Fleming (1944)

1944 Fleming Report (text)

The Fleming Report (1944)
The Public Schools and the General Educational System

Report of the Committee on Public Schools appointed by the President of the Board of Education in July 1942

London: His Majesty's Stationery Office 1944
Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.

Background notes

Historical context

The Committee on Public Schools was appointed by the President of the Board of Education in July 1942 to advise the government on the relation of the public (ie private) schools to the general educational system. The Chair of the Committee, Lord Fleming, was a Scottish politician and judge: in the 1920s he had been Scotland's Solicitor General and Unionist MP for Dunbartonshire.

A year later, in July 1943, the wartime coalition government under Winston Churchill set out its plans for education after the second world war in the white paper Educational Reconstruction.

The twenty members of the Fleming Committee completed their report in June 1944, as the education bill (which would become the 1944 Education Act) was going through Parliament. (Fleming died three months later on 20 October 1944).

It was a disappointing report. It failed to deal with the philosophical questions surrounding private educational provision (these are summarily dismissed in the Introduction, page 3) and instead, it focused exclusively on the value of boarding education. Perhaps this is unsurprising since most of the members of the Committee were drawn from universities and private schools. Some of its recommendations were implemented, mostly in a watered down form.

It does, however, contain much useful historical information, especially in chapters 1 and 2 (history of public schools), chapter 8 (history of girls' schools), chapter 9 (history of public schools in Wales) and in Appendix A (history of the term 'public school').

The question of what to do about the private schools was addressed again in the 1960s, when the Public Schools Commission published its First Report (1968) and its Second Report (1970).

Fleming's main recommendations

  • places at private schools should be made available to 'boys and girls capable of profiting thereby, irrespective of the income of their parents';
  • the Board of Education should compile a list of 'associated schools' which must be recognised by the Board as efficient and not conducted for private profit;
  • places would be paid for by local education authorities or the Board of Education;
  • a Central Advisory Committee should be established to advise the Board of Education on these matters;
  • boarding education should be more widely available.

The report online

The full text of the report, including the three Appendices, is presented in a single web page. There was no alphabetical subject index.

I have corrected a dozen or so printing errors and modernised some of the punctuation. Otherwise, the text presented here is as printed in the report. For some unknown reason, the footnote numbers in chapter 9 follow on from those in chapter 8: I have left the numbering as printed.

Anything added by way of explanation is shown [in square brackets].

The above notes were prepared by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 18 April 2012.