Giles (1946)

The New School Tie (text)

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

Background notes


Granville Trelawny Courtney Giles was educated at Eton and Cambridge and served in the army in the First World War. After a brief spell as a journalist, he became a teacher. He joined the Labour Party and the Teachers' Labour League (later the Educational Workers League) and became an executive member of the Educational Workers' International.

In 1926, he joined the Communist Party and was appointed head teacher of Acton County (Grammar) School, a post he held until 1956.

During the 1930s he became a member of the Executive of the National Union of Teachers and was repeatedly - and unanimously - elected leader of the Middlesex Teachers' Panel which, under his leadership, negotiated favourable conditions of service for the authority's teachers. He was appointed Vice President of the NUT in 1941.

In 1944 became President of the NUT and Chair of the Teachers' Panel of the Burnham Committee. His considerable influence in British education was achieved despite his well-known Communist sympathies - he was a member of the party's Executive Committee for seven years.

However, with the advent of the 'Cold War', hostility to communists grew and Giles lost his place on the NUT Executive in 1949, though he regained it in 1952. His headship of Acton County School was also questioned and he retired from teaching in 1956.

Despite his own privileged background and his headship of a grammar school, Giles was always a passionate advocate of comprehensive education.

In The New School Tie, Giles gives his views on the proposals of the 1943 White Paper Educational Reconstruction and on the provisions of the resulting 1944 Education Act.

He finds much to praise in the White Paper and the Act, but is profoundly disappointed that there was no attempt to address the problems of the public (ie private) schools or the involvement of the churches in state education.

He is especially critical of the decision of the post-war Labour government to pursue the 'tripartite' system of secondary schools, based on the notion that there were three types of child, which was set out in the Ministry of Education's pamphlet The Nation's Schools.

The book online

The full text is presented in a single web page.

I have modernised some of the punctuation but otherwise the text is presented here exactly as printed.

The above notes were prepared by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 2 February 2017.