Newsom (1963)

1963 Newsom Report (text)

The Newsom Report (1963)
Half Our Future

A report of the Central Advisory Council for Education (England)

London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office 1963
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 Central Advisory Council for Education (England) (CACE) was established as a result of the 1944 Education Act. It lasted just twenty years - from School and Life, published in 1947, to Children and their Primary Schools, published in 1967.

Following the 1944 Act (but not required by it), the provision of secondary education in England was divided between grammar schools (for the minority of children who passed the eleven plus selection test) and secondary modern schools (for the majority who didn't). (There were also supposed to be technical schools but few of these were ever opened, so the 'tripartite system' was in reality a bipartite one).

By the end of the 1950s it was clear that the eleven plus failures were getting a poor deal and it was concern about this which led Conservative education secretary David Eccles to ask CACE:

To consider the education between the ages of 13 and 16 of pupils of average or less than average ability who are or will be following full-time courses either at schools or in establishments of further education. The term education shall be understood to include extra-curricular activities.
For this report, CACE was chaired by John Newsom, who was a managing director of the publishing firm Longmans Green and Co and had formerly been Hertfordshire's County Education Officer. Among the 27 members of the Council were also Alec Clegg (Chief Education Officer of the West Riding of Yorkshire), the headmistress of London's Kidbrooke School, the principal of Homerton College Cambridge, and representatives of industry and the unions.

Eccles was replaced as education secretary by Edward Boyle in July 1962, so it was Boyle who received the Council's report in August 1963.

Summary of the report's main recommendations

  • the school leaving age should be raised to sixteen for all pupils entering the secondary schools from September 1965 (the school leaving age was raised to 16 in 1973 - two years later than Newsom recommended);
  • teaching techniques to help pupils whose abilities are artificially depressed by environmental and linguistic handicaps should be researched;
  • a working party should be set up to deal with the general social problems, including education, in slum areas;
  • all schools should provide a range of courses, with attention paid to the arts and to the personal and social development of the pupils;
  • excessive use of ability grouping should be avoided, and efforts should be made to emphasise the status of older pupils;
  • extension of the school day should be encouraged;
  • the Ministry and local education authorities should jointly consider the provision of some residential experience for all pupils;
  • local education authorities should review the relevance of their Agreed Syllabuses for religious instruction for older pupils;
  • sex education is essential for adolescent boys and girls;
  • the school programme in the final year ought to be an initiation into the adult world of work and leisure;
  • links with the youth employment service, further education, the youth service and adult organisations need strengthening;
  • all sixteen year old leavers should receive some form of internal leaving certificate, irrespective of any external examinations they may take;
  • schools should resist external pressures to extend public examinations to pupils for whom they are inappropriate;
  • no pupils should be entered for any external examination before the fifth year (now year 10);
  • the Ministry and local education authorities should begin an experimental building programme, and action should be accelerated to remedy the existing functional deficiencies of schools;
  • provision for all practical subjects should be reappraised and extended workshop and technical facilities provided;
  • all secondary schools should be adequately provided with modern audio-visual aids including television;
  • teacher training should be reviewed to ensure that a substantial proportion of teachers in the secondary schools receive a training of the 'concurrent' type (in which the personal higher education of the student is combined with pedagogical studies);
  • training colleges should be staffed and equipped to enable students to teach one main subject and at least one other subject;
  • the training of teachers should include preparation now for the new demands which will be made on them by the raising of the school leaving age;
  • a training requirement for graduates should be introduced at the earliest practicable moment, and as an interim measure there should be an emergency programme of in-service courses to help graduates and other teachers who have attained qualified status without training to deal with the problems they encounter in the schools.

The report online

The full text of the report is presented in a single web page.

I have retained the original paragraphing and capitalisation, and the (few) footnotes are displayed with their original (inconsistent!) numbering. I have amended a few spelling inconsistencies (e.g. timetable and time-table) and corrected a dozen or so misprints. I have added explanations to a few archaic words and given metric equivalents of imperial measures. Anything added by way of explanation is shown [in square brackets].

The Newsom report contained 8 photographic plates, 16 diagrams and more than 40 tables which are all embedded in the text where they were in the original. Some of the tables are shown as images.

The above notes were prepared by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 24 June 2007; they were revised on 11 November 2012.