges
   University studies
Education in Scotland



Chapter 3 : 1600-1660

Political background
   The early Stuarts 1603-1649
   The Commonwealth 1649-1660
Religious background
   Millenarian eschatology

The Puritans and education
Universal education
Teacher training
Key figures
   Francis Bacon
   John Comenius
   Samuel Hartlib
   John Dury
   William Petty
   John Milton
   Charles Hoole
   James Harrington
   Gerrard Winstanley

The schools
The grammar-school curriculum
The education of girls
The teaching profession
Schools in Wales, Ireland and Scotland

The universities
The 1640s
The 1650s


Chapter 4 : 1660-1750

Political background
Educational background
   John Locke (1632-1704)

The schools
The grammar schools
Girls' schools
Unendowed academies
Charity schools
The workhouse
The education of the gentry
Schools in Scotland

The universities

The dissenting academies
The 1662 Act of Uniformity
The tutors
   Philip Doddridge (1702-1751)


Chapter 5 : 1750-1860
Towards mass education

The Industrial Revolution

Social, political and educational movements
Literary and philosophical societies
   Corresponding Societies
   Radical-Whig alliance
Mechanics' Institutes
Owenism and the co-operative movement
Mid-century radicalism

Mass education
1802 Factory Act
1807 Parochial Schools Bill
1820 Henry Brougham's bill
1833 First government grant
1833 Factories Act
1839 The Committee of Council
1843 James Graham's bill
Edward Baines and voluntaryism
1855 Sir John Pakington's bill
School attendance

Schools for the working classes
Charity schools
Dame and private-venture schools
Church schools
   England and Wales
Sunday schools
Monitorial schools
Bentham's Chrestomathic School
Robert Owen's infant schools
Elementary schools
Vocational education
The education of girls
The very poor
   Workhouse schools
   Ragged schools
   Industrial and reformatory schools
Teacher training

The education of the middle and upper classes
The grammar schools
Private schools and academies
The public schools
Preparatory schools
The education of girls
Secondary education in Scotland

Special educational needs
Provision for
 - the blind
 - the deaf
 - the physically handicapped
 - the mentally defective

Higher education
Oxford and Cambridge
University of London
Owens College, Manchester
The Scottish universities
The professions


Chapter 6 : 1860-1900
A state system of education


The education of the working class
1861 Newcastle Report
1862 Revised Code
1870 Elementary Education Act
   The church problem
   The school boards
   The elementary schools
1873-9 Elementary Education Acts
1880 Elementary Education Act
1882 Mundella Code
1891 Elementary Education Act
The teachers
Infant schools
Higher elementary education
   Higher Grade Schools
   1886-8 Cross Commission

The education of the upper class
1864 Clarendon Report
   Management of the schools
   The curriculum
   Upper-class preserves
1868 Public Schools Act

The education of the middle classes
1868 Taunton Report
   Taunton's findings
   Management and administration
   The three-grade scheme
   The curriculum
   The education of girls
The reform of endowments
   1868 Endowed Schools Act
   1869 Endowed Schools Act
   The Endowed Schools Commission
   1874 Endowed Schools Act
1895 Bryce Report

Elementary education
Secondary education
The education of girls

Science and technology
1875 Devonshire Report
1882 Aberdare Report
1884 Samuelson Report
1889-1892 Further Acts

The education of girls

Child welfare and special educational needs
Child welfare
Special educational needs
Provision for
   the deaf and blind
   the physically and mentally handicapped
   defective and epileptic children

Higher education
New colleges
Oxford and Cambridge
   1862 Oxford University Act
   1871 Universities Tests Act

And finally ...
The government of education
   1888 Local Government Act
   1899 Board of Education Act
Mundella's legacy
Education and society
   Social conditions
   Socialism and education
   A common education for all
Education as a science


Chapter 7 : 1900-1923
Secondary education for some


1902 Education Act (Balfour)
The issues
   The school boards
   Secondary education
Preparation of the bill
Summary of the Act
Comment on the Act
After the Act
   The local education authorities
   Religion and secularism
   Teacher training
   Attempts to revise the Act

Education 1902-1914
Secondary education
   Grammar schools
   Central schools
   Day trade schools
   1904 Secondary Regulations
   1907 Education (Administrative Provisions) Act
   1907 Free Place Regulations
   Junior technical schools
   Secondary education for girls
Elementary schools
   Infant education
   Higher elementary schools
Child welfare
   Child labour
   School meals
   Children's health
Consultative Committee Reports
   1906 Higher elementary schools
   1908 Under-fives
   1909 Continuation Schools
   1911 Examinations
   1913 Practical work
The Great Unrest

1914-18 World War I
Education during the war
   1917 Lewis Report
   1918 Thomson Report

1918 Education Act (Fisher)
Progress of the bill
Summary of the Act
The fate of the Act

Education 1918-1923
Economic woes
   The Burnham Committee
   Suspension of the 1918 Act
   The Geddes Axe
   Further cuts
Secondary education
   1920 Young Report
   The curriculum
   Girls' secondary education
   1922 Secondary Education for All
1921 Newbolt Report
1921 Education Act
   Summary of the Act

Progressive education

Higher education
University expansion
State funding
The teaching
The students
Acts of Parliament
Royal Commissions

Adult education
Workers' Educational Association
Ruskin College Oxford
Other developments

Special educational needs
Provision for
    mentally defective children
    the blind
    the deaf


Chapter 8 : 1923-1939
From Hadow to Spens


The Hadow Reports 1923-33
1923 Curriculum differentiation
1924 Psychological tests
1926 Education of the adolescent
1928 Books in elementary schools
1931 The primary school
1933 Infant and nursery schools
Hadow's legacy

1924-36 The leaving age battle
1924 Labour: reversing the engines
1924-1929 Baldwin's Tories
   More cuts
   Reaction to the 1926 Hadow Report
   The New Prospect in Education
   The NUT's response
   Free places
   Hadow reorganisation
   The churches and reorganisation
1929-31 Labour's second administration
1931-39 National Government
   Circular 1421: more budget cuts
   LCC: calls for comprehensivisation
   The School Age Council
   1935 General Election
   Circular 1444
Secondary education in the 1930s

1936 Education Act
   Opposition to the bill
   Summary of the Act
   Criticism of the Act

The notion of fixed intelligence
Cyril Burt

1938 Spens Report
The views of witnesses
Reaction to the report

The government of education
Budget cuts
The local authorities
The Board of Education
The position in 1938

Progressive education

The public schools

Higher education

Technical education

Special educational needs
Provision for
   mentally defective children
   the deaf


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