Plowden (1967)

Background notes

Volume 1 The Report

The complete volume is shown in this single web page. You can scroll through it or use the following links to go to the various chapters.

Preliminary pages (page iii)
Foreword, Membership, Contents

Part 1 Introduction
Chapter 1 (1)

Part 2 The growth of the child
Chapter 2 (7)
The children: their growth and development

Part 3 The home, school and neighbourhood
Chapter 3 (29)
The children and their environment
Chapter 4 (37)
Participation by parents
Chapter 5 (50)
Educational Priority Areas
Chapter 6 (69)
Children of immigrants
Chapter 7 (75)
The health and social services and the school child

Part 4 The structure of primary education
Chapter 8 (97)
Primary education in the 1960s: its organisation and effectiveness
Chapter 9 (116)
Providing for children before compulsory education
Chapter 10 (135)
The ages and stages of primary education
Chapter 11 (153)
Selection for secondary education
Chapter 12 (158)
Continuity and consistency between the stages of education
Chapter 13 (167)
The size of primary schools
Chapter 14 (174)
Education in rural areas

Part 5 The children in the schools: curriculum and internal organisation
Chapter 15 (185)
The aims of primary education
Chapter 16 (189)
Children learning in school
Chapter 17 (203)
Aspects of the curriculum
   A. Religious education
   B. English
   C. Modern languages
   D. History
   E. Geography
   F. Mathematics
   G. Science
   H. Art and craft
   I. Music
   J. Physical education
   K. Sex education
Chapter 18 (262)
Aids to learning and to teaching
Chapter 19 (266)
The child in the school community
Chapter 20 (273)
How primary schools are organised
Chapter 21 (296)
Handicapped children in ordinary schools
Chapter 22 (305)
The education of gifted children

Part 6 The adults in the schools
Introduction (311)
The role of the teacher
Chapter 23 (313)
The staffing of schools
Chapter 24 (324)
The deployment of staff
Chapter 25 (339)
The training of primary school teachers
Chapter 26 (368)
The training of nursery assistants and teachers' aides

Part 7 Independent schools
Chapter 27 (379)
Independent primary schools

Part 8 Primary school buildings and equipment; status; and research
Chapter 28 (389)
Primary school buildings and equipment
Chapter 29 (410)
The status and government of primary education
Chapter 30 (423)
Research, innovation and the dissemination of information

Part 9 Conclusions and recommendations
Chapter 31 (431)
The costs and priorities of our recommendations
Chapter 32 (460)
Recommendations and conclusions

Notes (486)
Notes of reservation
Annex A (499)
A questionnaire to witnesses
Annex B (504)
List of witnesses
Annex C (522)
Visits made
Glossary (537)
Index (545)

Volume 2 Research and Surveys

Volume 2

Articles about Plowden

see Background notes.

The text of Volume 1 of the 1967 Plowden Report was prepared by Derek Gillard. Chapters 1-17 were uploaded on 30 August 2004; the rest on 25 October 2004.

The Plowden Report (1967)
Children and their Primary Schools

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

London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office 1967
Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.


[facing title page]

Plate 1 (Frontispiece)

[title page]


Children and their
Primary Schools

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



[page ii]

First published 1967

Second impression 1967

[page iii]


In August 1963 the Central Advisory Council for Education (England) were asked by Sir Edward Boyle, the then Minister of Education, to consider the whole subject of primary education and the transition to secondary education.

Their Report is now published and everyone - not only those professionally concerned with education, but parents and the general public - must be grateful for the thoroughness with which they have carried out their task.

Primary education is the base on which all other education has to be built. Its importance cannot be overestimated.

The many recommendations in the Report, some of far-reaching significance, will be studied with the greatest care by the Government and, I am sure, by all the other interests concerned. There can be no doubt that the work done by the Council, with so much diligence and public spirit, will enable decisions to be reached on a more informed basis by those who are charged with securing the best development of English education within the resources available. I most warmly thank Lady Plowden and her colleagues for this valuable Report.


November 1966

[page iv]

28th October, 1966

Dear Secretary of State,

In August 1963 the then Minister of Education, Sir Edward Boyle, asked the Central Advisory Council for Education (England) 'to consider primary education in all its aspects, and the transition to secondary education.' I now have much pleasure in submitting the Report of the Council.

The Central Advisory Council for Education (Wales) were given identical terms of reference and we understand that they, too, will report soon. We have been able to keep in touch with their work through the members appointed jointly to both Councils.

Yours sincerely,                

The Rt. Hon. Anthony Crosland, P.C., M.P.,
Secretary of State for Education and Science

[page v]


Lady Plowden JP (Chairman).
Sir John Newsom CBE (Deputy Chairman), Chairman, Public Schools Commission; Director, Longmans Green & Co. Ltd.
Mr HG Armstrong, Educational Psychologist, West Riding.
Professor AJ Ayer FBA, Wykeham Professor of Logic, University of Oxford.
Miss MFM Bailey, Headmistress, Skerton Girls' County Secondary School, Lancaster. (Appointed January 1964).
Mrs M Bannister, Housewife and Parent.
Miss M Brearley CBE, Principal, Froebel Institute College of Education, Roehampton.
Dr ICR Byatt, Lecturer in Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science. (Appointed February 1965).
The Hon. Mrs J Campbell, Housewife and Parent; Hon. Secretary, Richmond upon Thames Association for the Advancement of State Education.
Professor DV Donnison, Professor of Social Administration, London School of Economics and Political Science; Vice-Chairman, Public Schools Commission.
Miss ZE Dix, Head Teacher, Field End Infants' School, Middlesex.
Professor CE Gittins, Professor of Education, University College of Swansea; formerly Chief Education Officer, Monmouthshire; Chairman, Central Advisory Council for Education (Wales).
Miss SE Grey, Organiser for Infant Education, Glamorgan; Member of Central Advisory Council for Education (Wales).
Mr EW Hawkins, Director, Language Teaching Centre, University of York; formerly Headmaster, Calday Grange County Grammar School for Boys, Hoylake, Cheshire.
Miss EM Parry, Inspector of Schools, Bristol; Vice-Chairman, National Nursery Examination Board.
Mr A Puckey, Deputy Head Teacher, The Elms Junior Mixed School, Nottingham.
Mr THF Raison, Editor of New Society.
Alderman Mrs EV Smith JP, Member and former Chairman, Birmingham Education Committee.
Mr RT Smith, Headmaster, Bampton CE Junior Mixed and Infants' School, Oxfordshire.
Professor JM Tanner, Professor in Child Health and Growth, University of London Institute of Child health.
Brigadier LL Thwaytes DL, Vice-Chairman, West Sussex County Council; formerly Chairman, West Sussex Education Committee. (Appointed January 1964).
Mr TH Tunn, Director of Education, Sheffield.

[page vi]

Mr Martin Wilson CBE, formerly Secretary for Education, Shropshire.
Mr FM White, Headmaster, St Faith's School, Cambridge. (Appointed January 1964).
Dr M Young, Chairman, Advisory Centre for Education; Chairman, Social Science Research Council; Director, Institute of Community Studies.

The Council were appointed in August 1963 and began work under their present terms of reference in October 1963.

Mr P Mursell resigned from membership of the Council in January 1964 and Mr HB Rose in February 1965.

The following members of the Department and HM Inspectorate assisted the Council:
Miss SMC Duncan, HMI.
Miss NL Goddard, Inspector of Schools, Inner London Education Committee (seconded to Department).
Mr DT Jones OBE, HMI.
Mr JEH Blackie CB, HMI, Assessor.
Mr DH Leadbetter CB, Assessor.
Miss EM McDougall, HMI, Assessor.
Miss ME Nicholls, HMI, Assessor.


Mr M Kogan (Secretary)
Mr N Summers (Assistant Secretary until March 1965).
Miss CK Burke (Assistant Secretary from January 1964).

The estimated cost of the production of this Report is 120,699 of which 38,225 represents the estimated cost of printing and publication, 67,637 the estimated cost of research commissioned on behalf of the council and 14,837 the travelling and subsistence costs of members.

[page vii]

Table of Contents





CHAPTER 1 Introduction1-8



CHAPTER 2 The Children: Their Growth and Development9-75
Physical Growth from Birth to Adolescence12-13
Individual Differences in Rates of Maturing14-20
The Growth of the Brain21-23
Critical or Sensitive Periods24-28
The Interaction of Heredity and Environment29-32
Environmental Factors Affecting Physical Growth33-38
The Trend Towards Earlier Physical Maturity39-41
The Development of Behaviour42-52
The Measurement of Intelligence and Its Bearing on Educational Decisions56-64
The Emotional Development of the Child65-74



CHAPTER 3 The Children and Their Environment76-101
A Pool of Ability83-84
Prospects for Improvement85-86
The National Survey87-89
The FIndings of the Survey90-91
Importance of Parental Attitudes92-101

[page viii]


CHAPTER 4 Participation by Parents102-130
Co-operation with Parents107-110
Parent-Teacher Associations111
A Minimum Programme112
Visiting the Homes113-118
A Policy for Each Local Education Authority119-120
The Community School121-123
The Way Ahead124-126
Interesting Parents Early127-129

CHAPTER 5 Educational Priority Areas131-177
The Educational Needs of Deprived Areas136-137
Hope for the Future138-139
Educational Aassumptions and Policies140-146
The Distribution of Resources147-150
Educational Priority Areas151-154
Special Groups155-157
More Teachers158-162
Colleges of Education163
Nursery Education165
Other Priorities166-167
First Steps168-170
A Continuing Policy171-172

CHAPTER 6 Children of Immigrants178-199
Educational Problems183-186
The Curriculum187-198

CHAPTER 7 The Health and Social Services and the School Child200-255
The Health of the School Child202
The School Health and Dental Service and the Health Visitors203-207
Medical Examinations208-210
Child Guidance, School Psychological and Speech Therapy Services211-214

[page ix]


The Education Welfare Officers216-220
The Child Care and Probation Services221-223
Voluntary Services224
Social Work and Related Services225-227
Organisation and Deployment of Services228-229
Training and Recruitment234
The Schools and the Social Services235-241
Forms of Report Involving ParentsPages 93-94



CHAPTER 8 Primary Education in the 1960s: Its Organisation and Effectiveness256-290
The Legal Position257
Reorganisation of Primary and Secondary Education258
Changes within Primary Education259-265
Some Other Features265-266
Assessments of Primary Education267-276
Description of Schools277-289

CHAPTER 9 Providing for Children before Compulsory Education291-343
I. The Present Position292-308
    The Case for Nursery Education296-304
    Mothers at Work: The Economic Argument305
    Arguments against Nursery Education306-308
II. Our Recommendations: Future Patterns of Nursery Education309-326
    Nursery Groups and Day Nurseries: A Unified Service313-315
    The Age Range of Nursery Education316
    Part-Time Nursery Education317
    The Encouragement of Attendance318-319
    Nursery Education and Parents320-322
    The Future of Voluntary Nursery Groups323-325

[page x]


    Siting of Nurseries326
III. The Expansion of Nursery Education: The Places Needed, Their Staffing and Accommodation327-343
    The Number of Places Needed328
    Full-Time Attendance for a Minority329-330
    Places Needed331
    Staffing the Nurseries332-333
    The Numbers Needed: Teachers334-335
    The Numbers Needed: Nursery Assistants336-338

CHAPTER 10 The Ages and Stages of Primary Education344-407
When Should Primary Education Begin?344-346
Disadvantages of Termly Entry347-351
Chronological Versus Developmental Age352
Easing Entry to School353-356
Age of Entry357-359
The Length of the Infant School Course360-364
Should the Age of Transfer to Secondary Education be Raised?365-378
12 or 13?379-387
Provision for Exceptional Cases388-392
The Need for a National Policy393-394
Making the Changes395-398
An Emergency Plan for Infant Schools399-405
Conclusion: A Change of Name406

CHAPTER 11 Selection for Secondary Education408-423
Impact of Selection Procedures411-412
Selection Procedures413-422

CHAPTER 12 Continuity and Consistency Between the Stages of Education424-448
Home to School424-425
Separate or Combined Schools426
Avoiding Strain at Time of Transfer427-430
Contacts Between Teachers in Successive Stages of Education431-432

[page xi]


Interchange of Knowledge of Pupils433-437
Introducing Pupils to New Schools438-439
Support from Parents440-441
Consistency in Work and Organisation442-445
Content of Curriculum446-447

CHAPTER 13 The Size of Primary Schools449-467
The Existing Situation450
Suitable Sizes of Schools for Primary Children451-456
Economic Arguments457-459
Staffing Costs in Manpower and Money460
Transport Costs461
Foreign Practice462

CHAPTER 14 Education in Rural Areas468-492
School Closures469-470
Changing Social Conditions471-472
Rural Schools: The Premises473-474
Children and the Schools478-479
Size and Age Range of Rural Schools470-483
Help for Rural Schools484-491



CHAPTER 15 The Aims of Primary Education493-507

CHAPTER 16 Children Learning in School508-554
Towards Freedom of Curriculum508-517
Research on Children's Learning518-522
Aspects of Children's Learning523-535
The Time-Table536-537
Flexibility in the Curriculum538-542
Use of the Environment543-548
Evaluation of Children's Progress551-553

[page xii]


CHAPTER 17 Aspects of the Curriculum555-721
(A) Religious Education558-577
    Teachers' Attitudes561-566
    Difficulties of the Present Situation567
    The School Community568-569
    The Act of Worship570-571
    Religious Education572
    The Agreed Syllabus573-576
(B) English578-613
    Teaching Children to Read583-584
    Standards of Reading585-590
    A Range of Books591-596
    Children's Writing601-613
(C) Modern Languages614-619
(D) History620-634
(E) Geography635-646
(F) Mathematics647-662
(G) Science663-675
(H) Art and Craft676-685
(I) Music686-696
(J) Physical Education697-713
(K) Sex Education714-721

CHAPTER 18 Aids to Learning and to Teaching722-733
Programmed Learning728-733

CHAPTER 19 The Child in the School Community734-751
Relationships in Primary Schools736-742

CHAPTER 20 How Primary Schools are Organised752-833
I. Developments in the Class Teacher System752-777
    Individual, Group and Class Learning754-760
    Team Teaching761-768
    The Class Teacher769-771
II. The Size of Class778-788

[page xiii]


III. The Composition of a Class789-825
    Infant Schools and Classes792-794
    Junior Schools and Classes795-797
    'Vertical Classification'799-804
    Classification by Attainment or Ability (Streaming)806-817
IV. The Length of the School Day and Term826-832

CHAPTER 21 Handicapped Children in Ordinary Schools834-860
The Handicapped Child in the Ordinary School845-848
Slow Learners849-853
The Teachers854-859

CHAPTER 22 The Education of Gifted Children861-872



Introduction: The Role of the Teacher873-878

CHAPTER 23 The Staffing of Schools879-902
Men and Women Teachers881-882
Full-Time and Part-Time Teachers883
Unqualified Teachers884-885
Ratio of Teachers to Pupils886-887
Distribution of Teachers888-889
Ancillary Helpers890-893
The Future894-898
Primary and Secondary School Staffing899-901

CHAPTER 24 The Deployment of Staff903-948
The Proportion of Men and Women Teachers in Primary Schools903-905
The Criteria for Staffing Schools906-911

[page xiv]


The Recruitment and Use of Part-Time Teachers912-917
Various Kinds of Ancillary Help and Helpers918-921
Teachers' Aides922-928
The Head Teacher and his Staff929-940
Advice and Inspection941-947

CHAPTER 25 The Training of Primary School Teachers949-1028
The Present Position: A Factual Summary952-957
The Structure of Training958-960
The Students in Training for Primary Work961-998
Admission of Students961-962
Proportion of Men and Women Students963
Mature Students964
The Courses in Colleges of Education and University Departments of Education970-980
Main Courses972
Education Course and Teaching Practice973
Curriculum Courses974
Staffing of Colleges of Education975-977
BEd Courses978-979
Other Graduate Courses980
Some General Points about Students' Life and Work981-983
The Relationship between Schools and Teachers in Training Institutions984-1027
Teaching Practice985-990
Our Views991
Other Aspects of the Relationship Between Schools and Teacher Training Institutions992-998
The Probationary Year999-1012
In-Service Training1013-1027
Present Provision of Courses and Plans for Expansion1014-1025
Courses for Returning Teachers1026-1027

CHAPTER 26 The Training of Nursery Assistants and Teachers' Aides1029-1055
Existing Schemes of Training1029-1033

[page xv]


Other Training Schemes1034
Our Proposals1035
Similarities of Training and Recruitment1036-1037
Entry Qualifications1038-1039
The Nature of the Courses1040-1044
Length of Courses1045-1046
Status and Salaries of Trainees1047
Part-Time Training1048
Location and Staffing of Training1049
Award of Qualifications1050
Career Prospects1051
Build-Up of Recruitment1053-1054



CHAPTER 27 Independent Primary Schools1056-1079
Summary of Conclusions and Recommendations1079



CHAPTER 28 Primary School Buildings and Equipment1080-1113
I. Primary School Building1081-1101
    The Present State of Primary Buildings1081-1083
    School Building Since 1945: Number of Places and Costs1084-1085
    The Improvement of Old Buildings1086-1091
    Developments in School Building Since 19451092-1093
    Developments Since 19561094-1097
    Some Design and Planning Implications of Our Report1098
    Cost Limits1099
    Educational Furniture and Equipment1100-1101
II. Equipment Allowances for Primary Schools1102-1112
    Choices Open to Schools1107-1110
    Assistance for Schools in Special Need1111
    Disparity in Local Practice1112

[page xvi]


CHAPTER 29 The Status and Government of Primary Education1114-1150
Some of the Evidence1116-1117
Standing of Teachers in the Community1118
The Standing of Primary Teachers Compared with that of Secondary Teachers1119-1126
The Standing of Primary School Teachers in their Dealings with Local Education Authorities1127-1130
Management of Schools1131-1138
Appointment of Staff1139-1141
Powers of Head Teachers1142-1146
Relationships of Heads and Assistant Staff1147-1148
Annex: A Note on the Method of Calculating Unit TotalsPage (421)

CHAPTER 30 Research, Innovation and the Dissemination of Information1151-1166
Further Studies1165-1166



CHAPTER 31 The Costs and Priorities of our Recommendations1167-1204
I. The Present Position1168-1176
    The Economic Yield of Primary Education1171-1176
II. The Availability of Resources1177-1184
    Overall Resources1177-1178
    Aides and Assistants1181-1183
III. Our Principal Proposals, Their Priority and Timing1185-1204
    Educational Priority Areas1186-1187
    Improvement of Staffing Elsewhere: Teachers1188
    Staffing: Aides and Assistants1189
    Other Proposals1197-1200
    The Order of Priorities1201-1202
    Costs and Benefits1203
    The Total Costs1204
  Annex A: Factors Affecting Recruitment of Assistants and Aides1205-1218

[page xvii]


  Annex B: Offsets to the Costs of Nursery Provision and the Use of Teachers' Aides: An Estimate of the Output of Mothers who Return to Work1219-1228

CHAPTER 32 Recommendations and Conclusions1229-1252
I. The Changing Direction1229-1241
II. Recommendations and Conclusions1242-1243
III. A Note on our Methods of Work, and Acknowledgements1244-1252



Note of Reservation on Nursery Education by Mrs M Bannister486
Note of Reservation on the Organisation of Services for Under Fives by Professor DV Donnison, Sir John Newsom and Dr M Young487
Note of Reservation on Parental Contribution to the Costs of Nursery Education by Professor AJ Ayer, Dr ICR Byatt, Professor DV Donnison, Mr EW Hawkins, Lady Plowden, Mr THF Raison, Brigadier LL Thwaytes and Dr M Young487
Note of Reservation on Religious Education by Professor AJ Ayer, Dr ICR Byatt, Professor DV Donnison, Mrs EV Smith, Professor JM Tanner and Dr M Young489
Note of Reservation on Religious Education by Mr EW Hawkins and Mr M Wilson492
Note of Reservation on Corporal Punishment by Miss MFM Bailey493
A Suggestion on the Supply and Training of Teachers by Professor AJ Ayer, Dr ICR Byatt, Mr EW Hawkins, Sir John Newsom, Lady Plowden and Mr THF Raison493

Annex A: A Questionnaire to Witnesses499
Annex B: List of Witnesses504
Annex C: Visits Made522

No general bibliography is provided but references to printed sources are listed at the end of each chapter.

Figures in the tables throughout the Report are rounded up.

[page xviii]

List of Tables, Diagrams and Photographs

1Percentage Contribution of Parental Attitudes, Home Circumstances and State of School to Variation in Educational Performance33
2Numbers of Children from Certain Commonwealth Countries in English Schools (1966): (Primary and Secondary Schools)70
3Main Causes and Numbers of Deaths in Children Under 15. 1931 and 196376
4Provision in England for Children Under Five: 1932 Compared to 1965108
5Pre-School Provision in England: Information from Department of Education and Science, Ministry of Health and Home Office109
6English Primary Education: January 1965112
7Children Aged 5-11 in Different Types of School: England113
8Maintained Primary Schools: England. Number of Schools or Departments According to Numbers of Pupils on the Register: January 1965114
9Maintained Primary Schools or Departments by Denomination January 1965: England115
10Nursery Education: Numbers of Full-Time Equivalent Places Needed128
11Compulsory Education in Infant Schools Under Present Arrangements135
12Interim Plan for Entry to First Schools150
13Cost Limits for Different Sizes of Primary Schools (June 1966)169
14Distribution of Pupil/Teacher Ratios by Size of School: January 1965: England170
15Number of Small Schools in England: 1962-65173
16Size of Primary Class, England: January 1965280
17Numbers of Handicapped Pupils Receiving and Awaiting Special Education (in Special Schools, Classes, Units, in Hospitals and at Home) and Prevalence per 10,000 of the School Population in England and Wales, 1961 and 1966299
18Primary School Staffing, 1947-1965. England316
19Number of Classes of Different Sizes in Primary Schools, 1947-65: England316
20Numbers of Primary Pupils per Full-Time Teacher, January 1965: England317

[page xix]

21Numbers of Primary Pupils Per Full-Time Teacher (Total Full-Time and Full-Time Equivalent of Part-Time), January 1965: England317
22Average Sizes of Class, January 1965: England317
23Ancillary Help Employed in Primary Schools, 1965: England and Wales 318
24Primary School Staffing: England320
25Qualifications of Students Admitted to General, Housecraft, PE, and Shortened Courses in Colleges of Education in the Years 1960-61, 1961-62 and 1965-66 (England and Wales)364
26Total Number of Students in Initial Non-Graduate Courses in Colleges of Education by Type of Course and Years (England and Wales)366
27Number of General and Specialist Colleges Offering Different Types of Courses367
28Annual Intake of Students to Non-Graduate Courses in General Colleges of Education (England and Wales)367
29Age of Primary and Secondary School Buildings (England, 1962)389
30Specified Defects in Primary School Accommodation (England, 1962)392
31Cost of Remedying Defects in School Accommodation (England)393
32Equipment and Capitation Allowances: Numbers of LEAs and Amounts Available at Different Stages of Primary Education (1963)406
33Salary Scales for Head Teachers421
34Deputy Head Teachers and Graded Posts422
35The Effects on Overall Staffing Standards of More Favourable Staffing Ratios in Educational Priority Areas443
36Educational Priority Areas: Teachers, Teachers' Aides and Nursery Assistants444
37Build-up of Recruitment of Nursery Assistants and Teachers' Aides (Including Those Needed for Educational Priority Areas)445
38Chart Illustrating Possible Expansion of Nursery Provision in the Educational Priority Areas and Introduction of Single Date of Entry446
39Additional Capital Building Costs of Recommendations in the Report (Excluding Additions for Increased Numbers, Rehousing and Replacements)447
40Additional Running Costs of Recommendations in the Report448
41The Financial Cost of Proposed Nursery Provision449

[page xx]

42Public Authorities' Expenditure on Maintained Primary and Nursery Schools: England449
43Past and Projected Costs of Maintained Primary Schools on Present Policies, 1960/61-1978/79: England450
44Projected Costs of Maintained Primary Schools and Additional Costs Resulting from the Adoption of Our Proposals: England451
45Projected Costs of Maintained Primary and Nursery Schools and the Additional Costs of Our Proposals: England452
46Assumed Annual Recruitment of School Leavers for Training as Nursery Assistants and Teachers' Aides454

1AHeight of Average Boy and Girl from Birth to Maturity8
1BRate of Growth in Height ('Height Velocity') of 'Average' Boy and Girl from Birth to Maturity8
2Year of Menarche16
3Proportion of Pupils Aged 13 in All-Age Schools98
4Proportion of Pupils Aged Nine in Mixed Primary Schools98
5Small Schools in England: Primary (Including All-Age)107
6Numbers of Children in Maintained Primary Schools Aged 5 to 11 in 1947-1965, England111
7Infant and Junior Classes280
8A School for 50 Pupils Aged 5 to 11 Years at Finmere, Oxfordshire396
9School for 320 Pupils Aged 3½ to 9 Years. Eveline Lowe Primary School, Rolls Road, London SE1400
10Extension to Convert Existing Infants' School for 240 Pupils of 5 to 7 Years into School for 320 Pupils of 5 to 8 Years401
11Extensions to Convert Existing Junior Schools for 480 Pupils of 7 to 11 Years into Schools for 480 Pupils of 8 to 12 Years402
12A & BA Middle School for Pupils of 8 to 12 Years403-4

Plates (between pages 264 and 265).

2Children at Work 1937
3and 1966
4Listening to a Story

[page xxi]

5Experimenting with Clay
6Care in Building
7An Incentive to Read
8 & 9Looking Forward to Adult Life
10Living Things
11A Record of the Past
12Reading ...
13... and Writing
15Work or Play?
16Freedom to Move
17Dramatic Encounter
18A School in its Environment
19 & 20The Environment the same School Creates
21School in a Congested Suburb
22A Suburban Infant School Without Traffic Dangers
23Primary Schools in the Centre of a City
24Primary School and Clinic adjacent to a Secondary School
25Junior Children Are Most Agile
26Expression in Movement
27Finding Out the Properties of Things
28- and Numbers
29 & 30Mathematical Problems arise from Real Life
31Weather Station
32Comparing Temperatures in a Puddle
33 & 34Using Mechanical Aids in Small Groups
35 & 36Learning about Colour and Design
37Imagination and Accuracy in Reconstructing the Past: Top Juniors
38Lifting Weights with Pulleys
39 & 40Differences between Art and Crafts for Boys and Girls are disappearing
41 & 42Following individual Interest
43Inventiveness with Materials
44Individual and Group Work
45 & 46The Beginning of Life-Long Interests

[page xxii]


We are grateful to the following copyright holders for permission to reproduce photographs:

Aerofilms Ltd.
Miss EE Biggs, HMI
Bristol County Council
Miss E Davies, HMI
Devon County Council
Mr DGS Dickson
Essex County Council
Fairy Surveys Ltd.
James Galt and Co. Ltd.
Mr J Howard
Mr KE Hoy
Inner London Education Authority
Mr TR Jones
Mr E Pearson, HMI
Scholastic Souvenir Company Ltd.
SG Photography
Teachers' World
The Times
Universal Studios: by EW Williamson, ARPS, AIBP
Miss JR Warner, HMI
Mrs DE Whittaker
Yorkshire (West Riding) County Council
We are grateful to the schools whose work is illustrated in some of the photographs.

[page xxiii]

Part One


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1. When the Minister of Education asked us 'to consider primary education in all its aspects and the transition to secondary education', he was in effect inviting us to tell him how far the intentions of Sir Henry Hadow and his committee had been carried out and how well they had stood the test of time. Hadow, if any man, has the right to be considered the architect of the English educational system as we know it. The three reports of the Consultative Committee under his chairmanship, the Education of the Adolescent (1926), the Primary School (1931) and Infant and Nursery Schools (1933), virtually laid the foundation of what exists today. The purpose to be achieved, and the test by which its success can be recognised, he defined in 1931 in these words 'What a wise and good parent will desire for his own children, a nation must desire for all children.' Of course, equality of opportunity, even when it means weighting the scales to reduce inequalities, still results in unequal achievements. But, coupled with a commitment to the highest educational standards, it is the touchstone to apply.

2. Underlying all educational questions is the nature of the child himself. Are children of today at the same stage of development as children of the same age were in 1926? Ought all, or nearly all, children of the same age to be able to do the same things? How great are the differences between boys and girls, and do they vary with age? If a child's 'intelligence' is tested at the age of eight or eleven, will the results hold good five or six years later? What is the relationship between environmental and genetic factors in the shaping of human ability? We know more than was known a generation ago about physical, intellectual and emotional development in children. Though nobody would suppose that we have now reached final truth, we are in a position to look again at some of the conclusions drawn by the Hadow reports. We do so in Part II of the Report.

3. In recent years a growing awareness has developed of the importance to the individual of his family and social background. The last three reports of the Council, and the Robbins report on higher education, have shown how closely associated are home and social circumstances and academic achievement. Is this just one of those given facts about which schools, and the community, can do nothing? To try to answer this question, we set on foot a National Survey which is included with other surveys of the same nature in Volume 2. Increasing numbers of parents are asking, and we are glad they are asking, how they can help to get the schools their children deserve. Part III of the Report is devoted to these questions of home, neighbourhood and school. It is in part about especially difficult districts or peculiarly awkward circumstances such as how to teach children who do not speak English at home. Most of Part III is about the school round any corner, the schools in which over nine-tenths of our young children are educated.

4. We have studied the structure of primary education and give our conclusions in Part IV. We have dealt with the provision which might be made for

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nursery education; we have discussed the length of primary school life. All this we could hardly have avoided doing since we were asked to deal with 'all aspects of primary education'. We have considered not only what is desirable, but whether what is desirable is feasible. One aspect of our enquiry has been made especially difficult and that is a matter on which our advice was specifically asked - the age of transfer to secondary education. In July 1965 the Department of Education and Science asked local education authorities to prepare detailed plans for the development of comprehensive education in their areas before our recommendations were known. The shape of secondary schools, and the accommodation they will require, depend on the age at which primary education ends. It would have been better if the momentous changes in the overall structure of education - the raising of the school leaving age and the associated changes in the age of transfer and secondary school organisation - could have been considered together. We hope that our arguments in favour of a new age of transfer will be taken into account when building programmes and teacher training are planned for the 1970s.

5. The growth of comprehensive education is altering the context in which the primary schools work. In 1963, when we started work, the '11 plus' and all that went before was a major item on our agenda. Should it be retained? This proved to be a question we did not have to answer, though we may say that we welcome the disappearance of transfer examinations. We were left with another question to discuss. In the past many primary schools have 'worked to' the 11 plus. If it has not been their Bible, it has often been a taskmaster. It set up minimum standards for the abler children, often in our view the wrong ones and distorting in their effects on the curriculum. But at least they were standards. The teachers and parents had some yardstick by which to measure their pupils' work. Now it is going. How are they to know what to expect of children? These are among the problems which we discuss in Part V.

6. Part V, 'The Children in the Schools', is the heart of the Report. Is there any genuine conflict between education based on children as they are, and education thought of primarily as a preparation for the future? Has 'finding out' proved to be better than 'being told'? Have methods been worked out through which discovery can be stimulated and guided, and children develop from it a coherent body of knowledge? Has the emphasis which the Hadow Report placed on individual progress been justified by its results? How can head teachers and class teachers arrange the internal working of each school and each class to meet the different needs of the highly gifted boys and girls, of slow learning pupils, and of all the infinite varieties of talent and interest that lie between? Do children learn more through active cooperation than by passive obedience? In seeking answers to such questions we draw attention to the best practices we have found as a pointer to the direction in which all schools should move. To help children to learn there are 140,000 primary school teachers: they form the subject of Part VI. In this Part, too, the present shortage of teachers is discussed, their training, their use and the support that can best be given to them both inside and outside the school.

7. English primary education has long had a high reputation. We heard repeatedly that English infant schools are the admiration of the world. Were

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they resting on past laurels? Ought we to be learning by the experiments other countries were trying? We went to see. Between us, we paid visits, though they had to be brief, to many primary schools in Denmark, France, Sweden, Poland, USA and the USSR. Our journeyings are set out in Annex C. Our hosts were worried about many of the same things as we were. They were looking critically at curriculum and methods. They were concerned with such questions as how to provide for children of differing abilities, how to help most effectively children from poor circumstances, and how to recruit and make good use of teachers.

8. Finally, since another full scale enquiry into primary education is unlikely to be made for many years, we have thought it our duty in Part IX to give as close an estimate as we can of the cost of our proposals and to indicate an order of priority.

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Part Two

The Growth of the Child

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The Children: Their Growth and Development

9. At the heart of the educational process lies the child. No advances in policy, no acquisitions of new equipment have their desired effect unless they are in harmony with the nature of the child, unless they are fundamentally acceptable to him. We know a little about what happens to the child who is deprived of the stimuli of pictures, books and spoken words; we know much less about what happens to a child who is exposed to stimuli which are perceptually, intellectually or emotionally inappropriate to his age, his state of development, or the sort of individual he is. We are still far from knowing how best to identify in an individual child the first flicker of a new intellectual or emotional awareness, the first readiness to embrace new sets of concepts or to enter into new relations.

10. Knowledge of the manner in which children develop, therefore, is of prime importance, both in avoiding educationally harmful practices and in introducing effective ones. In the last 50 years much work has been done on the physical, emotional and intellectual growth of children. There is a vast array of facts, and a number of general principles have been established. This chapter is confined to those facts which have greatest educational significance and those principles which have a direct bearing on educational practice and planning.

11. Among the relevant facts are the early growth of the brain, compared with most of the rest of the body; the earlier development of girls compared with boys; the enormously wide variability in physical and intellectual maturity amongst children of the same age, particularly at adolescence, and the tendency nowadays for children to mature physically earlier than they used to. Among the principles are present-day concepts about critical or sensitive periods, about developmental 'sequence' (that is, events which are fixed in their order but varying in the age at which the sequence begins); about the poorer resilience of boys than girls under adverse conditions; and, above all, about the complex and continuous interaction between the developing organism and its environment. Under this last rather cumbersome phrase lies the coffin of the old nature-versus-nurture controversy. A better understanding of genetics and human biology has ended the general argument, and provided a clearer picture of what is implied when we talk of changes in measured intelligence during a child's development.

Physical Growth from Birth to Adolescence

12. The manner in which the skeleton, the muscles and most of the internal organs grow is shown in the curves of height at successive ages of the typical boy and girl. In Diagram 1A the height at each age is plotted; in Diagram 1B, the rate of growth, or velocity. This velocity curve shows that children are growing faster at birth than at any time during post-natal life (they grow fastest before birth) and that the growth rate decreases quite steadily until puberty is reached. From about the age of six to puberty the rate is nearly

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constant. At puberty a spurt occurs, and for a year or two the child grows again at about the rate experienced at the age of two to three.

13. The diagrams show considerable differences between typical girls and boys. Boys are slightly larger at birth, and grow slightly faster for the first six to nine months. Then the girls' rate becomes greater, and because of this they gradually catch up in size. By six years of age there is little difference between boys and girls in height or weight or other body dimensions except for the head, which in boys is always larger. Girls begin puberty on average two years earlier than boys; hence from about 11 to 14 they are likely to be taller and heavier than boys, and probably stronger too. This simple fact has implications for coeducation, especially as at this time girls have acquired the beginning of their sexual characteristics while most boys are still entirely pre-pubescent. Eventually, as the girls' adolescent growth spurt is dying away, the boys' begins. The boys' spurt is more marked than the girls' and is accompanied by a great increase in muscular strength, which does not occur in girls.

Individual Differences in Rates of Maturing

14. What the diagrams do not show, however, is the wide variations in rate of growth found in any group of normal boys and girls. As a convenient example we may take the age at which menarche, the first menstrual period, occurs. On average this is just over 13.0 years in England at present; but the normal range, comprising 95 per cent of all girls, runs from 10.0 to 15.0 years; for 99 per cent of girls it is from 9.0 to 16.0 years. In practice this means that in a group of 11 or 12 year old girls there will be some whose puberty has not started, others who have full development of the breasts and are menstruating, and a few who are potentially fertile. The same principle applies to boys, though the age at which the pubertal variation between individuals is greatest comes later, at 13 to 14 years. The physical differences between the pre-pubertal and the post-pubertal are even greater in boys than in girls.

15. This individual variation in stage of development can be most dramatically seen at puberty and in relation to physical growth. But it is of cardinal importance to realise that a similar variation exists at earlier ages and in all aspects of growth and development. Thus the notion of developmental age, as opposed to chronological age, has arisen. By developmental age we simply mean the degree to which a child has advanced along the road from birth to full maturity. In the study of physical growth, several methods are used for estimating developmental age. The commonest is by measuring the maturity of the skeleton, especially of the bones of the hand and wrist. From birth onwards the appearances of these bones undergo a sequence of changes, easily seen in an X-ray. The sequence is practically the same in everybody, but the age at which any stage of the sequence is reached varies widely both between the sexes and between individual boys and girls. At birth the average girl is already some weeks ahead of the average boy in 'bone age' and she gradually comes to be more and more ahead until at puberty the difference is two years. Among boys of the same chronological age there is a wide range of bone age which, for eight year olds, stretches from six to ten 'years'.

16. Similar considerations apply to tests of motor development, and it is highly probable they also apply to emotional and intellectual development. Long term studies of the measured intelligence of individual children through-

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out the whole growing period make it seem likely that children differ in their rates of attaining their adult ability just as they do in attaining their adult height. Conventional tests given on a single occasion are unable to distinguish between acceleration and ability; that is, they do not distinguish a child whose ability will eventually be average, but who is accelerated in his intellectual development, from a child of above average ability who is proceeding at the average rate of intellectual development. Only by repeated longitudinal study can the distribution be inferred.

17. Some of the effects of this variability on the child are obvious enough, especially in relation to physical growth at the older ages. Both the excessively late and the excessively early developer, in physical terms, tend to feel estranged from the general group of children. The isolation of the late developer lasts longer and may lead to serious disturbances of behaviour. Some of the effects are already seen in nursery school; the early maturing child tends to be ahead of the others in motor skill and hence to have a degree of social advantage.

18. It is clearly important to know whether there is any overall 'general-factor' of advancement, that is, a significant tendency for all physiological and psychological developments to be advanced together, or whether we have to hold in mind always a whole series of unrelated or only slightly related developmental ages; for example in bone age, in sexual maturity, in motor skill, in measured intelligence and in emotional reactions. The latter seems to be nearer the truth. The age of menarche, and the age of reaching full adult height can both, it is true, be predicted with much greater accuracy from bone age than from chronological age. But the relation between measured intelligence and skeletal age is small.

19. The picture of the growing child emerges as one in which each of a number of facets of physical, intellectual and emotional behaviour is developing slowly or fast, according to the individual and his circumstances. The various facets may only be linked loosely one with another. Thus a 12 year old boy may be beginning puberty, be amongst the strongest of his contemporaries and be skilful at games; but he may still be behind his contemporaries in certain intellectual attainments, not necessarily because he will eventually have little ability in this direction, but because he is developing slowly in these respects.

20. Clearly such a situation makes great demands upon the teacher. The emotional needs and the social interests of a 12 year old entering adolescence will certainly be different from those of a 12 year old whose adolescence is yet to come, whatever intellectual development each may have reached. This individual variability makes itself felt in any group of children and presents the teacher with a complex situation. Much of the variability arises from the biological nature of children; hence it will be with us for the foreseeable future. This demands that teachers should be adaptable in their approach to individuals, and that the educational system itself should be as flexible as possible. A system on the apple sorting model does not square with the nature of the biological material. We need rather to envisage a kind of cats' cradle of opportunity, providing a multitude of differently developing talents with their own appropriate times and degrees of achievement.

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The Growth of the Brain

21. The curve of brain growth differs considerably from that of stature illustrated in diagrams 1A and B. From early foetal life onwards, the brain, in terms of its gross weight, is nearer to its adult size than any other organ, except the eyes. At birth the brain is 25 per cent of its adult weight, at six months 50 per cent and at five years 90 per cent. At this last stage a child has reached only 40 per cent of his adult stature, and the reproductive organs are barely ten per cent of their adult size. In consequence of its early maturing the brain has a very slight pubertal growth spurt, if any at all.

22. We know distressingly little about the development of the cells and the organisation of the brain. It seems, from the work of Conel (1), that the notion of sequence established so clearly in other areas of development applies here also. Within certain areas of the cerebral cortex there is considerable localisation of functions, certain parts being necessary for vision, others for movement and so on. Around these primary motor, sensory, visual and auditory areas are association areas concerned with the integration of the information arriving at the corresponding primary area. Conel has shown that these primary areas mature in regular sequence; first the motor area, then the sensory, then the visual, then the auditory. Gradually the waves of development, as it were, spread out from the primary areas into the surrounding association areas. There is another gradient of maturity also: within the motor and sensory areas there is strict localisation of function to a part of the body. Cells near the top of the areas, for example, serve the leg; those in the middle, the hand; and those at the bottom, the tongue and mouth. These cells develop in the same sequence as the corresponding parts of the body. The arm cells, for instance, are ahead of the leg cells, just as a baby's arms are more advanced in growth than his legs.

23. There is plenty of evidence that, up to two years of age, brain functions appear when particular structures mature and not before. We know practically nothing, however, about the development of the brain beyond that age, but there is no particular reason to suppose that this generalisation suddenly ceases to be true at 2 or 3 or 13. On the contrary, it is more probable that the higher intellectual abilities also appear only as maturation of certain structures occurs. These structures must be units of organisation widespread through the cerebral cortex, rather than localised areas. Piaget and Inhelder (2) have described the emergence of mental structures in a manner strongly reminiscent of developing brain or body structures; the mental stages follow in a sequence, for example, which may be advanced or delayed, but not altered. There seems good reason to suppose that Piaget's successive stages depend on progressive maturation or at least progressive organisation of the cerebral cortex. For the cognitive stage to emerge, brain maturation is probably necessary, though not, of course, sufficient. Without at least some degree of social stimulus the latent abilities may never be exercised, and indeed the requisite cells may go undeveloped.

Critical or Sensitive Periods

24. We have no exact knowledge about this in relation to higher brain function, but we may at least speculatively extrapolate from experiments by Hubel and Wiesel (3) on simpler systems. Particular cells in the cortex of the

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brain of the kitten respond to particular, simple light patterns shone into the eye. This response is functional even before the kittens open their eyes. It comes into play as soon as the kittens begin to have visual experience. When, however, kittens' eyes were stitched closed at birth for two or three months and only then opened, these cells failed to function. It seems that experience is necessary to put the finishing touches on these cells, or to prevent them from falling back into an atrophy of disuse. Once they have gained experience, the cells can then go on without it, at least for a considerable time. Stitching the eyes of adult cats for several months did not destroy the cells' function.

25. These experiments with cats also provide an example of another general characteristic in development - the critical period. By a critical period is meant a certain stage of limited duration during which a particular influence either from another area of the developing organism, or from the environment, evokes a particular response. The response may be beneficial, indeed perhaps essential to normal development, or it may be pathological (as in the case of lesions of the foetus caused by the presence of German measles virus, or of thalidomide in the mother at a particular time in pregnancy).

26. A second example of the critical period is seen in the development of the rat. During the first few days after birth the testes of the male rat secrete a substance which passes to the brain and in some way alters the structure of the part called the hypothalamus. Once this has occurred the rat behaves at puberty as a male; the information as to maleness has been implanted into the hypothalamus irreversibly for the remainder of the rat's life. But if the transfer of information be prevented until five days after birth, then the sex of the rat will be indeterminate however much of the substance is administered later. These first few days are therefore a critical period for this development.

27. It is becoming clear that critical periods also exist for stimuli from the environment. Naturally, such an intimate interaction between the animal and its environment can only operate if the environment can be relied on to provide the right stimulus at the right time. Animals, in this sense, are born into 'expected' environments, indeed into 'required' environments. A duckling will follow the first large object seen at a certain time after hatching. This is usually the mother; but if it happens to be Professor Konrad Lorenz the duckling follows him and remains pathologically attached to humans for the remainder of its life (4).

28. We do not yet know to what extent such critical periods occur in the development of children. Psychologists feel fairly sure that in early infancy, and even longer, the baby 'expects' cuddling, and that if he does not receive it, he may become, after a while, pathological in his behaviour, perhaps irreversibly so. Clinical experience with deaf children indicates that the facility for discriminating speech sounds, and therefore for understanding speech and learning to speak, may diminish after early childhood. (5) It would be surprising if at later ages limited periods at least of maximum receptivity did not occur for many skills and emotional developments. A critical period is only the extreme example of a more general class of sensitive periods. It is likely that, in the sphere of learning, periods of maximum sensitivity rather than of critical now-or-never-ness exist. More knowledge of the occurrence and nature of such periods from nursery school age onwards would be invaluable for the teacher and the subject is therefore an important one for educational research.

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The Interaction of Heredity and Environment

29. Biologists are now much clearer than they were 30 years ago about the manner in which hereditary and environmental factors interact to produce a characteristic, be that characteristic stature or the score in an intelligence test. What is inherited are the genes. Except in very special instances, such as the blood groups and a few diseases, the chemical substance that any given gene causes to be produced is not directly related to any characteristic of a child or an adult. All characteristics have a history of continuous developmental interactions, first of gene products with other gene products, then of more complex molecules with other molecules, then of cells with cells, of tissues with the environment of the mother's uterus, and finally of a whole complex organism with an equally complex environment during the whole of growth after birth. It is now believed that all characteristics are developed in this way; none is inherited. And none can develop without the necessary genetic endowment to provide the basis, a basis as essential for characteristics which are learned as for those which are apparently not learned. The effect of this new biological outlook is of particular importance when we come to consider the question of changes in measured intelligence.

30. From an educational point of view the characteristics which have most importance such as intelligence are those which vary in degree in a population rather than being simply present or absent. Stature is a similar example related to physical characteristics. One cannot meaningfully talk of genes for tallness nor of genes for high intelligence. What we can say about such characteristics is that in a given population, growing up under given environmental circumstances, x per cent of the variability in height or intelligence can be attributed to inherited factors (the genotype), y per cent to environmental ones, and z per cent to genotype-environment interaction. The point is that hereditability is not a quantity that belongs to a characteristic but to a population in its environment. Accordingly it varies with the population and the environment. The more uniform the environment, the greater the proportion of variability due to genotype. In England, for example, the differences in height between adults are largely due to hereditary causes, for most children have had enough to eat. But in many underdeveloped countries, where starvation and disease are rife, more of the adult variation will be environmental in origin and a smaller proportion genetic.

31. The interaction of genes and environment may not be additive; for example, bettering the nutrition by a given amount may not produce a ten per cent increase in height in each person in a population irrespective of his genetic constitution. There may be genotype-environment interaction. Some people may have a rise of 12 per cent, others of eight per cent, depending on whether they carry genes making them react favourably to this new environmental circumstance. A particular environment, in other words, may be highly suitable for a child with certain genes, but highly unsuitable for a child with others. We do not know if such interactions occur in the genesis, for example, of the variations in measured intelligence in our population. If they do, and in principle this seems likely, it would follow that giving everybody the maximum educational opportunity may mean creating individual educational environments for different children. In the same way deprivation would not necessarily mean the same thing for one child as for another.

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32. Genetic factors operate throughout the whole period of growth. Not all genes are active at birth; some only begin to exert their influence after a period of time. Probably this phased effect accounts for the fact that, physically, and perhaps in other respects, children resemble their parents increasingly as they grow older. Some environmental factors, too, may produce little apparent effect when they are most obviously operative, but a larger effect at some time later. This is known as the 'sleeper' effect.

Environmental Factors Affecting Physical Growth

33. Adverse environmental conditions may slow down physical growth, and throw the child off his 'programmed' curve, that is, off the curve that would be followed by someone of his genotype under optimal environmental conditions. But children possess a great capacity to return to or towards their curves if the environmental circumstances are made better. After temporary disease or starvation, for example, a child may resume growth at twice or three times the normal rate until he has caught up all that he had previously lost. Whether complete catching up is possible depends on the age at which the child experiences the adverse environment and the length of time for which he does so. The earlier the adversity and the longer its duration the more lasting its effects. The degree to which similar considerations apply to intellectual and emotional development is unknown and a subject requiring more research.

34. Girls' growth is less affected by adverse circumstances than boys' (see, for example, Appendix 10 for recent evidence collected by the National Child Development Study). This seems to be a general phenomenon as it is true of the females and males of several other mammalian species. It may be due entirely to the earlier physiological maturity of girls, or there may be other causes. Boys are more prone to certain disorders such as epilepsy. They predominate in schools for the educationally subnormal and in child guidance clinics. They have more enuresis, more neurological impairments and more reading difficulties. Possibly these are related to worse regulation of growth in the uterus. There is no definite knowledge yet about this.

35. Children in different socio-economic groups differ in average body size at all ages, those from the better-off groups being larger (6, 7). The difference at present between children in upper middle class homes and unskilled workers' homes amounts to about one inch [25 mm] in height at the age of five rising to 1½ to 1¾ inches [38 - 44 mm] at adolescence. It is not clear whether height and socio-economic status are as closely associated as they were thirty years ago, but if there has been any change it has not been great. Part of the height differential persists in adults and it is not therefore simply a reflection of acceleration or retardation of growth. Indeed, menarche now occurs at approximately the same age in different socio-economic classes. Thirty years ago it was earlier in the well off.

36. The number of children in the family is significantly associated with the rate of growth (8, 9). Children with many brothers and sisters are smaller than those with few. London boys aged five with no siblings are on average 1¼ inches [32 mm] taller than those with four or more siblings (10). The difference is not confined to height but occurs also in other bodily measurements and in visual and auditory acuity. A similar relationship has also been shown in tests of mental ability, though whether this persists at older ages is not yet clear (11).

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A relationship has been found between the number of children in a family and the age of onset of puberty (12); few children in the family is associated with early puberty and many children with late puberty. The difference in physical development is at least partly nutritional in origin. The National Food Surveys have shown that families with many children spend appreciably less on food per head than families with few children. Abel-Smith and Townsend (13) have shown that the great majority of the children growing up in families they describe as economically 'poor' belong to families with four or more children.

37. Environmental and hereditary factors interact inextricably to produce these differences between socio-economic classes. One set of factors tends to reinforce, not cancel out, the other. Socio-economic classes are heterogeneous and artificial, and it is not so much the family's occupation or income that is operative here as its attitudes and traditions of child care, its child-centredness, its whole cultural outlook (14, 15). As the more intelligent and forward looking parent moves up the social scale, so his children's conditions improve; the less intelligent, less ambitious and more passive parent creates conditions which give less stimulation and support to the child's physical development. Similar considerations apply to intellectual development. Intelligent parents, who have themselves gained educational and social advantages, tend to make effective use of the educational, social and medical provision for their children. There is a strong association between the circumstances which affect the nutritional conditions underlying progress in physical development and those other conditions which nourish, as it were, intellectual and emotional growth. The significance of these facts for education lies largely in the light they throw on the progress, or lack of it, made towards equalising even the simple circumstances of life between children of different social classes.

38. There is a small positive correlation between a child's size at any age and his score on tests of measured intelligence. Children in grammar schools, for example, are on average larger than children of the same age in secondary modern schools. The available evidence makes it seem likely that part at least of the correlation persists into adult life.

The Trend Towards Earlier Physical Maturity

39. During the last fifty years or more there has been a trend towards earlier maturation and greater size in all ages in children. Thus London five years olds in 1959 were on average nearly three inches [76 mm] taller than London five year olds in 1910, and London thirteen years olds were nearly four inches [102 mm] taller. Adults, too, have been getting taller during this century but only to a much smaller degree. Most of the increase in height of children is caused by their earlier maturity. At the turn of the century most English boys probably stopped growing at about 22; nowadays they usually stop at 17 or 18.

40. The trend is most clearly seen in age at menarche, illustrated in Diagram 2. The statistics for Great Britain before the late 1940s are less satisfactory than those for other European countries, but the general tendency in this country is evidently is in line with others. At present the average age of menarche in southern England is 13.0 years and probably a month or two later in northern England. The tendency has been for menarche to commence earlier by an average of about four months per decade. Probably this tendency is

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now becoming less as an ultimate threshold is approached. It seems likely, however, that the average menarcheal age will decrease at least to about twelve years six months during the next twenty to thirty years.

41. The reasons for this trend are not fully understood, but it seems probable that better standards of nutrition and home conditions, particularly in infancy, are chiefly responsible. The reduction of illness in childhood may also have played a part. The trend has been greater in the worse off sections of the community though not confined to them.

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Secular trend in age at menarche 1830-1960. Values are plotted at year in which the average menarche took place, ie in 'recollected-age' data if average menarche of 40-year-olds interrogated in 1900 was 15 years, this is plotted at 1875. This places old data on same age scale as modern probit data. Where age of interrogation is not recorded an estimated amount has been subtracted according to the nature of population studied (primiparae etc). Grouping errors have been corrected where necessary (i.e. 13-year-olds centred at 13.5 years, not 13, as in some older literature). Sources of data as quoted in original. (From Tanner Growth at Adolescence Blackwell Sci. Publ.: Oxford).

The Development of Behaviour

42. Each event in a child's behaviour results from the interaction of his inheritance, his history and his immediate situation. Very few of the child's responses are wholly innate (as are many responses in young birds, for example); most require learning, though the basis on which learning can take place is inborn. The baby depends on environmental stimuli for his development, and these need to be varied and complex if the full range of normal behaviour is to be developed. It is the function of the educational process to provide these stimuli from the moment of birth onwards.

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43. The smiling response is one example of the manner in which basic behavioural patterns are elaborated and remoulded by the environment and society during the course of development. During the first two to eight months after birth any object with some resemblance to the pattern of eyes in a human face may elicit a smile from the baby. This behaviour appears to be virtually unlearned and serves to evoke maternal behaviour in the mother or other adult. Gradually learning takes place so that the child distinguishes his own mother from other adults, and for a time smiles only at her. Much later the child or adult uses the same response elaborated and codified to show sympathy with others.

44. The persistence of early responses and particularly of unconscious emotional attitudes towards other people has been stressed especially by the psychoanalysts. Children 'identify' with parents and others, imitate them and assume their attitudes. They also project on to them many of their own infantile thoughts and wishes. As they grow up they may transfer these attitudes to others in their environment. Thus the child may re-enact this parental relationship with his teacher; a teacher may partly re-enact with colleagues his own earlier relationships with parents or siblings. Such identification, and the formation of strong emotional bonds between child and teacher, can be valuable educationally if the bonds are positive ones.

45. The child appears to have a strong drive, which shows itself at a very early age, towards activity and the exploration of the environment. He also displays curiosity especially about novel and unexpected features of his experience. As far as can be judged, this behaviour is autonomous since it occurs when there is no obvious external motivation such as hunger.

46. There seems to be a pressure in the young child towards the emergence of sensori-motor skills. He needs opportunity for movement. Even in totally limbless children, this drive towards physical experience finds expression, at first through total body movement, and later, when crawling would normally occur, through locomotion of the trunk alone. But the drive needs support from the environment and such children need to be fitted with artificial limbs at or before the time when they would normally use their arms and legs. In short, the child displays a drive towards mastery of his environment, and tends to adopt a style of behaviour and response which provides a technique for achieving mastery. This technique comes by repetition of experience, and the physical and conceptual skills required to handle experience are then practised without any obvious incentive.

47. Individual differences between children in level of ability, sensitivity, vigour and tempo of response appear very early in life (18). Different children, even within the same family, often have different temperaments from birth. Parental personality, attitudes and modes of child rearing interact with the child's temperament, reinforcing or conflicting with the ways in which he prefers to respond. It is important that early learning should take into account the child's style of response. Little is known, however, of the way in which the different personalities of parent or teacher and child interact, or of how different attitudes to or modes of rearing affect children of varying endowments. Much more research in this area is needed.

48. In the early stages of the learning process, neuro-motor, perceptual and emotional operations are inextricably bound together. When a child enters

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school his success in learning is bound up with the development of emotional control and satisfactory relations with the adults about him. If he does not succeed in this, there is a danger that he may refuse to learn. Intellectual processes in a child will not function fully unless some emotional incentive or interest is present. Freedom from severe emotional disturbance is also a necessary condition of learning.

49. Like the growth of the body, the development of behaviour is a continuous process. The concept of clear cut stages is too crude to describe adequately the subtleties of development though it may at times be useful as a working model. According to Piaget, mental structures appear in a sequence as coherent and regular as many aspects of physical growth, and all people, whatever their variation in pace and final level, pass through the same sequence.

50. Piaget distinguishes four stages in intellectual development, which follow in sequence: 'sensori-motor', 'intuitive thought', 'concrete operations', and 'formal operations'.* But a child does not switch suddenly from one stage to another, just as he does not suddenly walk. At first he supports himself for brief periods and mostly crawls; then he walks half the time and, later still, he walks as his principal mode of progression. So also with learning to think and to feel. The stages, too, are not irreversible; though a child (or an adult) may operate most of the time in the stage of concrete operations or formal operations, he may relapse into an earlier mode of behaviour in play, or regress into it in confusion or under stress.

51. Just as a child cannot learn to walk before he has learned to stand, in cognitive development the reaching of successive phases depends upon an adequate level of development in the earlier phase. A child cannot learn to read, for example, without having learned to discriminate shapes. Not all individuals reach the same level of development. Mentally sub-normal individuals never fully attain the later stages or may do so only long after the average child. The creative and powerful thinkers in our society go far beyond the stage reached by the average adult.

52. There is the same wide variation in the speed and efficiency with which neuro-muscular skills are acquired as there is in the growth in height or the development of the skeleton. Some children by the age of five have fine hand control and can cut with scissors and draw straight lines and circles; others are clumsy at these activities for several further years. Advancement or retardation of these skills is the result of the interaction of a hereditary tendency and environmental factors such as encouragement or discouragement, training and practice or the lack of it, but in what proportion is not clear. The 'self fulfilling prophecy' may operate here as throughout so much

*Sensori-motor phase - the child moves from apparently uncoordinated reflex responses to successively more complex patterns of activity and establishes a rudimentary sense of the persistence of permanent objects, inanimate and human.
Phase of intuitive thought - a transitional phase when children may perceive only one relationship at a time, actions are not reversible, judgements are often based on intuition and dominated by perception.
Phase of concrete operations - a prolonged phase during which children become able to perceive stable and reversible relationships in concrete situations.
Phase of formal operations - children become capable of logical thought, based on symbolic and abstract material.

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of the educational process. The advanced and well controlled children may be given the most interesting and demanding tasks, and may claim more of the teacher's time. They thus advance even further. Meanwhile a clumsy child may sit neglected, falling farther and farther behind. It is as though we made a point of giving tall children better food and starving the short children. If we did this, we would certainly see a greater variation in height in the adult population than was necessary on purely genetic grounds.


53. Communication of feeling and attitude between parent and child, child and child, and teacher and child can often take place by non-verbal means such as facial expression, gesture or bodily movement. These are fundamental forms of expression and attention to them is particularly valuable for understanding young children. Experience and feeling may also be communicated through play, through expressive and creative response to media such as paint and clay, and through the re-enactment of emotion in movement, mime and spontaneous dramatisation.

54. Spoken language plays a central role in learning. Parents in talking to their children help them to find words to express, as much to themselves as to others, their needs, feelings and experiences. Through language children can transform their active, questing response to the environment into a more precise form and learn to manipulate it more economically and effectively. The complex perceptual-motor skills of reading and writing are based in their first stages upon speech, and the wealth and variety of experience from which effective language develops. Language originates as a means of expressing feeling, establishing contact with others and bringing about desired responses from them (19); these remain as fundamental functions of language, even at a more mature level. Language develops through the stages of speech, of repeating the commands and prohibitions of others, to become finally part of the child's internal equipment for thinking. Language increasingly serves as a means of organising and controlling experience and the child's own responses to it (20).

55. The development of language is, therefore, central to the educational process. Children who are brought up in a home background where the forms of speech are restricted are at a considerable disadvantage when they first go to school (21) and may need to have considerable compensatory opportunities for talking if they are to develop verbal skills and form concepts. The child's active vocabulary grows at a dramatic rate between two and five years, reaching an average of over 2,000 words. It has been estimated that a child needs to understand about 3,000 words to begin reading (22). By four or five years years children should be articulating sounds about 90 per cent correctly. Most children can make sentences by the time they go to school and are able to understand simple instructions given by unfamiliar people. Nevertheless, there will be a proportion who, because of difficulties in development or unfavourable backgrounds, are likely to lack fluency or have difficulty in making themselves understood. The psychological trauma of placing a child without adequate powers of communication in a new social situation can be serious.

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The Measurement of Intelligence and its Bearing on Educational Decisions

56. The results of tests of intelligence or general ability are usually expressed as an 'intelligence quotient' (or IQ) and define a child's standing relative to other children. Everything that has been said above about the interaction of hereditary and environmental factors in controlling the development of adult characteristics applies to the scores achieved in those tests. Thus any IQ score represents an interaction between hereditary endowment and environmental circumstances, both past and present, including, of course, the influence of parents or teachers. Furthermore it shows how the particular environmental circumstances, past and present, suit the particular genetic endowment of the individual in question.

57. The importance of genetic factors and of very early environment, or both, is shown by the fact that IQ remains fairly stable throughout development in most children while varying greatly from one child to another. This also indicates that circumstances rarely change so much for the worse as seriously to lower the IQ. But the benefits that can occasionally accrue from an improvement in environment, effected perhaps by a transfer from one school to another or by a change of home, are indicated by the large gains, of up to 25 points, made in a short space of time by some children.

58. Large short term changes must be distinguished from longer-term trends. Long term gradual trends may signify a gradual betterment or worsening of a child's environment; but they may alternatively proceed from largely genetic factors if the child is a late or an early developer. Just as some children at the age of five are shorter than most other children of the same age but reach average height by the time they are 15, so some children have a higher rate of gain in intellectual ability than others and so register an increasing IQ in successive tests. Brain maturation is not complete until the end of adolescence at the earliest but it is not known whether a spurt in mental growth occurs during adolescence or not. If a spurt does occur the evidence indicates that it can only be a slight one.

59. Investigations by Husen (23) in Sweden and Burt (24) in England record correlations of 0.7 and 0.8 respectively between IQs of boys and girls as ascertained in tests separated by an interval of about ten years. This implies that about ten per cent of the children moved from the lower half to the upper half of the distribution and that a corresponding number moved the other way. Thus if the IQ had been made the single criterion at nine or ten for sorting the children into sheep and goats, and if the same criterion had been used again at 19, it would have been found that a mistake had been made in 20 per cent of the cases.

60. Thus the notion of the constancy of the IQ is biologically self-exploding as well as educationally explosive. The description of the causes of IQ variation given above shows that strict constancy of the IQ could not be achieved under any circumstances. The nearer the approach to the ideal state in which each person's environment became perfect for him throughout his whole growth, the nearer, it is true, would be the approach to constancy. But even then the long term gains and losses due to the different rates of intellectual development would remain. The IQ has indeed its educational uses, but these can only be properly evaluated if we have a clear, not over

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simplified idea of what IQ test scores represent, on what they are based, by how much they vary, and for what reason.

61. There are also shorter term variations in IQ test results attributable to transient effects in the environment. The child on the day of the test may be unhappy, preoccupied, or about to go down with 'flu. He may simply dislike the tester, or he may have his attention wholly concentrated on a football game that afternoon. According to temperament, a child may do better when tested individually by a psychologist than in the impersonal situation of a group test. He may, or may not, have been coached in the type of test used. It has not proved possible to construct tests in which practice does not lead to improvement. Recent figures suggest that a single practice results in an average gain of about five points, while serious coaching might be worth up to 15 points (25, 26). Even the smaller gain would be sufficient to give a considerable advantage to a child on the borderline, who had an even chance of a grammar school place, since with the usual 11 plus borderline, this would be equivalent to a rise of ten percentile ranks. Many group tests have a practice test incorporated in them. Yet variation between primary schools in the amount of coaching given is known from enquiries made by HM Inspectors to be one of the reasons why children from some primary schools do better at the secondary stage, and others worse, than their tested intelligence at 11 would suggest.

62. The genetic background against which intellectual ability develops is similar to the genetic background to stature. There are a large number of genes each contributing to this background; in consequence the correlations between twins, between siblings and between children and parents resemble the equivalent correlations for stature, though they are not quite so high, because the direct environmental effect on IQ is greater than that on stature. There is also, as with height, a well marked correlation between children's IQ and parental occupation. The children of professional parents have an average IQ of about 115, and at the other extreme the children of unskilled workers average about 93, although there is considerable overlap between individuals in different socio-economic classes (27).

63. This correlation of test with parents' occupation has sometimes been said to make the use of the tests socially unjust. But in fact the IQ scores are not so highly correlated with parental occupation as are the scores in attainment tests or probably as are teachers' ratings. Consequently, in the right circumstances, and in these only, the IQ test may serve to pick out a child of ability who would be passed over by an attainment test or a teacher's rating because his home background is poor and his success at school less good than that of more favourably placed pupils.

64. The fact that there are no very precise criteria for determining what constitutes the exercise of intelligence is not an obstacle to the use of intelligence tests, though it creates some difficulty over their interpretation. The tests have been designed to sample a child's powers over a wide field. For example, one of the most used tests, the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC), comprises 12 sub-sets called information, comprehension, arithmetic, similarities, vocabulary, digit span, picture completion, picture arrangement, block design, object assembly, coding and mazes. But there are certainly areas of the child's thinking which remain unsampled. Efforts have

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been made in the past to devise 'culture free' tests, that is, presumably, tests which reflect only genetical endowment and are independent of environment. Such efforts are worth making, but can have only limited success, in view of the analysis of the causes of test scores given above. What we would like to know is just how much more ability could be uncovered in the population if everyone was given the most suitable home and educational environment. We can never know this completely but we can discover more about it. As it is, the tests now being devised try to be 'culture fair' rather than 'culture free', so that they are not considered suitable if they do not match reasonably well the group for whom they are standardised. Rightly used, the intelligence test can assist us in these efforts: wrongly used, it can frustrate them. Hebb has made a distinction between Intelligence A, genetic potential, and Intelligence B, the ability which can be observed in daily life and sampled by intelligence tests. Most psychologists agree that there is no sharp distinction between measured intelligence and educational attainments. Both are the product of genetic and environmental factors; both are learned. Intelligence refers to generalised thinking powers which have developed from experience in and out of school: attainments are more directly influenced by the school curriculum.

The Emotional Development of the Child

65. The emotional aspects of the child's development, like the intellectual, follow a regular sequence based on the interaction between maturation and biological factors on the one hand and experience and learning within the cultural setting on the other. Emotional, social and intellectual aspects are closely intertwined in mental growth: the child is a total personality. Emotional life provides the spur and in many ways gives meaning to experience. There are widely differing points of view on the importance of innate factors in emotional development. In the Freudian scheme, emotional development is thought of as taking place in a fixed sequence of stages based on instinctual drives which interact with such demands as those imposed by weaning or toilet training. This interaction creates individual personality and affects individual ways of growth. But anthropological and social studies suggest that there may be differences in 'basic personality' caused by different ways of upbringing and cultural expectations. Individual personality development, however, depends very much on learning from the expectations and practices derived from the family relationship.

66. In any society the child moves through successive levels of development and encounters crises stemming from the demands made on him by society. The effectiveness with which he has been helped to come to terms with these crises is of lasting importance to him. Failure to master one stage will affect the next, leading to later difficulty or failure to adjust fully as a person and member of society. Emotional life becomes increasingly structured and complex as the child grows and learns. The expression and control of emotional response or feeling develop from a diffuse, total response of comfort or discomfort, sleep or wakefulness in the very young child, involving the whole body and nervous system. At a very early stage there appear more specific responses differentiated by the end of the second year into the emotions of anger, love, fear, jealousy and the like. The child is vulnerable to his emotions, not so much experiencing them as being swept by them. Even the five year old,

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despite his apparent balance and control, remains subject to overpowering impulses and fears and is still dependent on those close to him for guidance and control. Common observation as well as the study of the development of brain rhythms in young children suggest that attention and learning are readily affected by discomfort or bodily needs, such as a full bladder, or by emotional upset or tension, and that any emotional disturbance reverberates for a long time. The emotional life of the child of two to five is intimately bound up with his relationships with those who care for and are close to him. Emotional development is related to intellectual development as well as to increasing maturity and experience. In the first year, fears centre around the unknown or sudden changes. Then children begin to show fear of more specific objects and situations, noises, or animals, and readily acquire 'conditioned' fears. With capacity for thought and imagination, children come to fear unseen and unknown things emerging from their fantasy life. At a later stage, in the primary school, more fears appear which are related to experience or are connected with the sense of personal adequacy and need to succeed and be accepted.

67. The child is at first dominated by his needs and impulses. Much early learning is concerned with helping him to live with others, accept delays, deal with frustrations and build up inner controls. Learning theory provides many examples of how this training, within a context of parental and social expectations, occurs. The child is not just 'trained' but learns to handle his feelings and drives in constructive ways which have been succinctly described as 'the mechanisms of defence'. Reasonably phased experiences of delay, frustration and control help to establish the sense of separation between himself and the environment. In play the child masters reality by imitating and acting out situations he has experienced.

68. Aggression is one example of the emotions that the child must learn to handle and express. Some aggressiveness is not only part of the individual's response to difficulties and frustration, but is necessary in social life, to allow the individual to assert his identity and ensure that he gets within reason what he should. Normal progress in transforming aggressive impulses into more mature forms can be seen in the development from the tantrums or the tussling for possession of the two year old to the brief and desultory quarrel of the nursery school child and so to the verbal insults, arguments and discussion of the older junior school child. A major role of the school is to help the child to come to terms with these feelings and not to suppress them, but to understand them and thus to discover how to deal acceptably with them. His experiences with other children give him essential experience in handling relationships.

69. One of the most important aspects of the child's early learning is his dependence on the adults around him. His anxiety over the deprivation or punishment which he experiences in the course of social training leads to an avoidance of the disapproval of the adults who care for him and a seeking for their approval. This is one of the most powerful motives for emotional and other learning, at home, in school, and in social relationships in general. Consistency of handling, too, is an important factor in helping the child to pick his way through the confusion of acceptable and forbidden types of behaviour which, at the time of learning, he cannot fully understand. The

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quality of the care and security provided by a child's home during the early years of his life are of extreme importance for his later emotional development. The emotional climate of the home, parental attitudes, values and expectations, whether personal or derived from their social and cultural background, appear more important than specific techniques of child rearing. Maladjustment may result from tensions in the family rather than from an illness in the child himself.

70. The emotional effects of being deprived at an early age of a consistent and warm maternal relationship have become well known through the work of Bowlby and others (28, 29). Cultural deprivation can also have disastrous results. A child brought up in a family which, because of poverty, missing parents, or the low intelligence of parents, cannot provide security or sufficient emotional and intellectual stimulation, may miss a significant stage in his early social development. Children who have been reared in this way often find difficulty in handling their impulses and needs. They may find it hard, too, to make the transition to later learning, since they cannot cope constructively with materials or concentrate. We do not know at what age, and to what extent, this process is reversible by suitable experience or treatment. Left untreated, it may persist in continued ineffectiveness, and in the lack of motive for learning in school. It can result in the creation of adults who are feckless, tough and without real feelings, and without any personal identity outside their immediate family group.

71. A child develops from complete dependence on his mother to independence. One major crisis for the child is the separation required of him when he goes to nursery or school. He becomes less dependent on his family and other relations close to him, and experiences increasing inter-dependence with others as he learns social skills, finds new roles and establishes more firmly his own identity. There are strong urges towards growth, maturity and independence, but there are also factors which tend to make the child wish to remain protected and dependent. Family situations or maternal attitudes which foster this can cause emotional difficulties in the child, and it has been suggested that over dependency may be one reason for difficulty in independent learning, particularly in reading.

72. The child moves through distinguishable stages in social behaviour. At 15 to 18 months, he recognises and responds to other children. Between two and three and a half he plays for the most part as an individual and not with others. Even at four and five social interaction is loosely structured, and the dependence of the children on adult support is shown by the fact that a nursery group playing together quite effectively will disintegrate when the teacher moves away. In the primary school years, especially from 8 to 12, the child moves increasingly into social groups composed of children of the same age and maturity. In this 'peer' group, he learns how to play and live in cooperation and competition, how to control his feelings, establish roles and social techniques, and become accepted for what he is and can do, outside the close relationships of his family on the one hand, and the more formalised relationships and values of the school on the other. Group membership in work and play within the school fosters this social and emotional development, the process of defining oneself as an individual through the reflected appraisal of the group.

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73. Moral development is closely associated with emotional and social development. The child forms his sense of personal worth and his moral sense from early experiences of acceptance, approval and disapproval. Out of an externally imposed rule of what is permitted arises a sense of what ought to be done and an internal system of control: in everyday terms, a conscience. The very young child, limited in understanding, acts according to strict rules, even though he often breaks them. What is right and wrong relates closely to what his parents say and to the situation arising in the home. Later, as the child develops intellectually and lives with others, his sense of right and wrong derives from a wider circle and becomes more qualified; the rules of a game are seen to be arrived at by a consensus, and therefore modifiable by common agreement. Even so, the 11 year old still has a fairly crude and concrete sense of justice. It appears doubtful whether an autonomous conscience is established before adolescence.

74. Although much work has been done on physical growth during puberty, little study has been made of the progress towards emotional maturity and stability. The subject is important not only because it might be relevant to the age of transfer from primary to secondary education, but also because of the increasing number of children who begin to enter puberty before they leave the primary school. Psychological changes at adolescence centre on the search for personal identity, for independence arising out of increasing competence and self-esteem, and on the development of maturer sexual attitudes and behaviour. The emotional changeability of some adolescent children is well recognised, and may sometimes lead to quite bewildering and contradictory behaviour. But opinion differs as to whether it is the majority or a minority of adolescents who behave in this way (30). Both biological and cultural factors affect adolescent behaviour, and physical and psychological changes do not necessarily coincide. There is also conflicting evidence as to whether the transition from primary to secondary school, selective or unselective, is a cause of distress (31). What seems most likely is that it brings to the surface psychological difficulties in vulnerable children.


75. This chapter has been concerned with some aspects of the growth and development of children on which sound educational theory and practice must be built. We have taken them into account in making our recommendations on the issues discussed in the Report. It is not possible to summarise further this material but the more obvious implications of it can be stated baldly as follows:

(a) Individual differences between children of the same age are so great that any class, however homogeneous it seems, must always be treated as a body of children needing individual and different attention.

(b) Until a child is ready to take a particular step forward, it is a waste of time to try to teach him to take it.

(c) Even at the ages with which we are concerned, boys and girls develop at different rates and react in different ways - a fact which needs particular attention because we have coeducational schools. Boys are more vulnerable to adverse environmental circumstances than girls. Both reach maturity earlier than they did.

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(d) Though IQ scores are a useful rough indication of potential ability, they should not be treated as infallible predictors. Judgements which determine careers should be deferred as long as possible.

(e) Since a child grows up intellectually, emotionally and physically at different rates, his teachers need to know and take account of his 'developmental age' in all three respects. The child's physique, personality, and capacity to learn develop as a result of continuous interaction between his environmental and genetical inheritance. Unlike the genetic factors, the environmental factors are, or ought to be, largely within our control.


1. Conel JL The Postnatal development of the human cerebral cortex, Vols. I-VI. 1939-1959, Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
2. Inhelder B and Piaget J The Growth of Logical Thinking from Childhood to Adolesence. 1958, London, Kegan Paul.
3. Hubel DH and Wiesel TNJ () Neuro. physiol, 1963, Vol. 26, 996.
4. Lorenz K The Companion in the bird's world, 1937, Auk 54, 245-273.
5. Loring J (ed.) Teaching the Cerebral Palsied Child, 1965, London, Heinemann.
6. Tanner JM Education and Physical Growth, 1961, University of London Press.
7. Douglas JWB 1964, Papers prepared at the request of the Central Advisory Council.
8. Social Implications of the 1947 Scottish Mental Survey, Report of Scottish Council for Research in Education, 1953, University of London Press.
9. See (7) above.
10. Scott JA London County Council: Report on Heights and Weights of School Pupils in the County of London in 1959, 1961.
11. Benech A, Mathieu B, and Schreider Dimensions de la famille et caracteres biologiques des enfants, Biotypologie 21, 4-36, 1960.
12. See (7) above.
13. Abel-Smith B and Townsend P The Poor and the Poorest, Occasional Papers on Social Administration, W.17, Bell, 1965.
14. Swift DF Social Class and Achievement Motivation, Educational Research VIII (2) 1966.
15. Davis A Social Class Influences on Learning, 1948. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
16. Tanner JM Growth at Adolescence, 2nd Ed, 1962. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford.
17. Ed. Foss BM Determinants of Infant Behaviour, 1961, Methuen.
18. Ausubel DP Theory and Problems of Child Development, 1959, Grune and Stratton.
19. Lewis MM Language, Thought and Personality in Infancy and Childhood, 1963, Harrap.
20. Luria AR The Role of Speech in the Regulation of Normal and Abnormal Behaviour, 1961, London Pergamon Press.
21. Bernstein B Social Class and Linguistic Development: in Education, Economy and Society Ed. Halsey AH, 1961, New York Free Press.
22. McCarthy D Manual of Child Psychology, Ed. Carmichael L, New York, Wiley.
23. Husen T The Influence of Schooling on IQ Theoria, 17, 61-68, 1951.
24. Burt C Age, Ability and Aptitude, University of London, Institute of Education, 1954, Evans.
25. Vernon PE Intelligence Testing, 1952, London: Times Publishing Co.
26. Vernon PE Intelligence and Attainment Tests, 1960, University of London Press.
27. See (8).
28. Bowlby J, 1951, Maternal Care and Mental Health, Geneva, WHO Monograph Series No. 2, 2nd Ed., 1952.
29. Deprivation of Maternal Care, 1962, WHO Public Health Papers No. 14, Geneva.
30. Evidence submitted by Dr W Warren and Dr D Odlum; Odlum D; 'Journey Through Adolescence' by Dr D Odlum, 1957, Delisle Ltd.
31. PE Vernon (Ed.) 'Secondary School Selection', A British Psychological Society Inquiry, 1957.

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Part Three

The Home, School and Neighbourhood

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The Children and their Environment

76. One of the main themes of Chapter 2 is the interaction between a child's inheritance and his environment. In this chapter we single out the evidence of research - and in particular of our National Survey* - on how much parents influence children's achievement at school and how their influence operates.

77. The Hadow Report on the Primary School (1) acknowledged the good fortune of children who enter school 'with the foundations of education ... well laid' and who, as they grow older, acquire 'almost as much general knowledge in the home as ... in the school, and ... almost as much information about the world and its way during leisure hours ... as from the formal lessons in the classroom'. The report contrasted the plight of the child from the poor home; 'his vocabulary is limited, his general knowledge is narrow; he has little opportunity for reading and his power of expressing himself ... is inadequate'. Despite this acceptance of the importance of the home, the Hadow Report did not give any prominence to it. The main reference occurs in a sub-section on environment which was tacked on to a chapter on mental development.

78. Why then do we devote so much attention to this subject? The power of environment is more obvious than it was then. The progress made since 1931 testifies to it. The rise in educational standards is due to improvements in the schools themselves; but it is also due to changes in the homes from which the children come, and, beyond the homes, to changes in the wider society of which the children and their parents are members. Unemployment has been almost non-existent since the war except in some areas and for a small minority of workers. Incomes have risen, nutrition has improved, housing is better, the health service and the rest of the social services have brought help where it is needed. Some of these changes stand out from a summary of parental circumstances based on interviews with parents of children in primary schools, included in the National Survey (Appendix 3). Parents from all walks of life use these schools. They are more and more a cross-section of the nation. Fathers of children included in the National Survey Sample belong to occupational groups in the same proportions as those which characterise all married men in the country as judged by the 1961 Census. We are nearer, it seems, to the ideal of the Hadow Committee 'the primary school, the common school of the whole population' (2).

79. It is apparent that most of the children are now physically healthy, vigorous, curious and alert. Though many primary school buildings date back to 1931 and long before, few children have the pinched faces or poor clothes often seen in photographs of 30 years ago. Yet some children and some parents tail far behind. Twelve per cent of the families in the National Survey had a net income from all sources of 12 10s 0d [12.50] a week or less. The difficulties of children in such families such as these are discussed in Chapter 5.

*The whole Survey appears as Appendices 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 in Volume 2. Its full title is the '1964 National Survey of Parental Attitudes and Circumstances Related to School and Pupil Characteristics'. It is described in the main report as the National Survey.

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80. If all goes well, progress in material standards will continue, and over the next 30 years the schools will continue to benefit. But educators are not just the beneficiaries of progress; they are its makers too. Our argument in this and the following chapters is that educational policy should explicitly recognise the power of the environment upon the school and of the school upon the environment. Teachers are linked to parents by the children for whom they are both responsible. The triangle should be completed and a more direct relationship established between teachers and parents. They should be partners in more than name; their responsibility become joint instead of several.

81. The need for this is apparent from the results of the National Survey. This enquiry has taken further the investigations undertaken for the Council in connection with each of its three last reports.

82. Early Leaving (1954) (3), the first of the three reports, answered a very practical question; why did so many children drop out before completing the grammar school course? It was no surprise that the children of manual workers did less well academically than other children and more often left school at the minimum age. Surely they failed because they were less clever? The surprise, at the time, was that this was far from being the only reason. The enquiry showed that the children of semi-skilled and unskilled manual workers, who were in the top flight of the grammar school intake at the age of 11, had as a group by the end of their secondary school life been overtaken by the children of professional families who had initially been placed below them. Our predecessors summed up their conclusion on the issue as follows:

'In our analysis we have been concerned only with broad classifications, and we are well aware that many individual children of well-to-do parents find little support at home for hard work at school and academic ambition, while many children from very poor homes have parents who know the worth of the education they themselves missed. Still it is beyond doubt that a boy whose father is of professional or managerial standing is more likely to find his home circumstances favourable to the demands of grammar school work than one whose father is an unskilled or semi-skilled worker. The latter is handicapped.'
The Newsom Report (4) showed that this handicap was still there about ten years later, but suggested that it might be lessening, at least in the grammar schools. In these schools, the improvement among children from the lower occupational groups was greater than among children from the higher ones.

A Pool of Ability

83. The Crowther Report (1959) dealt with the same theme. Young men were given intelligence tests after they had left school, on recruitment to the Army and the RAF [Royal Air Force]. The length of their education was found to be related more closely to the occupation of their parents and to the size of their families than to their intelligence scores. Among the sons of manual workers who left school yearly [early?] there were many of high ability. It was clear that children of high academic promise were not benefiting fully from their education. 'It may well be that there is a pool of ability that imposes an upper limit on what can be done by education at any given time. But if so it is sufficiently clear

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that the limit has not been reached and will not even be approached without much more in the way of inducement and opportunity.' (5)

84. Other research has shown a marked association between parental occupation and measured intelligence, although it has of course always been clear that exceptionally able children, dull children and children who are failing to realise their potential are to be found in each occupational group. There is some evidence that the gap between measured intelligence of the children of manual workers and of middle class parents begins to widen at a very early age and that the causes are both genetic, as might be supposed from the argument in Chapter 2, and environmental. Hindley found evidence for the widening gap, admittedly on a small sample, in the pre-school years (6). The polarisation continues, according to Douglas, at the primary stage. At 11 the scores and achievement of children from the different classes are further apart than they were at eight (7). This growing apart did not occur in Scotland (8). In England, the process persists in the secondary school. The Robbins Report on higher education referred to the evidence about primary and secondary schools, and concluded that the handicaps imposed on the children of manual workers throughout the years at school did not seem to have been getting less. When the classes were compared, 'it looks as if the relative chances of reaching higher education have changed little in recent years'. (9)

Prospects for Improvement

85. The research and surveys cited, and much else to the same effect, suggest that we are far from realising the potential abilities of our children. To reveal the influence of parental occupation is a criticism of society; but it is also an opportunity for reform. There must always be a great diversity of parental occupations; but they need not continue to have their present severe discriminatory effect on children's educational prospects. The grosser deprivations arising from poverty can be removed. More parents can be brought to understand what education can do for their children, and how they can work with the schools. The educational disadvantage of being born the child of an unskilled worker is both financial and psychological. Neither handicap is as severe as it was. Both are more severe than they need be. Educational equality cannot be achieved by the schools alone: but the schools can make a major contribution towards ensuring (as Sir Edward Boyle wrote in his foreword to the Newsom report) 'that all children should have an equal opportunity of acquiring intelligence'.

86. The last three reports of the Council drew attention to the numerous exceptions to the rule that they established. They pointed to the homes and the schools which produce good or even brilliant results in spite of adverse circumstances. Our own enquiries have been directed to throwing light on the reasons for these exceptions. If we can pinpoint the factors which make good work possible in apparently unlikely circumstances, we may see what most needs to be done to enlarge the numbers of those who succeed. What is it about the home that matters so much? That was the main question we wished to have explored.

The National Survey

87. For our survey a sample of schools was drawn, stratified by size and type. In the first instance the sample included 107 junior and junior mixed and infant

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schools but, when the separate infant schools contributing to the junior schools in the sample were added, the total number of schools included came to 173. A sample of about 3,000 children within these schools was then drawn from the oldest infant, first year junior and fourth year junior classes, and the Government Social Survey conducted interviews with their mothers (or, very occasionally, their fathers). The questions asked are listed in Appendix 3 which describes the survey of parental attitudes and its findings in detail.

88. At about the same time that the interviews were held, information was being collected from the 173 head teachers about their schools, the ways in which they were organised and staffed, and their relationships with parents. Class teachers added information about the children in the sample. The attainments of the children were assessed by reading comprehension tests, and a picture intelligence test was also given to top infants. For comparison of the attainment of children within schools, pupils were arranged in rank order by teachers. The opportunity was taken to test the whole top junior group (not only those children in the sample) in reading comprehension, so that comparisons could be made with earlier reading standards. (See Appendix 7). HMIs visited the schools, described the methods used and assessed the teaching. The questions asked of head teachers, teachers and HMIs are included in the annexes to the National Survey (Volume 2). Many references are also made to this data in the text of our report.

89. The main purpose of the survey was to relate what we could learn about home and school to the attainment of the children. For the summarised table in this chapter, the variables used are grouped into three categories. What is included in each category is shown in detail in Appendix 4 (Tables 1 and 3). The first category is broadly called 'Parental Attitudes'. These attitudes were assessed by parents' answers to such questions as the age at which they wanted children to leave school and the secondary school they preferred. The initiative shown by parents in visiting the school, in talking to heads and class teachers and asking for work for children to do at home was also taken into account. Parents were asked about the time they spent with children in the evening and whether they helped children with school work. There was also an assessment of the literacy of the home as judged by what parents and children read, whether they belonged to a library and the number of books in the home. The second category is 'Home Circumstances', including the physical amenities of the home, or lack of them, the occupation and income of the father, the size of family, the length of parents' education and the qualifications they had obtained. The third category is the 'State of the School'. It covers facts about school organisations such as size of school, size of class and the ways children were put into classes. It also includes facts provided by the head about the experience of the staff and their attendance at short courses, and judgements by HMIs on the quality of the school and the competence of teachers.

The Findings of the Survey

90. The analyses made are more complex than those in previous CAC [Central Advisory Council] reports. Not only has more information been gathered about various in-

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fluences on attainment; it has been possible to explore more fully the interrelationship between these influences. The detailed tables in Appendix 4 consequently show not only the simple correlations between individual variables and attainment but also their correlations when the influence of all other variables is taken into account. We can thus show the extent to which each variable 'explains' variations in attainment. Size of family, for example, has long been known to be correlated with performance, children from smaller families doing better on the whole than those from larger. But when the effects of other variables are eliminated, family size does not explain the children's test performance as effectively as the attitude of their parents. On the whole, in large families, parents tend to be lower in aspiration, literacy and interest than in small families, and there are obvious reasons why this should be so. But in families of each size - one child, two children and so forth - the difference between the performance of the children varies even more according to the attitudes of the parents.

91. The figures given in Table 1 [below] show, for different ages, the percentage of the variation in performance which can be accounted for by the three main categories of variable. For each age group the comparisons made in the table are of two kinds, between pupils within schools and between schools. The object of this division was to bring out the extent to which a school's situation depends on the neighbourhood it serves. For comparisons between schools the unit of analysis was the school, and the variables were based on the average for each school of the original variables. For comparisons within schools the variables were the deviations of each pupil from the school average. If

Table 1 Percentage Contribution of Parental Attiutudes, Home Circumstances and State of School to Variation in Educational Performance.

Between Schools
Parental Attitudes24203928
Home Circumstances16 251720
State of School20221217

Within Schools
Parental Attitudes16152920
Home Circumstances9 979
State of School14152217

*The unexplained variation is due to differences between children which have not been covered by our variables, and also to errors in measurement. That so much variation has been explained - the amount in the between-schools analysis is remarkable for an enquiry of this kind - is due in part to the comparatively simple nature of the criterion variable, a reading comprehension test.

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neighbourhood were unimportant, and the parents, pupils and teachers in each school were merely random samples of the general population, the two kinds of analysis would give the same result. In fact, they do not; the comparisons between schools account for more variation than those within schools. This is because pupils, parents and teachers in the same school and neighbourhood resemble one another more than they resemble pupils, parents and teachers in general, just as apples growing on the same tree resemble one another more than they resemble apples in general. The apples on a tree in a good situation will do better than those on a tree in a poor situation, unless the latter receives special attention - an implication that is pursued in later chapters.

Importance of Parental Attitudes

92. The most striking feature of both these sets of comparisons is the large part played by parental attitudes, and the fact that it tends to be greater among the older than the younger children. Not surprisingly, there are changes of emphasis within the attitudes of parents as children grow older. Parents' interest is likely to be greater in the children's early years at school when, as the interviewers found, they were more confident about helping children in their work, because they understood it better. It yields some ground to parental aspiration as the children reach the top of the junior school. By that time the children's very success or failure in school work may increase or weaken parental aspiration.

93. The influence of the home has always been known to be important, and the importance of parental attitudes began to emerge in earlier studies such as those of Fraser (10), Floud, Halsey and Martin (11), but now its importance can be better understood. Broadly the same results stand out from other surveys made for us by Professor Wiseman in Manchester on a small group of children, and by those responsible for the National Child Development Study which deals with a national sample, considerably larger than ours, of children born in one week in 1958. Their reports, based mainly on simple correlations, appear in Appendices 9 and 10.

94. Everything that can be learned from the survey about parents and their relation to the schools is therefore important as a signpost for action. First, the interest shown by parents in the enquiry itself is highly encouraging. Only three per cent refused an interview and interviews were carried out with 95 per cent of the sample, a remarkably high response. Over half the interviews lasted for an hour or longer because parents were anxious to talk about their children. More than half the parents had left school at 14, yet three quarters wanted their children to stay at school beyond the minimum age. There was little difference in the number of evenings when parents from different socio-economic groups could spend some time with their children; but it is rather disconcerting to find that only about half the mothers did things with their children for some part of most evenings. Similarly, there was little distinction between the proportion of parents in each occupational group who said they wanted the schools to give their children work to do at home. Yet a far smaller proportion of manual workers than of those in other occupations were in fact given work to do at home by their schools. A quarter of all parents, irrespective of the kind of work done by the fathers, were disinclined to visit schools unless they were specially invited.

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95. So far the emphasis has been on respects in which parents thought alike irrespective of their occupational backgrounds. But there were also marked contrasts between manual and non-manual workers, and even more between those in professional and managerial occupations, and semi-skilled and unskilled workers. Perhaps the most noticeable difference was in the part played by fathers in children's education. Over two fifths of the manual workers had left the choice of school entirely to their wives, as compared with less than a quarter of the non-manual workers. Almost half the manual workers, compared with less than a quarter of non-manual workers, had not been to their child's present school at all. Less than a quarter had talked to the head.

96. What is particularly true of manual workers is true in somewhat smaller measure of their wives. The higher the socio-economic group, the more parents attended open days, concerts and parent-teacher association meetings, and the more often they talked with heads and class teachers about how their children were getting on. Manual workers and their wives were more likely to feel, when they had visited the schools, that they had learnt nothing fresh about their children, or that teachers should have asked them more. Not surprisingly, less help with school work was given at home to children of manual workers. Considerably lower proportions of parents from manual worker homes bought, for use at home, copies of some of the books children were using at school. Two thirds of unskilled workers had five books or fewer in the home, apart from children's books and magazines, as contrasted with one twentieth of professional workers.

97. In view of the fact that 29 per cent of all homes have five books or less, the schools are successful in encouraging children to read. About half of the children borrowed books from school to read at home and four fifths borrowed books either from the school or from public libraries. Only among the children of unskilled workers was there rather less borrowing of books from school, though a substantially bigger proportion of non-manual than of manual workers' children borrowed from public libraries. It looks as though, despite the good work done, the schools need to provide still more books for home use for the children of manual workers.

98. Some explanation may be needed about the relatively low weight which attaches to two of the three variables in Table 1. Some readers may be surprised at what they suppose to be the comparatively small influence of the school. To feel thus is to misunderstand the table. What emerged as important about the schools was the experience and competence of teachers. Most teachers have had a similar education and training, and differ less from one another than parents. The parents have usually had their children in their care for their whole lives, whereas most of the class teachers about whom information was collected had been with the children only for the best part of one school year. It must, therefore, be expected that differences between parents will explain more of the variation in children than differences between schools. It is obvious, too, that parental attitudes may themselves be affected by children's performance at school and by the contacts parents have with schools.

99. Other readers may be surprised that home circumstances at first sight seem less influential than previous enquiries suggested. But this, too, would

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be a misunderstanding. The occupational classification used in the Council's earlier surveys was adopted because it was relatively precise, easily ascertainable and known to be associated with what in this survey we have described as 'parental attitudes'. It should astonish no one to find that, when these attitudes can be assessed separately from socio-economic class, they emerge as more important than occupation taken by itself.

100. A third point that will occur to readers is whether the differences in circumstances account for the differences in attitudes. Our evidence (see Appendix 4) suggests that parents' occupation, material circumstances and education explain only about a quarter of the variation in attitudes, leaving three quarters or more not accounted for. This implies that attitudes could be affected in other ways, and altered by persuasion.

101. Our findings can give hope to the school, to interested parents, and to those responsible for educational policy. Parental attitudes appear as a separate influence because they are not monopolised by any one class. Many manual workers and their wives already encourage and support their children's efforts to learn. If there are many now, there can be even more later. Schools can exercise their influence not only directly upon children but also indirectly through their relationships with parents.


1. Report of the Consultative Committee on the Primary School (Hadow), HMSO, 1931, reprinted 1959, paragraph 48.
2. See (1), page XXIV.
3. Early Leaving, Report of the Central Advisory Council for Education (England), HMSO, 1954, paragraph 44.
4. Half Our Future (Newsom), Report of the Central Advisory Council for Education (England), HMSO, 1963.
5. 15 to 18 (Crowther), Report of the Central Advisory Council for Education (England), HMSO, 1959, Vol. 2, page 206.
6. Hindley CB 'Social Class Influences on the Development of Ability in the First Five Years', Child Education, Ed. Skard AG and Husen T, Copenhagan, Munksgaard, 1962.
7. Douglas JWB The Home and the School, MacGibbon and Kee, 1964, page 115.
8. Douglas JWB and Ross JM (Medical Research Council Unit) and Maxwell SMM and Walker DA (The Scottish Council for Research in Education), 'Differences in Test Score and in the Gaining of Selective Places for Scottish Children and those in England and Wales', British Journal of Educational Psychology, June 1966, Vol. XXXVI, Part 2.
9. Higher Education (Robbins), HMSO, 1963, Appendix One, Part II, paragraph 27, page 52.
10. Fraser E 'Home Environment and the School', University of London Press, 1959.
11. Floud J, Halsey AH and Martin FM Social Class and Educational Opportunity, Ed. J Floud, 1956.

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Participation by Parents

102. The National Survey pointed to the influence upon educational performance of parental attitudes. It follows that one of the essentials for educational advance is a close partnership between the two parties to every child's education. Surveys of this kind do not establish causes, only associations. There is certainly an association between parental encouragement and educational performance. This does not tell us which way round the relationship is. Is performance better where parents encourage more? Do parents encourage more where performance is better? Common sense suggests that each factor is related to the other, and both are related to the work of the school itself. Homes and schools interact continuously. An improvement in school may raise the level of parental interest, and that in its turn may lead to further improvement in school - or deterioration may also be cumulative, as seems often to have happened with the children of manual workers. The movement may start in the home. A strengthening of parental encouragement may produce better performance in school, and thus stimulate the parents to encourage more; or discouragement in the home may initiate a vicious downward circle.

103. Schools exist to foster virtuous circles. They do this most obviously through their direct influence upon children. Where teachers help children to grow, intellectually and emotionally, their very success is likely to evoke a response from the parents. Some schools are already working at the same time from the other end, by influencing parents directly, and the children indirectly through the parents. Can more schools do so and on a bigger scale? Only experience, sieved by discussion and research, will show how effective it can be.

104. Progress will not be easy. There are obstacles on both sides. On the average, schools in the National Survey arranged between six and seven occasions each year when parents could visit. This is creditable enough, but there were not many opportunities to discuss school policy and practice. Though the returns do not make this absolutely clear, it is doubtful whether parents could discuss their children individually with class teachers in the general run of schools (Appendix 3). In the course of our visits to schools, we were almost invariably told by heads that 'we have very good relations with parents', however rudimentary the arrangements made. It seems that teachers may be too readily satisfied with the social occasions which accounted for half the times when parents could visit the schools in the National Survey. (Appendix 5, Table 3).

105. There was also little evidence of dissatisfaction on the part of parents. The Social Survey interviews (Appendix 3) found that few parents made criticisms: 'Only 11 per cent were not completely satisfied about the arrangements for seeing the head or class teacher. Nine per cent felt that it was not easy to see the teachers whenever they wanted to, seven per cent did not feel that the teachers seemed very pleased when they went to the schools and

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seven per cent that the teachers would prefer to keep parents out of the school.' (Section 3: paragraph 25). About half of the parents said they would have liked to be told more about how their children were getting on at school. Almost a third thought that the teachers should have asked them more about their children. Even so, the great majority were generally satisfied. (Section 3: paragraph 32).

106. This may only be evidence of their low expectations. People tend to accept what they know and do not demand things they have not experienced. When special efforts have been made in a school, the response from parents, whether or not they were 'satisfied' beforehand, has often been striking. Parents, irrespective of social class, took more interest in their children's work in those schools in the National Survey which arranged as many as nine or ten meetings a year at times when fathers could come. (Appendix 5, Table 4).

Co-operation with Parents

107. A number of schools were selected for us by HMIs as having outstandingly good relationships with parents. They made a practice of involving parents in all sorts of ways, small as well as large. The small ways were many. One of the heads said that she gave children examples of work which they had found difficult, so that they could take them home if they wished, to show to their mothers. 'Sometimes a child will say to me, "I could understand when Mummy explained it".' Other schools write to parents when their children first enter school and suggest ways in which they can help - such as by reading to them and hearing them read.

108. At one infant school, parents are invited to attend school assembly on each Friday and many accept. Afterwards children take their younger brothers and sisters for a quarter of an hour to their classrooms while the head talks to mothers. Sometimes all the children, including the younger ones from home, stay in the 'hall' (a dining hut) while mothers visit the classrooms to talk to the teachers. During parents' evenings, mothers have used the practical number equipment, so that they can find out how and why their child should use it. They sew and make equipment for the school and help at all school functions. Fathers make corner screens, bookcases and hutches, and repair equipment. Mothers have become so interested that in the last three years four of them have helped the staff when qualified teachers were unobtainable. All have since gone for training as mature students to a day training college.

109. In another school fathers, more than mothers, have been the driving force in the almost 100 per cent strong PTA. They raised 8,000, partly through a summer fete attended by 1,000 people. Fathers, mothers and children scoured the beach for cockles to sell on a giant stall. They then built with their own labour a swimming pool, which is open in the evenings, at weekends and in holidays to all children and parents. The building team consisted of fathers who included surveyors, building foremen, lorry drivers, draughtsmen, metal workers, carpenters, painters, electricians and a foreman concrete mixer 'as strong as an ox'. The PTA pays volunteer teachers to supervise the pool out of school hours. A large greenhouse has since been built where the children raise flowers for the school and to take round to old age pensioners in the district. There is an annual summer school for parents,

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divided for the most part into groups for study of methods used in the school for teaching arithmetic, reading and so forth.

110. Another school was, if anything, even more ambitious. Under the auspices of the PTA, about 40 mothers and ten fathers formed a 'money raising force', which organised a series of fairs at which articles made by mothers were sold. The proceeds were handed over to a 'technical labour force', almost entirely composed of fathers in unskilled occupations who, under the guidance of a few skilled men, learnt to use tools they had never handled before. An information centre was built in the school grounds, and while it was being erected the children were writing hundreds of letters to obtain materials and data for display. A museum centre came next, for exhibits portraying local history, man-made and natural. Later came a children's theatre, which has been used for a drama club, country dancing club, choir and films. Display units, book racks and book cases, base boards for models and handwork trollies were built, along with a nature laboratory and two play houses. A garden was made where before there had been concrete. At every stage the children helped by drawing up plans and preparing costings as part of their arithmetic lessons. As a result of all this, 'The pattern of home-school relationships began to change. Instead of only meeting parents who had chips on shoulders, my staff found much smoother and more positive relationships for us all to work with.' In schools where parents give practical help of this kind, discussion with teachers about methods used in the school often arises informally over the job and enables parents to understand how the schools work and how to help their children more effectively.

Parent-Teacher Associations

111. Many, but not all, of these exceptional schools had active PTAs. But the parents did not 'run' the school, or attempt to do so. They had suggestions to make and questions to ask about the school and its work: it is one of the purposes of a PTA to stimulate and answer such questions. The head and the teachers had complete control where professional matters were concerned. Some who have given evidence to us expressed the fear that PTAs might interfere in the school, and referred expressly to American experience, where PTAs in one form or another are almost universal. All we can say is that we have received little evidence of this actually happening, on either side of the Atlantic. In our visits to American schools we asked repeatedly for instances where PTAs 'ran' the schools. Though we could not explore so difficult a question in any depth on a brief tour we were unable to find such instances, and in general the high quality of parent-teacher relations impressed us as much as any aspect of education we saw in the United States. Yet we do not think that PTAs are necessarily the best means of fostering close relationships between home and school. They can be of the greatest value where good leadership is given by the head. They may do harm if they get into the hands of a small group. It is significant that, according to the Social Survey interviews, a smaller proportion of manual workers attended PTA meetings than any other type of function. (Appendix 3, Table 53). Seventeen per cent of the schools in the National Sample had PTAs (Appendix 5, paragraph 5). They are least common in nursery schools where relations between mothers and teachers are usually very intimate,

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rather more common in infant schools and most frequently found in junior and junior mixed and infant schools. It may be that the smaller the school, the less need for a formal association. Heads have to take account of what they must do directly for children as well as indirectly through their parents. In some schools, at some moments of their history, particularly if heads cannot delegate to others the administrative work of running a PTA, it may absorb too much of their attention. What matters most are the attitudes of teachers to parents and parents to teachers - whether there is genuine mutual respect, whether parents understand what the schools are doing for their individual children and teachers realise how dependent they are on parental support.

A Minimum Programme

112. Attitudes best declare themselves by actions and we think that the arrangements of all schools should, as a minimum, cover certain essential relationships, though the ways through which they find expression may differ. Beyond the minimum, all kinds of experiments are desirable. We make the following suggestions:

(i) Welcome to the School

A child and his parents need to be welcomed when he is first admitted to school, or when his parents have moved into the district and he has to attend a new school. Each parent should be invited to an interview with the head, to meet the class teacher and see at work the class into which the child is to go, as well as to see the school generally and to hear about its organisation. Unless this interview takes place by appointment, it is unlikely to be leisurely enough. If a single date of entry is introduced and children have a medical examination before, arrangements can then be made for parents and children to visit the school later. Over a third of the parents in the National Survey did not see the head before their children started school. (Appendix 4, Section 3: paragraph 15). Less than half the children in the special group of infant starters visited their class before admission. (Appendix 6, Table 5).
(ii) Meetings with Teachers
Parents need more than anything else a chance of regular private talks with the teacher mainly responsible for their child. Heads and class teachers should make themselves accessible for informal exchanges, so that, as one parent said, parents know their children's teachers at least as well as they know the milkman. They will then feel confident in entrusting their children to them. Heads and class teachers should make a point of being about in the classroom or playground when parents fetch their children. It may help parents and busy teachers if there are known times each week when teachers are available, though if parents turn up in an emergency head teachers should make every effort to see them. There could also be somewhat more formal arrangements for individual interviews, preferably twice during the year, once in the first term so that the parents can give information to the class teacher, and once in the third term to hear about the child's progress. There should be occasions when talks can last at least a quarter of an hour. Some,

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but not all, of these private talks can be arranged in conjunction with an open day or evening when a single class is 'at home' to parents. The head teacher can then relieve the class teacher so that parents can have personal interviews, and at the same time parents can see their children's classroom and the rest of the school. Certainly some meetings between parents and teachers should take place when fathers are available. The evidence of the National Survey shows that this is least common in schools where many parents are semi-skilled or unskilled workers. (Appendix 5, paragraph 6). The best time to see fathers must depend on the individual school, particularly since some fathers are on shift work. We were encouraged to hear from one school in the National Survey that fathers were willing to lose pay in order to visit the school during working hours: we had noted in Poland that parents were paid for time spent in this way. In some schools, open days take place on 'occasional holidays'; evening sessions, whether for individual interviews or other purposes, occur in the teacher's free time. It has always been recognised that teachers should give as much time out of school as is required for the efficient carrying out of their duties. It should sometimes be possible to modify the school timetable so that parents can talk privately with teachers.
(iii) Open Days
Some teachers are sceptical about open days because they may become such formal occasions that they dominate and distort the children's work. Yet children and their parents enjoy an occasion when it is possible to see the work of the school systematically, and it should be possible to keep preparation within reasonable bounds. Parents who may be shy of an individual interview may find it easier to come with others. Teachers can take the opportunity to make appointments for talks with individual parents. Open days ought to be so timed that both fathers and mothers can be present, which ordinarily means repeating the occasion in the daytime and in the evening. Particularly in villages and small towns, invitations can be extended to the community as a whole, and the result, if not the intention, may be to recruit voluntary help for the school.
(iv) Information for Parents
Parents need information not only about their own children's progress but also of a general kind about what goes on in the school. The local education authority might suggest that schools prepare a booklet, giving parents the basic facts about their organisation, the size of classes, whether they are streamed, and how to get in touch with the teachers. It could also include a brief account of the school's educational objectives and methods. Parents wish children to do school work at home (Appendix 3, Section 2: paragraphs 30-32). The booklet could advise parents on the kind of work children can profitably do at home, tell them about arrangements for home reading of library books and ask for parents' co-operation. Parents would in effect receive a prospectus, as in an independent school. It would help them both to choose a school for

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their children and to work with the school once the choice was made. In addition, every school should give an opportunity, through meetings and informal discussions, for parents to hear about the methods of teaching in use. Homework should be a matter for discussion and agreement between home and school and the school should give thought to the form of homework most suitable to children's varying circumstances. Few other social institutions have changed their attitudes and techniques as quickly and as fundamentally as the primary school. Sometimes there has been little short of a revolution since the parents were at school themselves. They may hear about these changes in a garbled way from other parents or perhaps from the mass media, before they learn about them from the school. The school should explain them so that parents can take an informed interest in what their children are doing. Parents will not understand unless they are told.
(v) Reports for Parents
Written reports in the past have often been a waste of time since they were so conventional that they conveyed nothing to parents. There is a genuine problem; parents need to know how their children are getting on, yet some may fail to distinguish between effort and achievement or be wounded by the truth and discourage their children. Useful reports are difficult to write and take time. They are much more helpful if the teacher knows the parent for whom he is writing. On balance, we think it would be helpful if parents were given a written comment at least once a year. On pages 93 and 94 is an example of a fairly conventional report which is better than many because it puts some emphasis on general development and invites comment from parents. We also reproduce examples of letters which might be sent by head or class teachers to parents. Written comment would supplement discussion with parents about children's progress. In Chapter 12 we suggest that this discussion should be based on children's individual records or folders.
Visiting the Homes

113. However many and pressing the invitations from school, some parents will not respond, and amongst them will be some of those whose children most need help. Should they be sought out? It would be a policy of despair to do nothing about them. One possibility would be for teachers to ask parents if they would be willing to be visited at home, and if they were, to do so. This is a fairly general practice in Sweden and has been tried in England too. One infant school head told us that she visited the homes of all new entrants in the holiday before they were admitted. JB Mays has described how home visiting on the part of teachers made for good relations between homes and schools, and others have had similar experience (1). But it cannot be recommended as a universal recipe . Not all teachers will be willing, nor all parents, and even if they were it would not always be right. The children's interests should be paramount, and if there is any reason to think that they do not want their teachers to visit their homes, it may be best to wait until they are willing. If teachers do not go, someone should. Every parent who does not come near the school should be visited once a year by an education welfare officer, if only to see if any groundless fears about the school have arisen which can easily be removed.

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114. We have two main reasons for making these suggestions. Parents have a right to know what goes on in their children's schools, and the right to any guidance they can be given about the support they can offer the school. The second, and more important reason, is the one implied by the results of the National Survey - by involving the parents, the children may be helped.

115. How well such proposals work depends upon the skill and tact with which schools approach the task and choose from the array of methods open to them. Many different approaches are needed. Whenever possible, an attempt should be made to measure the outcome in terms of children's performance. To show the kind of thing that might be done by teachers to influence parental attitudes, a small scale demonstration of this kind was made at our request with the co-operation of the Institute of Community Studies in a three form entry junior school. Most of the fathers were manual workers. The trial project is being fully reported elsewhere (2).

116. The action taken was rather similar to that which we have recommended - all parents were, for instance, invited during the year to a private talk with their child's class teacher; meetings were held for parents at which teaching methods were explained and discussed; and leaflets were circulated giving information about the school and about the methods used in it. The educational performance of the children, as judged by tests of verbal and non-verbal intelligence, of ability at reading and arithmetic, was measured in September 1965, near the beginning of the school year, before the attempts to involve the parents more closely, and again in May 1966, to be in time for this Report. Appropriate age allowances were made.

117. On the whole, both parents and teachers appreciated what was done. Most parents considered they knew more about the school towards the end of the year than they had at the beginning, and teachers that they understood the children somewhat better for knowing more about their home backgrounds. One of the unexpected outcomes of the discussion meetings was that teachers learnt, as well as parents, from hearing their colleagues explain their methods. As one teacher said, 'You could see how the other teachers teach - it was a sort of refresher course for me'. There was some improvement over the period in the children's performance, particularly in arithmetic. This improvement was most marked amongst the least able children. The private talks with teachers and the discussion meetings appeared to have the most impact. Many of the parents, when questioned at the beginning of the year, said they were puzzled about modern teaching methods. These seemed to be so different from the ones in use many years ago when they were themselves children at school that they often did not know what to say when their children asked them for help. 'When I try to help him he says we don't do it that way. They have to learn words in a block - you know, bits of words. Then they also learn words in a piece all at once.' The discussion meetings gave such parents the first chance they had had to find out what today's teaching methods are like. As a result, they could understand better what their children were doing, take more interest in their school work and give them more effective help. Quite a number of parents stopped worrying about their children's apparent lack of progress in the 3Rs when they began to appreciate the approach of a modern primary school. The performance of their children benefited.

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118. The growing interest of parents in informed help on educational matters is shown by the response to an Advisory Centre which publishes a magazine every two months and answers enquiries by post. It is used by highly educated parents (3). If they have a need for advice it seems obvious that less knowledgeable parents have a greater need. To meet the demand an Advice Bureau was run for seven days in a department store in a large town. Although nearly half the enquiries came from parents in professional and managerial occupations, a quarter of those who wanted advice were skilled manual workers. The experiment was thought to be justified by the interest and enthusiasm of the questioners, their frequent ignorance of the way the educational system worked and the relief they showed at receiving support for their ambitions, or reassurance that their problem was not unusual or insoluble.

A Policy for each Local Education Authority

119. All the proposals made so far are for individual schools, and of a kind that could be acted on by any head who both wishes and is able to carry his staff with him. Other proposals call for policy decisions by administrative authority. The first of these concerns the Department of Education: we hope they will issue a booklet containing more extensive examples of good practice in parent-teacher relations than we have room for here. It would also be helpful to issue a circular to local authorities asking them to let the Department know what steps they have taken to inform parents about the schools, what special efforts are being made to foster good parent-teacher relations in schools and what success is being achieved.

120. The second proposal is about choice of primary school. How far should parents be given a choice? Section 76 of the Education Act gives it to them quite specifically - 'and so far as is compatible with the provision of efficient instruction and training and the avoidance of unreasonable public expenditure, pupils are to be educated in accordance with the wishes of their parents' - and we would not want that changed. In practice the freedom is often nominal, and has to be where there is only one school in a neighbourhood or where one favoured school would burst its walls without some form of zoning. About half the county schools in the National Survey were not zoned. (Appendix 5, paragraph 4). We realise that choice is more often exercised by middle class parents. But we are sure that parents must be given some choice whenever this is possible and they should have information on which to base it. They are more likely to support a school they have freely chosen, and to give it the loyalty which is so essential if their children are to do the same. Whenever a school is unpopular that should be an indication to the authority to find out why and make it better.

The Community School

121. Our third general proposal is about the 'community school'. By this we mean a school which is open beyond the ordinary school hours for the use of children, their parents and, exceptionally, for other members of the community.

122. The 1944 Education Act recognised in Section 7 that local education authorities have a responsibility to contribute 'to the spiritual, mental, and physical development of the community'; and this responsibility is one that

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is as relevant to primary as to secondary schools or to any other branch of the education system. Both before and after 1944 there have been many experiments designed to make fuller use of school buildings. The Cambridgeshire Village Colleges inspired by Henry Morris are famous throughout the world and have spread far beyond the county boundaries. They were, and are, 'establishments planned as a community centre for young people and adults in such a way as to accommodate, in addition to further education activities, a secondary school' (4). A voluntary body, supported by the London County Council, pioneered play centres in primary school premises, open for local children when the ordinary schools are closed, and other cities followed suit. Some play centres are open only after school hours and some also in the holidays. In other places swimming pools, adventure playgrounds and play parks have been built in school grounds or parks and thrown open to the community. We have also heard of several primary schools in town and country which run after-school clubs meeting as often as once every school day. In one school in the National Survey 'there is after-school activity on almost every evening during the year when groups of children meet voluntarily for pottery, drama, recorder playing, gardening, rural science (partly in the surrounding district), football, athletics, jumping and agility work.' Parents are welcome. Many come to help and take the opportunity of talking informally with the staff about their children. We have also heard of schools which have organised clubs in the long summer holidays. In spite of these successful enterprises, recreational provision for primary school children by local authorities, voluntary bodies and schools is very uneven. Some heads cannot run after-school clubs because their buildings are used each evening by outside organisations. Only four per cent of the parents interviewed in the National Survey said that they had any indoor recreational and play centres available. 32 per cent were anxious for swimming pools to be provided and 27 per cent wanted outdoor playgrounds and indoor recreational centres. (Appendix 3, Section 2, paragraphs 57, 59). Virtually none of the recommendations made by the Council's second report in 1948 on out of school activities has been acted on.

123. The impression of members of the Council who made visits abroad was that in recent years more progress has been achieved in other countries. In the United States, for instance, community schools of one kind or another are now common. We visited one in New Haven, Connecticut. Its centre was an elementary school but in addition there were two extra sessions daily as well as weekend and holiday sessions, all in the charge of a Vice Principal directly responsible to the Principal (or head) of the school. The first of the out of school daily sessions was from 3 - 5pm and was for pupils from the ordinary school. The second was from 7 - 9pm and was for high school pupils and adults. These were the kind of classes that were organised in the afternoon session of one particular day:

English class for Spanish-speaking childrenUniversity student, paid
Modern danceProfessional dance teacher, paid
Children's theatreActress, unpaid
WoodworkingTeacher, paid

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Special tutoring for backward childrenUniversity student, unpaid
Girls' ClubTwo housewives, unpaid
Science classTeacher, paid
Reading circleIndividual help from 18 specially trained parents

In the Soviet Union and in Poland many schools have extended hours. These are used in part for teaching, especially for the most and least able children, and in part to encourage individual initiative and hobbies, which often result in achievements of a high standard. Pioneer palaces provide exceptionally good facilities and skilled help for some children. In Denmark there are leisure time houses which arrange recreational activity for school children and others. They have lending libraries of toys and well as books.

The Way Ahead

124. School buildings and grounds represent an immense capital investment which has been provided by the community; the community should have such access to them as is compatible with their effective daytime use. For adult and youth education in general, secondary schools, with their specialised equipment, are the most suitable. Primary schools are the obvious place for out of school activities for children and also for experiments in collaboration with parents. They have the advantage that they are more genuinely neighbourhood schools than are schools for older pupils. Parents do not have far to travel to them. An NUT survey (5) showed that more than half of all primary schools are used outside school hours. The more they are used by parents who understand what the schools are trying to do, and by the children themselves, the less interference there should be with day-time use.

125. There are, of course, difficulties which increase when buildings are modern and designed for children, and learning methods are informal. Rooms lead from one into another and it may not be easy to keep individual rooms out of use; paintings and clay models are carefully displayed; mathematical and scientific experiments must be left up until they are completed. A satisfactory solution might be to reserve the classrooms for school and after school use by children, and to provide adequate storage for community purposes. A hut in the playground can be valuable. An additional parent-community room has already been built in some schools by parents and designed so that it is suitable for use both by adults and children. The hall and playing field can often be used by children and adults without difficulty. Evening use should not be allowed to disturb the daytime work of the school, and the school should have priority at least for part of the week for evening activities associated with it. It would be sensible to give the head teacher, as in some of the schools we saw in the USA, and as in the Cambridgeshire village colleges, an overall responsibility for the school in the day and in the evening. It could be exercised, in schools which were heavily used outside school hours, by deputy heads, one primarily responsible for the daytime, and one for out of school activities. This arrangement would call for modification of the Burnham scale, which allows for only one deputy head for primary schools. At the least, the head should have some voice in the evening use of his school, and managing bodies should interest themselves in it and represent the school's needs to the local education authority.

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126. We therefore hope that attempts of many different kinds will be made to use primary schools out of ordinary hours. Activities should be mainly devoted to children and families associated with the school rather than the community at large, save, for example, in a village which has no hall. Children can be given opportunities during a late afternoon session and in the daytime during holidays for carrying on their hobbies and for expression in the arts and for games. Parents can be invited to the school in the evenings to learn about its ways and to make things that will be useful for the school. Parents and others in the community should help to organise activities and staff the school during its late afternoon session, just as they have rallied to provide play groups and to support youth clubs. We know of an authority which launched a carefully planned campaign to recruit youth workers by large scale publicity, by organising a meeting of those interested, confronting them with the work which needed doing, and then providing some training. In this way they solved part of their staffing problem in this sector of education. Local education authorities, heads and school managers might run a similar campaign for helpers for out of school activities and a list could be kept of those who could give regular or occasional help. But a community school could not exist without some additional professional staff, including teachers ready to work for a third session, and they would cost money. We envisage that parents themselves would make a financial contribution towards the cost of out of school activities as they have already done in some schools and play centres. We have heard of out of school clubs now functioning where some play leaders are paid by the local authority and some are volunteers. This arrangement does not produce insuperable difficulties any more than it does in youth work. The local authority's contribution to costs would vary from district to district. In what we later describe as 'educational priority areas' it would have to be heavy. In many of these areas, as we heard from the children in some of them, 'there is nowhere to play and we can't do anything without getting into trouble with somebody'. An experiment is already being tried in one of these areas of appointing a teacher who gives one daytime session to the school and one to a play centre in the school. We hope that the biggest effort to develop community schools will be made in educational priority areas.

Interesting Parents Early

127. We are interested to hear of one school which made a point of arranging evening functions for parents two or three times before their children were old enough to attend school. Displays of picture books and toys were arranged and informal discussions were held about ways of bringing up young children. Though psychologists emphasise the great importance of early years in children's education, we have lagged behind some other countries in providing guidance for parents. From the first, health visitors have done much in their individual visits to homes to guide mothers, and this is still the most important aspect of their work in parent education. Health visitors are also encouraged to set up mothers' clubs in connection with welfare clinics, and these clubs are increasing in number especially in clinics which have their own premises, and where health visitors have ancillary help in routine matters.

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128. Women's magazines and television can play a useful part in drawing parents' attention to their children's needs, particularly if they do not adopt too much of a middle class approach. A recent experiment in group viewing in schools and technical colleges, and subsequent discussion of a television programme on Growth and Play, met with some success. One viewing group in a college of further education led to a course for parents in the following session. In this college a parents' club is to be formed. Most of those who took part in the group viewing had had no previous connection with a parent-teacher association or a technical college. Contact was usually made with them through circulars to parents in the primary schools. More extensive publicity for opportunities of this kind is needed since few young parents whose children had not reached school age and whose need may well have been greatest attended the groups. Some technical colleges which have developed NNEB courses are becoming known as centres for work in child development and are receiving requests for discussion courses from parents, as well as from women who hope to work professionally with children. Many opportunities for parent education, formal and informal, occur in community centres and other forms of adult education. Together with others such as health visitors, teachers could become an important source of guidance for parents on what to do with children out of school.

129. Much depends on the teachers. Every chapter could end thus - but perhaps it is even more apt here than elsewhere. Teachers are already hard pressed, and nowhere more so than in the very districts where the co-operation of parents is most needed and hardest to win. We are aware that in asking them to take on new burdens we are asking what will sometimes be next to impossible. Forty children will seem enough to many, without adding 80 fathers and mothers. Yet we are convinced that to make the effort will not only add depth to their understanding of their children but will also bring out that support from home which is still often latent. It has long been recognised that education is concerned with the whole man; henceforth it must be concerned with the whole family.


130. (i) All schools should have a programme for contact with children's homes to include:

(a) a regular system for the head and class teacher to meet parents before the child enters.
(b) arrangements for more formal private talks, preferably twice a year.
(c) open days to be held at times chosen to enable parents to attend.
(d) parents to be given booklets prepared by the schools to inform them in their choice of children's schools and as to how they are being educated.
(e) written reports on children to be made at least once a year; the child's work should be seen by parents.
(f) special efforts to make contact with parents who do not visit the schools.
(ii) The Department of Education and Science should issue a booklet containing examples of good practices in parent-teacher relations. The Department should inform themselves of the steps taken by authorities to encourage schools to foster good relations.

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(iii) Parents should be allowed to choose their children's primary school whenever this is possible. Authorities should take steps to improve schools which are shown to be consistently unpopular with parents.

(iv) Primary schools should be used as fully as possible out of ordinary hours.

(v) Heads should have a say in the evening use of their buildings. When buildings are heavily used two deputy head teachers should be appointed, one responsible for out of school activities. This would involve a modification of the Burnham provisions.

(vi) Parents and other adults should be invited to help the school with its out of school activities. Parents might contribute towards the cost of out of school activities, to supplement the costs borne by the local education authority.

(vii) Community schools should be developed in all areas but especially in educational priority areas.


1. Mays JB, Education and the Urban Child, Liverpool University Press, 1962.
2. M Young and P McGeeney, 'A Junior School and Its Parents', forthcoming, Routledge, Kegan and Paul.
3. Lindsey March, 'The "Education Shop" Report on a Social Experiment'.
4. Ministry of Education. Further Education. HMSO, 1947.
5. The State of Our Schools. NUT 1962, Part 1, paragraph 28.

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Educational Priority Areas

131. In Chapter 3 we tried to disentangle some of the principal influences that shape the educational opportunities of children, and to assess and compare their importance. The task of abstracting them and measuring the impact made by each when 'all other things are equal' is the continuing concern of research workers. But policy makers and administrators must act in a world where other things never are equal; this, too, is the world in which the children grow up, where everything influences everything else, where nothing succeeds like success and nothing fails like failure. The outlook and aspiration of their own parents; the opportunities and handicaps of the neighbourhood in which they live; the skill of their teachers and the resources of the schools they go to; their genetic inheritance; and other factors still unmeasured or unknown surround the children with a seamless web of circumstance.

132. In a neighbourhood where the jobs people do and the status they hold owe little to their education it is natural for children as they grow older to regard school as a brief prelude to work rather than an avenue to future opportunities. Some of these neighbourhoods have for generations been starved of new schools, new houses and new investment of every kind. Everyone knows this; but for year after year priority has been given to the new towns and new suburbs, because if new schools do not keep pace with the new houses some children will be unable to go to school at all. The continually rising proportion of children staying on at school beyond the minimum age has led some authorities to build secondary schools and postpone the rebuilding of older primary schools. Not surprisingly, many teachers are unwilling to work in a neighbourhood where the schools are old, where housing of the sort they want is unobtainable, and where education does not attain the standards they expect for their own children. From some neighbourhoods, urban and rural, there has been a continuing outflow of the more successful young people. The loss of their enterprise and skill makes things worse for those left behind. Thus the vicious circle may turn from generation to generation and the schools play a central part in the process, both causing and suffering cumulative deprivation.

133. We have ourselves seen schools caught in such vicious circles and read accounts of many more. They are quite untypical of schools in the rest of the country. We noted the grim approaches; incessant traffic noise in narrow streets; parked vehicles hemming in the pavement; rubbish dumps on waste land nearby; the absence of green playing spaces on or near the school sites; tiny playgrounds; gaunt looking buildings; often poor decorative conditions inside; narrow passages; dark rooms; unheated and cramped cloakrooms; unroofed outside lavatories; tiny staffrooms; inadequate storage space with consequent restriction on teaching materials and therefore methods; inadequate space for movement and PE; meals in classrooms; art on desks; music only to the discomfort of others in an echoing building; non-soundproof

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partitions between classes; lack of smaller rooms for group work; lack of spare room for tuition of small groups; insufficient display space; attractive books kept unseen in cupboards for lack of space to lay them out; no privacy for parents waiting to see the head; sometimes the head and his secretary sharing the same room; and, sometimes all around, the ingrained grime of generations.

134. We heard from local education authorities of growing difficulty in replacing heads with successors of similar calibre. It is becoming particularly hard to find good heads of infant or deputy heads of junior schools. We are not surprised to hear of the rapid turnover of staff, of vacancies sometimes unfilled or filled with a succession of temporary and supply teachers of one kind or another. Probationary teachers are trained by heads to meet the needs of their school but then pass on to others where strains are not so great. Many teachers able to do a decent job in an ordinary school are defeated by these conditions. Some become dispirited by long journeys to decaying buildings to see each morning children among whom some seem to have learned only how not to learn. Heads rely on the faithful, devoted and hard working regulars. There may be one or two in any school, or they may be as many as half the staff, who have so much to do in keeping the school running they are sometimes too tired even to enjoy their own holidays.

135. We saw admission registers whose pages of new names with so many rapid crossings out told their own story of a migratory population. In one school 111 out of 150 pupils were recent newcomers. We hear heads explain, as they looked down the lines, that many of those who had gone were good pupils, while a high proportion of those who had been long in the school came from crowded, down-at-heel homes.

The Educational Needs of Deprived Areas

136. What these deprived areas need most are perfectly normal, good primary schools alive with experience from which children of all kinds can benefit. What we say elsewhere about primary school work generally applies equally to these difficult areas. The best schools already there show that it is absurd to say, as one used to hear, 'it may be all very well in a nice suburb, but it won't work here'. But, of course, there are special and additional demands on teachers who work in deprived areas with deprived children. They meet special challenges. Teachers must be constantly aware that ideas, values and relationships within the school may conflict with those of the home, and that the world assumed by teachers and school books may be unreal to the children. There will have to be constant communication between parents and the school if the aims of the school are to be fully understood. The child from a really impoverished background may well have had a normal, satisfactory emotional life. What he often lacks is the opportunity to develop intellectual interests. This shows in his poor command of language (1). It is not, however, with vocabulary that teaching can begin. The primary school must first supply experiences and establish relationships which enable children to discriminate, to reason and to express themselves. Placing such children in the right stance for further learning is a very skilled operation. But those who have done remedial work will be aware of the astonishing rapidity of the progress which can be achieved, particularly in extending vocabulary, once children's curiosity is released. The thrust to learn seems to be latent in every

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child, at least within a very wide range of normality. But however good the opportunities, some children may not be able to take advantage of them. Failure may have taken away from them their urge to learn.

137. A teacher cannot and should not give the deep, personal love that each child needs from his parents. There are ways he can help:

(a) He can relieve children of responsibility without dominating them in a way which prevents them from developing independence. Deprived children may have been forced into premature responsibility. They are often given the care of younger children and are free to roam, to go to bed or to stay up, to eat when and where they can. This produces what is often a spurious maturity. Confidence can be encouraged by tasks which are fully within their capacity. A measure of irresponsibility has to be allowed for: it will pretty certainly come later, and in a less acceptable form, if not permitted at the proper time.

(b) A teacher can do much by listening and trying to understand the context of the questions the children ask. It will be much easier if he knows the child's family and the neighbourhood surrounding his home.

(c) Children in deprived neighbourhoods are often backward. There is a risk that an inexperienced teacher will think there is not time for anything but the three Rs if the child is not to be handicapped throughout his life. This is quite wrong. These children need time for play and imaginative and expressive work and may suffer later if they do not get it at school.

(d) Teachers need to use books which make sense to the children they teach. They will often have to search hard for material which is suitable for downtown children.

(e) Record keeping is especially necessary for teachers in schools in deprived neighbourhoods. There is so much coming and going by families that a child's progress may depend very much on the amount and quality of information that can be sent with him from school to school.

Hope for the Future

138. In our cities there are whole districts which have been scarcely touched by the advances made in more fortunate places. Yet such conditions have been overcome and striking progress has been achieved where sufficiently determined and comprehensive attack has been made on the problem. In the most deprived areas, one of HM Inspectors reported, 'Some heads approach magnificence, but they cannot do everything ... The demands on them as welfare agents are never ending'. Many children with parents in the least skilled jobs do outstandingly well in school. The educational aspirations of parents and the support and encouragement given to children in some of the poorest neighbourhoods are impressive. Over half of the unskilled workers in our National Survey (Appendix 3, Table 26) want their children to be given homework to do after school hours; over half want their children to stay at school beyond the minimum leaving age. (Table 27). One third of them hoped their children would go to a grammar school or one with similar opportunities (Table 28). The educational aspirations of unskilled workers for their children have risen year by year. It has been stressed (2) to us that the range of ability in all social classes is so wide that there is a great reservoir of unrealised potential in families dependent on the least skilled and lowest paid work. A larger

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part of the housing programme than ever before is to be devoted to rebuilding and renewing obsolete and decaying neighbourhoods. The opportunity must be seized to rebuild the schools as well as the houses, and to see that both schools and houses serve families from every social class. It will be possible to make some progress in reducing the size of classes in primary schools in these areas as well as elsewhere. Colleges of education which have taken a special interest in deprived areas report that their students respond in an encouraging fashion to the challenge of working in these neighbourhoods. Most important of all, there is a growing awareness in the nation at large, greatly stimulated, we believe, by our predecessors' Reports, of the complex social handicaps afflicting such areas and the need for a more radical assault on their problems. These are the strengths on which we can build. How can they be brought to bear?

139. We propose a nationwide scheme for helping those schools and neighbourhoods in which children are most severely handicapped. This policy will have an influence over the whole educational system, and it colours all the subsequent recommendations in our Report. It must not be put into practice simply by robbing more fortunate areas of all the opportunities for progress to which they have been looking forward; it can only succeed if a larger share of the nation's resources is devoted to education. So far-reaching a set of proposals must be firmly rooted in educational grounds, yet the arguments for them inevitably extend beyond this field into many other branches of the nation's affairs. Before explaining these proposals we give a brief outline of the reasoning which led us to make them.

Educational Assumptions and Policies

140. Out study of these problems compelled us to consider the process of economic and social development and the contribution made to it by the schools. Industrial development in many respects is the motor of social progress. We recognise that there are limits to the resources that can be mobilised for education and the primary schools. But it does not necessarily follow, as many have assumed, that the fruits of economic growth, together with the present pattern of public services, will in time give every child increasing opportunities of contributing to the nation's progress. It does not follow that education, because its development depends in the long run on the growth of the economy, must therefore follow in its wake, rather than contribute to the promotion of growth. Nor does it follow that a 'fair' or 'efficient' distribution of educational resources is one that provides a reasonably equal supply of teachers, classrooms, and other essentials to each school child in each area. Nor does it follow that the government's responsibility for promoting progress within the limits permitted by these resources must be confined to encouraging development in the most capable areas, spreading word of their progress to others, and pressing on the rearguard of the laggard or less fortunate whenever opportunity permits. Though many of these assumptions area already being questioned or abandoned, our own proposals are unlikely to convince those who still accept them, and we must, therefore, challenge each in turn.

141. During the second world war there was a considerable improvement in the living conditions which bear most directly upon children in deprived

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groups and areas. In spite of this there has not been any appreciable narrowing of the gap between the least well off and the rest of the population. This is most obvious among children, particularly those in large families. 'It is ... clear that, on average, the larger families in all classes, and also those containing adolescents and children, constitute the most vulnerable groups nutritionally.' (3,4). Signs of rickets have recently been reported again from the slums of Glasgow; mortality among children during the first year of life has fallen sharply since 1950, but the difference between social classes remains great (5). Much the same goes for stillbirth rates which, in different social classes 'despite a dramatic wartime fall, were as far apart in 1950 as in 1939'. Meanwhile 'class differentials in perinatal mortality are as resistant to change as those of infant mortality. The results of the (Perinatal Mortality) Survey suggests, indeed, that the gap may be increasing rather than narrowing' (6). The Milner Holland Committee's study of housing conditions in London covered a period in which this country probably achieved a faster rate of economic growth than it has ever experienced before, and an area in which conditions are generally better and improving faster than elsewhere. But it showed that progress has been most rapid in those parts of the town where conditions were already best. In less fortunate neighbourhoods there has been less improvement and in some respects an appreciable deterioration. Families with low incomes and several young children were among those who suffered most (7).

142. If the fruits of growth are left to accumulate within the framework of present policies and provisions, there is no assurance that the living conditions which handicap educationally deprived children will automatically improve - still less that the gap between these conditions and those of more fortunate children will be narrowed.

143. The contribution made by education to economic development poses complicated questions, upon which systematic research has only recently begun, and we cannot present firm conclusions about it. Comparisons with other countries - all of them more recently industrialised than Britain but all now at a similar state of economic development - suggest that we have not done enough to provide the educational background necessary to support an economy which needs fewer and fewer unskilled workers and increasing numbers of skilled and adaptable people. One example can be drawn from a pioneer piece of research in comparative educational achievements. This compares mathematical skills at several stages of secondary education (8). It shows that in the early stages England was distinguished from other countries not by the average standard attained (which was closely similar to the average for the other countries compared) but by the scatter of its results. English children achieved more than their share of the best results, and more of the worst results. Our educational system, originally moulded by the impress of Victorian economic and social requirements, may not yet have been fully adapted to present needs. In the deprived areas with which this chapter is concerned too many children leave school as soon as they are allowed to with no desire to carry their education further and without the knowledge to fit them for a job more intellectually demanding than their father's or the grandfather's. Yet they face a future in which they must expect during their working life to have to change their job, to learn new skills, to adapt themselves to new economic conditions and to form new human relationships.

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They will suffer, and so will the economy; both needlessly. It should not be assumed that even the ablest children can surmount every handicap. They may suffer as much as any from adverse conditions.

144. If the schools are to play their part in resolving and forestalling these problems much of the action required must be taken at the secondary and higher stages of the system. But this action cannot be fully effective if it does not touch the primary schools. Recent research has shown how early in the lives of children the selective processes begin to operate (9). There are primary schools from which scarcely any children ever take a secondary school course which leads them to 'O' level in GCE. Children of good potential ability enter them when their schooling has scarcely begun. Reforming zeal and expenditure directed to later stages of education will be wasted unless early handicaps can be reduced.

145. The schools unaided cannot provide all the opportunities their pupils deserve, or create the labour force this country needs. Industry, and the authorities responsible for housing, planning, employment and other services, must also play their part. But, from the earliest stages of education, the schools enlarge or restrict the contribution their pupils can make to the life of the nation. Money spent on education is an investment which helps to determine the scope for future economic and social development.

146. Our argument thus far can be briefly summarised. As things are at the moment there is no reason why the educational handicaps of the most deprived children should disappear. Although standards will rise, inequalities will persist and the potential of many children will never be realised. The range of achievement amongst English children is wide, and the standards attained by the most and the least successful begin to diverge very early. Steps should be taken to improve the educational chances and the attainments of the least well placed, and to bring them up to the levels that prevail generally. This will call for a new distribution of educational resources.

The Distribution of Resources

147. The principle that certain local authorities (but not districts within local authorities) should receive special help from the rest of the community is already recognised. At the national level the government takes needs into account when distributing grants to local authorities for educational and other purposes. The basic grant consist of so much per head of population plus so much for each child under 15 years of age. The supplementary grant allows for:

the number of children under five,
the number of people over 65,
school children in excess of a prescribed proportion,
declining population, and
Metropolitan Areas.

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There is also a formula that increases the grant paid to authorities with lower rateable values and reduces it for wealthier ones. The same principle of district priorities applies to educational building programmes. The needs of districts with a growing population come first; the next buildings to be sanctioned must be for the purpose of making good the deficiencies of existing schools. This principle can also be seen at work in the distribution of teachers. Local education authorities with an exceptionally high proportion of immigrant children may apply for an addition to their quota of teachers.

148. Redistribution of resources within local authority areas has been less marked. 'Equality' has an appealing ring, 'discrimination' has not. It is simpler and easier, for example, to defend staff-pupil ratios that are roughly the same in each school than to explain why they should be better in some and to decide which are to be the favoured. Even so, more and more local authorities do discriminate. They look with a more generous eye on schools whose 'social need' is greatest, as reckoned by the free dinner list, by the proportion of children who do not speak English at home or (which may be an even better guide) by the opinion of experienced teachers and administrators. These schools may be allowed an extra teacher or more non-teaching help, or a slightly bigger ration of 'consumable stocks'.

149. These are no more than a tentative beginning. The formulae for allocating grants are designed to equalise the financial resources of poorer and wealthier authorities. But equality is not enough. The formulae do not distinguish between the districts within authorities' areas in which children and schools are most severely handicapped. Those districts need more spending on them, and government and local authorities between them must provide the funds. Permission is required before the money can be spent on what is most needed - additional teachers and better buildings. The authority's quota must be raised before extra teachers can be engaged, and additions to the building programme must be sanctioned by the Department of Education. Even if this happens the battle is not over. Some authorities whose need for teachers is great find it impossible to recruit for deprived schools the teachers to whom they are entitled. The vicious circle continues.

150. A study of the educational expenditure of 83 county boroughs has been made for us by Mr BP Davies (10) (See Appendix 14). He compared the way money was spent with the evidence about the needs of each borough. He found no link between the amount spent on primary schools and their pupils and the social character of the area they served. In general, deprived areas were neither more nor less likely than others to get a bigger share of the total expenditure. A large proportion of expenditure was devoted to the salaries of teachers, whose distribution is subject to quota rules, and to the provision of those essential services which give little scope for variation., Other services, on which an education authority has great scope for independent decision, often tended to have more spent on them in those boroughs where the needs appeared to be less urgent. There are signs of this in the expenditure on nursery schools, and (less clearly) on child guidance. The same applied to school meals where parental preferences exert an influence. More striking, perhaps, was the persistence of these patterns. The boroughs in which expenditure was generally low were much the same in 1960-1961 as they were in 1950-1951.

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Educational Priority Areas

151. The many teachers who do so well in face of adversity cannot manage without cost to themselves. They carry the burdens of parents, probation officers and welfare officers on top of their classroom duties. It is time the nation came to their aide. The principle, already accepted, that special need calls for special help, should be given a new cutting edge. We ask for 'positive discrimination' in favour of such schools and the children in them going well beyond an attempt to equalise resources. Schools in deprived areas should be given priority in many respects. The first step must be to raise the schools with low standards to the national average; the second, quite deliberately to make them better. The justification is that the homes and neighbourhoods from which many of their children come provide little support and stimulus for learning. The schools must supply a compensating environment. The attempts so far made within the educational system to do this have not been sufficiently generous or sustained, because the handicaps imposed by the environment have not been explicitly and sufficiently allowed for. They should be.

152. The proposition that good schools should make up for a poor environment is far from new. It derives from the notion that there should be equality of opportunity for all, but recognises that children in some districts will only get the same opportunity as those who live elsewhere if they have unequally generous treatment. It was accepted before the first world war that some children could not be effectively taught until they had been properly fed. Hence free meals were provided. Today their need is for enriched intellectual nourishment. Planned and positive discrimination in favour of deprived areas could bring about an advance in the education of children in the 1970s as great as the advance in their nutrition to which school meals and milk contributed so much.

153. Every authority where deprivation is found should be asked to adopt 'positive discrimination' within its own area, and to report from time to time on the progress made. Some authorities contain schools or even one school of this kind where deprivation is so serious that they need special help. Most of these schools and areas are already well known to teachers, administrators, local Inspectors and HM Inspectors. Local knowledge will not be sufficient to justify decisions which are bound on occasion to be controversial. Objective criteria for the selection of 'educational priority schools and areas' will be needed to identify those schools which need special help and to determine how much assistance should be given by the government. Our National Survey showed the prime importance of parental attitudes, and it might be thought that a measure of these attitudes could be devised. But the data for the selection of priority schools and areas must be readily available, without additional surveys, and in any event the validity of answers given by parents with the education of their children at stake might fairly be questioned. The criteria required must identify those places where educational handicaps are reinforced by social handicaps. Some of the main criteria which could be used in an assessment of deprivation are given below. They are not placed in order of importance, nor is any formula suggested by which they should be combined. They may require further study. The criteria are:

(a) Occupation. The National Census can report on occupations within quite small areas, and, for particular schools, the data can be supplemented

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without too much difficulty. The analyses would show the proportions of unskilled and semi-skilled workers.

(b) Size of Families. The larger the family, the more likely are the children to be in poverty. Wages are no larger for a married man with young children than they are for a single man with none. Family size is still associated with social class, and men with four or more children tend to be amongst the lowest wage earners. Family size also correlates with the results of intelligence tests - the larger the family, the lower the scores of the children. The children are liable to suffer from a double handicap, both genetic and environmental - the latter because, it is suggested, they have less encouragement and stimulus from parents who have more children amongst whom to divide their attention. Those earning the lowest wages often make up their incomes by working longer hours. Often, too, their wives have less time and energy to devote to their children. Family size likewise correlates with nutrition, with physical growth and with overcrowding, and is therefore an apt indicator (when allowance is made for the age structure of the local population, and particularly the number of mothers of child bearing age) of the poor home conditions for which schools should compensate. The National Census, supplemented by the schools censuses made by the educational authorities, would provide the information required.

(c) Supplements in Cash or Kind from the State are of various kinds. Where the parents are needy, children are allowed school meals free. The proportions so benefiting vary greatly from school to school, and afford a reasonably good guide to relative need. The procedures laid down are designed to give free meals according to scales similar to those used by the Ministry of Social Security. Another criterion of the same type is the number of families depending on National Assistance, or its future equivalent, in a particular locality. The weakness of these criteria taken by themselves is that some people do not know their rights or are unwilling to seek them.

(d) Overcrowding and Sharing of Houses should certainly be included amongst the criteria. It will identify families in cramped accommodation in central and run-down areas of our cities. It is a less sure guide than some others because it may miss the educational needs of some housing estates and other areas which can also be severe.

(e) Poor Attendance and Truancy are a pointer to home conditions, and to what Burt long ago singled out as a determinant of school progress, the 'efficiency of the mother'. Truancy is also related to delinquency. The National Survey showed that four per cent of the children in the sample were absent, on their teachers' assessment, for unsatisfactory reasons. (Appendix 5, paragraph 27).

(f) Proportions of Retarded, Disturbed or Handicapped Pupils in ordinary schools. These vary from authority to authority according to the special schools available and the policies governing their use. But, everywhere, the proportions tend to be highest in deprived districts. It is accepted that special schools need additional staff, and the same advantages should be extended to normal schools with many pupils of a similar kind.

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(g) Incomplete Families where one or other of the parents is dead, or not living at home for whatever reason, are often unable to provide a satisfactory upbringing for their children without special help.

(h) Children Unable to Speak English need much extra attention if they are to find their feet in England. This is already recognised in arranging teachers' quotas, but should also be used as a general criterion.

154. All authorities would be asked to consider which of their schools should qualify, to rank them according to criteria such as those we have listed, and to submit supporting data. Advice would also be available from HM Inspectors of Schools. In this way the Department of Education and Science would have full information both about the social and the educational needs of the schools and areas. Many of the criteria would be closely correlated. With experience the data required could be simplified so as to ease administration; but meanwhile, a wide variety of criteria should be employed. The schools near the bottom of the resulting rankings would be entitled to priority. We envisage a formal procedure enabling the Secretary of State for Education and Science to designate particular schools or groups of schools as priority schools or areas. Those so designated would qualify for the favourable treatment described later in this chapter. Local education authorities would submit regular reports on these schools to the Secretary of State for the purpose of determining what progress was being made, how long their designation should continue, which aspects of the programme were proving most effective and what further steps should be taken.

Special Groups

155. However good the information secured, and however extensive the experience gained in using it, the administration of this policy would always call for wise judgement and careful interpretation. An infallible formula cannot be devised. Severe deprivation can be found among particular groups which are unlikely to be singled out by such criteria. Canal boat families are an example. Another are the gypsies whose plight is described in Appendix 12. They are probably the most severely deprived children in the country. Most of them do not even go to school, and the potential abilities of those who do are stunted. They tend to be excluded by their way of life and their lack of education from entering normal occupations and confined to others that compel continual travelling. Thus, unless action is taken to arrest the cycle, their children will in turn suffer educational deprivations which will become increasingly severe in their effects as general standards of education rise. The age distribution of this group bears a telling resemblance to that of England in 1841 and so does their education or lack of it. The numbers of gypsy children are small - those of compulsory school age probably amounting in total to less than four thousand. But they are increasing, and in the next 20 years their numbers are likely to double. In their own interests and in the nation's they merit help of the kind we recommend. Yet the criteria listed in paragraph 153 would not select them. They move too frequently to be accurately recorded in census data, they are too seldom in school to appear in figures (of free school meals, for instance) derived from the school population, and the districts in which they are found, particularly the rural areas

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surrounding the South Eastern and West Midland conurbations, are unlikely to contain many educational priority areas.

156. Another group of children which would not be identified by the suggested criteria are from Army and Air Force families in areas with large service populations. There is evidence of serious backwardness among them and of high turnover of pupils and teachers.

157. The case of the gypsies illustrates another aspect of the policies required in educational priority areas. Improved education alone cannot solve the problems of these children. Simultaneous action is needed by the authorities responsible for employment, industrial training, housing and planning. There will be similar, though less extreme, needs for coordinated action of behalf of other groups deserving priority. The experience of those engaged in the 'war on poverty' in the United States gives warning of the disappointments which sometimes follow from attempts to improve the education of the poorest which are not coupled to an effective attack on unemployment. Where there are plans for new centres of economic growth in the less prosperous regions, extra resources for education should be temporarily concentrated in areas where the whole pace of development is likely to be increased. In such places, joint operations of this kind could before long go far to eliminate educational deprivation.

More Teachers

158. Once educational priority areas have been selected, the next step must be to give them the help they need. Each authority would be asked not only to say which schools had been selected, and why, but also what it proposed by way of remedy. The most important things is to bring more experienced and successful teachers into these areas and to support them by a generous number of teachers' aides (see Chapter 24). Until there are more teachers all round, the possibility for increasing their numbers in these schools will, of course, be limited. But a beginning could be made, and the right framework created for the future. To start with, quotas should be raised for authorities with educational priority areas. But the schools in greatest need often cannot recruit their full complement at present, and to increase it, if that were all, would do nothing but cause irritation. Additional incentives are needed. We therefore recommend that there should be extra allowances for teachers and head teachers serving in schools in difficult areas. In many ways their work is already more arduous than their colleagues'. They will in future be expected to assume yet further responsibilities, not only in making contact with parents but also in arranging activities for their children outside the normal limits of the school day, and in collaborating with other local social services. Teachers in such schools deserve extra recognition and reward, and to give it to them would be one way of achieving something even more important, greater fairness between one child and another. The government has already reached the same conclusion in its search for means of recruiting doctors to the less popular areas; financial incentives are being offered to those who are willing to work in them. Salary incentives, of course, present difficulties for the professions concerned, but we believe that the teachers, who understand better than most the urgency of the need, will be prepared to accept the remedies their medical colleagues are already adopting.

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159. The Dame Jean Roberts Committee on Measures to Secure a More Equitable Distribution of Teachers in Scotland studied these problems independently and we were unaware that they had reached similar conclusions until our own Report was nearly completed. They call in their Report (10) for the designation of individual schools in which the scarcity of teachers is particularly severe, and for the payment of an additional 100 a year to all teachers serving in these schools. Our scheme differs from the Scottish plan in one important respect. The criteria we recommend are all social, not educational, so that priority schools and areas will not lose their privileged status, whether they have enough teachers or not, until the social conditions improve. As we understand the Scottish proposals, designation as a school of temporary shortage is to be subject to annual review and the additions to salaries will be paid only during the time when the school is so designated.

160. There is an important distinction between 'mobile' teachers, often young and sometimes still unmarried, and the 'immobile', who are more often married. Many authorities have succeeded in attracting back to work women teachers who had resigned after marriage, and the more who return the better. But the schools to which they go are often those near their own homes, and therefore in middle-class neighbourhoods not in the queue for priority. Each woman who returns could release an additional mobile teacher for priority areas, but that will not be achieved unless more carefully drawn distinctions can be made between the mobile and immobile, and the quotas to be applied to each. The principle underlying these arrangements should be that authorities must employ every immobile teacher in their areas before drawing on mobile teachers who may be available for the priority areas. The administrative difficulties of such an arrangement are considerable, but while teachers remain so scarce every effort should be made to overcome them.

161. There are two obvious problems about this scheme which should be mentioned. The first is the risk that, while the black areas may become white, the neighbouring grey areas may be turned black by an exodus of teachers attracted by salary incentives. But the fact that the priority areas will seldom, if ever, cover a whole authority will be a safeguard. They will usually consist of much smaller districts, some containing one or two schools only, within the territory of an authority and the authority can exercise considerable control over the recruitment and deployment of its teachers and ensure that a balance is maintained between the claims of all its schools, good and bad. The second concerns our proposals for different rules for the employment of mobile and immobile teachers. The Department of Education and Science does not know where the immobile live, especially if they left teaching some years ago. This information might be collected by local education authorities. This should form the basis of information for the Department, who should modify its quota arrangements to take into account the varying resources of immobile teachers in each area.

162. Priority areas are not the kind of place where teachers normally live. Yet those whose homes are near their pupils' can often do a better job that those who travel great distances. They belong to the same community; they can understand their background better. What is more, the creation of vast one-class districts from which all professional people are excluded is bad in itself. Sustained efforts ought to be made to diversify the social composition

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of the priority areas. Many professional workers feel the need to start buying a house early in their careers because mortgage terms may be more favourable, and because once they own a house it is easier for them to secure another one if they move elsewhere. Their needs should recognised by the housing and planning authorities. There should be a mixture of houses for renting, for owner-occupation, and for co-ownership, and cost-rent schemes run by housing associations. As our enquiries showed, many authorities can, and some do, provide housing for teachers and others whose claims derive not from the urgency of their housing needs but from the contribution they make to the community which provides the house. The housing needs of families in badly overcrowded places are likely to be more urgent than those of teachers; but their children will not get the education they deserve if teachers are systematically excluded from the locality. The Dame Jean Roberts Committee urges, and we agree, that local education authorities 'should be allowed greater freedom than at present to purchase, and if necessary to adapt, houses to let to teachers willing to serve at shortage points. Expenditure incurred on the purchase and adaptation of such houses should not be regarded as a charge on an authority's capital investment allocation for school building' (p. 25). We agree with this. It does not follow that any help with housing would entitle teachers to subsidies designed for tenants with lower incomes. The Dame Jean Roberts Committee recommended also that there should be travel allowances for teachers working in difficult areas at a distance from their homes. We recommend that local authorities consider this.

Colleges of Education

163. Teachers in training also have a part to play. In our visit to the United States we were much struck by the value of linking teacher-training establishments with schools in deprived areas. In some cities young teachers are attracted to such places and helped to settle down there by the appointment of special consultants who regularly visit new teachers in schools where the conditions are difficult, support them in their work, and are available on call to give advice. On a smaller scale, the benefits of such links can already be seen in England. We urge that colleges should be asked to establish wherever possible a continuing link with schools in priority areas. Students should be sent to them for a part of their teaching practice. We also hope that in may of these areas a generously equipped teachers' centre can be set up for the in-service training of teachers already working there, partly staffed by the affiliated college of education and partly by local inspectors, HM Inspectors and experienced local teachers and heads. The improved staffing ratio we recommend should make an in-service training programme possible. Longer courses to equip teachers for work in the priority areas could be run from such centres and in colleges of education, and be recognised for purposes of Burnham allowances. Over the years this work would help to build up a body of knowledge about the best ways of teaching children in socially deprived neighbourhoods. Co-operation for research purposes with university departments and with colleges of education would also enable the successes, and failures, of the whole venture to be properly assessed.


164. The shortage of buildings is going to be as acute as the shortage of teachers. New building is recommended for several years ahead to keep pace with

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the birth-rate and the rise in the school-leaving age. There will not be much to spare for the priority areas in the immediate future. Our criteria should be given great weight when determining which of the schools with old and out-of-date buildings is to be replaced first. It would also help if the element in the total building programme reserved for minor works were increased specially for the benefit of these areas. Schools in the greatest plight could be given preference, for the improvement of lavatories and wash places, and for modifications to classrooms. They also should be frequently redecorated. There is urgent need for decent staffrooms to replace those ones thought good enough sixty years ago, if indeed there were any at all. In making estimates of the costs involved we have assumed that an average of 5,000 should be spent on each of these schools. Some will need more; others will need very little. What goes into the building is likewise important. The need for extra 'consumable stock' has already been mentioned. Additional books and audio-visual equipment of various kinds, including television sets and tape recorders, would be particularly valuable in these schools.

Nursery Education

165. We argue in Chapter 9 that part-time attendance at a nursery school is desirable for most children. It is even more so for children in socially deprived neighbourhoods. They need above all the verbal stimulus, the opportunities for constructive play, a more richly differentiated environment and the access to medical care that good nursery schools can provide. It will be many years before they are generally available. The building of new nursery schools and extensions to existing schools should start in priority areas and spread outwards. As a minimum we suggest that all children aged four to five who live in the areas should have the opportunity of part-time attendance and that perhaps 50 per cent should have full-time places (although their need for a gradual introduction is the same as that of all other children).

Other Priorities

166. the development of social work carried out in conjunction with the schools is discussed in Chapter 7. This too should be concentrated first in the priority areas.

167. It might be thought that our proposals for community schools, made in the previous chapter, would be hardest to implement in these districts. But in many of them the demand for centres for activities outside the home of various kinds is keen, as the existence of university settlements and similar bodies shows. It will take special skill to seize these opportunities and use them for educational purposes. But the gains that could be made in mutual understanding between teachers and parents through the work of a well run community school in a priority area make the scheme well worth trying.

First Steps

168. Local education authorities which have a number of priority schools will not be able to embark on a policy of positive discrimination until they know what help they can get from the central government. The nation's supply of the principal resources required - teachers and school buildings - is known and committed, several years in advance, often to other parts of the

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educational system. We must, therefore, think in terms of an immediate programme, on which a start can be made without waiting for additional resources or major changes in existing plans, and after that a longer term programme to follow.

169. The principles on which we have based the immediate programme are as follows:

(i) A start should be made as quickly as possible by giving priority to the schools which by our criteria contain the ten per cent of most deprived children. Starting at two per cent in the first year this percentage should be reached within five years. The additional budget for these areas should not engross the entire increase in educational resources available for the whole country, year by year. There must be a margin permitting some improvement in the schools serving the rest of the population.

(ii) The programme should begin as quickly as possible at varying dates for different elements in the system (teachers' aides, for example, may be available sooner than an overall increase in the school buildings programme).

170. During a period to start in 1968 and reach its peak in 1972 the following steps should be taken in educational priority areas (or in individual priority schools):
(i) The staffing ratio should be improved so that no class need exceed 30.

(ii) Additions to salary of 120 (as are given to teachers of handicapped children or those with other special responsibilities) should be available at the rate of one for every teacher in the priority areas. But it would be open to local education authorities to award these increases according to any plan approved by the Department of Education and Science as being likely to improve education in the designated schools. The additional resources should be used flexibly; for example, an allowance might be allocated to a remedial teacher specialising in helping these schools, or allowances might be withheld and become payable only after a brief qualifying period. They would not, of course, be paid to staff working mainly in other schools. These arrangements will require an amendment of the Burnham Report.

(iii) Teachers' aides should be provided to help teachers, on the lines described in Chapter 24, but at the more generous ration of one aide for every two classes in infant and junior schools.

(iv) Those educational priority schools with poor buildings should be allocated, within the first five years, a minor building project. The average costs between all priority schools might be 5,000 though some will need little or no new building.

(v) The full provision for nursery education should be introduced for children aged four and five as proposed in Chapter 9 of this Report. A higher proportion than in the rest of the country will attend full-time (up to 50 per cent).

(vi) Research should be set on foot to determine which of these measures has the most positive effect as a basis for planning the longer term programme.

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(vii) We estimate, in Chapter 31, that by 1972/73 the educational priority areas will add 11 million to the total current costs of the maintained primary schools. It is clear therefore that the total of Exchequer grants to local authorities will have to be increased to take account of this. It is not for us to plan the mechanism for the distribution of these grants. A new specific grant for authorities containing priority areas may be required, on the lines of the proposed grant to authorities with large numbers of Commonwealth immigrants; or the formula for the distribution of the new rate support grant might be modified.
A Continuing Policy

171. The longer term programme will call for additional resources, over and above those at present allocated to education. Our proposals are not intended to be a once-for-all expedient. The lead in the ratio of teachers to pupils which the priority areas should have attained by 1972 must be maintained. It is suggested they should be restricted to an arbitrary figure of ten per cent of the population initially, in order to provide a serious test of the effectiveness of different elements of priority within the resources that can be found without depriving the rest of the country of scope for improvements. It will be much longer before reliable conclusions can be reached about the outcome, but already by 1972 it should be easier to decide how far and in what way to extend the programme. The need may well be shown to go beyond ten per cent of children. The Council's last report estimated that just under a fifth of modern school pupils were in 'problem areas', very similar to what we describe as educational priority areas (11).

172. The arguments for this policy are general, and apply to whole districts that have been educationally handicapped for years. They are not confined to primary schools and apply to secondary schools as well. But a start should, in our view, be made in primary schools. They have long had less than their share of new building and their classes have always been larger. Since they draw their pupils from smaller catchment areas they feel the full impact of social conditions in their immediate neighbourhood, whereas rather more secondary schools can draw from a mixture of neighbourhoods, with the more fortunate offsetting the less.


173. Positive discrimination accords with experience and thinking in many other countries, and in other spheres of social policy. It calls both for some redistribution of the resources devoted to education and, just as much, for an increase in their total volume. It must not be interpreted simply as a gloss upon the recommendations which follow in later chapters. This would not only be a misunderstanding of the scheme; it would destroy all hope of its success. For it would be unreasonable and self-defeating - economically, professionally and politically - to try to do justice by the most deprived children by using only resources that can be diverted from more fortunate areas. We have argued that the gap between the educational opportunities of the most and least fortunate children should be closed, for economic and social reasons alike. It cannot be done unless extra effort, extra skill and extra resources are devoted to the task.

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174. (i) As a matter of national policy 'positive discrimination' should favour schools in neighbourhoods where children are most severely handicapped by home conditions. The programme should be phased to make schools in the most deprived areas as good as the best in the country. For this, it may be necessary that their greater claim on resources should be maintained.
(ii) A start should be made as soon as possible by giving priority to the most severely deprived pupils, starting with two per cent of the pupils and building up to ten per cent over five years. The purpose of the short term programme would be partly to discover which measures best compensate for educational deprivation. In the longer term, the programme may be expanded to cover a large proportion of the population.
(iii) Every local education authority having schools in which children's educational handicaps are reinforced by social deprivation should be asked to adopt the measures suggested below and to report from time to time on the progress made. Local authorities should be encouraged to select schools within their areas for special attention even though they are not eligible for extra help from national resources.
(iv) A wide variety of criteria should be employed initially. Experience will show which of these criteria are most useful.
(v) Authorities should be asked to say which of their schools should receive extra help from national resources. The Department of Education should formally designate those schools and areas in most need as educational priory areas. Priority areas and the progress made in them should be reappraised regularly by local education authorities and the Department of Education and Science.
(vi) Authorities and the Department of Education and Science should ensure that the needs of other educationally deprived groups, such as gypsies, which will not be picked out by the general criteria laid down, are not overlooked.
Steps to be Taken: 1968 to 1972
175. (i) Measures should be taken to improve the ratio of teachers to children in educational priority areas to a point at which no class in these areas exceeds 30. Additions to salary amounting in total to 120 for every teacher in the priority areas should be paid. It should be open to authorities to award increases according to any plan approved by the Department of Education and Science as being likely to improve education in these areas.
(ii) Teachers' aides should be provided in the priority schools at a ratio of one to every two infant junior classes.
(iii) In building programmes, priority should be given to these areas for the replacement or improvement of schools with old or out of date premises. The element of the total school building programme reserved for minor works should be increased specifically for their benefit. Approximately 5,000 should be allocated for minor works in each school.

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(iv) Extra books and equipment should be given for schools in priority areas.
(v) The expansion of nursery education should begin in the priority areas.

176. (i) The Department of Education and Science should modify its quota arrangements so that they take into account the varying resources of immobile teachers available in each area. Authorities with large numbers of qualified married women willing to teach but unable to work in other areas should gradually be persuaded to employ all of them before drawing on mobile teachers who might be available for priority areas.
(ii) Colleges of education should, wherever possible, establish a continuing link with priority schools. Students should do part of their teaching practice in these schools.
(iii) Teachers' centres should be set up for in-service training. They might run longer courses with the co-operation of local colleges of education. Such courses might be recognised for salary purposes.
(iv) The development of social work in conjunction with schools should begin in priority areas and be more heavily concentrated there subsequently.
(v) Community schools should be tried out first in priority areas.

177 (i) Sustained efforts should be made to diversify the social composition of the districts where priority schools are so that teachers and others who make an essential contribution to the life and public services of the neighbourhood are not excluded from them. Coordinated action will be necessary on the part of authorities responsible for employment, industrial training, housing and town planning if educational deprivation is to be rapidly reduced.
(ii) Research should be started to discover which of the developments in educational priority areas have the most constructive effects, so as to assist in planning the longer term programme to follow.
(iii) Exchequer grants to local authorities with educational priority areas should be increased and the necessary change in the grant making system made.


1. Professor S Wiseman. Oral evidence to Council.
2. National Food Survey, 1963.
3. Lambert R Nutrition in Britain 1950-1960, Codicote Press, 1964.
4. Arneil GC and Crosbie JC 'Infantile Rickets Returns to Glasgow', Lancet (1963), ii, 423. Quoted in Arie T, 'Class and Disease', New Society, 27th January, 1966.
5. Illsley R and Kincaid JC 'Social Correlation of Perinatal Mortality', p. 271 in Butler NR and Bonham DG Perinatal Mortality, Livingstone, 1963.
6. Millner Holland Report. Report of the Committee on Housing in Greater London, Cmnd 2605, 1965.
7. 'A Comparative Study of Outcomes of Mathematical Instruction in Twelve Countries', Ed. T Husen, Almqvist and Hicksell, Stockholm. (Forthcoming).
Attainment: The Implications for Primary Education.

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8. For example, JWB Douglas, Home and School, MacGibbon and Kee 1964. The same data forms the basis of arguments in Robbins Report Vol. II.
9. Davies B Relative Inequality and Interrelationships Between Standards of Provision of Primary, Secondary and Other Forms of Education and Socio-Economic Factors Affecting Education Performance. (To be published).
10. Report of the Dame Jean Roberts Committee on Measures to Secure a More Equitable Distribution of Teachers in Scotland, HMSO 1966.
11. 'Half Our Future', 1963, paragraph 31.

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Children of Immigrants

178. So far we have said nothing, except in passing, about immigrant children. Some of their needs are very similar to those of children in educational priority areas; others are not. They have often been abruptly uprooted, sometimes from a rural village community, and introduced, maybe after a bewildering air flight, into crowded substandard housing in an industrial borough. This happens to European immigrants from Cyprus, Italy or Eire, as well as to the Commonwealth immigrants from the West Indies, parts of Africa, India or Pakistan. When the immigrant is Hindu or Muslim and has special religious or dietary customs, difficulties for both child and teacher increase greatly. The worst problem of all is that of language. Teachers cannot communicate with parents; parents are unable to ask questions to which they need to know the answers. It is sometimes impossible to find out even a child's age or medical history. Opportunities for misunderstanding multiply.

179. Most experienced primary school teachers do not think that colour prejudice causes much difficulty. Children readily accept each other and set store by other qualities in their classmates than the colour of their skin. Some echoes of adult values and prejudices inevitably invade the classroom but they seldom survive for long among children. It is among the neighbours at home and when he begins to enquire about jobs that the coloured child faces the realities of the society into which his parents have brought him.

180. The concentration of immigrant families in the crumbling areas of industrial cities and boroughs has greatly complicated the tasks of their teachers. We wish to pay tribute to the devoted work that is being done in many schools.


181. The number of immigrant children in schools has risen sharply during the last decade. Immigrant parents often have larger families than the rest of the population. Many immigrants work hard and save to bring their families to the United Kingdom. The voucher system, as operated since the White Paper of 1965, limits entry of immigrant workers for settlement to 8,500 a year, but children up to the age of 16 can join their parents so that some three or four children may enter for each father who enters on voucher. In addition to children born abroad, a recent estimate (1) is that 200,000 children of Commonwealth citizens have been born in this country since immigration began on a large scale.

182. Accurate figures of immigrants in schools have hitherto been hard to obtain. Returns in 1966 from local education authorities to the Department of Education and Science show the following totals for four of the main groups of Commonwealth immigrants:

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Table 2 Numbers of Children from Certain Commonwealth Countries in English schools, 1966: (Primary and Secondary Schools)*

West Indians Indians Pakistanis Cypriots
57,000 24,000 7,800 13,200

Some 25 boroughs (including 11 in the Inner London Education Authority) have an immigrant population in school of more than five per cent, the highest single figure being 21 per cent. Because immigrants are concentrated in particular parts of these boroughs, the children attend few schools. In some schools, more than half the pupils are from immigrant families.

Educational Problems

183. These families, though handicapped by unfamiliarity with the English way of living, by their language and too often by poverty and cramped living conditions, are often drawn from the more enterprising citizens of their own country. Though the range of ability and temperament is wide, many children are intelligent and eager to learn. Indeed, this eagerness sometimes proves an embarrassment when it is for the disciplined book learning and formal instruction of their own culture and when the language barrier prevents the school explaining fully to parents the different way we go about education in England.

184. Although some immigrant children are at first upset by the English climate, they are usually well nourished and well clothed (2). When their health is poor this is usually due to complaints which were common among working class people before the last war (3). Some special problems face local education authorities and others in areas with high concentrations of immigrants. Many immigrant children are at a disadvantage because of the poor educational background from which they have come. It is difficult to discriminate between the child who lacks intelligence and the child who is suffering from 'culture shock' or simply from inability to communicate. As a result, few immigrant children find places in selective schools. In one borough with nearly six per cent of immigrants in its school population, not a single child was selected for a grammar school in 1966. Children with high mathematical or technical ability are at a disadvantage because of their poor command of written English.

185. Teachers have generally not been trained during their courses at colleges of education to teach immigrant children. They therefore lack knowledge of the cultural traditions and family structure that lie behind the children's concepts and behaviour. Experienced teachers of immigrant children testify that they have found it of great help to know about family tradition and habits of worship, and about food, clothing and customs, which differ from ours. Unfortunately it is not easy to find authoritative books on these subjects suitable for teachers in training, and there has been a lack of in-service training courses.

*These are children in schools in which there are ten or more immigrant children. An 'immigrant child' is defined as a child bom abroad of immigrant parents or born in this country of parents who immigrated after 1955.

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186. A start has been made by the Association of Teachers of Pupils from Overseas, the British Caribbean Society and others, who are helping teachers to acquire background knowledge. The National Committee for Commonwealth Immigrants has begun the publication of a series of background booklets for teachers. The next step must be the inclusion in initial training courses for some teachers, and in some refresher courses, of discussion of the background of immigrant children. Local education authorities, where there are large numbers of immigrants, could hold induction courses for new teachers in these areas.

The Curriculum

187. The curriculum of the primary school with a substantial intake of immigrant children should take account of their previous environment, and prepare them for life in a different one. Their culture can enrich the school's geographical and historical studies and, if used imaginatively, can improve other children's appreciation of the newcomers besides enabling immigrant children to value their own culture and language. This is easier to achieve with older than with younger children. It is particularly important to introduce the younger children to their new environment. Visits to shops and factories, to the local fire station, to the library, the museum, and the country can provide a useful background to their school work. Meanwhile, books used in schools should be re-examined. Some display out of date attitudes towards foreigners, coloured people, and even coloured dolls. Some are linguistically unsuitable, and some assume a social background incomprehensible to the newcomer (5).

188. Contacts with the home are especially important and, because of language difficulties, far from easy to establish. In one school (6) for example, 80 per cent of immigrant parents interviewed as compared with 20 per cent of the rest, did not know the name of their children's class teacher. The appointment of suitably trained immigrant teachers who would combine part-time teaching with welfare functions could be helpful. They could interpret the school's aims to immigrant parents and the parents' wishes and anxieties to the schools.

189. The education of the parents must not be neglected. Many of them are anxious to learn English and to educate themselves in other ways. There is a possible role here for married women teachers willing to give up part of their time to teaching immigrant family groups in the afternoon or evening. They would require courses in teaching English as a foreign language.

190. It is absolutely essential to overcome the language barrier. This is less serious for a child entering the infant school. He rapidly acquires, both in the classroom and outside, a good command of the relatively limited number of words, phrases and sentences in common use among the other children. He can then learn to read with the rest, by normal methods.

191. Immigrant children who arrive later in their school life have much greater problems. They need to learn a new language after the patterns and often the written forms of their own language have been thoroughly mastered. This calls for special techniques and materials and poses problems to which little research has been directed. It is necessary to distinguish between the

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non-English speaking Cypriot or Asian child and the West Indian who speaks a vernacular form of English, influenced to some extent by 'creole' English. It is a dialect form which, if not supplemented by a form nearer to 'received pronunciation', may place the speaker at a disadvantage in seeking employment and in ordinary social contacts. Techniques suitable for the child who goes home in the evening to a family speaking Urdu or Greek will not be suitable for the child whose parents speak a dialect of English which may be close to 'received pronunciation' or distant from it, depending on the island, or the social class, from which they come.

192. So far there has been very little opportunity for teachers to learn how to teach English to foreigners. The University of London Institute of Education has provided a few places; more are needed. No colleges of education have yet run courses but we are told that seven plan to start this year. Some local education authorities are providing in-service training. The University of Leeds Institute of Education, sponsored by the Schools Council, is preparing and testing materials for teaching English to children of immigrant families from Asia and Southern Europe.

193. When the concentration of non-English speaking children in a particular school reaches a level which seems to interfere with the opportunity for other children to learn, or with the teacher's ability to do justice to the immigrant children, there may be a demand for dispersal of the immigrants. The Secretary of State for Education and Science, in Circular 7/65 (7), advised local authorities to avoid heavy concentrations of immigrants in particular schools. As the Circular points out, experienced teachers believe that a group contain- ing up to one fifth of immigrant children can fit in a school with reasonable ease, but if the proportion goes beyond a third, serious strains arise and it may become difficult to prevent the proportion rising further. The Department's views are shared by many teachers and were reached only after the most serious study of the implications.

194. Yet some local education authorities, after equally careful thought and a great deal of experience, have preferred not to implement the Circular. One teacher of long experience in a notoriously deprived district has written 'We have to accept that there are going to be schools in many of our cities with an intake largely coloured ... Dispersal at the primary stage, except on a limited geographical basis, is administratively difficult and psychologically unsound'. This authority has preferred to trust to extra staffing and enrichment of the curriculum in smaller classes. Other authorities are trying a variety of solutions (8) using partial dispersal, centres to which children go until they have some command of English, or a mixture of both. Whenever immigrant children are dispersed it must be done with great care and sensitivity. Children should be given special consideration on account of their language and other difficulties and not on account of their colour.

195. The Department of Education and Science have increased quotas of teachers for areas with substantial numbers of immigrants. Some authorities have been unable to fill these quotas, however, for the same reasons that they have been unable to staff the schools in their deprived areas. Our proposals for the priority areas (Chapter 5) may help to meet these staffing problems and our proposals for the training and recuitment of teachers' aides (Chapter

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26) have a special relevance. The central government are already helping in other ways: the Local Government Bill now before Parliament provides for a new specific grant to those local authorities with concentrations of Commonwealth immigrants.

196. We have had evidence that volunteers in the year between sixth form and university have helped by being available to work with small groups of children, under the supervision of a trained teacher. We were interested to learn that one authority plans to keep open some of its schools during the summer holidays for the continuous teaching of English to immigrant children so that they do not forget what they have learnt. There should be further experiment on these lines.

197. Remedial courses in spoken English are also needed for those immigrant teachers, especially from Asia, who, though in theory qualified to teach, find it impossible to obtain posts because their speech is inadequate. Holding university degrees and similar qualifications, they often cannot understand why they are not appointed as teachers. It is not easy to detect one's own speech peculiarities. Four remedial English courses are planned by the Department of Education and Science for 1966/67. All are heavily oversubscribed. There is a pressing need for an expansion of such courses which could also provide an introduction to English primary school methods and prepare some teachers for social work.

198. The purpose of the various measures we have discussed should be to eliminate, not perpetuate, the need for them. The time required to make the newcomers fully at home in the school and community will be an index of their success. The steps taken ought to be constantly reviewed as immigrant groups are absorbed into the native population. Special measures inevitably identify children as 'different' and their duration should be as brief as possible.


199. (i) Colleges, institutes of education and local education authorities should expand opportunities through initial and in-service courses for some teachers to train in teaching English to immigrants and to increase their knowledge of the background from which children come.
(ii) Work already started on the development of suitable materials and methods for teaching English to immigrants should continue and be expanded.
(iii) Dispersal may be necessary but language and other difficulties should be the criteria employed.
(iv) There should be an expansion of remedial courses in spoken English for immigrant teachers.
(v) Schools with special language problems and others of the kind referred to in this chapter should be generously staffed: further experiments might be made in the use of student volunteers.

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1. Memorandum from the National Committee for Commonwealth Immigrants and the Survey of Race Relations (September 1965).
2. London Head Teachers' Association: Memorandum on Immigrant Children in London Schools, 1965.
3. Yudkin, Simon 'The Health and Welfare of the Immigrant Child'.
4. Peppard, Miss N., Oral Evidence to the Council.
5. See (1).
6. Young M and McGeeney P 'Learning Begins at Home', Routledge, forthcoming in 1967.
7. Department of Education and Science: Circular 7/65, June 1965.
8. Hawkes N 'Immigrant Pupils in British Schools', Institute of Race Relations, Pall Mall, London, 1966.

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The Health and Social Services and the School Child

200. The scale and character of the work done for families by the social services vary widely. Virtually all families with school children use the services of doctors, dentists and the schools; the great majority attend welfare clinics and are called upon by health visitors. Fewer have contact with educational welfare officers or have to rely at some time on the National Assistance Board. Even fewer seek the help of Children's Departments and Child Guidance Clinics (1). Social work and psychological services are of great importance to the small minorities with whom they deal but also have considerable general influence.

201. *This chapter deals with these social services and with the links between these services and the schools. A large part of this field is now being studied by a Committee (appointed jointly, on 20 December 1965, by the Home Secretary, the Secretary of State for Education and Science, the Minister of Housing and Local Government and the Minister of Health) 'to review the organisation and responsibilities of the local authority personal social services in England and Wales, and to consider what changes are desirable to secure an effective family service'. This Committee is making a more extensive study of the personal social services than we have attempted but we hope our own analysis, conducted from the standpoint of those concerned with the primary schools, will prove helpful to it. Much of what we have to say here concerns only the minority of children in need of special help.

The Health of the School Child

202. The improvement in the health of young children during the last thirty-five years has been tremendous. They are on the average taller. Routine medical examinations in 1965 showed that the general physical condition of more than ninety nine per cent of those examined was satisfactory. Their teeth are beginning to be better cared for; and the incidence of skin diseases has been greatly reduced. The number of children treated for scabies, ringworm or impetigo fell from some 115,000 in 1947 to about 12,000 in 1963. Despite an increase in the school population of nearly two million the number

*The main sources of our evidence are listed at the end of this chapter. But we must here acknowledge our debts to a series of government committees - particularly to the Younghusband (2), Ingleby (3) and Kilbrandon (4) Committees - to various professional, interprofessional and administrative bodies (5, 6, 7, 8) which presented evidence to us, to the Home Office, and to the County Borough of Preston - whose staff prepared evidence (9) for us and invited us to attend discussions with head teachers and social workers. We are especially indebted, however, to research workers from three universities who agreed at short notice to make special studies in three local areas, and to the chief education officers, teachers and social service staff whose help made the research possible. A summary of the three studies appears as Appendix 8 of our Report. We also had access to an earlier study, dealing with similar questions in a fourth area, made by Mrs Margot Jeffreys and since published under the title 'An Anatomy of Social Welfare Services'. The health services are dealt with at greater length in Appendix 2.

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of deaths of school children between the ages of 5 and 14 fell from 11,813 in 1931 to 2,437 in 1963 (see Table 3). The reduction in the number of deaths from diphtheria, tuberculosis and poliomyelitis has been especially marked - 1,744 children died from tuberculosis and 1,344 from diptheria in 1931; the corresponding figures for 1963 were ten and nil. Measles is now the only serious infectious disease which attacks young children on a large scale. In 1963, for instance, 200,705 school children caught the infection of whom 29 died. Otherwise, the infections from which school children suffer are now chiefly respiratory or gastro-intestinal and the great majority of the other ailments which come to light in routine medical inspections in schools are developmental.

The School Health and Dental Service and the Health Visitors

203. Close attention is generally given to mothers and their babies during the weeks immediately before and after childbirth. Until children enter school or nursery, the initiative for further contacts with the health services is taken either by parents or by health visitors who select for special attention those few families who need it. All children are medically examined when they enter school, and further examinations generally take place at the end of both primary and secondary education. Most mothers attend their child's medical examinations. Children are also examined and treated by the school dental service.

Table 3 Main Causes and Numbers of Deaths in Children Under 15 (with percentages of total deaths in brackets) 1931 and 1963

Causes of Death Age 1-4 Age 5-14 Age 1-4 Age 5-14
All causes 18,038 11,813 2,780 2,437
Tuberculosis (all forms) 1,600
Other infectious diseases 5,524
Respiratory diseases 6,704
Malignant disease (including leukaemia)
Not recorded
Congenital defects 207
Accidental (including traffic accidents) 1,135
Cardio-vascular diseases 103 1,138 17 33
Rheumatic fever 42 401 6 15
Digestive disease 649 111 94 16
Diabetes 11 99 8 21
Age specific death rate per 1,000 total population 7.53 1.80 0.86 0.38
School population (millions)

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204. In 1963 there were over 7,400 school nurses (equivalent to 2,667 full-timers) of whom nearly 6,000 held health visitors' certificates (10). Health visitors are state registered nurses with obstetrical experience who take an additional year of study leading to the Certificate of the Council for the Training of Health Visitors. Their training emphasises the social environment of the individual, his mental and physical development at all ages, and the wide range of advice the health visitor can offer (11). Many health visitors are not school nurses, but the majority of school nurses are health visitors. This combination of functions helps them to fulfil the intentions of a Ministry of Health Circular which urged that the 'sphere of work of the health visitor should be broadly based and should extend to the whole family. They will be in touch with most families where there are children'. In many areas they provide a unified service for people of all ages, although most of their work is with children under five. Some local health authorities are introducing schemes whereby health visitors are attached to general practice. The health visitors carry out their usual duties but with the families on the general practitioner's list instead of those in a limited geographical area.

205. In 1963 there were 2,521 doctors employed in the school health service (a full-time equivalent of 982) of whom 623 (103 full-time equivalent) were also general practitioners or married women employed part-time. Of the 1,900 employed by local authorities, 1,700 work both in the school health and in the public health services (12). The schools can seek the advice of medical officers and nurses about behaviour problems as well as more strictly medical problems, and children may then be referred to other social services.

206. The improvement in the health of school children is not wholly attributable to the better care provided by the health services, important though that is. Much is due to general advances in medicine, to a more rigorous practice of immunisation and to the improvements in diet and hygiene which have resulted from a general rise in the standard of living. Nevertheless, the continued existence of malnutrition, and the fact that more than 300,000 children are still given free meals, show that much poverty still persists. It seems from our surveys that the schools themselves consider the School Health Service to be highly successful. Its job is widely understood and accepted. Its staff is highly trained, even though some, like the school doctors, have no special preparation for work with school children. Its responsibility, much more advisory then therapeutic, is to ensure that children function normally and live and grow in harmony with their environment. It is primarily a preventive service, and it does not compete with the general practitioners or hospital services. In its early years the service was preoccupied with arranging treatment that could be found nowhere else. Since the war, however, general improvements in the health of school children and the development of the National Health Service have enabled the School Health Service to give more of its attention to normal and handicapped children and less to the treatment of the diseases of childhood. Yet it must evolve more effective means for identifying early and helping the handicapped and those subject to special risks. 207. The School Health Service is now establishing closer links with other branches of the health services. There is an almost complete integration between the local public health and school health service in all but two local authorities. The combination of the functions of school nurses and health

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visitors, the attachment of health visitors to general practice, and the employment of general practitioners as part-time school medical officers, are all developments which are being encouraged. Although slow progress is being made in forging links between the School Health Service and the hospital paediatrics services, much remains to be done in this direction. Links with non-medical services are likewise a cause of concern. The members of a group practice who serve part-time in the School Medical Service and have a health visitor and, as in a few experimental cases, a social worker attached to them, are in a good position to know which families are likely to need help for their children and to keep in touch with the teachers and social workers who may be dealing with them. But such arrangements are exceedingly rare.

Medical Examinations

208. To enable school doctors to give the best service they can, the system of routine medical inspections must be further modified. Thirty years ago doctors began to question whether a superficial inspection of large numbers of normal healthy children made the best use of their skill. After the issue of the 1953 School Health Service and Handicapped Pupils Regulations more thorough examinations of selected children in some areas has taken the place of medical inspections of children of 10 to 12. By 1964 more than a third of the education authorities had adopted systems of this kind. A variety of selection methods have been used, including questionnaires completed by parents and teachers, special requests by teachers and health visitors for examination of children known to be causing concern at home or in school, and scrutiny of attendance registers. Where these methods have been introduced carefully and with conviction, parents, teachers and doctors have welcomed them. Often they have meant that school doctors visit schools more frequently and communication between teachers and doctors has improved. The implications are wide, for they illustrate how one service can be improved by closer collaboration and a freer interchange of information with other services, and how scarce professional staff may be more efficiently used.

209. Further points call for attention. Information collected by health visitors, clinics and the School Health Service could be used to warn other medical and social workers of families in danger arising from social circumstances. The information should be treated as confidential and be given only to those who are likely to deal directly with a family. Facts disclosed by parents ought not to be passed on to other social departments without parental consent except in special circumstances and then only after discussion with a parent. These families could be helped, and in time. Records should contain perinatal information, evidence from medical development tests of potential disorders, and information furnished by other social services. This information should go forward with the child, forming the basis of later developmental and selective medical examinations, and prove useful if social work or other help is called for. All children should, if possible, be examined before they start school: legislation may be needed for this. The first examination should be concentrated on the assessment of development as well as of other medical conditions, and it should take place a few months before entry to school so that decisions about part-time or delayed entry can be taken in

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appropriate cases. Later examinations can then be limited to children shown to need them by 'screening' procedures.

210. Too many children still arrive at school in need of treatment. There are areas in which this is true of 14 per cent of the children. Of this number, between 20 and 50 per cent have not been treated (13). It is upon these children and those whose family and social circumstances give cause for concern that attention should be concentrated. If our proposals for nursery education are accepted, the school health service will have access to many more children between the ages of three and five. Our concern, however, is not simply to provide more medical inspections but to make better use of the resources available, and to ensure that more selective information is secured and more effectively used by all those who can help children and their families. Meanwhile it must be remembered that serious gaps remain to be filled in the more specialised branches of the health services. More dentists have been recruited in recent years and some school dental services are now fully manned, but others, in the North, Midland and Eastern regions, are still seriously under- staffed (14).

Child Guidance, School Psychological, and Speech Therapy Services

211. The child guidance clinics and the school psychological service, which are at present the subject of enquiry by a departmental committee, are of fairly recent origin. Their growth has been hampered by an acute shortage of staff. They are more fully developed in the south and south-east than in the north. The Underwood Committee, reporting in 1955, recommended a growth in child guidance services which would by 1965 have called for a full-time equivalent of 140 psychiatrists, 280 educational psychologists and 420 psychiatric social workers. These were regarded as realistic interim objectives. By 1965 the child guidance services of local education authorities were still manned by a full-time equivalent of only 101 psychiatrists, 151 educational psychologists (the full-time equivalent of a further 172 were working in the school psychological service) and 140 psychiatric social workers - less than half the total recommended strength overall - and only a third of the required psychiatric social workers.

212. The school psychological service has a variety of functions. The educational psychologist may be asked to advise on the way in which children should be allocated at the age of 11 to the various types of secondary school. It is common for teachers to seek his advice if they are concerned about the academic progress of an individual child, and he may help them in remedial work with slow learning children in ordinary schools. He is frequently called upon to identify and assess those children who may need special educational treatment. He can also give parents and teachers a fuller understanding of the needs of children and an appreciation of the range of behaviour that may properly be regarded as normal, so that they can distinguish between minor difficulties which are incidental to growth and those for which outside help may be needed. He can often help the teacher to deal with the puzzling behaviour of emotionally disturbed children. In many areas the educational psychologist is also a member of the child guidance team. Joint appointment to those two services forms a valuable link between the schools and the child guidance clinic.

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213. It is rare, however, for child guidance clinics to be able to spend time on the problems of very backward children. The reason lies in their long waiting lists. There is a disturbing amount of maladjustment and unsettled behaviour among the very backward, who may not be given sufficient support and positive guidance, even when placed in special schools. Fortunately many primary schools are able to help children who are slightly maladjusted. They need not, therefore, be removed from their normal environment.

214. Speech therapists provide another relatively small, but vital, service that cannot be adequately developed owing to staff shortages. Some studies have suggested that there should be one therapist for every 10,000-12,000 children in the population. This would give a city the size of Birmingham an establishment of 18; but the approved establishment in that city is now 13 and owing to staff shortages and high turnover the number actually in post early in 1966 fell to two. The speech therapists' professional association carried out a survey during the previous year from which they concluded that about 37 per cent of the established posts were unfilled.


215. We now sum up our main recommendations about the school health services and their connections with other branches of the social services.

(i) All children should be examined before entry to school for the purpose of assessing their developmental and medical needs.
(ii) Selective but more intensive medical examinations should become the normal practice in later school life.
(iii) Particular attention should be paid to the development of 'observation registers' based on perinatal information, developmental tests and other procedures for identifying children showing tendencies to disorders. Social information should appear in these registers. Social workers collaborating with the school health services should be informed in confidence of needs and problems which concern them, subject to parental consent.
(iv) Co-operation between family doctors, school and public health services and hospitals should be closer.
(v) More staff is needed in almost all branches of the school health service.
(vi) Closer collaboration between social workers and medical and nursing staff is necessary; but the doctors and nurses will themselves need an increasing knowledge of social work. We welcome the introduction of a greater social work element in the training of health visitors and school nurses, and hope that it will extend to the training of doctors who become school medical officers.
The Education Welfare Officers

216. The number of education welfare officers, and their distribution between different authorities are not known with certainty, but in 1964 there were about 2,000 in England, distributed unevenly amongst 129 local education authorities. A survey of 55 County Boroughs made in that year by the National Association of Chief Education Welfare Officers showed that the average number of pupils to each officer was about 3,000, but it ranged from

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2,000 pupils in one authority to over 6,000 in another (15). In 16 counties the average number of pupils to each officer was larger, about 4,000, and the range wider from just over 2,000 an officer to 7,500. The service is staffed almost entirely by men. Many of them are in their forties or fifties, and they have a lower rate of turnover than most groups of social workers.

217. The role of the education welfare officers is described in the evidence presented by their own Association as follows:

'... Securing regular attendance of all children of school age. Acting as the liaison officer between home, school and local authority and agencies for the welfare of children ... giving advice to parents of delinquent children ... referring children to Child Guidance Clinics ... interchange of information and co-operation with all other social workers and attendance at case conferences ... supervision of families where there is child neglect and arranging for the provision of school meals and clothing to necessitous cases ... investigation of wrongful employment ... acting on behalf of the local authority with regard to children brought before the courts concerning education problems ...'

218. The greater part of their time is spent on school attendance work and routine enquiries, although in one of the local authorities studied the officers thought that absence or truancy was the main problem in slightly less than half their cases. The rest of their work with primary school children is mainly concerned with free meals and clothing, keeping track of changes in the child population of their areas and following up children with verminous conditions. While most authorities employ an all-purpose body of education welfare officers, some still divide this work between attendance officers and a smaller group of welfare officers concerned with special types of case.

219. Most of the education welfare officers' work is concentrated on children of compulsory school age, and particularly on those in secondary schools where most attendance problems are found. In some areas they deal with children below school age, assisting with welfare work, or even with the identification of children requiring medical examination. But the responsibility of the local authorities for children under the age of five rests mainly with the health visitors.

220. A new Certificate in Education Welfare has recently been established to be awarded after examination by the Local Government Examinations Board. Those who possess this certificate will be accepted for salary purposes as falling within the administrative, professional and technical divisions of local government service instead of the miscellaneous category. In 1964 (16) the great majority of education welfare officers held no formal qualifications, though 30 of the membership of 1,200 held a university certificate, diploma or degree in the social sciences and over 300 had begun studying for the Certificate in Education Welfare, an impressive response to the introduction of the new certificate. The fact that this is largely a correspondence course inevitably limits its value for so personal a service as welfare work; but there can be no doubt of the demand for training.

The Child Care and Probation Services

221. The children's departments of the local authorities were set up in 1948 to care for children deprived of a normal home life. But in the course of time they have been drawn increasingly into helping families whose children are

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living at home. This development has been encouraged by recent legislation - particularly the Children and Young Persons Act of 1963. The Ingleby Report (17), calling for more effective 'prevention of suffering of children through neglect in their own homes', the recent White Paper on 'The Child, the Family and the Young Offender' (18), which proposes for discussion the establishment of Family Councils in which social workers of the children's service and other persons would play a central part, and the enquiry now being carried out by the Seebohm Committee may all foreshadow further developments that may eventually lead to the creation of a more comprehensive social work service. Its relation to the schools will be important. The children's departments and their responsibilities are now in a state of rapid but uneven development. In some more than half the children currently being helped are living in their own homes and are not technically 'in care' of the authority. The great majority of the children in their care may be living in foster homes or in small family group homes, attending the local schools. Some juvenile courts are making less use of approved schools and commit children instead to the care of the children's authority which is entitled to arrange any appropriate form of supervised care. But in other places the work of these departments still does not extend far beyond caring for deprived children for whom no other arrangement can be made.

222. The probation service has always devoted much of its efforts to the welfare of children appearing before the courts, and to families who seek its help without coming through the courts. But probation officers are more often concerned with secondary school children, amongst whom delinquency and school attendance problems are more common, than with younger children. Their new obligations for aftercare of discharged prisoners may further increase the proportion of their work with adults, but their concern for the family situation of those whom they help will always bring them into contact with children of primary school age.

223. The demands on the child care and probation services have been continuously growing in recent years and, although many more training courses, including in-service training courses, have been introduced with support from the Home Office, many of their staff do not have a recognised professional training. Nearly a third of the 2,150 child care officers and two-thirds of the 2,319 probation officers in post in 1965 had completed professional courses of various kinds. Over a fifth of the probation officers have gained a professional qualification after taking a university course in the social sciences. Others, about 28 per cent of child care officers and four per cent of probation officers. have university qualifications in the social sciences which provide some preparation for their work without amounting to a professional qualification.

Voluntary Services

224. Voluntary organisations dealing with primary school children provide services of many kinds and much of this work is exceedingly valuable, as is shown by the studies described in Appendix 8. In some cases these organisations have been employed by the local authorities on an agency basis.

Social Work and Related Services

225. There is no agreed or simple definition of the human needs to be met by the social work services. Schools in two of our local studies (see Appendix

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8) produced 'welfare sub samples' of seven per cent and three per cent of all children. In the third study, two areas of one large city (both mainly working class in composition, though one was in a suburban district and the other an old and cramped central area) produced 'welfare samples' respectively of eight per cent and 21 per cent of all children. These wide divergences are not wholly explained by variations in types of area or by differences in the definition of 'welfare cases'. They result partly from variations in the demands made upon the services, in the connections formed between different services and in the generosity of provision.

226. We believe the demands made upon the services will increase during the next decade. They will certainly change. There will be more children. More children needing the help of social workers now remain in the ordinary schools, living in their own homes or in foster homes. More and more families move house as fathers go to new jobs and as towns are expanding and partly as, at last, the slums are being pulled down. Some move because they want to; some are forced to go. Most will benefit, but sometimes there will be serious problems for families who will lack the support of relatives and old friends in times of difficulty. There are many immigrant families fresh to this country. Many of them have special problems. Meanwhile, public understanding of the social services and public sensitivity to the needs they meet are likely to increase, bringing more insistent demands for service.

227. The most striking shortages in the services we have examined are probably to be found in the child guidance service. In one of our local studies it was found that the work of the child guidance clinic was hamstrung for lack of a consultant psychiatrist. The service, which had only been established a few years earlier, was concentrating mainly on the primary schools (19). In another of the areas studied, the psychiatric time available was thought by one of the consultant psychiatrists to be one third of that required for the number of children sent to the clinic. Things are now slightly better, but the less serious cases still have to wait up to ten months for an appointment (20). Because the clinic's work was concentrated on a few difficult cases the expert knowledge of its staff was not generally available to other social workers in the district. We also think that clinics sometimes concentrate their efforts on the families from whom most co-operation can be expected since co-operation is essential for successful treatment. They are not necessarily those whose need is greatest, and it may be that the children of unskilled workers, for instance, get less help than they should. In BP Davies's study of county boroughs (Appendix 14) the ratio of Child Guidance staff to pupils tended to be slightly lower in authorities where families were large and houses more crowded.

Organisation and Deployment of Services

228. We were unable to make a detailed study of the deployment of trained manpower within the social services, but it is clear that not all is well. Since they are likely to be short of staff for many years to come, the few trained workers must be efficiently used. This is difficult to secure as long as the social services dealing with the family remain separate and independent of one another. Trained workers cannot be deployed or re-deployed to meet

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changing needs. Staff difficulties are made worse by the inadequacy of office facilities and clerical assistance - a point made in the Younghusband Report (21) and by the education welfare officers in their evidence to us (22). The efficiency of some services is hampered by a lack of agreement about their functions. There are signs that the education welfare officers suffer in this way. Census work must be kept up to date by the education department, but it is not a task for which a social work training is required. The welfare officers, for example, now have to do a great deal of routine work, of which some is unnecessary and some should be regarded as purely clerical. School attendance work is bound to take time, although more of it might be done from school or education office by correspondence and, eventually, by telephone. The investigation of children's absences from school is an importance matter; but most primary school children who are not at school are in fact ill. In one area the welfare officers found that this was the explanation in three quarters of the cases they investigated. Many of these visits were clearly a waste of time. Welfare officers should be enabled to concentrate on the real problem cases and have time to give them the benefit of general case work. If some of the welfare officers are to carry increasing responsibilities for social work, and we think they should after training, a distinction must be made between their welfare duties and the administrative work which ought to be done by others.

229. We have been told of the skill of psychiatric social workers, the combination of disciplines brought together in the clinics where they work, and the devotion and enthusiasm of these teams. But while the child guidance clinic was a natural base for these workers between the wars, when this branch of the profession was new and not widely understood, the current demand for their services may not justify their concentration in these clinics. Concentration need not mean isolation but it sometimes does. Increasingly psychiatric social workers are able to carry their influence outside the clinics to other social workers, to health visitors and to teachers. And, of course, many are now employed altogether outside the clinics and outside the educational service too. It may well be that some should work more in direct connection with the schools rather than in child guidance clinics.


230. Many problems affecting families with young children, though infinitely varied in detail, are fundamentally similar and call for similar qualities among those helping the families. Where, when and from whom the help comes often depends on the relative strengths of local services, their relations with one another and with the public, and on pure chance. For example, a disturbed and difficult child may be referred to the Child Guidance Clinic, especially if his parents can travel there regularly, and keep and effectively use the clinic's appointments. Alternatively his poor attendance at school may bring in the education welfare officer as the principal worker involved. But if the child appears in court, the probation officer may become responsible or the child may be placed under the supervision of a child care officer. Later he may be committed to an approved school or to the care of the children's department. But the right solution might have been to diagnose maladjustment or subnormality, to provide special educational treatment and so to avoid the sequence of failures. It is possible, too, that none of these services would have

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been involved if a teacher had noticed that the child had special problems and gone out of his way to help at a sufficiently early stage.

231. Co-ordination is not simply an administrative or procedural problem. It demands a reappraisal of family needs and of the skills required to help those in difficulty. It requires a greater measure of training common to all the services. We should above all be suspicious of any tendency to set up yet further services which will complicate the issue, create more joints in the communication system through which leakages can occur and generally dissipate energy and effort.

232. While the education welfare officers say in their evidence to us that they work closely with other agencies, they also complain (23) that others neglect them, and that teachers and education officers sometimes fail to understand their role. Health visitors (24) give evidence of the need for improved connections between the social services affecting the primary schools, and one of our own studies (25) strongly implies that health visitors themselves are sometimes unwilling to make contact with social workers. The Younghusband Report, whilst concluding that a 'multiplicity of visitors' was not a serious problem, recognised that social service staff often fail to understand each other's functions. The Ingleby Report (26) made much the same point.

233. Co-ordination can take place at two levels. Meetings of heads of departments or their senior staff can deal with the general development of services and policies. Meetings of field workers can deal with the needs of individual families, avoid overlapping or conflicting activities, clarify their joint aims and exchange information. Their meetings should be regarded as 'case conferences' rather than 'co-ordinating committee's'. Most authorities have both kinds of procedure. In the three authorities we studied there were committees which were concerned with individual problems and difficult cases rather than with the general co-ordination of departmental policies. Such conferences can only deal with a small minority of cases. If too much reliance is placed on them, poor team work affecting a much larger number of cases may be concealed or perpetuated. Often one person should have primary responsibility for each child or family needing help, and it should be his duty to see that other agencies and workers are called in when required. A major reappraisal of personal services dealing with families made in one of the areas we studied has shown that the present structure of the social services cannot be radically changed without legislation. The education committee, the health committee, the children's committee, the probation service and other bodies cannot shed or share their legal responsibilities. Thus although co-ordination can and should be improved it cannot provide a complete solution to the problems we have discussed.

Training and Recruitment

234. The social services will be short of staff for a long time to come, but they could do more to help themselves. The new Council for Training in Social Work, the colleges working with it, and the National Institute for Social Work Training have already gained valuable experience in organising new forms of training. The Central Training Council in Child Care sponsors a wide variety of training courses aimed at encouraging every type of recruitment into the children's service. They, and the health and welfare departments

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of the local authorities, have found that the provision of courses and the requirement of qualifications do not deter recruits but encourage them. The education welfare officers are a natural source of recruits for some forms of social work training and, once trained, they are unlikely to leave social work. Other sources of recruitment might also be found if the social services generally were as energetic as some education authorities have been. Late entrants to the profession must be encouraged. Married women, both trained and in need of training, are available and should be offered suitable working hours.

The Schools and the Social Services

235. Relations between the schools and the social services should be improved. First, there is the problem of the teachers' own knowledge - their capacity to identify social problems and to be aware of the services available to help children. Secondly, there are problems of communication between the schools and other services - the ability and willingness to keep each other adequately informed. Thirdly, there is the broader problem of the schools' contacts with their pupils' homes - a question of the teachers' understanding of what goes on at home which we have discussed in Chapter 4.

236. Nearly half the teachers in two of the three areas studied said either that they could not remember receiving any systematic instruction about the social services during their training or that they would have liked more. Head teachers in the third area said it was difficult to pick up this kind of knowledge on the job. It was when they became heads that many of them realised how much they had to learn about the social services. Social workers probably get equally little instruction about the part played by the school in the life and development of children.

237. 'Welfare cases' are generally handled by the head teacher. Class teachers have little contact with social workers and depend on the head for information about pupils who are being helped by outside agencies. But the head teacher himself is not always kept informed. Of 39 children in one of our samples (27) who were being helped by child care officers, only ten were discussed with teachers by the officers concerned. Sometimes there is no need for such discussion, but where social workers have assumed a large part of the responsibility normally borne by parents we would expect them to see the child's teachers from time to time.

238. Although a teacher may be the first person outside the child's home and immediate neighbourhood to know of difficulties he is experiencing, we do not believe this occurs very often when the difficulties are severe. We found in our own studies that other agencies were already in touch with the majority of children for whom the schools sought outside help - particularly where children's problems were serious. But teachers can often help others who are working with their pupils, and can learn a great deal about the children and their needs in return. There is, of course, a limit to the time and energy teachers can devote to these contacts but especially, although not only, in the deprived areas they should be helped to learn more about the home background of their pupils and to make closer contacts with parents. The fact that teachers and social workers have a different outlook on the problems of the children they are both helping can itself be an advantage. What the schools

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need is a readily available social worker whom they know and trust, and who can act quickly. Through day to day contact, the most can be made of teachers' understanding of children. Teachers can become more perceptive and knowledgeable and the right action is more likely to be taken promptly by all concerned. Social workers collaborating closely with the schools will not restrict the teachers' responsibilities but enable them more effectively to do their own work which includes some welfare work of a less general kind.

239. There has, to date, been no official report covering all the services we have discussed. But the Younghusband (28), Ingleby (29) and Kilbrandon (30) Committees - although starting from different, and restricted, terms of reference - reached similar general conclusions about the need for an integration of the social services. What are the implications of this for the schools? Many American school districts employ school social workers with a general training in social work and a minimum of specialisation. They work in a group of schools and are responsible to the principal, and ultimately to the Superintendent of Schools, but they can call on the help of specialist social workers in other fields. Most of our evidence (31, 32) however, has led in a different direction, making a strong case for a broader integration of the personal social services.

240. We think the following arguments carry great weight: (a) workers in a variety of services are increasingly finding they are concerned with similar families having similar needs; (b) the atomisation of social services leads to contradictory policies and to situations in which 'everybody's business becomes nobody's business'; (c) continuity of care is difficult under present arrangements; (d) a more unified structure would provide better opportunities for appraising needs and planning how to meet them; (e) it would also accord with the present tendency of social work to treat people as members of families and local groups rather than to deal with specific individuals or separate needs isolated from their social context; (f) it would make it possible to create viable teams to operate in areas of special need. Although such teams should cover carefully selected areas they could be physically located in many different places, for instance in clinics, in the local offices of welfare and children's departments, or medical group practices. Since all children spend several hours a day in school for most of the year, and since it is relatively easy for parents to visit schools, there is much to be said for choosing the schools as a base for social work units responsible for helping families facing many kinds of difficulties. For social work units that were also concerned with old people, single people or the mentally disordered, other bases would be necessary.

241. Other models are suggested by schemes operating in Glasgow and in London. The Glasgow scheme, which is based on secondary schools and makes some provision for associated primary schools, is similar in many respects to the American schemes mentioned in paragraph 239. The principal strengths of the scheme are that the school has access to a readily available known person who is treated as a colleague by teachers and who can act quickly. The Glasgow social workers all have some training. But these workers are based in secondary schools; and, although they have some responsibilities for the primary schools in their areas, they do not have time to give them the same attention. Primary schools are too small and too numerous to place a social worker in each of them, even if such a scheme

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were restricted to educational priority areas. The special characteristic of the London scheme (33), based on the Care Committees, is the use made of some 2,500 volunteers who are guided by 80 full-time paid organisers. But it is not easy to recruit sufficient voluntary workers in all parts of the country, particularly in the areas in which they are most needed. Moreover, scarce trained staff may become so burdened with the supervision of voluntary workers, for whom few training opportunities exist, that their skills are not most efficiently used in helping children and families. In many parts of Hertfordshire, we understand, a large part of the welfare work that elsewhere falls within the sphere of the education welfare service is carried out by the children's department, operating as the agent of the education committee. The arrangement arose from historical circumstances peculiar to this authority but it appears to work well. We have borne all these possibilities in mind when formulating our own proposals.


242. Our conclusions are deliberately tentative, stressing needs and opportunities rather than formulating detailed schemes. More specific proposals are to be expected from the Seebohm Committee.

243. The schools' interest in social work arises from their need to identify and help families with difficulties that lead to poor performance and behaviour of their children in school. Construed narrowly, these responsibilities mean that an education authority must prevent unnecessary absence from school and deal with problems that obviously prevent attendance, for example, inadequate clothing. Construed more positively, they call for social work amounting to general family case work, supported by specialist services equipped to deal with the more serious physical, environmental and psychological problems. Teachers are responsible for establishing a good understanding between the school and parents. There will, however, be difficult cases beyond the competence, time or training of the head or class teacher. These should be the responsibility of trained social workers, collaborating closely with the schools, readily available to teachers, and capable of securing help quickly from more specialised social services. The school social worker can also encourage the more reluctant parents to visit their children's schools and talk with teachers. The help and advice he offers to families in difficulties can provide a practical demonstration of the school's concern, not only for children but for the welfare of the whole family. Within the school, he can help teachers understand some of the difficulties their pupils contend with at home, alert them to problems they would not otherwise be aware of, and thus put teachers in a position to do their own job more effectively.

244. The principal need is for an organisation, which need not be an additional organisation but could be a grouping of existing organisations, and which will enable these functions to be fulfilled. The 'school social worker', or a social worker collaborating closely with the school, needs to be clear about his powers to act on truancy, about the additional forms of guidance, supervision and help he may be asked to provide, and about his right and need to call upon other services when required. He must be known to teachers in the schools he serves and be accepted by them as a colleague. The size of his caseload should be strictly controlled. These conclusions will remain

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valid whether or not present services are unified within one local social work department.

245. If some or all of this work is to be carried out by the present education welfare officers, they would have to shed duties which could be carried out more effectively by staff without responsibilities for social work, who would remain based on the local education office rather than the schools. Routine investigations of attendance could often be carried out more selectively and with less waste of time; they should probably be associated with social work (since serious attendance problems often prove very complex) although different grades of worker including that of welfare assistants may be required for different types of case. It is not satisfactory that the service mainly responsible for welfare work in connection with the schools should be largely untrained.

246. The work and aspirations of the education welfare officers are developing in a way that encourages us to believe that some of them are capable of filling the places left open by the shortage of trained social workers. Selected education welfare officers might be given an intensive one year course, provided this were regarded as a temporary arrangement and not as a precedent for the establishment of a general level of training inferior to that now being offered to social workers elsewhere. In time a two year training similar to that required for the Certificate in Social Work or the Letter of Recognition awarded by the Central Training Council in Child Care would be needed.

247. The experience of existing councils for training in social work and child care will provide guidance about the type of course required. We hope that room might be found for this training within the courses the councils are now developing. There are, we believe, many potential social workers, with adequate academic qualifications, who would enter these courses, given appropriate career opportunities and salary structure. More resources, too, will have to be made available for training if there is to be any expansion. The principal shortage is of field work supervisors.

248. Anxious though we are that there should be rapid improvement in the services directly concerned with the schools, it is obvious that plans for reorganisation and training must be related to the whole social work field, and we hope that a comprehensive plan of action will be prepared without delay. A clear and generally applicable plan for social work in schools has not yet been devised. In carefully selected and different areas, where such help is most urgently needed, experimental teams should therefore be established which would include workers from many of the relevant fields together with social workers largely responsible for school social work. The school social workers should also have ready access, through their fellow team members when appropriate, to the help of the school medical and psychological services and other more specialised staff. In some places the school workers may have to spend so much of their time in the schools that they become, in effect, members of the schools' staff. While school social workers should always operate with the consent of the head teacher and be immediately responsible to him for their work within and on behalf of the school, their administrative responsibility should normally be to a team leader in a service with broader functions through whom a large range of specialist resources would be available to them. Experiments on these lines should be started as

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soon as possible and linked with research designed to test their value. A start should be made in the areas of greatest need, particularly some of those selected to become educational priority areas of the kind described in Chapter 5.

249. We note that in Glasgow the staff of school welfare officers (working alongside a larger number of attendance officers) have all taken a two year university course in the social sciences, or the two year CSW course. The city has now seconded on full salary their first worker for professional training at university level. The English education welfare service should enable some of its staff to have this kind of professional training. But it is clear that different grades of work will remain to be done for the schools. Much of it will be routine work. Social workers attached to schools should therefore be assisted by 'welfare assistants' with less training, as again is done in Glasgow. We recommend that consideration be given to the creation of a grade of welfare assistant in this field.

250. It may be possible that volunteers or part-time workers could play a useful part in social work teams after a short period of training and work under the supervision of professionally qualified staff.

251. Whether teams are established or not, we believe that greater care is needed in deciding on the number of social workers required in an area. This is plain from the varying burdens carried by social workers in the three areas we have studied in detail.

252. Finally, we return to the teachers. Too many do not know enough about the social work being undertaken on behalf of their pupils. Medical and social workers should inform the schools of action being taken in respect of their pupils whenever this would help teachers in their work with children. Parental permission must be sought for this step and it will normally be forthcoming. Teachers, we are sure, will welcome information that may explain a pupil's behaviour and performance in school, and they will treat it as confidential. It is essential that teachers should accept social workers as colleagues with whom there can be informal and frequent communication, but this will not happen of itself. It needs planning.

253. A teacher who has to consult with a social worker about a pupil is likely to learn quickly something of the organisation with which he is dealing. But this kind of localised knowledge is not enough. The initial training of teachers ought to take more account of the social factors that affect school performance and of the functions and working of the social services. Short conferences and other forms of in-service training are clearly called for, especially for head teachers and deputies. Similarly, social workers need to be better informed about the educational system. We recommend that there should be experimental schemes for the joint training of social workers and teachers (such as started in Scotland in 1966) and that social work courses should contain adequate instruction about the role of the school in the community and in the development of children and about welfare work in and around the schools.

254. Social workers will never be concerned with more than a small minority of school children. It must always be remembered, therefore, that the main responsibility for developing good relations with parents rests with teachers.

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255. This chapter reaches conclusions which are necessarily tentative. We have summarised the main points on the health of the school child in paragraph 215. The rest of our conclusions are as follows:

Social Welfare Work in the Schools: Structure

(i) There is a need for adequately trained social workers who would collaborate closely with schools, would be readily available to teachers, capable of assuming responsibility for cases beyond the competence, time or training of the head or class teacher, and capable of securing help quickly from more specialised social services. The principal need is for a grouping of existing organisations within a comprehensive plan of action which will enable these functions to be fulfilled.
(ii) In those areas where help is most urgently needed, teams should be established to include experienced workers from the relevant fields including social workers largely responsible for school social work. In schools with special difficulties, social workers may spend so much of their time in the schools as, virtually, to be members of the school staff. Experimental teams should be set up as soon as possible, particularly in some of the educational priority areas, and linked with research designed to test their value.
(iii) Local circumstances and experiment should decide whether school social workers could be best based on the education office, or on the schools, or should belong to a more varied social work team, including social workers doing different jobs. Social workers should, however, always work in the schools with the consent of the head teacher and be immediately responsible to him for their work on behalf of the school. Their administrative responsibility should normally be to a team leader located in a service having broader social work functions where a large range of specialist resources would be available to them.
(iv) A new grade of welfare assistant working with social workers might take over much of the routine work carried out by education welfare officers. Some of the work at present carried out by EWOs could more appropriately be undertaken by clerical workers.
(v) Medical and social workers should inform the schools of action being taken in respect of their pupils whenever this information would help teachers in their work with children. Such information should be treated as confidential, and its use should be subject to the consent of parents.
(vi) Education welfare officers could be trained to carry out wider social work functions. The present shortage of social workers might be partly met by selecting some education welfare officers for intensive one year courses. A two year training similar to that required for the Certificate in Social Work or the Letter of Recognition of the Central Training Council in Child Care should be established for selected education welfare officers. These Councils might include such training within the courses they are now developing.

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(vii) The training of teachers, including in-service training, should take more account of the social factors that affect school performance and of the structure and functions of the social services. Such training is particularly necessary for head teachers and deputies.
(viii) There should be experimental schemes for the joint training of social workers and teachers. Social work courses should contain adequate instruction about the role of the school in the community and in the development of children, and about welfare work in and around the schools.


1. Political and Economic Planning. Family Needs and the Social Services. Allen and Unwin, 1961.
2. The Report of the Working Party on Social Workers in the Local Authority Health and Welfare Services. (The Younghusband Report, 1959).
3. The Report of the Committee on Children and Young Persons (The Ingleby Report, 1960).
4. The Report of the Kilbrandon Committee on Children and Young Persons, 1964, Command 2306.
5. Evidence to the Council from the National Association of Chief Education Welfare Officers.
6. Evidence to the Council from the Education Welfare Officers National Association.
7. Evidence to the Council from the Council for Training in Social Work.
8. Evidence to the Council from the Standing Conference of Organisations of Social Workers.
9. Preston Education Committee. Family Welfare and the School. Evidence to Council.
10. Health of the School Child. 1962 and 1963. Report of the Chief Medical Officer of the Department of Education and Science Page 5.
11. Council for the Training of Health Visitors: Syllabus Examination for Health Visitors in the United Kingdom, 1965.
12. See (10) above. Page 129.
13. See (10) above. Chapter III. Page 23.
14. See (10) above. Chapter XIV. Page 103.
15. See (6) above.
16. See (6) above.
17. See (3) above.
18. The Child, The Family and the Young Offender. Command 2742. August, 1965.
19 and 20. These facts are taken from our three local studies which are summarised in Appendix 8.
21. See (2) above. Paragraphs 403 to 406.
22. See (6) above.
23. See (6) above.
24. Evidence to the Council from the Council for the Training of Health Visitors, paragraph 8(f).
25. See (19) above.
26. See (3) above.
27. See (19) above.
28. See (2) above.
29. See (3) above.
30. See (4) above.
31. See (7) above.
32. See (8) above.
33. Evidence to the Council from the London County Council.

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Form of report involving parents

[click on the image for a larger version]

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A Letter which might be sent by an Infants' Head Teacher to parents at the end of the First Term

Dear Mr and Mrs .......................

We thought you would like to know how Tony has developed during his first term at school.

He made a confident start as he had been well prepared by you and his sister. I know you were disappointed that he was reluctant to come to school on some mornings later in the term, when his first enthusiasm had waned. This is not unusual, however, and may have been caused by his not being quite well at the time, some upset with one of his friends or by a very natural desire to stay at home sometimes! We think he would profit by a further period of attending in the mornings only as he does get tired in the afternoons. Perhaps you could call to see us about this.

He loves stories and books especially about animals. Perhaps you or his father could spare time to read to him. I think you will find him beginning to pick out words to recognise. He can already read the names of most of the children in his class. He can count correctly up to five and is beginning to want to paint and write.

He is more independent in putting on his clothes etc. though he still needs a good deal of help in this.

He is a sensitive boy who is often thoughtful for other people.

Yours sincerely

A Letter which might be sent by the Head Teacher of a Junior School to parents at the end of the First Term

Dear Mr and Mrs .......................

We thought you would like to know how Diane is getting in her first term in the junior school.

She began very timidly. She is small for her age and perhaps feared the larger children but she is now a happy member of the group. She is greatly respected by the other children because she is so agile and fearless in physical activity and this has helped her to gain confidence.

Her reading is satisfactory, though slow. Could you spare time to take her to the Children's Library in ....................... St? She would be quite able to choose suitable books for herself and would improve her reading speed by reading a greater number of fairly easy books.

She is coming rather slowly to an understanding of number. We feel it is important that she should not be hurried in this, because that would add to her confusion. It would be helpful if you could entrust her with small sums of money for shopping and help her to count the change.

She does not like to take part in acting but is most ingenious in preparing costumes for other children. Her painting is really lovely. We hope you will find time to look in some morning next term to see it and to see the children at work.

Yours sincerely

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Part Four

The Structure of Primary Education

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Primary Education in the 1960s:
Its Organisation and Effectiveness

256. Part IV of our Report is concerned with the general structure of primary education: we discuss later the internal organisation of primary schools. This chapter compares the present provision with the arrangements in force when the Hadow Reports were new. It also compares our predecessors' verdict on the schools they knew with our estimate of the quality of schools today. The chapter concludes with descriptions of primary schools which may give the reader a more detailed picture of what we mean by good practices.

The Legal Position

257. The law of education, as embodied in the 1944 Education Act and subsequent legislation, does not fully describe its structure. It fixes the lower and upper limits of primary education; but it says nothing about the age of transfer from infant to junior education, and it does not stipulate whether boys and girls should be educated together or separately. The main statutory provisions about primary education are:

(a) 'The statutory system of public education shall be organised in three progressive stages to be known as primary education, secondary education and further education.' (Education Act 1944, Section 7).
(b) Primary education is defined as full time education for children below ten years six months and children above that age but below 12 years whom it is expedient to educate with them (1944 Act, Section 8(1)(a) as amended by Section 3 of the Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1948). The 1964 Education Act allows proposals to be submitted to the Secretary of State for the establishment of schools with age limits below 10 years 6 months and above 12 years. The Act applies, however, only to new schools and was not intended to make a major change of structure.
(c) Education must be provided for all children from the term after that in which they reach their fifth birthday (1944 Act, Section 35 and Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1948, Section 4(2)).
(d) Local education authorities under Section 8(2)(b) of the 1944 Act, must 'have regard to the need for securing that provision is made for pupils who have not attained the age of five years by the provision of nursery schools or ... by the provision of nursery classes in other schools, where the authority consider the provision of such schools to be inexpedient.'
Reorganisation of Primary and Secondary Education

258. The substantial 'three decker' schools which stood, and often still stand, in London and some other towns high above terraced rows of working class housing were designed to fit the educational system as Hadow found it. Its divisions can still be seen commemorated in the clearly carved inscriptions over the doors of many schools - Infants, Girls, Boys. The infant department

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was on the ground floor. At the age of seven boys and girls were promoted to one of the other storeys which normally housed separate boys' and girls' departments where pupils stayed until they left school at the age of 14. In effect the first Hadow report in 1926 proposed a rearrangement of the two upper storeys. It suggested that there should be a change of department at 11 as well as at seven years of age. The typical three decker could be rearranged quite easily to meet these suggestions. The three storeys could house infant, junior and senior departments instead of infant, girls' and boys' departments. Country schools and the older schools in towns were not built to this pattern and often had no separate infant department. The progress of Hadow reorganisation can be seen in the following diagrams (1):

Diagram 3

The shaded area represents the proportion of pupils aged 13 in unreorganised or 'all-age' schools, i.e. schools with an age range from five or seven to the end of compulsory education. By 1955 all-age schools had virtually disappeared from the towns; in the last ten years they have nearly gone from the countryside. Hadow reorganisation is usually thought of as preparing the way for 'secondary education for all'. It was just as valuable because it made possible genuine primary education for boys and girls from the age of 7 to 11.

Changes within Primary Education

259. The infant department had usually been a mixed school; but for older pupils the normal pattern of English education until comparatively recently was to teach boys and girls in different schools wherever possible. In 1925 half the children aged nine were being educated in single sex schools; today the proportion is three per cent. The following diagrams show how rapid has been the changing pattern since 1926:

Diagram 4

The shaded area represents the proportion of nine year olds in co-educational schools.

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260. In 1952 two fifths of all schools with children of primary age had less than 100 pupils. By 1965 the proportion was less than a third. But it is more important to consider the declining number of these small schools than the proportion they bear to the total. This is illustrated in the graph in Diagram 5 [at the end of this chapter] which shows the position in 1947, the first year for which statistics in this form are available, in 1950 and then at five yearly intervals. The graph shows three possible definitions of a small school. According to each, the number of small schools has declined. It is the smallest schools which are least defensible both financially and, except in special circumstances, on educational grounds.

261. The English infant school, and it is a distinctively English institution, has a long history because it has been accepted for a century now that children up to six or seven need quite different treatment from older boys and girls. Wherever numbers made it economically possible, the policy had long been to provide separate infant schools. 'Hadow reorganisation' in towns did not make sweeping changes in this respect because it was for the most part only the older schools in which the 'all age' structure had included infants. In fact there has been a reduction in the last 40 years in the proportion of six year olds who are being educated in separate infant schools. In 1925 it was 70 per cent; in 1965 it had dropped to 56 per cent. Ten years earlier it had been 60 per cent.

262. 'In the country districts', the 1933 report suggested, 'the typical unit will eventually be a primary school which contains all the children up to the age of 11. The infant class or division will form an integral part of such a school.' (2) It is not because separate infant schools are educationally less valuable than combined junior and infant schools that their numbers have declined. Country schools and voluntary primary schools are usually combined schools. What has been happening recently is that in many new housing estates the distribution and density of population have fitted better with a combined school than with separate infant and junior schools.

263. The corollary to the secondary school under 'Hadow reorganisation' was the establishment of separate junior schools. The Education Act of 1918 enforced compulsory education up to the age of 14 and, by making it a duty of local education authorities to provide courses of advanced instruction for older and more intelligent children, encouraged some of the more enlightened authorities to revise their arrangements for children below the age of 12. From 1919 (3) several authorities began to create junior schools and departments. It was not, however, until the Hadow reports of 1926 and 1931 that much progress was made. Then it came with startling rapidity. Over a brief period of three years, from 1927 to 1930, the number of pupils in separate junior departments rose from 150,000 to 400,000, or an increase from over seven per cent to 16 per cent of the total child population aged between eight and 12 (4). By 1965, half of the children between the age of seven and 11 were in separate junior schools. There were one and a quarter million of them.

Nursery Schools and Classes

264. From 1907 it became the policy of the Board of Education to encourage the exclusion from school of children under five, who were often attending in surprisingly large numbers, unless special arrangements could be made for

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them. One effect was to stimulate the foundation of nursery schools by private effort. Rachel and Margaret McMilIan were outstanding among the pioneers. Nursery schools first became eligible for grant in 1919 but growth has been slow, although the last war gave them a temporary boost. Nevertheless, many schools continued to admit children to infant classes before the age of compulsory attendance. In other schools, nursery classes were formed, often including children of the same age as those in admission classes elsewhere. The proportion of children attending any form of school before the age of five has remained roughly stable since 1930. Table 4 illustrates this. The Department of Education statistics do not show separately the numbers of children attending nursery classes. We therefore made our own enquiries of local education authorities. Table 5 shows the distribution of children under the statutory age between nursery schools and nursery and admission classes of primary schools.

Some Other Features

265. Other features besides structure have changed. Perhaps the most common experience of the last 30 years has been the great variations in numbers that the primary schools have had to take at short notice. (See Diagram 6 [at the end of this chapter]). We refer to these changes and their effects on class sizes in Chapter 23.

266. There are nearly 21,000 English maintained primary schools which between them contain about 4,000,000 pupils who are taught by nearly 133,000 full-time teachers and by part-time teachers equivalent to nearly another 6,900 (see Table 6 [at the end of this chapter]). The cost of nursery and primary education in 1964/65 in England was 300 million excluding the cost of training teachers, and of meals and milk. In terms of manpower and of the children accommodated in the schools, the primary schools form the largest sector of the whole educational system. Table 6 contains the main figures which describe primary education.

Assessments of Primary Education

267. So far this chapter has been confined to the organisation of education on which definite statements can be made and comparisons drawn. Although this is more difficult when judgements of quality are concerned, we think that the attempt should be made. First, however, we should remind ourselves of a comment made by the Hadow Committee on aspects of the later stages of primary education:

'It can, however, hardly be denied that there are places in our educational system where the curriculum is distorted and the teaching warped from its proper character by the supposed needs of meeting the requirements of a later educational stage ... The schools whose first intention was to teach children how to read have thus been compelled to broaden their aims until it might be said that they have now to teach children how to live. This profound change in purpose has been accepted with a certain unconscious reluctance, and a consequent slowness of adaptation. The schools, feeling that what they can do best is the old familiar business of imparting knowledge, have reached a high level of technique in that part

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of their functions, but have not clearly grasped its proper relation to the whole. In short, while there is plenty of teaching which is good in the abstract, there is too little which helps children directly to strengthen and enlarge their instinctive hold on the conditions of life ...' (5).
268. We visited as many schools as possible, received much written and oral evidence and had many informal conversations. But we could not possibly claim that we had in this way obtained anything like a complete picture of the state of primary education throughout the country. We felt the need for an assessment covering all the primary schools. Since HM Inspectors were in the best position to undertake a comprehensive survey we asked them to do so.

269. All the 20,664 primary schools in England were included in the survey apart from 676 which were either too new to be assessed or for some other reason could not be classified. The whole body of HM Inspectors responsible for the inspection of primary schools took part. It is probable that misjudgements which must have occurred in particular cases cancelled each other out. The survey was planned to ensure that the various categories into which the schools were placed were exhaustive and did not overlap, to eliminate as far as possible the idiosyncrasies of personal judgement and to make certain that the identity of individual schools could not be discovered.

270. In the first category were placed schools described as 'In most respects a school of outstanding quality'. These are schools which are outstanding in their work, personal relationships and awareness of current thinking on children's educational needs. They are the pacemakers and leaders of educational advance. This category contained 109 schools in which there were about 29,000 children, representing one per cent of the total primary school population. The second category, 'A good school with some outstanding features', indicated schools of high quality, far above the average, but lacking the special touch of overall rare distinction needed to qualify for the first category. There were 1,538 of these schools educating nine per cent of the total number of primary school children. That ten per cent of the schools should fall into these two categories of excellence is highly satisfactory. 4,155 schools (23 per cent of the children) were in the third category: 'A good school in most respects without any special distinction'. These are schools marked by friendly relationships between staff and children, few or no problems of discipline, a balanced curriculum, good achievement and an unmistakable recognition of children's growth and needs as they are known. One third of the children in primary schools go to schools which are quite clearly good.

271. Category 9 was 'A bad school where children suffer from laziness, indifference, gross incompetence or unkindness on the part of the staff'. Into this category fell 28 schools with 4,333 children, or 0.1 per cent of the whole. We were at pains to discover not so much how such schools had come to be since in any large group of human beings or institutions there must always be a few complete failures, but what was done about them when they were identified. Each of the 28 schools was followed up by the local authorities and by HM Inspectors, and action taken. There may always be bad appointments of head teachers; and deterioration in health or character may explain schools such as these. We doubt whether any school in this category would be suffered to stay there long.

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272. The number of schools in Category 8 - 'A school markedly out of touch with current practice and knowledge and with few compensating features' - is a little more disturbing. 1,309 schools with five per cent of the children were placed in this category. This is a small proportion, but large enough to cause concern. But the situation is not static, nor is it simply tolerated. The local authorities and HM Inspectorate do all they can to assist such schools to improve, but their weakness makes them less susceptible to constructive suggestion than better schools. We would like to see systematic efforts to provide special in-service training for teachers in these schools and to see they take advantage of it.

273. Category 6 is 'A decent school without enough merit to go in Category 3 and yet too solid for Category 8'. This is the largest single category. It contains 6,058 schools and 28 per cent of the children. These are 'run of the mill' schools. The fact that these schools, with Categories 8 and 9, considered above, contain only a third of the children gives some ground for satisfaction. Obviously all the schools in these groups are capable of improvement and ought to be improved, but the figures mean that the general distribution is quite markedly 'skewed' towards good quality. This is a cheering aspect of the assessment. It is reinforced when the remaining three categories are included. These three were deliberately framed as 'odd-men out'. Category 4 is 'A school without many good features, but showing signs of life with seeds of growth in it'. This category contained 3,385 schools and 16 per cent of the children. It is really an offshoot of Category 6. The schools in it might well recently have been there, but all of them are on their way to Category 3. Some may not get there; some may go further; a few perhaps will drop back; but all are at present moving in the right direction and can reasonably be regarded as promising.

274. Category 5 is 'A school with too many weaknesses to go in Category 2 or 3, but distinguished by specially good personal relationships.' This was devised for schools in very poor areas, often with large numbers of immigrant children, which cannot hope to match the achievements of the higher categories but which yet do splendid social work. Into this category the Inspectors put 1,384 schools with six per cent of the children. It is one to which any school so circumstanced might be proud to belong.

275. The remaining Category 7 - 'Curate's egg school, with good and bad features' - contained 2,022 schools (nine per cent of the children). It is likely to be an unstable one. The schools in it might drop into 8, move almost imperceptibly into 6 or 4, or rise to 3 or even further. The disparity is sometimes between the upper and lower part of the school in, for example, a full range primary school where infants may be taught more individually than the juniors, or where the work of the older children may be more interesting than that of the younger children.

276. There was no evidence in the survey that good or bad schools were characteristic of north or south, town or country. The various categories were far from being evenly spread over the areas of different authorities, but they were almost exactly balanced as between counties and county boroughs and the north of England and the south. We consider that it would be worthwhile to undertake similar surveys at intervals of ten years. They must always be based on subjective judgements and, in the absence of a fixed datum line,

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comparisons would have a limited value, but they would tell the Secretary of State and the people of the country something that they ought to know and be the means of revealing trends which would otherwise be only surmises.

Description of Schools

277. Finally, we should like to accompany an imaginary visitor to three schools, run successfully on modern lines, which might fall into any of the first three categories. The pictures given are not imaginary, but the schools are composite.

278. The first is an infant school occupying a 70 year old building, three storeys high, near the station in a large city. The visitor, if he is a man, will attract a great deal of attention from the children, some of whom will try to 'make a corner in him'. He may even receive a proposal of marriage from one of the girls. This has nothing to do with his personal charms, but it is a sure sign of a background of inadequate or absentee fathers. A number of children are coloured and some of the white children are poorly dressed. All, however, are clean. The children seem to be using every bit of the building (the top floor is sealed off) and its surroundings. They spread into the hall, the corridors and the playground. The nursery class has its own quarters and the children are playing with sand, water, paint, clay, dolls, rocking horses and big push toys under the supervision of their teacher. This is how they learn. There is serenity in the room, belying the belief that happy children are always noisy. The children make rather a mess of themselves and their room, but this, with a little help, they clear up themselves. A dispute between two little boys about who is to play with what is resolved by the teacher and a first lesson in taking turns is learned. Learning is going on all the time, but there is not much direct teaching.

279. Going out into the playground, the visitor finds a group of children, with their teacher, clustered round a large square box full of earth. The excitement is all about an earthworm, which none of the children had ever seen before. Their classroom door opens on to the playground and inside are the rest of the class, seated at tables disposed informally about the room, some reading books that they have themselves chosen from the copious shelves along the side of the room and some measuring the quantities of water that different vessels will hold. Soon the teacher and worm watchers return except for two children who have gone to the library to find a book on worms and the class begins to tidy up in preparation for lunch. The visitor's attention is attracted by the paintings on the wall and, as he looks at them, he is soon joined by a number of children who volunteer information about them. In a moment the preparations for lunch are interrupted as the children press forward with things they have painted, or written, or constructed to show them to the visitor. The teacher allows this for a minute or two and then tells the children that they must really now get ready for lunch 'and perhaps Mr X will come back afterwards and see what you have to show him.' This is immediately accepted and a promise made. On the way out two of the children invite the visitor to join them at lunch and he finds that there is no difficulty about this. The head teacher and staff invariably lunch with the children and an extra adult is easily accommodated.

280. Later in the day, the visitor finds a small group of six and seven year olds who are writing about the music they have enjoyed with the headmistress.

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He picks up a home-made book entitled My book of sounds and reads the following, written on plain unlined paper:

'The mandolin is made with lovely soft smooth wood and it has a pattern like tortoise shell on it. It has pearl on it and it is called mother of pearl. It has eight strings and they are all together in twos and all the pairs make a different noise. The ones with the thickest strings make the lowest notes and the ones that have the thinnest strings make the highest notes. When I put the mandolin in my lap and I pulled the thickest string it kept on for a long time and I pulled the thinnest wire and it did not last so long and I stroked them all and they didn't go away for a long time.'
281. Quite a number of these children write with equal fluency and expressiveness, and with concentration. The sound of music from the hall attracts the visitor and there he finds a class who are making up and performing a dance drama in which the forces of good are overcoming the forces of evil to the accompaniment of drums and tambourines.

282. As he leaves the school and turns from the playground into the grubby and unlovely street on which it abuts, the visitor passes a class who, seated on boxes in a quiet, sunny corner, are listening to their teacher telling them the story of Rumpelstiltskin.

283. The next school is a junior mixed school on the outskirts of the city in an area that was not long since one of fields and copses and which has been developed since 1950. The school building is light and spacious with ample grass and hard paved areas around it and one of the old copses along its borders. The children are well cared for and turned out and a high proportion of them go on to grammar schools. The visitor finds his way into a fourth year B class (the school is unstreamed in the first three years) and finds a teacher who is a radio enthusiast. The children, under his guidance, have made a lot of apparatus and have set up a transmitting station. They have been in touch with another school 80 miles away and sometimes talk to their teacher's friends who are driving about in their cars in various parts of England. While the visitor was present, part of the class disappeared into another classroom and there broadcast through a home-made microphone a number of poems chosen by themselves and all dealing with winter. In a drear-nighted December, When icicles hang by the wall and This is the weather the shepherd shuns were clearly and sensitively spoken and closely listened to. In another classroom the children had been asked to make models at home which showed how things could be moved without being touched. They had brought to school some extremely ingenious constructions, using springs, pulleys, electromagnets, elastic and levers and they came out before the class to demonstrate and explain them. When the visitor left they were preparing to describe their ideas in their notebooks. A random sample of these books showed that accuracy and careful presentation were as characteristic of the less able children as of the obvious grammar school candidates.

284. During break some of the children went into the hall and listened to the headmaster's wife playing the C major prelude. In another room the chess club was meeting and the visitor saw a Ruy Lopez and a King's Pawn opening and the school champion lose his Queen. In yet another room the natural history club was meeting to discuss its programme for the coming year, while outside the school football team was having a short practice. The library was

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filled with children. The visitor was interested to notice that there was no contrast between this rich and varied out of school life and the life in school hours which offered just as much choice and stimulus. The library, for instance, was in constant use throughout the day, and at many different points in the school were to be found examples of good glass, pottery, turnery and silver, all of a standard higher than would be found in most of the children's homes. With all the children the visitor found conversation easy. They had much to tell him and many questions to ask him and they seemed to have every encouragement and no obstacles to learning.

285. The third school, a three teacher junior mixed and infant school, is in the country. It was built in 1878 by the squire and since 1951 it has been a Church of England voluntary controlled school. The church is a few yards away. The original building, with its high roof and window sills and its tiny infants' room, has been made over by the LEA, the infants' room being now a cloakroom and there is a big new infants' room at the back. This has encroached on the now very small playground, but there is a meadow just across the lane where the children play when it is dry enough. The village has grown and there are many commuters of varying social background who travel to the big country town nine miles away.

286. When the visitor arrived all the children in the first class were either on top of the church tower or standing in the churchyard and staring intently upwards. The headmaster appeared in the porch and explained what was happening. The children were making a study of the trees in the private park which lay 100 yards beyond the church. The tower party had taken up with them the seeds of various trees and were releasing these on the leeward side, and were measuring the wind speed with a home-made anemometer. The party down below had to watch each seed and measure the distance from the tower to the point where the seed landed. The children explained that ten of each kind were being released and that they would take the average distance and then compare the range of each species and calculate the actual distance travelled. When they had finished they went back to school to record their results, some in graph form, in the large folders which already contained many observations, photographs and sketches of the trees they were studying. The visitor was interested to notice a display of materials from which children were going to learn about their village, and social life generally, at the time the school was opened. They included photostats of pages in the parish registers, the school log book and a diary kept by the founder, as well as a collection of books and illustrations lent by the county library.

287. The second class of sevens to nines were rather numerous for their small room, but had spread out into the corridor and were engaged in a variety of occupations. One group was gathered round their teacher for some extra reading practice, another was at work on an extraordinary structure of wood and metal which they said was a sputnik, a third was collecting a number of objects and testing them to find out which could be picked up by a magnet and two boys were at work on an immense painting (six feet by four feet) of St Michael defeating Satan. They seemed to be working harmoniously according to an unfolding rather than a preconceived plan. Conversation about the work that the children were doing went on all the time.

288. In the large new infants' room, too, many different things were going on. Some children were reading quietly to themselves; some were using a recipe

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to make some buns, and were doubling the quantities since they wanted to make twice the number; a few older children were using commercial structural apparatus to consolidate their knowledge of number relationships; some of the youngest children needed their teacher's help in adding words and phrases to the pictures they had painted. The teacher moved among individuals and groups doing these and other things, and strove to make sure that all were learning.

289. These descriptions illustrate a point perhaps not often enough stressed, that what goes on in primary schools cannot greatly differ from one school to another, since there is only a limited range of material within the capacity of primary school children. It is the approach, the motivation, the emphasis and the outcome that are different. In these schools, children's own interests direct their attention to many fields of knowledge and the teacher is alert to provide material, books or experience for the development of their ideas.


290. Surveys similar to that carried out by HM Inspectorate to assess the quality of primary education for the Council should be undertaken at ten year intervals.


1. These and other statistics in this chapter are taken from the appropriate Annual Reports of the Board, the Ministry of Education and the Department of Education and Science, or from the 'Statistics of Education'.
2. Report of the Consultative Committee on Infant and Nursery Schools, 1933, paragraph 66.
3. Report of the Consultative Committee on the Primary School, 1931, paragraph 22.
4 See (3), paragraph 20.
5 See (3), paragraph 74.

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Diagram 5

Small Schools in England: Primary (Including All Age)

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Table 4

Provision in England for Children Under 5: 1932 Compared To 1965

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Table 5

Pre-School Provision in England: Information from Department of Education and Science, Ministry of Health and Home Office

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Table 5 continued

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Diagram 6

Numbers of Children in Maintained Primary Schools Aged 5 to 11 in 1947-1965: England

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Table 6

English Primary Education: January 1965

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Table 7

Children Aged 5-11 in Different Types of School: England

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Table 8

Maintained Primary Schools: England - Number of Schools or Departments According to Numbers of Pupils on the Register: January 1965

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Table 9

Maintained Primary Schools or Departments by Denomination January 1965: England

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Providing for Children before Compulsory Education

291. The under fives are the only age group for whom no extra educational provision of any kind has been made since 1944. Since then successive governments have raised the minimum school leaving age and decided to raise it again in 1971. They have abolished all-age schools, expanded further education, increased the number of university places and done much for the youth service. Nursery education on a large scale remains an unfulfilled promise. Whether a mother has even a bare chance of securing a nursery place for her child depends on the accident of where she lives. The distribution of nursery schools and classes bears no relation to present day needs or wishes. But to start to meet the demand must cost much money, involve considerable building and employ many teachers. When all three are so scarce, can we honestly recommend expansion; or must we, however reluctantly, agree with the inaction of successive governments? We have thought it our duty to examine rigorously the educational case for and against nursery education as well as to consider the economic implications of expansion.


292. We have briefly described in Chapter 8 the earlier history of provision for the under fives. Immediately after the war some day nurseries were transferred to the education service. But there has been no expansion, first because of the pressure on the building industry, and later because of the shortage of teachers. Recently a slight increase has been allowed, but only to enable qualified married women teachers to return to work in maintained schools. Both the restriction and this partial relaxation have been introduced to try to preserve existing standards of staffing in the compulsory stages of education at a time when they are threatened by the great increase in the child population and by persistent wastage in the teaching profession.

293. In 1965 about seven** per cent of all children under five in England were receiving some form of education in a school or nursery class. The proportion has hardly changed since the 1930s (see Table 4 [at the end of Chapter 8]) although the quality of provision has almost certainly improved. A much smaller number of children attend local authority and private day nurseries for which the Ministry of Health is the responsible Department, and residential nurseries under the control of the Home Office. The types of institutions and numbers of children of two to five years in them in January 1965 are given in Table 5 [at the end of Chapter 8]. In addition, about 20,000 children are under the care of local authority or registered child minders and certainly many more are supervised by unregistered minders who, according to a recent survey, are increasing in number. (1)

*See Notes of Reservation on this chapter

**Children attending part-time are counted as full-time equivalents. Most under fives in school attend full-time as do many in nurseries.

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294. One in six of the children in the National Survey* (Appendix 3, Section 3, paragraph 2) had attended nursery school or nursery class. The highest proportions came from professional and unskilled workers' homes - 25 per cent and 20 per cent respectively. Since, according to the NUT Survey (2), three-quarters of all maintained nursery places are in working class areas, it seems clear that many professional parents are making use of private nurseries. According to the National Survey (Appendix 3, Table 38) there were marked regional variations in the distribution of nursery places. Thirty-four per cent of children in the Metropolitan area had attended nurseries as against eight and nine per cent in East Anglia and West and East Ridings respectively. Provision of day nurseries is equally patchy - of the 11,000 local authority day nursery places in England and Wales in 1964 surveyed in one enquiry, 2,800 (3) were in Lancashire as were 15 of the 57 factory nurseries. Of a total of 1,585 private nurseries in England and Wales in one survey, 82 were in Orpington. 'Nursery schools, as opposed to classes (4), are surprisingly concentrated in a broad crescent stretching from Greater London through the northern and western Home Counties to Oxford and Birmingham, thence to the Potteries and the textile towns of East Lancashire, across the Pennines to the Bradford area and northwards to County Durham. The highest number of nursery schools in a single authority's area is to be found in Birmingham; London comes next. Outside this "nursery-school crescent" there are only a few minor concentrations, notably in Bristol, Nottingham, Liverpool and Hull.' (4) Three-quarters of nursery places are in classes in infant schools. Surprising variations exist between towns of similar sizes in similar regions.

295. Most, but not all, maintained nursery places are given to children who suffer some kind of social handicap. Some children are admitted because they lack companionship, others because their homes are too crowded or poor in other ways. They may come from flats lacking space, or because housing conditions are poor. Some are admitted on medical grounds or to help mothers nearing the end of their tether. Some mothers are working, although our enquiries show this is not the reason for most admissions. Often there is more than one reason. Teachers' children get priority because this is a condition for the expansion of nursery education under Addendum No. 2 to Circular 8/60. Since a nursery should not be simply a refuge for children in trouble, some children without handicaps get places with the unavoidable result that other children in need have to go without. The fault lies, however, with the restrictions on expansion rather than the selection of children.

The Case for Nursery Education

296. There is a wide measure of agreement among informed observers that nursery provision on a substantial scale is desirable, not only on educational grounds but also for social, health and welfare considerations. The case, we believe, is a strong one.

297. Only two individual witnesses questioned whether expansion was desirable and that mainly because they thought teachers and buildings were more urgently needed elsewhere. Of the principal local authority and teacher associations all were agreed that it would be desirable, although some local authority associations were doubtful whether expansion would be feasible in the present shortage of teachers. Of the 1,852 primary school teachers who

*No distinction is made in the Survey between independent and maintained nurseries.

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answered our Questionnaire (Appendix 1, Table B.2) nearly 73 per cent said that nursery education should be available to all children whose parents wanted it, over 22 per cent said that it should be available only for those in special need and 2.7 per cent said that it should not be provided. In the National Survey enquiry into parental attitudes (Appendix 3, Tables 41 and 42) a third of the parents would have preferred their children to have started full-time schooling (including nursery school or class) before the age at which they had in fact started schooling. The 1964 NUT Survey of Nursery Education (5) showed that, where nursery education is available, the waiting lists are often double the size of the school, though some children may be placed on more than one waiting list. In 1966 in one urban area there were 1,818 children attending nursery schools and classes and 5,410 on the waiting list. In two thirds of nursery schools, the waiting period between applications and admissions is at least a year and may be considerably more.

298. The Nursery Schools Association told us they wanted more nursery places because most children can benefit from the physical care, the enriched opportunities for play both indoors and out, the companionship of other children and the presence of understanding adults which nursery education provides. Children need opportunities to get to know people outside their own family circle and to form some relationships which are less close and emotionally charged. The earlier maturity of children increases their need for companionship and stimulus before the age of attendance at school.

299. Many young children, of course, have a stable home background, companionship with their parents and their brothers and sisters and sufficient space indoors and out. But there are aspects of modern life in cities which disturb us. The child who lives with his parents in a tall block of flats is likely to be housebound as the child in a bungalow or small house is not. The 'extended family' with cousins and aunts and grandparents close at hand provides, where it still exists, a natural bridge between the intimacy of life at home and life with strangers in the wider world of school. But there are fewer extended families because more men change jobs and move to new districts. Mothers have less relief from their young children, lose the social contacts they have been used to, and may become less good mothers in consequence. And, of course, increasing numbers of married women are at work. The consequence of this is the new occupation of registered or unregistered child minders. Many professional families, too, rely on 'au pair' girls or other help to look after their young children during part of the day. Child minders and au pair girls are rarely trained to look after the young child. Their growing number points to the need for the transitional world of the nursery school or class with its trained staff to do for today's children what modern family life often cannot do.

300. Long before a child is five he is already using words and is often familiar with books, toys and music. The issue is not whether he should be 'educated' before he reaches school age because that is happening anyway. What has to be decided is whether his education is to take place in increasing association with other children and under the supervision of skilled people, as well as of parents, in the right conditions and with the right equipment.

301. Finally, there is evidence (6) on the special needs of children from deprived or inadequate home backgrounds. Some homes have positive disadvantages:

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children from families in overcrowded or shared houses, or from broken homes, or even children of obsessive mothers, may have few opportunities for normal and health development. Early help is also needed for handicapped children and for those with physically handicapped parents.

302. Our witnesses were those who had worked with and observed the needs of young children. They quoted research on the extent to which nursery education can compensate for social deprivation and special handicaps. Hindley (7) shows that even amongst children below compulsory school age, the growth of measured intelligence is associated with socio-economic features. There is strong support among witnesses for the view of Bernstein and Deutsch (8, 9) that poverty of language is a major cause of poor achievement and that attempts to offset poverty of language are best made as early as possible. These researchers argue that thought is dependent on language and that some working class children have insufficient encouragement, example and stimulus in the situations of their daily life to build up a language which is rich and wide ranging in vocabulary, is a tool for categorisation and generalisation, and which, being complex in structure, develops concepts of time, space and contingency. The argument thus leads to the conclusion that since development in communication begins in the earliest years, one way in which the consequences of social deprivation can be overcome is to provide richer experience as soon as children are ready for nursery education. Other research consists mainly of studies of the improvement in mental defectives and in children from orphanages after nursery school experience, as well as of some work on children from more normal backgrounds. Hunt (10) outlines these investigations and, while recognising their importance, indicates the difficulties in evaluating them and the inconclusive argument that has focused on them. Examples of some of the difficulties are to be found in a recent paper by JWB Douglas and JM Ross outlining the later effects of nursery school attendance. (11) The educational performance of children from the nursery schools was higher at eight than that of other children, but this advantage was lost by 11, and at 15 they did slightly less well than their contemporaries. In no year, however were the differences statistically significant. Maladjustment among children who had attended nurseries was higher than amongst other children but, as is pointed out in the paper, children may have been admitted to nursery schools because of problems of behaviour, and 'the conclusion to be drawn depends ... on the original selection of the children ... (It) may well be that a group who were highly vulnerable at entry have been given substantial help.' The National Child Development Study (Appendix 10) may at a later stage produce further evidence on this issue.

303. The research evidence so far available is both too sparse and too heavily weighted by studies of special groups of children to be decisively in favour of nursery education for all. We rely, therefore on the overwhelming evidence of experienced educators.

304. Each of the countries we visited provides education for children before the age of compulsory entry to school on a more generous scale than we do. Evidence from foreign counties must, however, be used cautiously to support or reject arguments for nursery education, first because the age of compulsory entry is one or two years later than ours and secondly because the purposes and methods of education of children between three and seven are often different from ours. Yet the fact remains that many of these countries

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believe that educational stimulus for young children is of great importance, particularly for the deprived. In the USA at the present time federal and other authorities and private foundations are providing large sums of money for programmes of nursery education to counter the effects of extreme deprivation.

Mothers at Work: The Economic Argument

305. A further argument in favour of nurseries touches on equally complex and controversial subjects. The British economy and society are likely to change greatly in the next decades with results for child care which cannot be ignored. Mothers are demanding more and better quality services in schools and more medical and social services generally. Many more married women now go to work and more will. The proportion of married women in employment in Great Britain, when corrected for changes in age composition, doubled between 1931 and 1951. The National Institute for Economic and Social Research has made projections of married women's employment to 1975 which show a further substantial rise since 1960 and predict that it will continue. (12) Many of these working wives, of course, have not got children below school age, but many have and it seems that their number will grow. Different studies (13, 14, 15, 16) show that the numbers of women who work range between 12 per cent and 35 per cent of those with a child under five, while as many as 13 per cent have had a full-time job at some time since they have had children. Further information may be available from later reports of the National Child Development Study (1958 Cohort). In our own small supplementary sample of 249 children entering school in the summer of 1965, 21 per cent of mothers were working (Appendix 6, paragraph 31). The general pressure to raise living standards causes mothers to go to work to raise money and employers to search for additional labour of which the most obvious source is married women. Although economic reasons are the most important in sending married women back to work, it is also true that many anyhow prefer to work, often with their husband's approval, because running a home now offers insufficient employment for them. Such research as we have been able to examine does not prove that children with mothers at work are necessarily worse off. Prolonged and early separation from mother is known to be disadvantageous, but a short absence during the day does not harm the child who is ready for it. There was no evidence from the National Survey that mothers who were working had less time than others for their children in the evening. Many middle class parents pay someone to look after their children and send them, if possible, to nursery schools - as is evident from the data quoted in paragraph 294. In quoting this research we are not saying that it is better or harmful for mothers with children under five to work. Our conclusions are that many mothers will work, and that their children will, as a result, need places in nurseries. And since, in the absence of positive steps to stop it, the numbers of mother working will increase, it is possible to offset the contribution made by married women workers against the costs of providing nurseries. We assess these indirect benefits in Annex B to Chapter 31.

Arguments against Nursery Education

306. The first argument advanced against nursery education is that the place for the young child is with his mother in the home - a view expressed in the

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1933 Report (17) - and that, in many homes, children have the experiences that the nursery school or class provides. Where this happens, nursery education is an unnecessary elaboration of these experiences and cannot give as generous a measure of adult support as the good home.

307. Some of those who have studied in detail the mother-child relationship in the early years (18, 19, 20, 21) hold that harm may come to some children through the removal from their mother's care and companionship at too early an age before they realise that separation is only temporary. They stress the need for the greatest care in the gradual process of separating the child from his mother. They argue that a child's sense of security depends on the presence of a familiar figure. In the first three years of life only those whom a child sees regularly can give him a sense of security, particularly when he is in an unfamiliar situation or confronted by strange adults or children or by unaccustomed events. If anxiety is aroused it tends to be cumulative and, so far from promoting healthy independence, such experiences might make the child either too clinging or too detached and unable to form relationships. Evidence of this kind points to the danger of allowing children to attend nursery school or class at too early an age or for too long a period each day.

308. Another argument against an expansion of nursery education is based on the shortage of teachers. This might indeed suggest that there should be a contraction in order to divert teachers to pupils of compulsory school age. Inevitably, more nursery education will cost money and make heavy demands on manpower and will compete with the needs of other sectors of the economy and social services which, like the hospitals, require large number of girls with similar educational qualifications (see Chapter 31).


309. The arguments in paragraphs 306 to 308 have an important bearing on the conditions in which nursery education should be provided, but do not disprove the case for it. We conclude that there should be a large expansion of nursery education subject to the following points:

(a) It should be part-time rather than whole time because young children should not be separated for long from their mothers. Attendance need not be for a whole half-day session and in the earlier stages only one, two or three days a week will often be desirable. In the words of Susan Isaacs 'the nursery school is not a substitute for a good home: its prime function ... is to supplement the normal services which the home renders to its children and to make a link between the natural and indispensable fostering of the child in the home and social life of the world at large ...' (22)

(b) A minority of children will, however, need full-time nursery education for a wide variety of reasons.

(c) The expansion of nursery education which these recommendations involve ought not to be at the expense of existing standards in the primary schools.

310. The major obstacle to expansion has been the shortage of teachers. The scheme we now outline seems to us to offer a way round this and other difficulties.

311. Our recommendations are, in summary, that expanded nursery education should be available for children from three to five in 'nursery groups'

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of 20 places.* Two or three groups might make one unit - to be called a 'nursery centre'; or they might be combined with day nurseries or clinics in 'children's centres'. We believe that groups should always be under the ultimate supervision of a qualified teacher, but that the main day to day work should be taken by two year trained nursery assistants, of whom there should be a minimum of one to every ten children.

312. Where a group is supervised by a member of a primary school staff, the group will be formally part of that school. Groups not attached to a school but sharing the supervision of a qualified teacher might form a single nursery group even though they might be in two or three separate buildings.

Nursery Groups and Day Nurseries: A Unified Service

313. We have not so far distinguished between a nursery school or class which is part of the education service and a day nursery which comes under the Ministry of Health. Day nurseries have made, and are making, a contribution towards the intellectual and emotional, as well as the physical, well-being of children from the age of six months until they enter school. Their purpose is now mainly to relieve family problems. Reasons for admission include the difficulties of widowed or unmarried mothers, poverty severe enough to oblige the mother to work and unsatisfactory physical conditions at home. The day nurseries are concerned primarily with physical health and are designed for children whose mothers are unable to care for them. They make their greatest contribution at the lower end of the age range. At present they take babies from six months or even from shortly after birth until entry to school. At the upper end, nursery education, properly so called, should be of increasing importance. An educational emphasis does not mean a lessening of concern for the physical health of the child. But help for older children calls for supervision by those whose training has given them broad educational perspectives and skills. In some areas day nurseries and nursery schools have good co-operative arrangements through the help of a joint committee which shares the expert knowledge of officials from both the health and education departments. This we welcome.

314. Although there is no obvious break in children's development in the years below school age we think that, since lines must be drawn somewhere, the day nursery is the proper place for those children who have to be away from their homes before the age of three. An institution with a more directly educational aim is right for children of three and over and for this reason it should be provided by the local education authority under the Education Acts instead of being administered by the health authorities. This argument is strengthened if our proposals for changes in the dates of entry to compulsory schooling for some children are accepted (see Chapter 10). Children in long term care might also attend the nursery groups, provided that the special strains to which the children are subject are taken into account before they are assumed to be ready for nursery education.

315. If the nursery provision for children aged three and over is to be in nursery groups administered under the Education Acts, the character of the day nurseries will change. Furthermore, day nurseries provide care through-

*When there is more than one nursery group, children and the assistants responsible for them will work co-operatively.

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out normal working hours and in the holiday periods for children with difficult home circumstances. Only a few nursery schools care for children beyond normal nursery hours. These problems can be overcome if the larger nursery centres, and particularly those that form part of the children's centres containing day nurseries as well, make arrangements for children who must stay all day. At present the number of children involved is small: the average daily attendance at day nurseries of children under five was 16,470 in 1965 - although the majority attend beyond normal school hours.

The Age Range of Nursery Education

316. The evidence suggests that most children are too young at two to tolerate separation from their mothers (see paragraphs 306 and 307 above). Some will be ready at three, but for others four will be a better age to join a nursery group. It will be for parents to decide and most parents will exercise this right sensibly. Nursery education should be available to children at any time after the beginning of the school year after they reach the age of three.

Part-Time Nursery Education

317. Since it is harmful to remove a child too suddenly or for too long from his mother, part-time attendance should be the normal pattern of nursery education. Children should be introduced gradually even to part-time education. It is the practice in many nurseries for the mother to stay with her child when he first enters and this should be encouraged. Teachers and parents should take account of the differing needs of young children in deciding at what age and, to begin with, for what periods each week and for how long each session, they should attend a nursery group. The minority of children who will attend full-time will have an even greater need for gradual introduction.

The Encouragement of Attendance

318. Evidence from such bodies as the Save the Children fund and the Family Service Units shows that while many parents of children from impoverished home backgrounds respond to the advice of health visitors and others, a minority are unwilling or unable to make the effort even to take their children to a clinic, let alone a nursery. There is no easy solution. Compulsory attendance at a nursery group would be unworkable, even for those with special needs, for enforcement would place an intolerable burden on both the local authorities and on nursery staffs, and would create a relationship with the parents contrary to the whole concept of nursery education. A more widespread provision of nursery groups will help in reducing the distance mothers have to travel. In exceptional cases local education authorities or voluntary bodies might arrange for children to be brought to the nursery groups or taken home again.

319. We hope that these parents will appreciate the nursery groups and that as the health, social work and education services become better co-ordinated there will be more and better contact between them. In any event local education authorities can make full use of the advice of health visitors and others from whose records information about children in need can be gained. As nursery education becomes more generally available health visitors may

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find it easier to persuade families to make more use of it. How far the nursery places are used by children in special need should be carefully studied by local authorities and by the Department of Education and Science so that further methods of persuasion can be brought into play if this proves necessary. More positively, the problem must be tackled by the development of parental education, including that of parents of children of pre-school age, which we suggest in Chapter 4.

Nursery Education and Parents

320. Nursery education creates contacts between parents, the educational service and the related health and welfare services and can thereby improve the quality of the whole educational process. As the Hadow Report of 1933 pointed out, nursery education brings parents and teachers together in a setting where good attitudes towards community problems can flourish and where advice on all aspects of child rearing can be easily sought. At that time as many as 40 per cent entered school at five in need of medical attention. Even now, while three-quarters of mothers attend child welfare clinics during the first year of their child's life, only a quarter persist between one and five. Nursery education should throughout be an affair of co-operation between the nursery and home and it will only succeed to the full if it carries the parents into partnership. Support does not mean mild consent; it means the kind of active concern which can only come out of joint activity and out of close knowledge by the parents of what the schools are doing and why. The nursery group needs to be an outpost of adult education if it is to attain its gaol for young children.

321. In Chapter 4 ways of enabling parents to participate in the life of the school have been described. Their active help can more easily be used in nursery groups. Some mothers may train as nursery assistants and work in the nurseries. Others may be content to help in less skilled ways. In some instances in the country, mothers are already being drawn into the life of the nursery. The head of one nursery school in which parents are encouraged to help wrote 'It increases their sense of belonging and gives their children tremendous joy'. The child sees teacher and mother working together and accepting the same standards of behaviour. We saw this being done in one area of California with outstanding success. In some kindergartens visited it was a condition of children's admission that mothers should help and be present at discussions. We should not wish to go as far as this as it might exclude some children who should be admitted.

322. Parental involvement with the nursery is bound to be close if only because at this stage mothers must bring their children to it. If parents become used to talking to teachers, more may continue to be interested in the work of the schools as their children get older. Contact with parents will be an important duty of the qualified teacher who is in control of the nursery group.

The Future of Voluntary Nursery Groups

323. Many voluntary nursery groups have done valuable work with little financial or other encouragement and their contribution deserves to be widely recognised. They draw upon parental enthusiasm and effort of a kind that we

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hope parents will put into the maintained nursery groups. There are about 600 groups established by the Pre-School Playgroups Association which are run on a part-time basis in such accommodation as is available, staffed mostly by mothers who are not qualified teachers and with active participation from other parents. Although guidance and help are available from the Association's headquarters the groups mainly exist where parents have the initiative and ability to set them up and to run them. Costs are met by daily charges for attendance. The Department of Education and Science have recently made a small grant towards the Association's headquarter expenses. Groups run by the Save the Children Fund also provide part-time places and are in the charge of nursery assistants, supervised by qualified teachers. In meeting requests for groups to be established, the Save the Children Fund gives priority to areas of social need. Costs are met largely from the funds of the Society, although in some areas grants have been made by local authorities. We understand that the Pre-School Playgroups Association wish to continue and extend their activities and the Save the Children Fund wish to continue to provide groups in especially difficult situations where experimental methods are needed, at least until maintained groups are generally available.

324. Nursery groups should be provided, in the long run, by local education authorities. Until enough maintained places are available, however, local education authorities should be given the power and should be encouraged to give financial and other assistance to non profit making associations which, in their opinion, fill a need they cannot meet. This should include some arrangement for the training of their staff to be approved by the endorsing body which we suggest should be responsible for the training of nursery assistants.

325. At present, the premises of voluntary groups are inspected by the local health authorities. Where they continue to exist, with or without help from public funds, and the majority of children attending are between three and five years, we recommend that inspection of them by local authorities and Her Majesty's Inspectors of Schools should be similar to that of the maintained nurseries.

Siting of Nurseries

326. Ideally, all services, including nursery, for the care of young children should be grouped together and placed near the children's homes and the primary schools. However, the nursery groups will have to be placed at first where they will fit most easily and that will often be in existing primary schools. Elsewhere, they might be on the same site as children's clinics. It is intended to build 500,000 new houses a year and in the rebuilding of an area it should be possible to build nurseries near a health centre, a group practice of doctors or other community facilities. Since industry would benefit from an expansion of nursery education because labour will be easier to recruit (see Annex B to Chapter 31) factories might provide premises for a group which can then be maintained by the local education authority. In new housing development, particularly in blocks of high flats which increasingly are being built in the cities, space should be left for nursery education. The planning of accommodation for nursery groups should become as much a commonplace in the development of new areas as that of other community facilities, although we hope that their siting will be undertaken with more sensitivity to users' needs than is common at present. Nursery groups will

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need to be in addition to the play centres and 'one o'clock clubs' which cater all the year round for children and their mothers and which are part of the amenities of a district. The needs of young children for spaces where they can play safely with other children and yet be near enough to be in constant contact with an adult have been too often forgotten in post-war urban development. The planners have accepted in recent years that a family must have a space for a car but few have considered the needs of pre-school children.


327. We turn now to the problems of supply, staff, buildings and money that arise from our proposals that nursery education should be expanded. The ideal pattern that all nursery teachers would like to see established, if there were no shortages of teachers and buildings, would be one in which groups of 20 children would be assigned to the care of one trained teacher and one assistant with NNEB or other recognised training. But it will not possible for some decades to find the 30-40,000 teachers for nursery education that this pattern would demand and we therefore propose a somewhat different pattern that will allow nursery education to develop, even if under conditions which are not ideal.

The Number of Places Needed

328. Eventually there should be nursery places for all children whose parents wish them to attend from the beginning of the school year after the age of three.* Since attendance will be voluntary it is not easy to estimate the number of places that will be needed. We have based our estimates of demand on the following assumptions:

(a) nursery education will be available either for a morning or an afternoon session for five days a week except that over the country as a whole provision will be made for 15 per cent of children to attend both a morning and an afternoon session (see paragraphs 329 and 330 below). We should, however, expect some of the younger children to attend fewer than five sessions a week and less than a full session and that some will enter nursery groups at different times throughout the year;

(b) the average annual age group in England will be 880,000 children in the mid 1970s and over 900,000 by 1980;†

(c) not more than half the three year old children will attend nursery groups, either full or part-time, because many parents will consider their children too young to attend until they have reached the age of four;

(d) a maximum of 90 per cent of four year old children may attend nurseries. Some parents will be unwilling to allow them to attend nursery groups,

*In this chapter we refer to 'three year olds' and 'four year olds'. In fact, their ages will range at the beginning of the school year from 3.0 to 3.11 and 4.0 to 4.11 respectively. Some three year olds will therefore reach four early in the school year.

†These figures are based on current population projections. If, however, the most recent trends in births continue, some downward movement is likely.

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Others will continue to make private arrangements and others, particularly in the country, will find the nearest nursery group inaccessible.
Full-Time Attendance for a Minority

329. We assume that 15 per cent of children between three plus and five plus will attend full-time. The figure of 15 per cent is built up on the following assumptions:

(a) as we have said in paragraph 305, many mothers of children under five years work and many of them work full-time. The numbers are likely to increase if more married women continue to return to employment. The various studies (23) show different figures but the general picture that emerges is that at least five per cent of mothers with children between three and five work full-time;

(b) as many as ten per cent of mothers have been identified as unable to care effectively for their children. (24) Most of their children ought to receive full-time nursery education;

(c) an unidentified number of children ought to attend full-time because home circumstances are poor. The children of very large families, those from overcrowded homes, homes with only one parent or with sick mothers will have claims on full-time places;

(d) for the reasons given at (a) to (c) above, it seems that at least 15 per cent of children should have full-time nursery education. This is only a rough estimate. For one thing, we do not know the number of children of working mothers who are and can be well looked after by grandparents, relatives and neighbours. Nor can we estimate the extent to which parental apathy will prevent attendance by some of those who need it most. In Chapter 5 we have suggested that children in areas or social difficulty should get nursery places more quickly and that half of them might attend full-time.

330. The extent to which mothers of young children should be encouraged by the provision of full-time nursery places to go out to work raises a question of principle. Some mothers must work because they need the money. The government, for reasons of economic policy, wish to see more women working. But to work full-time a mother must expect that her child will attend nursery for extended hours and during school holidays. Our evidence is, however, that it is generally undesirable, except to prevent a greater evil, to separate mother and child for a whole day in the nursery. We do not believe that full-time nursery places should be provided even for children who might tolerate separation without harm, except for exceptionally good reasons. We have no reason to suppose that working mothers, as a group, care any less about the well-being of their children than do mothers who do not work. Indeed, it is interesting that, in our supplementary sample (Appendix 6, paragraph 31) of children just starting school, 42 per cent of the working mothers would prefer their children to start part-time as opposed to 35 per cent of non-working mothers. But some mothers who are not obliged to work may work full-time, regardless of their children's welfare. It is no business of the educational service to encourage these mothers to do so. It is true, unfortunately, that the refusal of full-time nursery places for their children may prompt some of them to make unsuitable arrangements for their

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children's care during working hours. All the same, we consider that mothers who cannot satisfy the authorities that they have exceptionally good reasons for working should have low priority for full-time nursery for their children.

Places Needed

331. We cannot forecast what proportion of the threes and fours will eventually attend the nursery groups. We think most of the places will be filled by children attending morning or afternoon sessions but that a minority will attend full-time. But it may be, at least in the early years of the scheme, that a smaller proportion of the three and four year olds will attend than we have assumed. The National Survey shows that more than two thirds of parents would have liked their children to have started full-time school before the age of five. Our figures are intended to be estimates of the maximum numbers of places which would be required. On this assumption, 746,000 full-time places might be required by 1975 and 776,0000 by 1979, as is shown in Table 10.

Table 10. Nursery Education: Number of Full-Time Equivalent Places Needed

Full-time equivalent places needed
Proportion of children in each age group
'3s-4s' full-time attendance (15%)132,900137,400
'3s-4s' part-time attendance (35%)155,050160,300
'4s-5s' full-time attendance (15%)130,800136,650
'4s-5s' part-time attendance (75%)327,000341,625

Staffing the Nurseries

332. How should the nurseries be staffed and how many teachers and other trained staff will be needed for them? Will it be possible to find as many as are needed?

333. We suggest that the day to day running of the nurseries should be in the hands of trained nursery assistants but that every 60 full-time places should be supervised by a qualified teacher. In practice, this will mean that qualified teachers working on the premises all the while will be in charge of the largest nursery centres consisting of three nursery groups of 20 children each. Nursery places, will, however, also probably be provided in single groups of 20 children or less, and we envisage one qualified teacher supervising three such groups, dividing her time between them as she sees fit. Elsewhere, in a small school with small classes, a nursery group might conveniently be supervised by the head or assistant teacher of the school to which it is attached. These supervisory arrangements must be tailored to fit local circumstances but two main principles should be observed:

(a) all groups should be under the ultimate authority of a qualified teacher;

(b) each group should be staffed so at least one experienced nursery assistant is present in each group. When a teacher is not permanently on

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the premises one of the assistants should take responsibility for the children's safety. As we suggest in Chapter 26, the most experienced assistants should be able to qualify on merit for a responsibility allowance.

334. The nursery groups need not create demands for more teachers. For the most part, they will use in different ways teachers who are already responsible for children of nursery age. In January 1965 there were nearly 7,000 infant and junior mixed and infant schools in which more than half of the classes had less than 30 pupils. Most were in the rural areas, though some, including quite large ones, were in the cities. These schools are, however, generally small and a nursery group providing places for children in the area would be correspondingly small. If accommodation is available, a school with predominantly small classes could provide supervision of a nursery group without needing any additional teacher. It might be possible, for example, for a two teacher school of 60 children to provide supervision for a nursery group of six or seven children so long as a trained nursery assistant was provided. In many schools where the classes average 30 or less the head teacher is herself in charge of a class. This need not present insuperable problems as long as the other teacher or teachers are qualified. But if other problems such as those presented by a larger number of recently arrived immigrant children are also evident, the further responsibility of a nursery group may have to be avoided. If accommodation is available possibly as many as 70,000* nursery places could be supervised without additional teachers but with additional nursery assistants. Only a careful survey by local authorities will establish the exact numbers.

335. The second way in which qualified teachers might be found for the supervision of the nursery groups would be a diversion of some of those who would otherwise be teaching infant classes. We make the case in Chapter 10 for a single date of entry in each year which will delay entry to school for some children and thus reduce the load on the total teaching force. But nursery places will be needed for children who would otherwise have places for part of the year. How many teachers this change will make it possible to employ in the nurseries cannot be estimated with any precision but at the most it might be eight thousand. In addition there were nearly 200,000 children below the statutory age in school or in nursery school in January 1965. This figure will almost certainly diminish as the pressure on places increases during the rest of the 1960s and it is equally uncertain whether places will be restored in the 1970s. We therefore assume, taking all of these sources of teachers into account, that there may be as many as ten thousand teachers to supervise the nursery groups when the single date of entry is introduced probably in the late 1970s (see Chapters 10 and 31). This number may be sufficient to supervise the majority, though not all, of the nursery places needed.

*This figure is based on the number of nursery age children in the catchment areas of infant and junior mixed and infant schools in which more than half the classes have less than 30 pupils.

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Nursery Assistants

336. Whilst the number of full-time equivalent places in nursery groups might be 746,000 in 1975 and 776,000 by 1979 (see Table 10 [above]) some groups will contain fewer than ten children so that a somewhat larger number of assistants than one for every ten children will be needed throughout the country. Taking this into account we estimate that the total number of nursery assistants needed will be 82,000 by 1975 and 85,000 by 1979.

337. In Chapter 26 we describe a combined scheme for the recruitment and training of nursery assistants and teachers' aides. In Chapter 31 we discuss whether, given other demands for manpower, the women needed for both schemes can be recruited. On the assumption that about three quarters of those trained will enter the schools as teachers' aides and a quarter enter the nursery groups as nursery assistants until the schools have enough aides, there might be enough trained assistants to staff the whole of our scheme for nursery education by the early 1980s. Table 37 [at the end of Chapter 31] shows the numbers entering training and service and the number of places for which they can be responsible, if training begins in 1968 and a build-up takes place systematically from then on. We consider this further in Chapter 31 where we also argue that the recruitment of teachers' aides should be regarded as being of higher priority than that of nursery assistants.

338. From paragraphs 334 to 337 it will be seen that a substantial expansion of nursery education will become possible mainly through the employment of infant teachers supported by nursery assistants. Yet we are conscious of the difficulties. Some areas may not be able to find teachers to fill their quotas even now and may have no teachers for nursery education. They would have some when the single date of entry is introduced. We hope, however, that in the educational priority areas (see Chapter 5) special efforts will be made to attract teachers. If not, provision will be patchy and some of the areas whose claims are greatest will not get nursery education. The expansion we propose is to be envisaged against the improved rates of teacher recruitment in the 1970s foreshadowed by the Secretary of State in his speech of 12 April 1966.* We have also assumed that the numbers of women who can be attracted to training as nursery assistants will increase substantially. We believe, but cannot be sure, that the estimated numbers can be recruited. If not, the rate of expansion must be slower than we suggest. The success of the scheme will depend above all on the efforts made by local education authorities. We take up in Chapter 31 the ways in which the recruitment of assistants, diversion of teachers and availability of buildings must be synchronised.


339. Much building will be necessary if all the nursery places needed are to be provided but even now there are some empty places. Since 1954 building

*In his speech to the National Union of Teachers in April 1966 the Secretary of State said that, by Easter 1971, the teacher shortage in England should be no more than 8,000 and that although the raising of the school leaving age would inevitably cause a temporary setback in staffing standards a speedy recovery would be ensured through the heavy reinforcement which the schools would be receiving from the greatly expanded colleges of education. The next five years to 1976 should see recovery of all the lost ground and the elimination of oversize classes. Pressure would then still be necessary to ensure a better distribution of teachers between different parts of the system and to help the primary schools reduce the size of their classes.

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programmes have had to meet the large demand for new school places as people moved from north to south and from city centre to outlying suburb. New schools provided on new housing estates have sometimes meant empty places of this kind and where the lack of amenities common to old school buildings can be put right there is the possibility of nursery groups without new buildings. We cannot, however, calculate the number or distribution of unused places which exist. Secondly, the number of children under statutory age in primary schools, including nursery classes but excluding nursery schools, totalled 175,000 in January 1965. If our short term proposals for entry to school (see Chapter 10) are adopted, more children will delay entry full-time until they are over five. The places which they will occupy during the two terms when they will attend part-time will be, to all intents and purposes, nursery places. Thirdly, if our proposal for one annual intake is accepted, the equivalent of one third of the five year old age group will be taken out of the primary schools - a further 214,000 children on present numbers, or 290,000 on the average school population expected in the 1970s.

340. Only careful surveys by local education authorities and the Department can show how many of the 776,000 places can be provided without new building. We make here an informed guess at the space that can be found through changes in admission policies and the use of places at present underused so as to complete our estimates of cost. If all under fives ceased to attend school full-time, on 1965 figures, nearly 175,000 places would be released, but we do not know how many under fives will be in school in the late 1970s. We arbitrarily assume that the number might be reduced to 100,000 because of the evidence already quoted that local education authorities are increasingly excluding under fives. Secondly, 290,000 places might be released by the introduction of the single date of entry. Thirdly, the number of places under used, including those in very small schools and small classes, might be a further 100,000. There might therefore be a theoretical maximum of nearly half a million places. But nursery groups will not contain more than 20 children whereas the spaces they will occupy have held as many as 40 children. The theoretical maximum should thus be reduced to 250,000 and we assume that the other difficulties might reduce this figure even further. The number of places might therefore range between 175,000 and 250,000. We estimate costs for the additional places to be built in Chapter 31.


341. The timing and priorities that we consider right for nursery education are discussed more fully in Chapter 31. We emphasise, however, that unless a start, no matter how modest, is made soon, there will not be a sufficient build-up of staff for the large scale expansion to approach completion in the late 1970s. There are areas where a start can be made right away. We have already suggested in Chapter 5 that a large scale expansion should take place between 1968 and 1972 in the educational priority areas. But there will be neighbourhoods outside these areas where general social conditions, such as high flats or lack of recreational space, make nursery education essential.

342. In this chapter we have discussed the ways in which a large education reform might be put into effect. Our proposals may meet with objections. Teachers may fear that nursery groups will have too little supervision by

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trained teachers but at least the young children in them will be in small groups; the adult pupil ratio will be at least one to ten and these adults will be trained. What we suggest will be far better than the sub-standard arrangements which have often been made in the past for children under five. Those responsible for the planning and staffing of primary education will know of many alternative uses for the staff and the money which will be needed - perhaps 80 million gross when the full plan Is complete. Yet we believe that what we propose will at last make possible an expansion of nursery education which will be generally welcomed.


343. (i) There should be a large expansion of nursery education and a start should be made as soon as possible.
(ii) Nursery education should be available to children at any time after the beginning of the school year after which they reach the age of three until they reach the age of compulsory schooling.
(iii) Nursery education should be available either for a morning or afternoon session for five days a week except that over the country as a whole provision should be made for 15 per cent of children to attend both morning and afternoon session.
(iv) The take-up of nursery places by children in special need should be carefully watched by local education authorities and by the Department of Education and Science so that further methods of persuasion can be used to bring in all children who are in need of nursery education.
(v) Low priority should be given to full-time nursery education for children whose mothers cannot satisfy the authorities that they have exceptionally good reasons for working.
(vi) Children should be introduced gradually to nursery education.
(vii) Nursery education should be provided in nursery groups of up to 20 places. More than one and up to three groups might be formed as one unit to be called a nursery centre or to be combined with day nurseries or clinics in children's centres,
(viii) The education of children over three in day nurseries should be the responsibility of the education rather than health departments.
(ix) All nursery groups should be under the ultimate supervision of a qualified teacher in the ratio of one qualified teacher to 60 places. The main day to day work of the groups should be undertaken by two year trained nursery assistants in the ratio of a minimum of one to every 10 children. There should be at least one experienced nursery assistant in each group and where no teacher is always on the premises, one assistant able to cope with accidents and safety risks. Experienced assistants should be able to qualify on merit for a responsibility allowance.
(x) Nursery groups which are under the supervision of a teacher or head teacher of an adjoining primary school should be part of that school. Groups not attached to a school should form a single nursery centre with the other groups which are supervised by the same qualified teacher.

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(xi) Until enough maintained places are available, local education authorities should be given power and be encouraged to give financial or other assistance to nursery groups run by non profit making associations which in their opinion fill a need which they cannot meet. Voluntary groups, with or without help from public funds, should be subject to inspection by local education authorities and HM Inspectorate similar to that of the maintained nurseries.
(xii) Ideally, all services, including nursery, for the care of young children should be grouped together and placed near the children's homes and the primary schools. The planning of new areas and the rebuilding of old should take account of nursery education.
(xiii) Local authorities should undertake local surveys at an appropriate time to assess the net cost of extra accommodation needed to establish nursery provision in their area and to see how many qualified teachers will be available following changes in the age of entry to the first school.

1. 'Under 5': Howe E, Conservative Political Centre, June, 1966, page 19.
2. 'The State of Nursery Education'. NUT 1964.
3. Labour Women's National Survey into Care of Children. National Labour Women's Advisory Committee, 1966. Page 11.
4. English Primary Education: A Sociological Description. Vol. I. WAL Blyth 1965. Page 31, quoting information made available by the Nursery Schools Association.
5. NUT 1964 Survey. Page 13. (See 2).
6. Evidence submitted to the Central Advisory Council by the NUT, the Nursery Schools Association, the LCC and many other associations and individuals.
7. Hindley CE 'Social Class Influences on the Development of Ability in the First Five Years'. Child Education Ed. Skard AG and Husen T Copenhagen, Munksgaard. 1962.
8. Bernstein B 'Social Structure, Language and Learning'. June 1961. Educational Research, Vol. III, No. 3 and other publications including unpublished work, 1966, on children of primary school age, received as this Report was going to press.
9. Martin Deutsch 'The Influence of Early Social Environment on School Adaptation'. 1963.
10. J.McV Hunt 'Intelligence and Experience'. New York, Ronald Press Co. 1961.
11. JWB Douglas and JM Ross 'Subsequent Progress of Nursery School Children'. Educational Research Vol. III 1964. pp. 83 - 94.
12. W Beckermann et al. 'The British Economy in 1965'. National Institute of Economic and Social Research, Cambridge University Press, 1965.
13. V Klein 'Working Wives' Institute of Personnel Management. Occasional Papers No. 15. 1960. Pages 9-10 and 'Employing Married Women', Institute of Personnel Management. Occasional Papers No. 17. 1961, pages 5 and 9.
14. B Thompson and A Finlayson. Married Women Who Work in Early Motherhood. Brit. Journal of Sociology. June, 1963.
15. S Yudkin and A Holme 'Working Mothers and Their Children'. Michael Joseph. 1963.
16. JWB Douglas and JM Blomfield 'Children Under Five'. 1958, page 118.
17. Report of the Consultative Committee on Infant and Nursery Schools (1933). Section 81, page 113.

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18. Evidence submitted by Dr J Bowlby to the Council.
19. Evidence submitted by the Tavistock Institute to the Council.
20. Dr Terence Moor 'Children of Full Time and Part Time Mothers'. International Journal of Social Psychology. 1964.
21. Evidence submitted by the British Psychological Society to the Council.
22. Isaacs Susan 'Educational Value of the Nursery School'. Nursery Schools Association, 1938. Pamphlet No. 54.
23. RK Kelsall and S Mitchell 'Married Women and Employment in England and Wales'. Population Studies. Vol 13. 1959-1960. The Labour Women's Survey (see 3) contains an excellent summary of both American and British studies.
24. See 16 above. Page 45.

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The Ages and Stages of Primary Education

When Should Primary Education Begin?

344. The last chapter was concerned with the upbringing of children before they reach school age. The arguments led to the conclusion that they should have the opportunity of belonging to a nursery group. This will be the more possible because we are suggesting changes in the ages at which they are admitted to primary schools. We now examine the case for these alterations in its own right.

345. The choice of five as the age at which children must begin school was made almost by chance in 1870, but the Consultative Committee reported in 1933 that it was working well in practice, and thought there was no good reason for modifying the law. But, with the exception of Israel and a few states whose educational systems derive from ours, the United Kingdom is alone in the world in fixing so early an age. In most countries it is six; in some seven. This sharp contrast makes it right for us to consider carefully the grounds for admitting children to school when they are so much younger.

346. Children are born every day of the year. In England they are admitted to infant schools at intervals of four months (most countries have one yearly intake), and promoted to junior schools or classes only at intervals of twelve months. They must go to school at the beginning of the term after their fifth birthday; they are promoted to the junior school (or junior classes) in the September following their seventh birthday.

Table 11. Compulsory Education in Infant Schools Under Present Arrangements

[click on the image for a larger version]

Table 11 shows that:

(a) there is a considerable difference in age and in the length of time children have been at school when they are promoted to the junior school. Either annual admissions, or termly promotions, would remove one or other of these differences; it is the combination of the two which imposes a double difference.

(b) the number of pupils in the infant school varies greatly from term to term: a school which has about 240 children in the summer term may have less than 200 before Christmas.

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Disadvantages of Termly Entry

347. There is evidence both from our witnesses and research (1, 2, 3, 4) that children born in the summer, who are younger and have a shorter time at school than others before they are promoted, tend to be placed in the 'C' stream of those junior schools which are organised in this way. The NFER study of streaming (Appendix 11, Section 1(2), paragraph 4) found that 'the A streams had the highest average age and the lowest ability streams the youngest'. The difference persists. One county borough has found that a high proportion of the pupils born between September and December gained grammar school places compared with those born between May and August. The latter often have to transfer to junior school before they have finished learning to read. Their new teachers, not always realising their relatively late start, may believe them to be slow learners, expect less of them and often in consequence get less from them. The 'age allowances' made in selection procedures cannot offset their psychological handicap.

348. In many schools there is either a spare classroom in the first term of the year or the rooms are over filled in the summer. Few authorities staff the infant schools on summer numbers and fewer still will do so as staffing problems increase. For this reason it is common to find that children are promoted each term. This practice has been encouraged by authorities who have often provided two form entry schools with one especially well equipped room for the admission class. Its teacher's task is unrewarding. She helps children to adjust to school and gets to know their parents; but before she can use this knowledge, the children are transferred to another teacher. She feels the lack of a group of 'old hands' among the children to show newcomers how things are done.

349. The shuffle up of children from admission classes often affects the whole school. Children and teachers may have to get used to a new class each term. The effect on young children may be serious. The teacher is to them something like a parent. Nobody would like to change parents once a term; children in infant schools should not have to change teachers at this rate. A minority of schools avoid this problem by the form of organisation known as vertical grouping (see Chapter 20). But this would not be acceptable in all schools.

350. It seems, therefore, that termly entry results in unsatisfactory organisation in the infant school and has serious disadvantages for the summer born children. This view was endorsed by many of our witnesses and by the sample of teachers whom we invited to comment on the age of entry (Appendix 1, Table B.I.) We recommend, therefore, that all children should begin compulsory schooling in the same period of the year and that this should be in the autumn term. Even though the children born in the summer would be younger than the rest, they would have the same number of terms as other children in the infant school.

351. So far we have assumed that all children first go to school when they are legally required to. This is far from true. It is common practice for children to be admitted in the term before that in which their fifth birthday falls. In some areas, where there is a long tradition of women's work, children are admitted to school at the beginning of the year in which they turn five. Interviews with parents of children who started school in the summer term

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of 1964 (a small sample forming part of the National Survey) showed that two thirds of their children had entered school under five years (see Appendix 6, Table 2). The National Child Development Study (Appendix 10, Table 15) gave a lower figure - 49.1 per cent. Statistics provided by the Department show that the majority of children who are 'rising five' in January enter school that term. Undoubtedly more autumn born than summer born children enter school before five. If summer born children are admitted before their fifth birthday they often enter classes which are overcrowded and schools which are less well staffed than earlier in the year. We are told that a third of all local authorities are now having to exclude 'rising fives' through the year. In a few areas there has recently not been room for even all of the statutory age. The age at which a child may go to school is affected by the conditions of the area in which he lives. Subject to these limitations, however, the age at which he does go to school depends on his parents' choice between one term and the next or even, perhaps, between three possible terms. In this way some children get nine terms and some only six in the infant school.

Chronological Versus Developmental Age

352. Chronological age, which can be a misleading guide to a young child's development, decides when he can and when he must go to school. Some of the teachers who gave evidence would have liked to substitute 'developmental age but for the reasons given in Chapter 2 it would not be easy to assess this accurately even with tests of the same complexity, expense and unpopularity as those which have been used in transfer to secondary education. It would seem wise, therefore, to continue to relate entry to school to chronological age. The law should, however, allow a good deal of variation in practice.

Easing Entry to School

353. Many parents probably have a fair idea of when their children are ready for school. The possibilities open to them should be widened and they should be given advice when it is needed. Today most children move in one step between the age of 4 years 9 months and 5 years 3 months from full-time home to full-time school. In the last chapter we recommended that children might move gradually, according to their individual needs, from occasional attendance to half-time attendance between the ages of three and five. We think also that part-time attendance should remain possible after a child reaches the chronological age, which is fixed by statute, for him to start school. Decisions ought to rest with the parents in consultation with head teachers. Children who now enter school under five - and many who are older - would be as well, and often better, served by part-time attendance at small nursery groups because the ratio of adults to children can be more generous and education informal. The nursery type of education would have to be available in the infant schools for those children who still needed it. Equally there would have to be sufficient stimulus in the nursery groups for the older and more advanced children.

354. We have received a considerable amount of evidence that part-time education would enable a child to settle more easily at school. The Nursery Schools Organiser in one county wrote 'I am convinced that if more flexible

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part or full-time entry was permitted during a child's first year at school, that he or she would be ready to accept compulsory full-time at six'. A county inspector said 'The present arrangement of full-time education at five is too abrupt a transition from home for many children'. A headmaster wrote 'Many children who begin their school life at five find the full school day too long and show signs of fatigue. Some show marked signs of strain'. Other witnesses felt that most children settled easily into a full day. Twenty three per cent of mothers interviewed for the National Survey (Appendix 3, Table 44) would have liked their children to have started part-time. This proportion rose to 36 per cent in the supplementary sample (Appendix 6, paragraph 6) of children just settling into school. Yet all the new starters began full-time.

355. The NCDS Report indicates (Appendix 10, Table 80) that seven per cent of the boys and five per cent of the girls were reported still to be unsettled after the first three months in school. Our proposals for nursery education should ease the introduction to school. Admissions to the infant school should be staggered over half a term by arrangement between parents and head teachers. In this way each new child and his mother could be sure of an individual welcome. In the last resort there will, however, be some children who are not ready for full-time* education when the law expects them to be. If they are in a nursery group we suggest that they should stay there a little longer. If they have not been to one, we think that they should begin with attendance for half a day at the infant school. Care would have to be taken to see that while they were part-time, they got a balanced education without undue emphasis on learning to read, write and count. They need the play and creative expression which infant schools generally provide. This transition period within the statutory age for full-time education ought normally to last not longer than a term but this should be extended, if parents wish, until the child reaches the age of six. The child must come first.

356. We have been told that it is mostly professional parents who would like their children to start part-time and that to delay the full-time entry to school of children of parents in unskilled occupations would penalise their development. Yet the transition from home to school is a great change for all children and may be even greater for the child from a poor home. Care should therefore be taken to explain to parents why it is better for children to adjust gradually to school. We hope that, even in those areas where there has been a long tradition of entry to school before the statutory age, the part-time entry to a nursery type of education we have suggested as a short term measure (paragraphs 399 to 405) will be adopted.

Age of Entry

357. The argument so far leads clearly to two decisions. It is better to have one intake a year to infant schools or classes than three. It is desirable to be able to delay full-time education for those few who are not ready for it at the appointed time, and to lead up to it by part-time attendance. But what should be the age for entry? As we have seen, the other countries of the world, with few exceptions, favour a later age than ours. Some of our witnesses agreed with them. A few favoured the age of seven. The rest were divided between five and six. Clearly no decision will be absolutely right for everybody. To

*We use the terms 'full-time' and 'part-time' education to mean two sessions and one session a day respectively.

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raise the age to six and define it as 'the September following the sixth birthday' would mean that the median age on admission would be six years six months and a good many children would be nearly seven. This would certainly reduce the number of children who would need continued part-time education, but for the same reason it would be frustrating for the many who would be ready for school well before. It seems to us, too, that there is a sound educational argument for admitting five year olds to school. It was with this age group that informal ways of learning, and teaching geared to individual needs, were first extensively developed in this country. There is a marked contrast between education given to six and seven year olds in England and in most countries with a later age of entry. In this country, learning through play and creative work continues throughout most infant schools; elsewhere this approach seemed to us on our visits often to be lacking. We think that it is probably sacrificed to the formal work which a later date of entry may easily seem to demand. We should not want this to happen in England.

358. We therefore recommend that the statutory time by which children must go to school should be defined as the September term following their fifth birthday. This measure would require legislation. Attendance at a nursery group should be permitted for the first term of compulsory education. A child should, if his parents wish, be allowed to attend school for a half day only until he reaches the age of six. Some children would be nearly six before they went to school; some no older than at present. The median age would be five years six months. This modest raising of the age of entry for some children by a few months would, we think, have several beneficial effects:

(a) It would simplify the organisation of the infants schools which could then be staffed and equipped for a full three year course.

(b) Children would no longer need to be promoted each term.

(c) The unfairness which springs from varying lengths of education in the infant school would disappear.

(d) The saving of teachers and classrooms would, as we saw in the last chapter, help to make possible a preparatory period of part-time nursery education for all who want it.

(e) This would ease the transition from full-time home to full-time school, as would the slightly later start of school life for two thirds of the five year olds. Those children who still need an introductory period of part-time school after reaching the statutory age would, we think, largely come from those who were barely five on admission.

359. As we have said this change should not be made unless nursery education is available for all who wish it for at least one year before school starts. The older children within an age group should, when possible, be admitted earlier. Over two thirds of parents want their children to start school before the age of five. Their wishes are entitled to respect. To raise for some children the age of entry to school and not to provide some alternative education for the year before the new age of entry would be inexpedient as well as educationally unsound. We think that alternative education should, however, usually be part-time in a nursery group.

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The Length of the Infant School Course

360. If our recommendation of one entry date a year stood alone all children - instead of roughly a third - would be limited to a two year course in the infant school. Yet we have received convincing evidence that the present course is too short and that children transfer to the junior school before they are ready for it.

361. Many infant schools are outstanding for the quality of the relationships between teachers and children. They excel in the opportunities they provide for play and the talk that accompanies it, the stress they put on individual learning and the skill with which teachers select from the various methods of teaching reading those that suit themselves and the individual children. Infant school teachers also have good opportunities for building up a knowledge of both children and parents. The children are usually open and trusting and parents have been shown by the National Survey to be more interested in their children's work at this stage than at any subsequent period (Appendix 3, Section 2, paragraph 34).

362. Two years is too short to profit fully from these qualities of the good infant school. In this period many children cannot establish social confidence and their slowly maturing personal relationships may suffer a severe setback, when they transfer to a new and unfamiliar junior school. This setback is especially characteristic of children in socially deprived areas who often enter infant schools lacking both social experience and the ability to express themselves in speech. Similarly, there is overwhelming evidence that many children have not achieved a mastery of reading by the time they leave the infant school. A reading survey conducted by the NFER in Kent showed that, though standards were rather higher than in the country as a whole, 45 per cent of the children in the first year junior classes still needed the kind of teaching which is to be found in infant schools. Yet most of their teachers had received no training in infant methods and a substantial minority had no knowledge of how to teach the beginnings of reading. The survey also demonstrated that the prospects of success in reading for children who are poor readers when they transfer to the junior school are very gloomy indeed. The NCDS survey tells the same story (Appendix 10, Section 6(a)). Many seven year old children continue to need systematic teaching in reading. At this age girls are superior to boys as judged by objective tests and by the primers they have reached. Early transfer to the junior school may be one reason why more boys than girls are to be found in remedial classes.

363. We conclude, therefore, that children should have three years in the infant schools and that they should not transfer until the age of eight. A three year course will allow teachers and children to work steadily without anxiety. It will give infant school teachers the satisfaction of seeing more results to their labours and of knowing that children have reached, before leaving them, a stage at which they can tolerate a change of school.

364. We believe, therefore, that all children (instead of only some as at present) should have at least three years in the infant school. But would a four year course be preferable? Two main arguments have persuaded us to the contrary. If the infant school course were to last four years, some children would be nearly ten before transfer. It would then be difficult both to cater adequately for the most advanced children and at the same time to preserve

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the best of infant education. Secondly, as we argue later, 12 seems to us a better age of transfer to a secondary school than 13, and we believe that four years is the right length for junior education. Thus, there is a cumulative case for a three year infant school, deriving from what is best educationally for children between five and eight or nine, and from what are the desirable lengths of the junior and secondary courses. We recommend that transfer to junior schools should take place in the September following a child's eighth birthday.

Should the Age of Transfer to Secondary Education be Raised?

365. '11+' seems now as firmly fixed in Englishmen's minds as 1066. One of the matters referred to us, the age of transfer to secondary education, forces us to ask whether it should soon become as much a matter of past history. It is no longer to be the dreaded landmark marking off the grammar school child from the modern school child. Should it also cease to mark the transition from small primary to large secondary school?

366. The choice of the age of 11 was the result, it seems, partly of the desire to give 'scholarship winners' from the old elementary schools the benefit of the established five year course in the county secondary schools and old grammar schools and partly of the desire to provide secondary education for all in a system where most boys and girls left school as soon as they became 14. A later age than 11 would have meant for most pupils a secondary school course of 'one and a bit years' instead of 'two and a bit'. The second alternative just made sense: the first was plain nonsense. The choice between them was easy. Practical considerations decided the matter; theory, in so far as it came in at all, was used in support.

367. The present dividing line is governed by Section 8(1) of the Education Act of 1944 as amended by Section 3 of the 1948 Act. In 1944 Parliament laid down that there were to be 'sufficient primary schools for junior pupils under ten and a half years of age and for those over that age whom it was expedient to educate with such pupils'. There were also to be sufficient secondary schools for senior pupils over 12 and for those junior pupils over ten and a half whom it was expedient to educate with them. Pupils, therefore, were to move from primary to secondary schools between the age of ten and a half and 12, that is, at about the age of 11.

368. The 1964 Act enabled proposals to be made to the Secretary of State for the establishment of schools which straddled the dividing line laid down by the 1944 Act between primary and secondary education. The intention was to allow experimental patterns to be tried out, rather than to modify the general age structure. It was expected that the outcome would be the establishment of a small number of middle schools for children of 8 to 12 and 9 to 13. Since then. Circular 13/66, announcing the Government's plans for raising the school leaving age, allows local education authorities to change the age of transfer to 12 or 13 if justified 'by reference to some clear practical advantages in the context of reorganisation on comprehensive lines, or the raising of the school leaving age, or both'.

369. The bewildering variety of schemes which are being canvassed, and to a less extent applied, made it all the more necessary for us, in view of our terms of reference, to study from first principles what the best age of transfer to

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secondary education should be. We took as starting points the information on children's development described in Chapter 2, the written and oral evidence received from associations, individual witnesses and members of HM Inspectorate, and the arguments put forward for the Leicestershire plan and by some local authorities for 9 to 13 schools. We held discussions with head and assistant teachers from different types of secondary school and with teachers from primary schools. Some of us have visited areas in which experiments are being made in teaching children aged 11 to 13 in separate, self contained schools. Our recommendations take into account the extension to 16 of the period of compulsory attendance at school.

370. The present age of transfer, as opposed to the mechanism of selection, has been little challenged until recently. This is a reason for caution. Moreover, there are good arguments against a change. From the point of view of the primary schools there is an objection to interfering with junior schools at a time when they are rapidly becoming leaders in educational advance. This, it may be said, is no time to disturb by organisational changes a revolution in ways of teaching and learning that is wholly to the pupils' good. From the secondary point of view there are two strong arguments for the present age. It gives the secondary school time to get to know its pupils well before decisions are made on choice of courses at about the age of 14. It allows eleven and twelve year olds the stimulus of teaching by, or at least of teaching supervised by, the specialists who are in charge of secondary school departments. This is especially valuable in subjects such as mathematics and science in which skilled teachers are scarce. There is also the point that transfer at 11 allows a small majority of pupils time to adjust to their new school before meeting the strains of puberty. But, as Chapter 2 shows, the variations in the age at which puberty occurs are so wide that it is impossible to fix a transfer age which would be generally satisfactory from this point of view.

371. Some of the arguments for a change of age arise from a belief that the junior school course now ends at too early an age. The experience of teachers and other educationalists suggests that for many children the changes of curriculum and method associated with a break at 11 cut across a phase in learning and in attitudes to it. An unselfconscious period in art, dramatic movement and writing, for example, may last till 12 or 13. Many children, too, at the top of the primary school develop confidence in devising experiments and using books in specific situations (often unrelated to 'subjects'). Their progress may be slowed down by premature emphasis on class instruction, adult systematisation and precision in secondary schools. These arguments are supported by the findings of Piaget and his English followers on the late emergence of powers of abstract thought. Equally, the junior school curriculum is wider than it was. A foreign language, science (as opposed to nature study) and mathematics (as opposed to arithmetic) used to be confined to secondary schools. They are now taught in junior schools. Today there is a basis for a 'middle school' curriculum.

372. Other arguments from the secondary school side turn on the disadvantages to the 11 and 12 year olds and to the schools as a whole which now arise from transfer at 11. Eleven, it is argued, is too early for the educational decisions which follow from a change of school. Our evidence from witnesses goes to show that transfer between streams in comprehensive schools is

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uncommon just as transfers between modern and grammar schools are. The strictly educational, as opposed to social, argument against a selective system starting at 11 does not lose its force because the selection is between streams instead of between schools. This rigidity inside comprehensive schools may be unnecessary and may be temporary; but it has to be taken into account.

373. The second line of argument turns on the fact that so many more boys and girls than formerly stay at school to 16 and 18. The demands made by the growing numbers of these senior pupils in secondary schools are such that highly qualified teachers have little time and energy to devote to younger pupils. Specialist organisation is necessary for the older pupils. It is often extended to the younger pupils for whom it is not. It is difficult to cater in one institution for the needs of 11 year olds and pupils of 15 to 18: either the presence of children will prevent the development of the near adult atmosphere that older pupils need; or, if priority is given to creating an adult community, the younger pupils may feel lost, or even by contrast be treated as younger than they are.

374. There are also the middle years of the secondary school course to consider. To the newcomer the secondary school may be as delightful, once his initial shyness has passed off, as his junior school has been. For the seniors at the top there is often the necessity for hard work and, for some, the enjoyment of intellectual effort. There is established position, responsibility, seniority in fact, to enjoy. But in between there may be drab years of boredom when the fulfilment which school denies may be sought elsewhere and show itself in restlessness. Whatever the age span, the middle years are dangerous. It should not all be blamed on adolescence. Seven years to 18 for the able, five years to 16 for most pupils is a long time. These are longer periods than than those spent in any other part of the educational system. There is something to be said for shortening the total span of secondary education, and this can only be done by starting it rather later.

375. Another argument for a higher age of transfer turns on the increasing size of secondary schools. The voluntary lengthening of school life and the raising of the minimum school leaving age will make schools bigger unless countervailing action is taken. So will the increase in the number of comprehensive schools for 11 to 18 year olds. The Newsom report recorded the conviction of heads of schools in deprived areas that their pupils needed small schools. Quite apart from this special case it seems clear that 11 and 12 year olds may easily feel lost in too large a school. A later age of transfer than 11 would to some extent offset this trend and protect the younger children, who are the ones most likely to suffer from size. There is no reason why a junior or middle school need be large. A two tier secondary system starting at 11 is an alternative method of reducing the size of comprehensive schools. But, with a five year secondary course, one or other stage must be limited for many pupils to two years - 'all legs and no body' as one witness put it.

376. Some of those with whom we have had discussions see no difficulty in common provision for pupils from 11 to 18. Others find it necessary to take avoiding action where they can. Thus, library provision is often separately made for juniors. Where this is not done they are often inadequately catered for. Out of school activities are usually biased towards the interests of the older pupils and frequently they are insufficient for the younger. The evidence

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of the Incorporated Association of Head Masters refers to the need for separate buildings for the youngest pupils in schools with large sixth forms. The headmaster of a large selective boys' school has told us that he had found it necessary to make special arrangements for the community life of the younger pupils. Some comprehensive schools are organised in lower, middle and upper schools, an arrangement which gives the younger pupils a community of their own but does not isolate them, and which breaks up large numbers and extensive buildings into units of manageable size.

377. Granted that 11 and 12 year olds fit less well than they did into secondary schools unless special provision is made, is there reason to believe that they would fit better or with less difficulty into a school with children of eight, nine and ten? The main difficulty in answering this question lies in the different development of boys and girls. Girls are ahead of boys from birth and reach adolescence some two years before them. One possibility would be to provide single sex schools at this stage of divergent development and interests. This arrangement would run counter to the general trend towards coeducation and few have suggested it. All boys and most girls would be at home in a middle school*, but there might be difficulties for a 13 year old girl who had reached adolescence early. If the transfer age is fixed at 13, earlier transfer would probably be needed for a minority of girls who were exceptionally mature.

378. The different rate of development towards sexual maturity among boys and girls is only one of the physiological and psychological factors which have to be considered. The differences between individuals are at least as important as the difference between the sexes. The important thing is to remember how extremely wide the range of variation is. This means that wherever the age of transfer is fixed, there will be some children who would have been better left in the primary school, and some for whom the reverse would be true. There is, therefore, need to treat the years immediately before and after transfer as a transitional period. What happens at present, and the arguments we have been considering, both make us believe that most of this period is best spent in a primary school. We conclude that the case for a higher age of transfer is made out. But should it be 12 or 13?

12 or 13?

379. The answer to this demands a fairly close look at the working of the present schools. Both ages would protect the pupils somewhat longer from the downward reaching examination pressures which the GCE, and perhaps even CSE, may create. Pupils transferred at 12 would have four years before taking a first external examination in their secondary school. Even transfer at 13 would allow pupils an introductory year and two years for an examination course. So far there is no decisive advantage either way. But we have only been considering pupils who propose to take a full secondary course and probably sit for an examination at the end. Many will not, and will leave as soon as they may. For these, if they were born between September and February, the earliest date of leaving after 1970 will be the Easter after their sixteenth birthday. If the age of transfer is 13, their secondary course would have lasted only two years and two terms which we and most of our witnesses think too short. Transfer at 12 would be better for them.

*For an explanation of the term 'middle school' see para 406.

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380. For many subjects of the curriculum 12 and 13 would be equally satisfactory transfer ages. This holds good for all the English subjects, for home economics and probably for art. There is perhaps a slight, but certainly not a decisive, advantage in the lower age where foreign languages are concerned. Latin and a second modern language are usually introduced in the second year of the secondary course but there would be no harm in leaving them for a further year. Science, handicraft and physical education present rather more difficulties with the higher age. Some extra accommodation and equipment would be needed in middle schools for all three subjects if the age of transfer is raised at all; if it is raised to 13 more would be needed than if it is fixed at 12. Staffing for science and mathematics in middle schools would be more difficult to provide, because more specialist teaching would be needed, with the age of transfer at 13 than at 12. Accommodation in a two form entry junior school would probably be adequate for an eight to 12 school provided that one or two general practical rooms were added and that there was easily accessible space for books and a place to read them. On these curriculum matters the balance of advantage seems to us to lie with a transfer at the age of 12.

381. It is also necessary to consider whether transfer at 12 or 13 is more likely to produce the kind of middle school we wish to see. Eleven year old pupils often transfer from a school based entirely on class teaching to a secondary school which, because of the needs of the older pupils, is organised for specialist teaching. A school with semi-specialist accommodation shared between cognate subjects, and teachers skilled in certain areas of the curriculum rather than in single subjects, could provide a bridge from class teaching to specialisation, and from investigation of general problems to subject disciplines. The influence of semi-specialist teachers primarily concerned with the older pupils might be reflected in more demanding work being given to nine and ten year olds, while the primary tradition of individual and group work might advantageously be retained for a longer period than at present, and might delay streaming.

382. Effective staffing of middle schools would call for recruitment of teachers both from present junior schools and from those experienced with the younger age groups in secondary schools. At the same time some teachers mainly concerned with the younger juniors would need to transfer to first or infant schools. Many junior teachers would need to deepen and extend their knowledge; former secondary teachers would have to absorb the best of primary school attitudes and practice, and also to increase their personal resources since they would no longer have available to them the knowledge and advice of specialist heads of department. An imaginative programme of in-service training would be called for, but in-service training is just as necessary for satisfactory education within the present structure. Junior-secondary courses in the training colleges offer a basis on which suitable initial training courses could be developed. The principal need would be for courses which offer a group of related subjects for study in relative depth, for instance in the creative arts, in English and English subjects, or in a combination of mathematics, geography and science. Middle schools might well attract more men than junior schools have done, which would probably give them a more stable staff. They might also attract graduates, interested in the possibility of working experimentally.

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383. If the middle school is to be a new and progressive force it must develop further the curriculum, methods and attitudes which exist at present in junior schools. It must move forward into what is now regarded as secondary school work but it must not move so far away that it loses the best of primary education as we know it now. The extended programme will require teachers with a good grasp of subject matter but we do not want the middle school to be dominated by secondary school influences. Clearly these aims could be achieved with transfer set either at 12 or 13.

384. The danger of the extension of the middle school course for one year only would be that the change might not provide sufficient challenge to the schools to think afresh about what they provide for the older pupils. The danger of a two year extension would be that the middle school might forget that it was still a primary school. There is a risk either way; on the whole we think that transfer at 12 is more likely to give us the middle school we want to see.*

385. The arguments in favour of 12 and 13 as the age of transfer are fairly evenly balanced and there is, we repeat, no one age which is right for every child. But on nearly every count it seems to us that the balance of advantage is just with 12 year old transfer, that is to say transfer in the September following a child's twelfth birthday which gives a median age of 12 years 6 months on admission to a secondary school.

386. Our recommendations for the structure of primary education, therefore, are:

(a) there should be part-time nursery experience for those whose parents wish it;

(b) a three year course in the first (at present the infant) school with one annual intake in September at a median age of five years six months;

(c) the first school should be followed by a four year course in a middle (at present the junior) school with a median age range from eight years six months to 12 years 6 months.

387. We emphasise that the merits of this structure depend on the interlocking of its parts. The arguments in its favour must not be used to support one part without the other two. In particular we wish to stress that our proposal for one intake a year to the first school is inseparable from our recommendation of part-time nursery education for all whose parents wish it.

Provision for Exceptional Cases

388. Up to this point we have been concerned with the structure of nursery and primary education. One of the major difficulties has been the fact which we have had tiresomely to reiterate, that there is no universally right age for

*The Scottish Council for Research in Education sponsored a detailed enquiry into the age of transfer from primary to secondary school, the results of which were published in 1966 (6). The age of transfer in Scotland has been 12. They concluded, as we have done, that 'The answer to the question "What is the appropriate age of transfer" must be that there is no one "correct" age ... The transition from primary to secondary education should extend over the whole period from age ten to age 13. These years should be regarded as a transitional period, during which there is a gradual change in curriculum and style of teaching. Prescribing age limits within this period for a change of school is justifiable for administrative reasons, not on psychological grounds.' (p. 89)

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any step, so various are human beings. They are so various that it is in our view right that special provisions should be made for exceptional individual circumstances. It is wrong to take refuge in the old saying that hard cases make bad law when it is clear that the strict application of regulations would defeat the educational purpose for which they are framed. It is therefore necessary to consider the kind of circumstances which merit individual consideration.

389. The wide variation in the maturation of children has been described in Chapter 2. A class of five year olds may not only have an age range of a year in chronological age but may also cover a span of two or three years in developmental age. As the child grows older this span widens. A girl becomes an adolescent; the boy in the next seat remains a child. Teachers have to adopt an individual approach to each child in order to help a class of children at widely different stages of development even when the chronological range is narrow. Even so, there are a minority of children who, in all aspects of development, are so ahead of their contemporaries that they ought to work with older children.

390. Some authorities and schools rightly allow flexibility of transfer between the infant and junior stages for the minority of children who fall outside the normal range of maturation. There is, however, under the present law no provision for postponing the beginning of compulsory education where this would be desirable and no provision even for attendance to be part-time at first for those children who would be the better for it. When the single date of entry is adopted there will be an even stronger case for flexibility. A mature child, who may be amongst the oldest in his nursery group, may well be ready before the others to go to school. He should be allowed the opportunity. Similarly, it may well be right for an immature child to remain an extra term in the nursery group.

391. We enquired how many children at present move from primary to secondary schools when they are either 10 or 12 instead of 11. The number is insignificant. Our National Survey showed only 44 under age and 10 over age transfers out of a total of some 20,000 children. Early transfers usually take place at the initiative of parent or teacher and depend on head teacher estimates, objective tests and in some instances on the opinion of the educational psychologist. Late transfers almost invariably follow a period of illness. The small amount of flexibility revealed by the National Sample cannot reflect accurately the wide variations in maturity which exist between individual children. We believe that there should be a greater number of early and late transfers at each stage of education based on consultations between teachers and parents. A margin of six months on either side of the official transfer age would probably cover the needs of all but a few children. Late transfers should be fewer than early. Only in exceptional circumstances is it right for a child to be kept back in a primary school after his friends leave. Occasionally it may be right to arrange a transfer in the course of a school year instead of waiting for the next autumn.

392. Our conclusions on the degree of discretion that should be allowed to parents and schools as to the ages of entry and of transfer are:

(a) at least one year of part-time nursery education should be made available before compulsory education for those children whose parents wish it;

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(b) children should be allowed to enter the first school at any date in the first half term of the school year, subject to agreement between the parents and the head teacher;

(c) they should also be permitted to attend for a half day for the first term and, exceptionally, up to the age of six, at the request of parents in consultation with the head teacher;

(d) attendance at a nursery group by agreement between parents and school should be treated for the purposes of the Education Acts as full-time education for the first term to which the law of compulsory attendance applies;

(e) transfers to middle schools within a range of six months on either side of the normal age should be permitted by agreement between school and home. Great care should be taken to avoid isolating a backward or advanced child from his friends of the same age;

(f) the arrangements for transfer to middle schools should also apply at the next stage to secondary schools. There is a greater risk here that children who are intellectually advanced will be considered as necessarily ready for early transfer. Overall development should be taken into account when decisions are made;

(g) more flexibility than at present is needed but its use should be exceptional if the primary and secondary schools increasingly cater for each child individually.

The Need for a National Policy

Why a Uniform Age of Transfer is Necessary

393. Government policy is directed towards creating a mobile labour force. Education must be awake to its implications, one of which is a single nationwide age of transfer. We agree that this will take time to achieve, but the interim period should be as short as can be contrived. The inconveniences it will cause should not be tolerated for long. Two illustrations may be given. A child in moving home might find himself moving backwards educationally from full-time education in an infant school in an unreorganised area to part-time education in the reorganised system of his new home. Another older child in similar circumstances might have to transfer out of secondary education to a middle school in the primary system.

394. How frequently do families move home and children change schools? Most removals, of course, are local and do not result in a change of school; but our National Survey (Appendix 3, Section 3, paragraph 7) showed that nearly a quarter of the children at the top of the junior schools had changed schools because their families had moved to a different district. Eighteen per cent of the seven year olds in the NCDS Survey (Appendix 10, Table 73) had attended more than one school. Ministry of Labour statistics showed an increase in gross regional migration for employed persons from 505,000 in 1952, to 610,000 in 1964 (7). Many of these half million workers must have children of school age.

Making the Changes

395. We therefore recommend that the Department should announce as soon as possible a national policy on the structure of nursery and primary

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education and that it should fix a date by which new ages of entry and transfer should become binding. We naturally hope that these decisions may follow our recommendations summarised in paragraph 392.

396. We believe that they reflect the balance of educational advantage and that they are also the most practicable to carry out. We cannot be quite sure of this because, although we tried to make an estimate of the building costs of different ages of transfer, we were unable to extend it to secondary school building or to find out the extent to which individual existing buildings could be put to new uses. We do not therefore take this factor into account in deciding to recommend transfer at 12 instead of 13. It will be necessary for the Department and local education authorities to make a careful survey of all school buildings before they decide when changes in ages of transfer can be made nationally. We hope this will be put in hand at once.

397. Meanwhile, it is clear that authorities will have to make the best use they can of the buildings they have. In the rest of this chapter we are concerned with suggestions for this interim period for which the Department sanction local variants on the national plan. This interim period is bound to last until a great deal of building can be sanctioned for reorganisation. Some authorities may, and probably will, in the interval be forced to adopt a two tier system of secondary education with the lower tier devoted to children aged between 11 and 13. This should be recognised only as a purely temporary expedient. A two year school is not educationally sound, particularly at this stage of children's development. In the first year they will be settling down; in the second they will be getting ready to leave. There will be no time to become the school community which children of this age particularly value. Where such a school has to be introduced, the accent, especially in the first year, should be on the continuation and development of the ways of learning found in the best junior schools, carried out by teachers some with the deeper subject knowledge expected in secondary schools.

398. Small primary schools will probably be the hardest to fit into the new national pattern. Most of them are combined junior and infant schools; many of them are voluntary schools. In urban areas, some small schools might be amalgamated, and some sites would allow for additional building. But most of them are in the country and there are rural counties where two class schools are still usual. We consider the problems of rural schools in Chapter 14.

An Emergency Plan for Infant Schools

399. We have attached importance to the simultaneous introduction of nursery provision for all who want it and a single intake each year into the infant schools. Except in the educational priority areas we are afraid that these changes cannot come for ten or a dozen years until the late 1970s. Meanwhile, school conditions for young children grow worse. Even in 1963, 26 per cent of our special sample of infant starters (Appendix 6) entered classes over 40. In an increasing number of areas the rising fives are being excluded. The first batch to be excluded are the summer born children, because the summer term is when the infant school is most crowded.

400. A long day - there is no provision for part-time education - in a large class is no way to start school. Some measures must be designed to enable

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children to start school part-time in small classes. We think that the worst effects of the present situation can be mitigated by the following arrangements:

(a) Children should begin full-time attendance at school twice a year, those reaching the age of five between February 1st and August 31st in the following September, at a median age of five years three months, and those reaching this age between September 1st and January 31st in the following April, at a median age of five years five months.

(b) Children should be obliged to attend school as now from the beginning of the term following their fifth birthday but those children not entitled by their date of birth to full-time education should attend one session only each day.

(c) Part-time education should be available at a morning or afternoon session for two terms before full-time entry.

(d) For staffing and other purposes, part-time pupils would count as if they were full-time so that they could be taught in classes of half the normal size.

(e) As in our long-term proposals a child should be allowed to attend part-time, at the request of his parents, until he reaches the age of six. A change in the Schools Regulations would be necessary.

401. The way the plan would work is illustrated in Table 12. It should be compared with Table 11 which shows the present age of compulsory education.

[click on the image for a larger version]

402. It will be seen that:

(a) no child whose parents take up the two term part-time option will get less than the equivalent of his present entitlement to full-time education, and some will get more;

(b) no child will get less full-time education than summer born children now get in areas which exclude 'rising fives';

(c) no more teachers will be needed than at present;

(d) the eldest children in each half yearly intake will start full-time education a term later than they do at present;

(e) the average age of the second intake will be slightly lower than the first at the time of entry.

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403. The scheme would also have the following advantages which, we think, entitle it to be regarded not only as an emergency salvage measure but as a foretaste of our permanent plan:

(a) it would introduce children to school part-time;

(b) it would reduce pressure on teachers of, and children in, admission classes;

(c) part-time schooling for the first two terms would make it easier to employ part-time teachers. Teachers' aides or nursery assistants could be introduced as they become available and thus a beginning made in establishing an adult/child ratio similar to that in nurseries. The scheme would help by providing a little additional space in schools;

(d) in the autumn term the teacher of the youngest children might be either:

(i) be a probationer who would thus start with a small class and could help with a small group of other children in the afternoon;
(ii) an experienced teacher who would then be free to help probationers or students in the afternoon;
(e) the first year would be a combination of nursery and infant work and would provide favourable conditions for children starting school;

(f) children starting school would not be faced with the added strain of attending school meals. By the time a child stayed he would be used to school.

404. Care should be taken to introduce children to school by preparatory visits and contacts in the way discussed in Chapter 12. This applies both to those who are going to start part-time and to those who will begin full-time.

405. We have stressed earlier the advantages of a three year course in the infant school. This scheme moves towards it. Yet we hope that, in the period before the general structure of primary and secondary education is changed, authorities will extend the infant course to a full three years from five to eight whenever buildings make this arrangement possible. This length of infant course should certainly be possible in authorities which are establishing middle schools as part of their plan for introducing comprehensive education.

Conclusion: A Change of Name

406. A new structure for primary education seems to us to make a change of names desirable. The parents of eight year olds will not want them called infants; 12 year olds, whose older brothers have been in the secondary school at that age, will object to being juniors. There will inevitably be a sense of being 'kept down'. We suggest 'first school' for the five to eight age group and 'middle school' for the eight to 12. Where a school serves all children from five to 12 we suggest that it should be called a 'combined school'. A nursery forming part of a first school might be called a 'nursery group'.

Long-Term Recommendations

407 (i) As soon as there is nursery provision for all children whose parents wish it, for a year before starting school, the normal time by which a child should go to school should be defined as the September term

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following the fifth birthday. This would require legislation. Schools should be allowed to space admissions over the first half term of the year.

(ii) There should be a three year course in the first (at present the infant) school.

(iii) This should be followed by a four year course in the middle (at present the junior) school.

(iv) There should be flexibility in entry to school and in transfer between the stages of education to allow for the circumstances of individual pupils.

(v) Children should be allowed for the first term after the normal time of entry to attend a nursery group, if the parents wish, and may attend school for half a day only for the term or until their sixth birthday, if this is later than the end of the term, at the request of parents.

(vi) The Department should announce as soon as possible a national policy on the structure of nursery and primary education and on the ages of transfer from stage to stage and should fix a date by which these should become binding.

Interim Recommendations
(vii) Until this date children should begin whole-day attendance at school twice a year, those reaching the age of five between February 1st and August 31st in the following September, and those reaching five between September 1st and January 31st in the following April. This would also require legislation which should permit staggered admissions over half a term.

(viii) Part-time attendance should be available at a morning or afternoon session for up to two terms before full-time entry. Exceptionally, a child should be allowed to attend part-time at the request of his parents until he reaches the age of six.

(ix) The same flexibility in arrangements for starting school should be allowed in exceptional cases as is proposed for the long term in paragraphs (iv) and (v) above.


1. Williams P 'Date of Birth, Backwardness and Educational Organisation'. Brit. Journ. Ed. Psychol. Nov. 1964
2. Jinks PC 'An Investigation into the Effect of Date of Birth on Subsequent School Performance', Educational Research Vol. VI No. 3 page 220.
3. Nightingale TW 'The May to August Births', Journal of the Durham Institute of Education. Nov. 1962
4. Armstrong HG 'Special Educational Treatment in the Ordinary Schools', Brit. Journ. Ed. Psychol. June 1965, Vol. XXXV Part 2.
5. Morris JM 'Reading in the Primary School', 1959, Newnes.
6. Nisbet JD and Entwistle NJ 'The Age of Transfer to Secondary Education', University of London Press Ltd. 1966.
7. Ministry of Labour Gazette, July 1965. Table 2, page 300 and information provided by the Ministry of Labour.

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Selection for Secondary Education

408. When the Council began their work, the future of selective secondary education was still uncertain. Strong trends against it had been apparent for some time. In 1964 an NFER analysis (1) of local authority practices in the allocation of pupils to secondary schools showed that all but 29 per cent of local authorities had established - or intended to establish - one or more comprehensive schools. Many authorities were showing less interest in allocation procedures because they intended to change the educational system which made them necessary. Comprehensive education is now the declared policy of the Government. In July 1965 local authorities were invited to submit plans for reorganising their secondary schools on a non-selective basis.

409. But the less enterprising primary schools are what they now are partly, at least, because of the influence of the selective system and it is not yet clear how soon and how completely authorities will abandon selection. For these reasons this chapter assesses briefly the various methods of selection and their impact and discusses the use of objective tests.

410. Before, however, we turn to the future, we think it right to recall the intentions of those who introduced methods of selection. Their aim was fundamentally egalitarian. It was to open the doors of the grammar schools to children of high ability irrespective of their social background. For the first 20 years after Hadow the problem was often to persuade working class parents to take up the 'free places' their children had won. For the last 20 years, however, the 11 plus has shut off from grammar schools many who wanted to go there and whose subsequent careers have shown that they would have profited from the opportunity.

Impact of Selection Procedures

411. A number of our witnesses thought that both the fact of selection and the way it is carried out made parents and children anxious, and that secondary modern schools had to contend with a sense of failure in their pupils. Definite evidence is difficult to obtain. The results of an enquiry made by the British Psychological Society into strain in children aged about 11 were inconclusive. (2) Though some children are certainly worried this seems often to be the result of their parents' or teacher's anxieties rather than their own. The number of complaints from parents to the Department about errors in selection has declined recently. The growing opportunities offered by GCE courses in secondary modem schools probably explain why parents are complaining less often about selection.

412. It is said that selection procedures lead to a narrowing of the primary school curriculum, an excessive emphasis on the acquisition of measurable skills and rigid streaming. Yet an assessment by HM Inspectors of the ill effects of selection in schools in the National Survey suggested that these effects were lessening, perhaps because teachers' estimates were tending to replace externally imposed attainment tests. Inquiries were also made into the

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quality of primary school work in areas where comprehensive schools have been set up or where testing has been replaced by teachers' estimates. Not surprisingly, some teachers continue their established routines when the reason for them has disappeared. The books of English exercises and of mechanical computation remain in many schools. But when there is encouragement from local advisers and when refresher courses coincide with the disappearance of formal selection arrangements, the work of the junior schools is liberated.

Selection Procedures

413. In the past 50 years persistent efforts have been made to refine methods of selection. As a result the World Survey of Education in 1962 (3) commented that 'Great Britain has made the greatest advance ... in developing reliable and valued methods of testing and examining scholastic aptitude and ability. Few countries ... have yet adopted such reliable methods of standardising or normalising the marks in assessments used for selection purposes.' Any substantial further improvement in accuracy is unlikely. When the best available methods are used, the number of children likely to be misplaced varies between ten per cent and 20 per cent of the total number of children transferred, depending on whether accuracy is defined in relation to achievement at 13 or 16. This estimate of error does not take account of the fact that selection procedures may create the future they predict. The reputation, good or bad, which a pupil earns by his performance at 11 tends to influence what his teachers and parents expect from him in the future and what he feels he can do. Boys and girls tend to live up to, or down to, their reputations.

414. The methods of selection most commonly used consist of:

(i) a battery of standardised verbal ability and attainment tests;
(ii) teachers' estimates scaled by verbal reasoning tests;
(iii) teachers' estimates scaled by a study of borderline cases and feedback of information from the secondary school.
415. The NFER, in their enquiry in Twickenham in 1956 (4), found the greatest accuracy was achieved when account was taken both of attainment tests and of the head teacher's order of merit scaled by the results of an intelligence test. Nevertheless, the order of merit was the best single predictor. Only a slight reduction in accuracy was caused by leaving attainment tests out of the calculation. This loss of accuracy must be weighed against the effects of externally imposed attainment tests on the curriculum of the primary school. Some teachers undoubtedly prepare for attainment tests and give this preparation undue weight in the curriculum. Some authorities try to reduce the backwash on the curriculum of standardised attainment tests by including English composition in the tests, or by new English tests which allow a greater freedom of response than did earlier types. Arithmetic tests have been constructed in which speed and computation are reduced in importance and items included which attempt to measure understanding. Although these tests are improvements they will not allow enough freedom to primary teachers if they are externally imposed. We conclude that where selection procedures continue to be used, a slight loss of accuracy is better than the risk of a harmful backwash on the curriculum, and that externally imposed attainment tests should be abandoned.

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416. Another selection method uses teachers' estimates calibrated by a verbal reasoning test. An intelligence test is taken in all schools and the result decides the number of grammar school places allocated to each primary school, which are then filled in the head teacher's rank order. The use of an intelligence test, even if only as a calibrator, is likely to cause undue attention to be given to practice which can improve performance. The more effective the coaching, the more it nullifies the purpose of giving the tests. Where intelligence tests continue to be used as calibrators, great care should be taken in presenting the scheme to parents and teachers so that they understand its purpose and do not try to increase school quotas by coaching at home or at school.

417. An alternative method of calibration rests upon two observations. In the first place, although different primary schools get different proportions of grammar school places, the proportion awarded to the same school in different years does not vary much. Secondly, a comparison of secondary school form orders shows that some primary schools produce 'improvers', who do better than those with the same marks from neighbouring schools. Other schools produce 'deteriorators', who do worse. The Thorne system, so called from the neighbourhood where it was first tried, was designed to take account of these two observations. An initial quota of selective places is given to each primary school and is generally based on the results of the previous three years. The accuracy of this figure for the current year is checked by a careful investigation of all borderline pupils undertaken by a panel of head teachers. A further check is provided by the feedback of information from the secondary schools to the primary schools. The purpose of this system is to avoid distortion of the primary school curriculum by dispensing with an externally imposed test. It achieves this object without loss of accuracy. It is acceptable to teachers and parents and has led to cooperation between primary and secondary schools. We are impressed by its advantages and hope that authorities which continue to use selection procedures will study its merits.

418. Selection at 11 is coming to an end, a trend we welcome in view of the difficulty of making right decisions and the effect of selection on the curriculum in primary schools. This does not, however, get rid of the need for an assessment of primary school pupils before they leave. The comprehensive school has decisions to make about the work suitable for individual pupils, and for this it needs guidance from the primary schools which children have been attending. The alternative of setting tests to children as soon as they arrive in their new school is deplorable. As one head teacher said 'I found I was testing what children had forgotten in the holidays'. There should therefore be some assessment of a child before he leaves his primary school. Should this be based on achievements in a single year or throughout the primary course? Because decisions based exclusively on tests taken on a single occasion have been thought unjust, some authorities, and some teachers in their estimates, have been led to rely on children's performance from the age of seven onwards. The effect may be to turn an 11 plus into a seven plus, an age at which some children may know more just because they have been longer at school. The earlier the origin of the information about children, the more likely it is to be obsolete at 11. Teachers should not make premature judgements about children's achievement and so help to create the response

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in children which they expect. A further point is particularly relevant to teachers' estimates. If parental occupation is taken into account in assessment procedures, their predictive accuracy is improved. This might be taken to suggest a debit or penalty for poor parental backing because children from poor homes tend to do less well. The ability of a child as known to its teachers should not in our opinion be written down because his parents may in the future fail to encourage him. In Chapter 4 we have discussed ways in which this risk can be reduced and parents brought to a deeper participation in their children's education. Here we are concerned only with the assessment of children from varying social backgrounds.

419. Teachers, who, whatever their origins, tend to have middle class values, have a difficult task in assessing correctly the children of unskilled workers, partly because they speak a different language and have different conventions, and partly because a smaller proportion of these children can count on informed parental backing. There is a risk that their potential may be underestimated because their actual achievement is not seen in relation to their starting point. No test with predictive value can be 'culture free' but a non verbal intelligence test is a sensible check to use on impressions gained from attainments in class work or verbal tests.

420. Teachers who have to interpret test results need to bear in mind that a child's achievement is always in a given setting, in a particular school and with an individual teacher or teachers, so that an attainment test may predict imperfectly what will follow changes of situation and possible changes of motivation. Those who use tests should realise that there is a greater possibility of error in the test assessment of an individual than of a group, that tests are valuable only if they are standardised on a sufficiently representative sample and that the intelligence which is measured varies according to the test used (see Chapter 2). They should also realise that intelligence and attainment tests may be biased in favour of girls or of boys and that they must be suited to the age of children for whom they are being used. As the 11 plus tests disappear, the internal use of tests may increase and it becomes even more important that teachers should be well-informed about them.

421. It is usual to welcome the over-achiever, the child whose achievement runs beyond his apparent ability. That there should also be under-achievers is statistically inevitable. When they are recognised, teachers should consider whether changes of attitude and fresh stimulus from the school are called for. Information about under-achievement should always be passed on from class to class and school to school.

422. Teachers who want to compare their pupils with those from other schools, as will become more necessary with the disappearance of selection examinations, can use, in their own school, group intelligence and attainment tests or ask for a feedback of information from secondary schools, as in the Thorne Scheme. They may also wish, on occasion, to use tests for individual pupils about whose work they are worried. At this time of rapid change in the curriculum, the means of assessment of progress are almost bound to lag behind. We hope that attention can now be diverted from the design of tests for the purpose of selection to the development of tests suited to the changing primary curriculum and helpful to teachers who need to diagnose children's difficulties in learning. Teachers themselves might devise tests, of an objective type, based on the concepts which they wish their pupils to form in such

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subjects as mathematics. Tests which would help teachers to recognise inventiveness and originality would also be valuable. Although tests are useful, there is some danger of spending too much time on testing, at the expense of teaching.


423. (i) Authorities who for an interim period continue to need selection procedures should cease to rely on an externally imposed battery of intelligence and attainment tests.

(ii) Further work is needed on tests for use by teachers in the context of the changing curriculum.


1. Local Authority Practices in the Allocation of Pupils to Secondary Schools, NFER, 1964.
2. 'Secondary School Selection'. British Psychological Society, 1957.
3. World Survey of Education, 1962, UNESCO.
4. Secondary School Selection, NFER, 1956.

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Continuity and Consistency between the Stages of Education

Home to School

424. This chapter is mainly about what ought to happen when a child passes from one school to another, but it must start with a different kind of transition - from home to school. The relation between these two halves of a child's life is so obviously of fundamental importance that it will recur at intervals throughout this chapter just as it does throughout the whole Report. In Chapter 10 we suggest that admissions to the first school ought to be staggered over half a term so that each child and each child's mother can be separately welcomed and made to feel at home. It ought not to be just a matter of bringing a child to school, but of placing him in a cooperative undertaking in which teacher and mother both have parts to play. Over half the schools in the National Survey made no special arrangements. Nearly half said they were not free to do so. Our recommendation then is not just a pious approval of an all but universal practice. Neither is it a shot in the dark. In the autumn of 1963 a third of the schools in the National Survey did not expect their new children all to start school on the first day of term - 12 schools spent three days in welcoming the newcomers, four spent over a week and nine a fortnight or more. Another six said five year olds were free to join any day in the term they became five, and four that children entered in the week of their fifth birthday. This was a very thorough form of staggering. When only one yearly intake is in force there will be even greater need to stagger admissions, and they will have to be spread over a longer time.

425. But welcoming a child is more than a matter of reserving proper time to attend to him. It is the quality of the welcome and the imaginative insight given to it which counts. HM Inspectors told us what they thought of the way in which this was done in the infant and junior mixed and infant schools in the National Survey. Over a third showed themselves resourceful and enterprising in what they did. A sixth were poor. The kind of things that impressed the inspectors, and they seem right to us, were invitations to mothers and children to spend some time in the children's first class before admission, encouragement to mothers to stay with children who are anxious during the first few days at school, welcoming letters to parents with suggestions on how to help their children to make a successful start, and meetings for discussion between the school staff and the parents of five year olds. Satisfactory contacts with homes are one of the strengths of the village school. 'In this small, friendly favoured village where the headmaster and his colleagues know every family well,' one report ran, 'there are simply no problems or difficulties. Each individual parent has a chat with the headmaster at some time; young children sometimes come to a school function; but nothing specifically planned is called for.' Given a good staff, this happens naturally in a village; even given a good staff, it has to be industriously contrived if it is to happen in the anonymous society of a city.

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Separate or Combined Schools

426. The next problem of continuity arises now at the age of seven, and will occur at eight if our recommendations are accepted. Ought there to be separate first and middle schools, or are combined schools better? One of the strengths of English education has been its sense of community, which is hardly possible if the age range is very wide and the numbers too large for children to know one another. It is proper that schools for the youngest children should emphasise individual play and learning, and that schools for somewhat older children should make the most of their tendency to go about in groups. Research evidence on the relative merits of combined and separate junior and infant schools is inconclusive (1) but experienced observers say that outstanding work by seven year olds is more frequent in separate infant schools. Teachers in separate junior and infant schools have been able to concentrate on educating children who are at different stages of developments. All schools tend to over value their oldest pupils, by whom the success of the school is usually judged. This tells against a school with an age span so wide that there is almost bound to be a conflict between the interests of the oldest and youngest children. We have suggested that the age of transfer to secondary education should be raised to 12. We doubt whether a single school can provide entirely satisfactorily for children from five (or three if there are nursery groups) to 12. If the school is intimate enough for the youngest children, it is unlikely to justify a staff varied enough in their abilities and interests to meet the needs of the older children. We conclude that the most suitable organisation of primary schools is in separate first and middle schools, though a combined organisation may be necessary in rural areas and for some voluntary schools.

Avoiding Strain at Time of Transfer

427. Children, like adults, enjoy and are stimulated by novelty and change. The first day at school, the transfer to the 'big school', are landmarks in the process of growing up. Even when children are apprehensive, they look forward to change, the man teacher, the 'terribly hard work' of the junior school, the new subjects in the secondary school. They exaggerate and boast about the difference from the 'kids' place where everything was easy. So strong is the myth that 'going up' must mean going to something better that some children, who are hopelessly bewildered by secondary school work, persist in saying that all is well. But if change is to stimulate and not to dishearten, it must be carefully prepared and not too sudden. The new school must know enough of the old school's ways to carry on where it left off, and neither to repeat what is already known nor to jump unthinkingly ahead.

428. The disadvantage of separate schools is that they lack the natural contacts between infant and junior teachers in the staffroom of a combined school. Contacts between separate schools have to be cultivated instead of being spontaneous, and indeed unavoidable. The evidence is that they are not cultivated enough, though HM Inspectors' enquiries in connection with the National Survey show that there is a real improvement. The gulf between junior and secondary teachers is even wider, though there is some evidence that as selection procedure with its standardised information about pupils declines, more secondary school head teachers are coming to primary schools for information.

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429. Primary and secondary school teachers not only need to know each other, but to know each other's work. This is something that can greatly be helped if they are trained together in the same colleges. Colleges of education have been developing groups deliberately designed to overlap two stages of education, infant-junior, and junior-secondary groups catering for teachers of children of 5 to 9 and 9 to 13. Great as is the need for colleges of education to train more primary teachers, an increase would be bought too dearly if it meant that almost all secondary teachers were trained in universities, and the separation already evident in the present system made even more acute.

430. In spite of their training, teachers in the admission classes of infant schools may try to press on with reading, the teachers of the lower juniors to bring all eight year olds up to the same level and the teachers in the lower forms of secondary schools to begin to think of preparing children at 11 for the long road to external examination. It is after a few years' service that there is need for radical in-service training. It is then that nursery and infant class teachers can most profit from discussion of play for children, that infant and junior teachers need to share their views on the work that is possible between six and eight (and we hope later, between seven and nine); and that junior and lower secondary school teachers can discover that both have found that 'how' rather than 'why' is what interests their pupils. Groups of primary and secondary teachers who belong to the same subject associations or are taking part in the same Nuffield projects can learn much from one another. The primary teachers need the subject knowledge of the specialists; the secondary teachers can profit from hearing of the astonishing standards some children reach in some primary schools.

Contacts Between Teachers in Successive Stages of Education

431. Neither initial nor in-service training is a substitute for personal contact between the primary school teacher who taught a boy in the summer term and the secondary school teacher who will look after him in the autumn term. These contacts are often difficult to arrange. Though many schools share common sites, many are isolated from the schools that contribute to them and those to which their children go. There are more than mechanical difficulties to face. Schools are shy of one another. The secondary or junior head may fear that his junior or infant colleagues may suspect interference: the feeling that to teach younger children is somehow inferior often makes the infant teacher diffident about approaching the junior head, the junior head uneasy about inviting the secondary head to his school. These are human weaknesses. Authorities and professional organisations should help teachers to overcome them. It is important for the children that they should. Given the will, many forms of working together are possible, as we have seen from our enquiries. The children who are due to go up are sometimes visited not only by the head of their new school but also, which is more immediately important to them, by their future class teacher. There are schools where joint meetings of the two staffs are held to discuss work and policy. Occasionally a teacher moves up with her class from the infant school and remains their class teacher in the junior school. The same policy is rare, but not unknown, in the transition from junior school to secondary. But many contacts are of the formal kind that consist in visiting other schools for speech days and other ceremonial occasions that give little opportunity for conversation about individual pupils.

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There are schools which work side by side in almost total ignorance of one another. We have heard of a teacher who had been taking the youngest class in the junior school for a number of years but who did not know, even by sight, the deputy head of the infant school who was normally responsible for the oldest class. Such instances may be exceptional; but where schools live in enclosed worlds the local education authority might close the schools in the area for one day and arrange a conference for the teachers to establish some footing on which the schools can work together in equal partnership.

432. In some districts parent-teacher associations serving a group of schools have strengthened the bonds between school and home and between schools. In other districts an overlap in the membership of governing and managing bodies has proved useful. There are large secondary schools where contact with contributory primary schools is one of the most important responsibilities of the head of the lower school. One selective school holds an annual conference with its contributory primary school head teachers. The secondary form masters enquire about their new pupils and the primary heads see and discuss the reports on their former pupils. The primary school staff are told about proposed changes in the secondary school curriculum and are invited to comment.

Interchange of Knowledge of Pupils

433. Most of the information which a secondary school needs about individual pupils ought to be put into writing. After the war a type of record card was popular which asked for so much information, most of it assessed on a five point scale, that many teachers found it took far too much time to complete. They also questioned the reliability of assessments of personality characteristics, recognising that children may behave differently with different teachers. Some information asked for was, they felt, too confidential to be committed to a record card. There was often a feeling that children should be given a fresh start and not saddled with a bad name.

434. As a result many authorities shortened and simplified their record cards. Differences in the use made of information are as great as those in the amount and kind sent on. In some schools, records remain in the head teacher's room and are never seen by class teachers unless a special problem arises. But the person who needs nine tenths of the information to do his job is the class teacher.

435. It is time that new thought was given to both sides of the exchange. We think the authorities might well call area conferences of teachers to discuss the information that is passed on and the use that is made of it, and draw up proposals for the future. Our own suggestion is that there should be a folder for each child containing:

(i) medical records - at present not always seen by head teachers and rarely seen by class teachers;
(ii) facts about illness, absence from school, and composition of the family;
(iii) results of intelligence tests with a note on the test used and interpretation;
(iv) results of attainment tests and, where necessary, of diagnostic tests;

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(v) examples of the child's work and the names of some of the books he has read;
(vi) full notes of personal handicaps or special gifts;
(vii) possibly a pen picture of the child.
436. The material in the folder could provide a basis for the regular review with parents of children's progress, and notes on these discussions might be added. For the majority of children and schools, entries under (i) and (ii) will be brief and those under (iii) and (iv) will not begin till the upper junior school. The time gained by this brevity might be spent on detailed comment in special cases. Some authorities may prefer to use a record card to collect information under (ii), (iii) and (iv). If they do, teachers should be encouraged to make comments only where they have something to say. Full value will not be gained from the folders unless they are available to class teachers in junior schools and to form teachers or personal tutors in secondary schools*.

437. Written records are only of limited value unless the writers know one another and feel free to ask supplementary questions with confidence that they will be answered. A teacher who has finished a folder and sent it on to the next school does not lose interest in the child he has taught. It is not idle curiosity, and the desire to know how former pupils are getting on in their new schools ought to be satisfied. If the new school takes the trouble to let the old school know, it is likely to get even more useful information about future intakes partly because the teacher who is completing a folder will know that the information is being used, and partly because he will gradually find out what is specially worth reporting.

Introducing Pupils to New Schools

438. When schools are near one another, children are often invited to plays and other functions. Visits are also often arranged in the term before transfer. Towards the end of the summer term in one school, each third year junior is encouraged to befriend one of the infants, to take him on a tour of the junior school building and to help him find his way around in the first few days after he moves up. In another school, junior teachers take their future classes from the infant school to see where they will work next term. They talk to them about the excitements that await them as juniors, and tell them which door to come in on the first day, where to hang their coats and other details about which children often worry.

439. Some secondary schools invite new entrants to spend half a day in the school in the term before entry. Another proved device is for new pupils to come a day before the rest so that they can explore the building, meet the staff, and get their books and timetables in relative peace. By the second day they can begin to work in earnest. A prompt start helps morale. There is some evidence that transition to secondary schools is particularly difficult for pupils from small primary schools. To overcome this in one rural area, top juniors from small primary schools work half a day a week in the local secondary school. The effect has been to familiarise them with the school to

*In France, the 'dossier scolaire' includes much the same information. It is used at the end of the primary school course and again at the end of the 'cycle d'observation' for making decisions on the course best suited to a pupil in the secondary school.

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which they will transfer, to enrich the curriculum of ten year olds in small country schools, and to build a bridge between primary and secondary education. Where schools are far apart, these introductory devices are more difficult to arrange but also far more important then for those schools which are close together. For the children from a remote country school, going to a new school is an adventure into a strange land. All children should make at least one visit to their new school in the term before they transfer.

Support from Parents

440. Children need an extra measure of support from their parents when they change schools, and not only when they go to their first school. Some junior heads, in the term before children enter, invite parents to a meeting to see the school, hear about its activities and meet the staff. Sometimes this meeting is associated with an open day for the younger classes, an arrangement which works well enough provided that time is left for the teachers to meet the parents both of the newcomers and of those who are already there.

441. It would be helpful if all authorities adopted the practice already followed by some and sent parents a leaflet explaining the choice of available secondary schools and the courses provided within them. The leaflet might also, as is very rarely done, prepare parents for the differences between primary and secondary education. But a personal contact is always more valuable. In some primary schools a meeting is held in the summer term for parents of fourth year pupils, which is attended by the heads of the secondary schools to which pupils will be transferring. Many secondary schools send parents details of school routine and arrange meetings and personal interviews for them with the head master and masters or mistresses of junior forms. In some schools further meetings are organised early in the school year at which parents' problems can be raised. There is no one ideal pattern for these arrangements but all secondary schools need to meet the parents of new entrants. Fathers are as easily interested as mothers and feel they have something of their own to contribute.

Consistency in Work and Organisation

442. Some years ago, HM Inspectors, looking at the work being done by children before and after transition to the junior school, felt that three to six months after transfer there was a narrowing of opportunities, a tendency towards regimentation and a substitution of group or even class teaching for individual work. Many children tackled less difficult work and wrote less in their own words than they had done some months before. The libraries in the youngest junior classes were often inferior in quality and range to those the children had left behind in the top infant classes and children spent more time on 'readers' and less on library books. Individual interests in music and art and craft had petered out. Some boys whose ability and attendance were average or poor had fallen back in almost every respect when seen four months after transfer. They made little perceptible headway by the end of the year.

443. It is possible that conditions have improved in the last two or three years as an increasing number of junior schools have adopted a more liberal approach to the curriculum. But the National Survey shows (Appendix 5)

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that nearly a third of the first year junior classes were taught by beginners. Where the first year was streamed there was a tendency, confirmed by the NFER streaming survey (Appendix 11, Section II, Table XI), to put the weakest teacher with the least able children, perhaps because this was the smallest class. The contrast between the education provided in the infant school and the junior school is often accentuated because it is frequently the deputy head who teaches the older infants. Some of the difficulties we have described will be reduced if children are transferred, as we recommend, at eight. It will still be necessary to ensure that there is no sharp break between 'infant' and 'junior' methods, and to see, whenever possible, that weak teachers are not made responsible for children who are adjusting to a new school. One study of a small sample of children suggests that refusals to attend school reach a peak at the age of eight (2).

444. There is even more danger of setbacks and standstill at the transition from primary to secondary schools. They are particularly demoralising to 11 year olds who expect transfer to a secondary school to bring the challenge of new work. Sometimes a secondary school draws from so many primary schools that it is extremely difficult for it to know much about all of them. But real knowledge of the work at the top of a few primary schools enables secondary schools teachers to know what they ought to expect, to set their sights high for able children and lower for others. In this way all the newcomers benefit, whether or not their form master knows the school from which a child comes.

445. In the primary school the class teacher knows all about each child's work and can, if he likes, provide plentiful opportunities for pupils to work on their own, in groups or as a whole class. A secondary school run on specialist lines is not in the same position. Nobody knows, except by hearsay, about a child's work in all subjects. For this reason many secondary schools have less specialist teaching in the first year or two years and try to see that the form master or mistress teaches the form for at least one period a day, Other devices such as 'tutor sets' are introduced to try to offset the difficulties caused by specialist teaching. It is outside our province to consider the methods of working in secondary schools but we wish to record our belief that 12 and even 13 year olds need to be taught by teachers whom they really know and who really know them, however this is secured. We have received evidence that this does not happen enough at present.

Content of Curriculum

446. Not unexpectedly, it is the new subject with new equipment which beginners in the secondary school most often enjoy. Disappointment is more usually expressed with work in the fields of study already familiar from the primary school, in which many secondary teachers involuntarily or deliberately repeat work that has already been attempted. The secondary schools are in a difficult position in that, despite tradition and other influences, there may be big differences of content and method even from one primary school to another in the same area. Increased opportunities for individual work in secondary schools could reduce the overlap in children's work before and after transfer. Some revision is due to the mistaken hope that repetition in, for example, computation will lead to perfect accuracy. Similarly, there is a

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tendency for schools to go back to the Stone Age in history and to return to the British Isles in geography. These are deliberate, if mistaken, overlaps which will only be abandoned as teachers realise that they lead to boredom. Accidental overlaps such as the use of the same text books in history and geography at the top of the primary school and the bottom of the secondary school could readily be avoided by discussion between primary and secondary teachers and a study of pupils' records. It is particularly unfortunate when the same literature is read in successive years, when there are so many books of quality suitable for children. English secondary schools have an international reputation for their school libraries, but in some schools too little provision is made for the younger children who may have a poorer choice of books than they had in their primary schools. Collaboration often occurs when new subjects or new perspectives in subjects become common in primary schools. The introduction of a foreign language in primary schools has led to discussion of the development of language teaching in both primary and secondary stages. Similar collaboration has come from recent changes in mathematics and science teaching. But unless joint discussions continue, the new primary school subjects will add to the opportunities for stale repetition.

447. No magic changes six, seven and eight year olds from infants to juniors as they move from one school to the next. They are the same children. Children of 10, 11 and 12 are not transformed by entering the secondary school. Changes bring setbacks as well as stimulus. The solution lies in close professional contacts, not only between head teachers but also between all who teach children on either side of the frontiers, which should not be barriers that divide school from school.


448. (i) Mothers and children should spend some time in the school and class before admission, and mothers stay with children when necessary during the first few days at school. Meetings between staff and parents should be arranged.

(ii) The most suitable organisation of primary education is in separate first and middle schools, though combined schools may be necessary in rural areas and for some voluntary schools.

(iii) The initial and in-service training of teachers should overlap more than one stage of education.

(iv) There should be a variety of contacts between teachers in successive stages of education.

(v) Local education authorities should close schools for one day to arrange conferences for teachers, when there is evidence of lack of contact between those in successive stages.

(vi) Authorities should call area conferences of teachers to consider the information passed on within the primary stage and from primary to secondary schools and the use made of it.

(vii) There should be a detailed folder on each child which could provide a basis for a regular review with children's parents of their progress. The folders should accompany the child into the middle and

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secondary schools and should be available to the child's class or form teacher. Information about former pupils should be sent back from secondary to primary schools.

(viii) All children should make at least one visit to their new school in the term before they transfer.

(ix) Authorities should send parents a leaflet explaining the choice of secondary schools available and the courses provided within them.

(x) All secondary schools should make arrangements to meet the parents of new entrants.

(xi) There should be no sharp break between infant or first and junior or middle school methods. In allocating staff, heads should try to avoid giving responsibility to a weak member of staff for children adjusting to a new school.

(xii) Discussions should be held between primary and secondary teachers to avoid overlap in such matters as text books and to discuss pupils' records.


1. DA Pidgeon School Type Difference in Ability and Attainment. Educational Research. June, 1959.
2. T Moore Difficulties of the Ordinary Child in Adjusting to Primary School. Journal of Child Psychiatry and Psychology. 1966.

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The Size of Primary Schools

449. The size of primary schools is determined in large measure by the distribution of population and by other circumstances in the community or area which they serve. Most small schools are in the country or in urban areas where the population is falling. Rural schools and their sizes are treated in the following chapter. Many small schools both in town and country are voluntary schools and their size must depend on the number of children for whom a denominational school can be shown to be needed. Substantial changes in the size of existing schools are not likely in the near future since most schools must continue to use their present buildings. Yet many new primary schools will have to be built and it may be possible to reorganise existing schools. It is, therefore, of value to discuss the most satisfactory size of school. Though our evidence was necessarily based on schools as they now are, we have made suggestions for the sizes of schools in the various age ranges which we recommend.

The Existing Situation

450. Table 8 shows the different size of primary schools in England in January 1965. It will be seen from it that:

(a) most infant schools have between 100 and 300 children on the roll;
(b) just under half of the junior with infant schools have fewer than 100 children on roll;
(c) nearly one third of all primary schools, including all age schools of which only a few remain, have 100 or fewer children on roll. They contain, however, only about 12 per cent of the primary school population;
(d) junior schools, which are concentrated in urban areas, tend to be larger than junior mixed and infant schools.
Suitable Sizes of Schools for Primary Children

451. Most witnesses who expressed an opinion favoured schools small enough for children to move freely about the buildings without anxiety, and to get to know the adults and many of the children. It is difficult to be sure whether the youngest children are aware of the total size of the school community, particularly if their part of the building is separated from that used by the older children. Witnesses held that primary schools should be of a size in which the head and other teachers can know children as individuals. A study of the incidence of delinquency in primary schools in a large urban area (1) suggests that there is rather less delinquency in smaller schools when allowance is made for the neighbourhood. Heads of the special group of 'schools in the slums' studied in the Newsom report thought this to be so.

452. Witnesses believe - and we concur with their view - that schools should be small enough for heads to know parents personally and to involve them in the work and life of the school. Whether parents visit a school frequently

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will depend partly on its distance from their homes. Distance also matters to children, who should not be expected cross busy roads, particularly if it is difficult to provide traffic wardens at all dangerous crossings.

453. Witnesses also agree that schools should, when possible, be large enough to justify a staff with varied gifts and to permit a flexible organisation which does not force classes with a wide age range on teachers who are not convinced of their value. At the same time, schools should be small enough for a head to be able to give effective leadership to their staff and, in particular, to inexperienced teachers, and for the staff to work together as a team without too formal an organisation.

454. The evidence of research about the attainments of children in schools of varying size is inconclusive. Studies of reading in Kent (2) showed that reading attainments were higher in larger schools. The Manchester Primary School Study (see Appendix 9) found a similar correlation between size of school and attainment. The authors of both these studies are aware that the larger schools are found in those areas where parents tend to belong to higher socio-economic groups than are characteristic of communities where the schools are small. The National Survey shows that, when other factors are held constant, no clear relationship emerges between size of school and attainment in reading.

455. The advice of almost all our witnesses is that, with the present age range and class size, two form entry junior or infant schools and one form entry junior mixed and infant schools are the most satisfactory. This amounts to about 240 children in an infant school, about 320 in a school for juniors only and 280 for a combined junior mixed and infant school. Advice from the Department to local authorities in recent years has been on this basis and has usually been followed in the building of urban schools. We have analysed by size a list of schools of especial distinction compiled by HM Inspectors. The proportion of schools on this list, which are of the sizes commended by our evidence, exceeds markedly the national proportion of schools of these sizes. The excess of good schools occurred in each type of primary school - junior mixed and infant, junior, and infant schools. It is also interesting that the proportion of schools in the National Survey which were rated average and above average was rather higher in schools of 200-350 pupils than in larger or smaller schools (Appendix 5, paragraph 8 and Table 5).

456. Almost alone among our witnesses the LCC [London County Council], while in favour of variety in size and organisation of school, recommended experiments in schools of up to 500 children aged five to 11, and saw no overriding argument against infant schools of 360 and junior schools of 480, if other circumstances, such as the area of the sites, made this possible. They believed that there were advantages in the varying gifts of a large staff and in the wider range of equipment available in a big school. Larger schools can absorb a higher proportion of men teachers and can reduce the demand for women in positions of responsibility. This is an important point since there are few applications from women for headships or posts of responsibility. The LCC also thought that the promotion prospects created by large schools might attract more men into primary schools. In common with most of our witnesses, they preferred for urban areas a school which admits at least one form each year and makes possible classes which contain one year

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group only. Finally, they suggested that, in schools which are bigger than one form entry, the annual entry was less likely to vary so much that there would have to be children from more than one age group in a class.

Economic Arguments

457. In making a decision on the most satisfactory size of schools, local education authorities have to take into account the cost of building and maintenance, of transport and of staffing, both in manpower and in money. These economic factors are relevant to this and the following chapter.

458. The cost limits for building new schools allow more for each pupil in small than in large schools. It is assumed that classes with wide age ranges need to be smaller than classes with a narrow age range, and this assumption is made explicit in the Building Regulations, which provide for two teaching spaces (or classrooms) to be built for 26-50 children, three for 51-80 children, four for 81-130 children and five for 131-160 children. It is therefore more economical to build larger schools. As Table 13 shows, the rate of savings diminishes in schools which have more than 280 pupils. Smaller savings are not negligible, however, at a time when many schools need to be replaced or improved, and when education must compete with other equally important services for its share of money and labour for building.

Table 13 Cost Limits for Different Size of Primary Schools: June 1966

Pupil NumbersCost per pupil

459. We examined the relationship between the major running costs of a sample of 81 primary schools and their size and age. Building maintenance costs were shown to be related to the age of the school but not to its size. Cleaning and caretaking costs per pupil showed some tendency to rise with increases in the size of school, and fuel and lighting some tendency to fall, but none of these costs was related to the age of the building. The failure to find a significant relationship between running costs and size may be due to the nature of the sample. Different methods of heating and different kinds of fuel were used in different schools. Maintenance costs are affected by the type of building construction, the extent to which schools are used outside normal hours and the care taken of the buildings. A further study by the Department of Education and Science of schools in county areas of England and Wales shows a somewhat erratic connection between running costs (other than in staffing) and size. Areas where the average size of school is 70 pupils or fewer had very high costs which decreased as sizes reached 120-130 pupils but then increased again. But these areas were not matched for size or other aspects of buildings or of their use. It may be that as the stock of new building increases, such costs as heating and caretaking will become more uniform among schools of equal size. Further analysis is called for with a carefully matched sample of schools.

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Staffing Costs in Manpower and Money

460. Small schools have better ratios of staff to pupils than large schools. The figures in Table 14 show that the pupil-teacher ratio rises sharply in schools up to 200 but that, though there is some further increase in larger schools, it is proportionately much smaller. We agree with our witnesses that, except in those classes of young children which are vertically grouped by deliberate policy, classes combining two or more year groups should be smaller than classes which provide for only one year group. Because of the shortage of teachers, the need for more generous staffing in smaller schools is a strong argument for organising, whenever possible, schools of at least one form entry in urban areas. The economy in staffing in very large schools is less genuine and will disappear if, as we recommend, schools are staffed on the basis of a pupil-teacher ratio as well as on size of class. Competent head teachers should be able to carry heavy responsibilities in the guidance of staff and pupils. But if more than one teacher is absent, as must often happen in a very large school, classes have to be combined. Heads cannot see as much of the work of the staff in a large school as in a school of medium size, unless the heads themselves give up teaching. If they delegate some of their responsibility for advice to deputy heads and others, these teachers ought to be relieved of some periods with their own classes. In either case, teachers who are not in charge of classes become necessary.

Table 14 Distribution of Pupil/Teacher Rations by Size of School: January 1965 (England)

Transport Costs

461. We have not obtained figures for the cost of transporting children to schools outside the area or village in which they live. The costs themselves may be less important than the time and energy consumed in long journeys.

Foreign Practice

462. Many of the schools visited by members in the USA, the USSR, Denmark and Sweden were larger than those normally found in this country. In Sweden there is centralised planning by the Royal Swedish Board of Education which relates the size and situation of individual schools to popula-

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tion and housing trends (3) and often allows the first school (seven to ten years) to be part of quite large combined schools containing older children as well. In the USA some elementary schools (generally catering for children between 6 and 12 years of age) have more than 1,000 pupils on roll, and a high proportion of the child population is in these big schools. These schools, mainly to be seen in large cities, may mislead the visitor into thinking that most American elementary schools are large. In fact many American elementary schools are as small as our own. Schools in other countries are often larger than ours because there are few separate infant and junior schools and primary schools cover therefore a wider age range than here. Parents and children benefit from a longer association with the same school. The disadvantages of large size may be less because there may be less emphasis on the school as a community, and more on the importance of classroom instruction. In a large school the head teacher is an administrator rather than a principal teacher and in the USA is often referred to as such. Foreign practice as to the size of primary schools has therefore little relevance for us because of varying concepts of the school and the different ways in which schools are organised.


463. In Chapter 10 we recommend that there should be schools for children from five to eight and from 8 to 12 years and in Chapter 14 we suggest an option of between eight and nine in rural areas. When new schools are provided or existing schools reorganised to fit this changed structure, we believe that a two form entry will usually be most satisfactory for a first school (that is about 240 children) and a two to three form entry (300-450 children) for a middle school.

464. The figures which we have quoted relate to schools with classes for 40 children, except that it is assumed that children aged 11-12 will be in classes of 30. When class sizes are reduced it may be sensible to work to the same total numbers but to provide more classes since the pupil-teacher ratio will be better. Three form entry first schools (with classes of 30 pupils making a roll of about 270 children) could transfer children to three form entry middle schools. Alternatively two first schools, each of two form entry, could be linked with one four form entry middle school (with about 480 children). Other arrangements of a similar kind could be made. A middle school of this size should be able to employ teachers particularly competent in the main aspects of the curriculum. The larger the middle school, the easier it will be to provide simple facilities for practical work in science, and in art and craft and sufficient space for physical education.

465. It is more difficult to recommend the most suitable size for a combined first and middle school. If our recommendations on the age of transfer are accepted, combined schools will have less to recommend them than they have now. Either the school community will be too large for the younger children or, if it is small enough for them, the staff will be few and may not give enough stimulus to the older children.

466. In general there seems to be little serious conflict between the size of schools desirable on educational, economic and other grounds, except perhaps for the three and four class schools which are often inevitable in the

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country. Larger schools than are educationally desirable might be a little more economical to run but the evidence is far from clear. The question of size of school is of sufficient interest to merit further study from both educational and economic points of view. The economic data should be closely analysed on well matched samples of schools.


467 (i) The most satisfactory size for new or reorganised first schools will normally be two form entry (240 children) and for middle schools two to three form entry (300 to 450 children). When class sizes are reduced, the same number of children can be retained on roll but schools should be organised on the basis of three form entry first and middle schools, or two form entry first schools and four form entry middle schools.

(ii) With the exception of small schools in rural areas and voluntary schools, combined first and middle schools are undesirable.

(iii) Further study should be made of the educational characteristics of schools of different sizes, and the economic data should be analysed on well matched samples of schools.


1. Information supplied by Liverpool Local Education Authority and analysed by Mr GF Peaker.
2. Morris JM 'Reading in the Primary School', 1959, Newnes.
3. Discussion with officials of Royal Swedish Board of Education and 'Can Population and Housing Censuses be used in the Localisation of Schools?' B Jacobsoni, Statistisk Tidskrift 1964:5 p.317 to 326.

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Table 15

Number of Small Schools in England: 1962-65

[click on the image for a larger version]

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Education in Rural Areas*

468. In 1962, the last year in which Ministry of Education statistics distinguished between urban and rural schools, just under two out of every five primary schools in England and Wales were rural. If the child population was proportionate to the total population as shown by the 1961 census, about one in five pupils attended a country school. According to the NUT Survey of schools (1962) about 17 per cent of rural schools had one or two classes. Most of the remainder contain three or four classes. Two class and three class schools constitute the two main groups. Most village schools provide for children from 5 to 11.

School Closures

469. Affectionate accounts of village schools figure prominently in autobiographies and in descriptions of schools published in the last 20 years. Nevertheless, many are closed every year, partly as a result of shifts of population, partly by the deliberate policy of local education authorities.

470. During the period 1962 to 1965 the number of primary schools with up to 25 pupils on roll declined by 243 and the number of schools with 26 to 50 pupils was reduced by 283 (see Table 15). Closure of one teacher schools was proportionately greatest; these schools, increased in number by the removal of pupils over 11 to secondary schools, are particularly difficult to run. If the teacher is ill there may be no alternative to sending the children home and no one to see that it is done. Many of the smallest schools are in the worst buildings; the NUT Survey showed that the smaller the school, the more likely it was to have been built in the nineteenth century. Frequently, no applications may be received for headships of isolated one teacher schools. Teachers who are not outstandingly gifted find it difficult to educate more than two age groups of junior children together unless the class is very small or extra help is given. That small schools are expensive to build and to staff has been shown in the previous chapter. The evidence we have received both from teachers in small schools and most of the educational associations is that a three class school for the age range 5 to 11 is the minimum effective unit.

Changing Social Conditions

471. For those living in the country, even more than for the rest of the community, change has been rapid in the last 30 years. Television has introduced new interests. London or the nearest seaside resort is often better known and more readily imagined than the county town. Mechanisation is reducing the number of farm workers, never more than a proportion of villagers, needed to work the land and it is demanding more technical ability of those who

*The Central Advisory Council For Education (Wales) have, we understand, made a detailed study of problems of rural education. It contains much that is relevant to the size of rural schools and to rural education in England. Its relevance is, however, limited by the difference in rural communities between Wales and most parts of England.

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remain. Though wages have gone up and much overtime can be earned seasonally, earnings lag behind those in the towns. Many villages are almost emptied of their working population during the day: public and private buses and cars take men and women to factories in the nearest towns. The drift of the young from the countryside continues.

472. Yet there are large differences from one part of the country to another and from one village to another. Many villages are near enough to urban counties to be preferred by commuters to suburban dormitories. Whole areas of the home counties come into this category. Parents expect and press for as good an education for their children in the village as they would have had in the town. Some of the most active PTAs are in commuter villages. In the true country, some villages grow larger because of housing development, the introduction of small industry, adequate shopping facilities and reasonable public transport. In others, transport is poor, no council houses are built and the young must move away to work and later to set up their own households. In some villages, only a minority of the inhabitants were born there. In others the old cohesion remains, and a proposal to close a village school may raise a storm of protest from parents and from others who have no immediate concern with the school. To close a primary school may in fact diminish a village in more senses than one and provide a further reason why young married couples will want to leave it. Yet there are great variations between villages and between regions. Some schools, especially in the North, were never integral to a village but were placed centrally for hamlets and outlying farms.

Rural Schools: The Premises

473. The pioneering work of the National Society in providing schools for the villages in the nineteenth century has left a heavy legacy of problems. Though many of these schools become 'controlled' after the 1944 Act and the buildings could therefore be improved with local education authority help, progress has been held up by the priority given to secondary school reorganisation and to the provision of schools for new housing estates. In any case until reorganisation was completed and the older children transferred, improvement would have often taken up too much space. Now that this has been done improvements must rely on minor building programmes which, though increased, do not make sufficient impact. Yet there have been some remarkable achievements. The cooperation of local education authorities and the Ministry (and later, Department) of Education Development Group has resulted in the planning and building of village schools designed for the conditions of rural education and so able to serve as models for new schools and for adaptations.

474. Yet many country schools, like the older primary schools in the towns, lag behind what is tolerable, let alone what is desirable. Some schools are without facilities for physical education, either indoors or outdoors. Even though more space has been provided by the transfer of secondary pupils the infants' room is often so pokey that it will not take new furniture. There is rarely any place where teachers can withdraw from the children or talk to a parent. Storage is inadequate. Many schools still lack piped hot water and the chemical closet and the earth closet still survive. In some schools conditions are worse than at home, and training in hygiene difficult to achieve.

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475. On the whole, the uniform Burnham scale and staffing quotas have been favourable to rural schools. Yet while some counties can pick and choose others have difficulty in recruiting the teachers they want. It has already been suggested that difficulty in obtaining teachers has been one reason for the closure of one teacher schools. We have been told that the average age of the village teacher is rather higher than that of all teachers and many will retire shortly. Difficulty in appointing teachers to country schools may therefore increase. Much depends on the attractiveness of the area, on its accessibility, on the size of the village, on the provision of modernised school houses and on what is known of an authority's reputation for helping country schools. Although some authorities are deliberately increasing the number of men teachers in rural schools, others do not employ many men. Enterprising teachers who want to try fresh ideas often prefer headships in a country school with responsibility for a class, to a deputy headship or a graded post in a larger school and this is bringing new strength to some small schools. Some of these teachers live in the villages and identify themselves with it; yet as more teachers own cars, more probably live away from their work.

476. It is even more difficult to find suitable assistant teachers for small schools than heads. Unqualified supplementary teachers who have helped to staff rural schools in the past are retiring. Except in the commuter villages there are relatively few married women teachers available. Teachers are easier to recruit for villages near to towns but then they usually live in the town and the identification of the school with the village, one of the advantages often claimed for the village school is weakened. We have heard of some authorities which employ men assistants in two teacher schools, a policy which is apparently working well even though much of their work must be with infants. Traditionally the head, whether man or women, takes the older children who can more easily be left when the head is called away. Many counties have to draft teachers to remote schools in much the same way that county boroughs often staff schools in socially deprived areas. Probationers often do not stay after the end of the year, partly because of their dislike of isolation, partly because suitable lodgings are hard to find. We have heard of schools in which there is a yearly change of assistant teachers.

477. Acknowledgement must be made of the devoted work of many village school teachers. Often working alone in their schools and with few opportunities for discussion with their colleagues, sometimes heavily handicapped by their buildings, responsible for children of a wider age range than most junior school teachers think practicable, they have created schools characterised by warmth, mutual forbearance and an almost family affection. Many teachers showed great adaptability in responding to the needs of a 5 to 11 school as distinct from the all-through school to which they had been accustomed. Recent recruits to country schools have continued this tradition and, as we have seen for ourselves, have set an example for national progress in primary education, both in the flexible organisation of their schools and the excellence of their work.

Children and the Schools

478. Enquiries into the measured attainment of children in rural and urban schools have tended to show lower mean attainment for country children than

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for urban children. It has often been suggested that this is because the enterprising in all classes make for the towns. Yet a summary of the evidence in 1959 suggested that, when socio-economic class is taken into account, the differences between town and country children disappear (1). In villages accessible to towns where the occupational distribution of the parents is changing, the children's attainment may also be expected to change. Some country people speak less and speak more more slowly than people in town. It may be that country children have been handicapped by silence at home and that test vocabularies have been biased in favour of urban children. Certainly there is evidence that speed tests give advantage to children from town schools. Some authorities, concerned about the small proportion of village children who obtain grammar school places, have reserved some places for children from country schools. It has been found that these children have justified their places (2). Similarly an enquiry in Cambridgeshire showed that pupils from rural areas who obtained places in selective schools fulfilled their promise more consistently than those from the towns (3).

479. There are both advantages and disadvantages in the circumstances of the country school. The National Survey showed that beginners settle easily in a village school to which all their acquaintances go and whose teachers, parents, and children they almost always know. The small numbers in the school and the wide age range in classes encourage a spirit of co-operation and children quickly assimilate the established traditions of learning and behaviour. Yet the older children and particularly the abler ones may lack the stimulus of their peers. The wide age range within a class is to some teachers an incentive to individual work; to others a burden. At worst, the five year olds may begin book learning before they are ready, so that they do not disturb the others, and the older children make their way with little guidance through English 'work books' and arithmetic text books. A handful of really backward children may make no progress at all. At best, the small school provides for much hard thinking arising from genuine problems and discussion and for personal writing and art and craft of as high a quality as we have seen in any schools in England. The knowledge of children that a good village school teacher can build up is invaluable. Yet one weak teacher can destroy a child's educational opportunities and a clash of personality between a teacher and a child may be disastrous. A good head can quickly influence a small school, particularly if, as is becoming more common, a rigid class organisation is broken down and teachers pool their ideas and gifts. The immediate environment of many country schools is rich with interest and children can make visits for themselves out of school hours. Yet they may often need help from an enlightened and sensitive adult to awaken their interest in what to them is common place. It is in fact the country schools which have set the pace for the development of environmental studies.

Size and Age Range of Rural Schools

480. Despite the achievements of one and two teacher schools, their difficulties and their cost, particularly in teachers, lead us to recommend that schools with an age range of 5 to 11 should usually have at least three classes, each covering two age groups. But local circumstances will make exceptions inevitable.

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481. If the age range of primary education is extended to 12, it will be difficult to provide a sufficiently challenging curriculum for the older pupils who may become, as one witness suggested, 'unwilling veterans' unless an additional teacher is appointed or substantial help is given by peripatetic teachers. If some rural schools in the area become larger, other village schools will have to be closed.

482. We are concerned about the number of five year old children who travel by bus to schools outside their villages. These children are often less ready for school at five than town children. Their mothers are unable to go with them to school or to make informal contact with their teachers and from the first, children must spend two sessions at school unless special arrangements are made for their transport. For the sake of these young children, and because we should like middle schools to be geared to the needs of pupils between 8 and 12, we should prefer a two tier system of primary education in the country as in the town. First schools serving one or two country villages might contain two or more classes of children from five to eight or nine and a nursery group; if there were only enough children for one class, the class might be regarded as an annex to a larger school and the teacher might be given the support of an aide or nursery assistant. Middle schools might be centrally placed in large villages or small country towns.

483. We have been unable to investigate whether a two tier rural reorganisation is practicable. We understand that enquiries made by three local education authorities for the Welsh Central Advisory Council for Education showed that it would be easier to organise 5 to 12 schools partly because this structure would make use of existing three class schools; a two tier plan would perpetuate or increase expensive one class schools, or annexes, as we have suggested. Yet we have received evidence from rural authorities, admittedly not based on detailed enquiry, which favours two tier schools. Much must depend on the distribution of population, the siting of villages and the amount of remodelling of rural schools which has taken place. Planning must take into account whether villages are decaying, static or growing and the possible effect of school closures on them. Where authorities find that 5 to 12 schools are the only possible pattern, the older children must not be denied the broader curriculum they would have had at the top of a middle school. Earlier transfer for exceptionally mature children at 11 or, in a two tier system, at seven or eight will be particularly important when the number of classes in rural schools is small. If schemes involve travelling for five year olds, their transition to school should be eased by the provision of part-time education even if it adds to the cost of transport. Parents must be involved in the schools and whenever possible part-time nursery groups set up in the villages. Country children who often do not have other children of their own age to play with and whose language may be stunted because of infrequent opportunities for talk with adults particularly need nursery experience but rarely get it. To some extent, these disadvantages are compensated for by the freedom and interest of their environment. We have suggested that in some instances parents' obligation to have their children educated might be satisfied by children's attendance at a nursery group. This arrangement might be particularly helpful for children who are not ready for a whole day at school away from the village.

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Help for Rural Schools

484. We are impressed by the work of a local authority that has pioneered the adaptation and rebuilding of country schools. It is building a new primary school, a welfare clinic and a branch library associated with a further education centre on the site. It is considering attaching village rooms with their own cloakroom facilities and access to new primary schools as a means of associating community and school, the more necessary perhaps now that this authority is finding that it cannot retain a school in each village. Most interesting of all are the close relationships which are being developed by groups of small schools. Although heads retain responsibility for their own schools, the local education authority consults the needs of the whole group when it appoints new teachers. In one group members of staff interchange schools so that they can learn of experiments taking place, initiate new methods, and give help in matters in which they are knowledgeable both to their colleagues and to groups of children. A liaison assistant has been appointed to look after the secretarial work for the group and for individual schools. She is also responsible for a group collection of film strips, tapes, expensive books and display materials. Children visit each other's schools for team games, music making and country dancing. A minibus is available. It is intended that the managers of the schools shall have some group meetings. This organisation has developed from informal friendly relationships which have existed between the schools for many years and have been fostered by the advisory teachers whose contribution to the work of rural schools is an outstanding feature of this authority.

485. The developments in this authority point to the general needs of country schools. Among the most important are support for teachers, more contacts for country children with their contemporaries and improved buildings. Rural schools need to open up rooms to provide more space and movement and to encourage the staff, which will almost certainly include a head in charge of a class, to work as a group. New methods are also needed to preserve and improve further the cooperation between school and community which has been a strength of many village schools.

486. The number of village teachers who have been brought up in the country is dwindling partly because more people live in towns, partly because assistant teachers from town schools find promotion as heads of country schools. Care must therefore be taken to see that teachers who may work in the country know what it has to offer, what it is like to live there and have a sympathetic understanding of the rural society they serve. Some town schools are over used for teaching practice by colleges of education. Some village schools are still under used. Admittedly lodgings in villages are often difficult to obtain but students might lodge in a market town and travel by bus to a group of villages, as some already do.

487. In-service training and easy contacts between country school teachers are at least as important as initial training. Valuable help can be given by advisers and by advisory teachers. In some areas, at least, an advisory teacher comes into the schools not by right but by the staff's goodwill, and teaches as a teacher with teachers. He can fill a vacancy for a brief spell in an emergency. He can spend several days in succession in a school to support a probationary teacher who is having difficulties (as we suggest in Chapter 25); he can advise an established teacher who is modifying his methods or bring

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new quality to an aspect of the curriculum on which the adviser is expert and the school lacks resources.

488. The staffs of country schools need, and respond to, arrangements to bring them into regular association with one another. The grouping of primary schools which has already been described is an effective way of bringing this about and leads naturally to links with the secondary schools to which children transfer. Some authorities find that almost all teachers attend area courses or conferences. Country teachers also need to meet teachers from a wider range of schools. One authority which has given much attention to in-service training has developed a 'junior workshop' or group of junior teachers within the county. It holds general meetings on topics of common interest and subdivides into study groups for teachers in small schools and those who are particularly concerned with certain aspects of the curriculum. One of the liveliest of these groups is concerned with environmental studies. It is hoped to establish a centre for environmental studies for primary school children which would give children a short experience of residential education and could be used to train teachers in the use of the environment in the education of primary children.

489. If heads who are in charge of classes are to give sufficient guidance to their staff and to make contact with parents, they need, as suggested in Chapter 24, part-time teaching help and ancillary assistance. Peripatetic teachers can be helpful in new subjects, such as French, and established subjects such as music. With assistance from educational psychologists they can help in the education of the most backward children. Teachers in country schools who have to provide for children in more than one age group and children from remote rural areas can make particularly good use of such aids as radio, television, tape recorders, film strips and programmed learning. The county libraries have already done much to enrich the education of country children; museum and picture loan services might be provided more generally than at present.

490. To help the teachers is to help the children. There are advantages in the country school of the flexible forms of organisation which are described in more detail in Chapter 20. We commend regular visits by children to nearby primary schools and occasional visits or interchanges with town schools. It has been brought to our attention by several witnesses that country children, particularly those from scattered communities, may lack companionship and find little to do after school hours. There is a place for the community school in the country no less than in the town. In one school, 81 children out of 98 eligible attended clubs which the school provided for an hour each evening. The transition from a small country primary school to a centrally situated secondary school can be a considerable strain for the children. We refer in Chapter 12 to a scheme by which primary school children in their last year attend once a week the secondary school to which they will transfer. This arrangement could enrich the curriculum for children in a 5 to 12 school and would fit well with the suggested grouping of primary schools.

491. Changes in village life make it necessary to organise what has hitherto been a largely informal association of the village school master with the parents of his pupils. Certainly when a village school has to be shut and a school serves more than one village, it would be helpful for the head to visit regularly each village in order to meet parents. As many villages become less

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cohesive, more formal procedures including PTAs may become necessary even in a school which serves only one village. The closer the relations between the village and the school, the easier it will become to solve the school's many problems: to find lodgings for an assistant teacher; to build the swimming pool without which village children would have no opportunity to learn to swim; to provide supervision for out of school activities and, occasionally, to find sources to satisfy a child with a special interest about which no one on the school staff is knowledgeable. Parental encouragement, based on parental knowledge of what the school is trying to do, is as important for country as for town children.


492. (i) Schools with an age range of 5 to 11 should usually have at least three classes, each covering two age groups.
(ii) If the age range is extended to 12, further teaching help may be needed to provide adequately for the older children.
(iii) A two tier system of primary education is preferable in the country as in the towns. Great flexibility will be needed in the age of transfer to meet local circumstances and to fit the needs of individual children.
(iv) One or two class first schools or annexes should be provided for younger children, who would otherwise have a long journey to school.
(v) Teachers' aides should be employed in small rural schools.
(vi) Teachers in rural schools need help from advisers and advisory teachers, and opportunities for regular association with other teachers and schools.

1. Barr F 'Urban and Rural Differences - Ability and Attainment'. Educational Research, Vol. 1, 1959, page 59.
2. Evidence collected by West Riding and other local education authorities.
3. Cross GR and Revell CJ 'Note on Grammar School Selection in a Rural Area'. Bulletin 7, NFER. March 1957.

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Part Five

The Children in the Schools: Curriculum and
Internal organisation

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The Aims of Primary Education

493. All schools reflect the views of society, or of some section of society, about the way children should be brought up, whether or not these views are consciously held or defined. The old English elementary school derived, in part at least, from the National Society for the Education of the Poorer Classes in the principles of the Established Church founded in 1811, the aim of which was to provide for what were then thought to be the educational needs of the working class. The effects of the hierarchical view of society which this title implied persisted long after the view itself became unacceptable and out of date. American schools have had, as an avowed purpose, the Americanisation of children from diverse cultures, races and climates. Russian education is strictly geared to particular political and social beliefs. Our society is in a state of transition and there is controversy about the relative rights of society and the individual. What agreement can be reached in the midst of this uncertainty about the objectives of English education, and in particular of English primary schools, in the last third of the twentieth century?

494. One obvious purpose is to fit children for the society into which they will grow up. To do this successfully it is necessary to predict what that society will be like. It will certainly be one marked by rapid and far reaching economic and social change. It is likely to be richer than now, with even more choice of goods, with tastes dominated by majorities and with more leisure for all; more people will be called upon to change their occupation.

495. About such a society we can be both hopeful and fearful. We can hope it will care for all its members, for the old as well as the young, for the handicapped as well as the gifted, for the deviant as well as the conformer, and that it will create an environment which is stimulating, honest and tolerant. We can fear that it will be much engrossed with the pursuit of material wealth, too hostile to minorities, too dominated by mass opinion and too uncertain of its values.

496. For such a society, children, and the adults they will become, will need above all to be adaptable and capable of adjusting to their changing environment. They will need as always to be able to live with their fellows, appreciating and respecting their differences, understanding and sympathising with their feelings. They will need the power of discrimination and, when necessary, to be able to withstand mass pressures. They will need to be well-balanced, with neither emotions nor intellect giving ground to each other. They will need throughout their adult life to be capable of being taught, and of learning, the new skills called for by the changing economic scene. They will need to understand that in a democratic society each individual has obligations to the community, as well as rights within it,

497. When we asked our witnesses for their views on the aims of primary education we found a wide general measure of agreement, though many of the replies seemed to have as much relevance to other phases of education

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as to primary. The heads of both junior and infant schools laid emphasis upon the all round development of the individual and upon the acquisition of the basic skills necessary in contemporary society. Many added a third aim, that of the religious and moral development of the child and some a fourth, that of children's physical development and acquisition of motor skills. Phrases such as 'whole personality', 'happy atmosphere', 'full and satisfying life', 'full development of powers', 'satisfaction of curiosity', 'confidence', 'perseverance' and 'alertness' occurred again and again. This list shows that general statements of aims, even by those engaged in teaching, tend to be little more than expressions of benevolent aspiration which may provide a rough guide to the general climate of a school, but which may have a rather tenuous relationship to the educational practices that actually go on there. It was interesting that some of the head teachers who were considered by HM Inspectors to be most successful in practice were least able to formulate their aims clearly and convincingly.

498. Even the second aim, that of acquiring the basic skills, proved less tangible than would appear at first sight or than public opinion would consider it. Most witnesses were thinking in terms of the three Rs, but there are other skills besides those of reading, writing and arithmetic which are necessary for those who are to live happily and usefully both as children and as adults. Communication by the spoken word is at least as important as writing and for the majority perhaps more important. In Chapters 16 and 17 we consider the curriculum in detail and try to show how the aims of the school, the needs of the children and the means at the disposal of the teachers fit together and react upon each other. Here we are concerned with aims in general.

499. A special difficulty is raised by the third aim mentioned by our witnesses, that of the religious and moral development of the child. We discuss Religious Education in Chapter 17 and the standards of behaviour of the child are referred to in other parts of the Report.

500. An aim, which was hardly mentioned by head teachers and yet one which, if challenged, they would almost certainly have admitted, is the cooperation of school and home and, with it, that of making good to children, as far as possible, the deficiencies of their backgrounds. That this aim found so little expression is significant. The implications of the relationships between school and home have still to be worked out; some teachers are anxious about the extent to which the school is taking the responsibility for the child's welfare and thus undermining the responsibility, as some would put it, of parents. The stronger partnership that there should be between teacher and parents has been discussed in Chapter 4.

501. It is difficult to reach agreement on the aims of primary education if anything but the broadest terms are used but formulations of that kind are little more than platitudes. We invited the help of a number of distinguished educationists and professors of educational philosophy and enjoyed a lengthy and interesting discussion with them. They all confirmed the view that general statements of aims were of limited value, and that a pragmatic approach to the purposes of education was more likely to be fruitful. We now turn to the implications of this conclusion.

502. An individual as distinct from a general statement of aims may be more worth making. It clears the writer's mind and compels him to examine what

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he is doing and why. This is a useful professional exercise for all teachers. Head teachers have for long written statements of this kind to help their staffs. They are useful insofar as they promote real thought and are not confined to a mere set of directions. They should encourage class teachers to look critically at their day to day work, relating it to guiding principles and not simply to short term objectives. One of our witnesses gives such a list: 'physical health, intellectual development, emotional and moral health, aesthetic awareness, a valid perspective, practical skills, social skills, personal fulfilment', and so on, with each main heading divided into appropriate subheadings. But he goes on to say: 'such an itemised statement of purposes has doubtful value, except as an academic exercise or as a check list'. Check lists, however, have their uses and the items on the lists should be double checked against current practices. What practices in my school develop these qualities? Which of these qualities are developed by this particular practice? Rather commonplace little exercises such as these encourage the staff of the school to keep thinking about what they are doing. Because statements of aims of this kind are written for a small and intimate circle there is less risk of disagreement about the underlying assumptions than with documents intended for a wider public.

503. Another approach might be to draw up a list of danger signs, which would indicate that something has gone wrong in a school: fragmented knowledge, no changes in past decade, creative work very limited, much time spent on teaching, few questions from children, too many exercises, too many rules, frequent punishments, and concentration on tests. Such a list, of course, involves value judgements at the outset, but it is an invitation to thought and argument and not simply to compliance. Then it could be asked what aims are implicit in, for example, play activity, painting, free writing, 'movement', games, the new mathematics, learning by heart, grammar and so on. To subject all educational practices to this kind of questioning might be healthy. Habit is an immensely strong influence in schools and it is one that should be weakened though it is never likely to be removed. These words are particularly addressed to practising teachers and especially to head teachers, rather than to educational theorists, who seldom fear innovation but whose ideas may founder because of their ignorance of what schools (and sometimes teachers) are really like.

504. If these methods were applied to all primary schools it would be apparent that the trend of their practices and outlook corresponds to a recognisable philosophy of education, and to a view of society, which may be summarised as follows.

505. A school is not merely a teaching shop, it must transmit values and attitudes. It is a community in which children learn to live first and foremost as children and not as future adults. In family life children learn to live with people of all ages. The school sets out deliberately to devise the right environment for children, to allow them to be themselves and to develop in the way and at the pace appropriate to them. It tries to equalise opportunities and to compensate for handicaps. It lays special stress on individual discovery, on first hand experience and on opportunities for creative work. It insists that knowledge does not fall into neatly separate compartments and that work and play are not opposite but complementary. A child brought up in such an

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atmosphere at all stages of his education has some hope of becoming a balanced and mature adult and of being able to live in, to contribute to, and to look critically at the society of which he forms a part. Not all primary schools correspond to this picture, but it does represent a general and quickening trend.

506. Some people, while conceding that children are happier under the modern regime and perhaps more versatile, question whether they are being fitted to grapple with the world which they will enter when they leave school. This view is worth examining because it is quite widely held but we think it rests on a misconception. It isolates the long term objective, that of living in and serving society, and regards education as being at all stages recognisably and specifically a preparation for this. It fails to understand that the best preparation for being a happy and useful man or woman is to live fully as a child. Finally, it assumes, quite wrongly, that the older virtues, as they are usually called, of neatness, accuracy, care and perseverance, and the sheer knowledge which is an essential of being educated, will decline. These are genuine virtues and an education which does not foster them is faulty.

507. Society is right to expect that importance will be attached to these virtues in all schools. Children need them and need knowledge if they are to gain satisfaction from their education. What we repudiate is the view that they were automatically fostered by the old kind of elementary education. Patently they were not, for enormous numbers of the products of that education do not possess them. Still more we repudiate the fear that the modern primary approach leads to their neglect. On the contrary it can, and, when properly understood, does lay a much firmer foundation for their development and it is more in the interests of the children. But those interests are complex. Children need to be themselves, to live with other children and with grown ups, to learn from their environment, to enjoy the present, to get ready for the future, to create and to love, to learn to face adversity, to behave responsibly: in a word, to be human beings. Decisions about the influences and situations that ought to be contrived to these ends must be left to individual schools, teachers and parents. What must be ensured is that the decisions taken in schools spring from the best available knowledge and are not simply dictated by habit or convention.

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Children Learning in School

Towards Freedom of Curriculum

508. The ending, in 1898, of the system of payment by results, under which a proportion of teachers' salaries was dependent upon the results of an annual examination of pupils held by HM Inspectors, led to an increasing freedom for teachers to exercise their own judgement in matters of syllabus. In 1905 the Board of Education first issued a Handbook of Suggestions for the Consideration of Teachers, a title that itself indicated a change in outlook. The Elementary Code laid down some very broad requirements, but a large measure of choice was left to the individual school. In the preface to the 1918 edition of the Handbook occurs the following significant passage: 'Neither the present volume nor any developments or amendments of it are designed to impose any regulations supplementary to those contained in the Code. The only uniformity of practice that the Board of Education desire to see in the teaching of public elementary schools is that each teacher shall think for himself, and work out for himself such methods of teaching as may use his powers to the best advantage and be best suited to the particular needs and conditions of the school. Uniformity in detail of practice (except in the mere routine of school management) is not desirable, even if it were attainable. But freedom implies a corresponding responsibility in its use.' This passage was reprinted in the preface to the 1937 edition of the Handbook. In 1944 the Code, which had become increasingly permissive, finally disappeared, and in the 1944 Education Act the only statutory requirement that remained was that children should be educated according to 'their age, ability and aptitude'.

509. During the 46 years that elapsed between the abolition of payment by results and the abolition of the Code, the use made by teachers of their growing freedom varied considerably. The force of tradition and of the inherent conservatism of all teaching professions made for a slow rate of change. The requirements of selection examinations for grammar schools also exercised a strong influence towards uniformity. In the earlier part of the period, too, HM Inspectors, who for the previous thirty years had been examiners, were probably restraining influences on innovation, though as time went on they tended increasingly to be agents of experiment and change. A minority of teachers, particularly in the infant schools, responded eagerly to freedom. The infant schools themselves were influenced by ideas on nursery education partly because training for nursery work was often given in colleges which specialised in infant education.

510. A considerable body of liberal thinking on the education of children was available to teachers. Rousseau, Pestalozzi, Froebel, Whitehead, Dewey, Montessori and Rachel Macmillan, to mention only a few, had all written on lines that encouraged change and innovation. Yet it may be doubted whether the direct influence of these or of any other writers was great. It was rare to find teachers who had given much time to the study of educational

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theory, even in their training college days. Perhaps the strongest influence was that of Froebel, mediated through the Froebel training colleges which bore his name.

511. In some infant schools, a 'blocked' timetable began to take the place of a day fragmented into 15 or 20 minute periods, which was as long as little children could tolerate when most of the instruction was oral. It became quite common to give two periods each day to physical activity and, in the more enlightened schools, the distinction between physical education and play was blurred. In some schools, the 'occupations', which owed their place in the curriculum to Froebel but were usually very different from what he had intended, were superseded by dramatic play and large scale construction. There was an increased tendency to allocate blocks of time to the three Rs and within these periods to provide, as is described in this and the next chapter, for group and individual work.

512. For children between the ages of 8 and 11 experiments were mainly in method, class organisation and use of materials. The curriculum, in the narrow sense of the subjects studied, remained almost unchanged. It included Scripture, English, arithmetic, history, geography, art, craft, music, nature study and physical training. It was rare in the period 1898 to 1944 to find a primary school in which any of these subjects was omitted and any other included. But there was, especially after the publication of the Consultative Committee's 1931 Report, much variety of content and approach. English was beginning to involve a freer use of composition, and drama was making an appearance. The first signs of a change in the conception of mathematical learning were there for those who searched. The boundaries of history and geography were sometimes blurred and something called environmental studies - or social studies - which embraced them both, was beginning to be talked of. Art was already moving rapidly away from the dreary pencil drawing that had been universal. Craft was still limited and formal. A beginning was being made in the use of musical instruments. Nature study increasingly took place outside the classroom and physical education advanced greatly when the old conception of drill was swept away by the publication in 1933 of the Board of Education's new syllabus. Here and there schools were making a much more radical approach to education than this would indicate. The freedom was genuine, even if it was seized a little gingerly.

513. During the war, when there was a growing consciousness of social problems, much thought was given to the hitherto largely neglected report of 1931 and to the writings of educationalists such as Susan Isaacs. Despite overcrowding and large classes, many post war primary schools did much to enlarge children's experience and involve them more actively in the learning process - the main themes of the 1931 Report. This was a period when a great many descriptive books, of considerable practical help to teachers, were being written about both infant and junior schools, and, for the first time, a sizeable number of junior schools, backed by HM Inspectors and local inspectors, began to work on lines similar to those already common in infant schools. For a brief time 'activity' and child-centred education became dangerously fashionable and misunderstandings on the part of the camp followers endangered the progress made by the pioneers. The misunderstandings were never as widespread in the schools as might have been supposed by reading the press and certainly did not outweigh the gains which were

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especially notable in the English subjects. Then as now, the schools which continued on traditional lines to emphasise instruction exceeded the number of those which erred by excess of innovation. In any case, correctives came in an emphasis on quality in the learning experiences provided for children and on the positive function of the teacher.

514. Among the many influences which have eased the task of the teachers wishing to experiment have been the new school buildings in which a third of primary school children are housed, more generous equipment allowances, and increased in-service training.

515. Recently, there have been changes in the curriculum which must be attributed to influences sufficiently distinct from those just mentioned to require separate treatment. A second language, in almost every case French, has been introduced in a substantial number of primary schools. The teaching of mathematics is undergoing a radical change and a wider field of science is replacing nature study. The cause of these changes will be discussed in detail in Chapter 17. All that need be said here is that these changes seem to be taking place unusually rapidly, often because of the in-service training which has been encouraged and sometimes planned by the Department in concert with other bodies.

516. Looked at from any point of view, the changes that have taken place between 1898 and the fifties and sixties have been striking, but they have been largely unco-ordinated, except perhaps by in-service training. It was argued that the establishment of some central organisation could accelerate the process of change and co-ordinate and evaluate whatever changes were taking place. Such thoughts as these led to the setting up in 1964 of the Schools Council for the Curriculum and Examinations.

517. The organisation and operation of the Council have been fully described in its own publications. The Council is a consortium of bodies concerned with education, the teachers' organisations, the local education authorities, the universities and colleges of education, the Department being one member among others. One of its main functions is to enlist teachers' help in curricular development. The Council's activities in the short time they have been established have been principally concerned with secondary education, save for their interest in the Nuffield primary school projects in French, science and mathematics. The Council have a great number of subject subcommittees as well as steering committees concerned with the different stages of education, including one for primary education.

Research on Children's Learning

518. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, research began to supplement general observation of children's methods of learning, though even now it would be difficult to find many teachers who could relate what they are doing in the classroom to any particular piece of research. Here, as in other fields, the pace has recently quickened. Many teachers, for example, are following research on various methods of teaching children to read. More fundamentally, an encouraging number of teachers are beginning to concern themselves with theories of learning. By their practical work in the classroom, teachers have perhaps as much to contribute to psychology as the psychologists to educational practice.

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519. Research into the ways in which children learn has produced, broadly, two interpretations of the learning process. One, which is still dominant in the United States and is associated with the names of Thorndike, Hull, Pavlov and Skinner among others, is essentially behaviourist. It is concerned with simple and complex operant conditioning, the place of reinforcement in learning, habit formation and the measurement of various kinds of stimulus-response behaviour. Much of the more recent work derives from animal studies and its main relevance is to motor learning, though some work has been done on the learning of information, concepts and skills by children and adults. It does not offer very much direct help to teachers since, for the most part, the motives and sequence of children's learning are too complicated for analysis in terms of simple models. A recent review of programmed learning (1) suggests that even simple segments of learning do not always conform closely to models of learning theory such as Skinner's. It is in a whole situation with a history behind it that a child or adult learns. Success in using a machine may be due as much to relaxation from anxiety or to a feeling of self-importance as to the small steps used in linear programming on the Skinner system. Most teachers of young children have seen the value of a gradual build-up of vocabulary in the teaching of reading. But they have also had evidence of the rapid strides that children can make when a particular book holds such interest for them that they are determined to read it quickly.

520. Some of the experiments of the behaviourists confirm that prolonged periods of routine practice in, for example, computation or handwriting reduce rather than improve accuracy. This is a lesson which is particularly relevant to schools working on traditional lines.

521. A second school of research, which is dominant in Great Britain and apparently gaining ground in the United States, is associated with the names of Baldwin, Isaacs, Luria, Bruner, and in particular Jean Piaget. This school is interested in discovering the ground plan of the growth of intellectual powers and the order in which they are acquired. One of its most important conclusions is that the great majority of primary school children can only learn efficiently from concrete situations, as lived or described. From these situations, children acquire concepts in every area of the curriculum. According to Piaget, all learning calls for organisation of material or of behaviour on the part of the learner, and the learner has to adapt himself and is altered in the process. Learning takes place through a continuous process of interaction between the learner and his environment, which results in the building up of consistent and stable patterns of behaviour, physical and mental. Each new experience reorganises, however slightly, the structure of the mind and contributes to the child's world picture.

522. Piaget's thought, which influenced the 1931 Report and our own, is not easy to understand. It is almost impossible to express in other than technical terms. Although he is not primarily an educationalist, his work has important implications for teachers. His observations of the sequence in the development of children's concepts are being tested on samples of children in many countries and these tests are tending to confirm his main findings. Much more investigation is needed on the extent to which the school environment and the guidance and teaching provided by teachers can accelerate children's progress. The effect of social expectations on the way children learn also calls for study. Nevertheless Piaget's explanations appear to most educationalists in this

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country to fit the observed facts of children's learning more satisfactorily than any other. It is in accord with previous research by genetic psychologists and with what is generally regarded as the most effective primary school practice, as it has been worked out empirically. The main implications of that practice are described in the following paragraphs and, where relevant, reference is made to the support given them by the Piagetian school of thought.

Aspects of Children's Learning

523. Play is the central activity in all nursery schools and in many infant schools. This sometimes leads to accusations that children are wasting their time in school: they should be 'working'. But this distinction between work and play is false, possibly throughout life, certainly in the primary school. Its essence lies in past notions of what is done in school hours (work) and what is done out of school (play). We know now that play - in the sense of 'messing about' either with material objects or with other children, and of creating fantasies - is vital to children's learning and therefore vital in school. Adults who criticise teachers for allowing children to play are unaware that play is the principal means of learning in early childhood. It is the way through which children reconcile their inner lives with external reality. In play, children gradually develop concepts of causal relationships, the power to discriminate, to make judgements, to analyse and synthesise, to imagine and to formulate. Children become absorbed in their play and the satisfaction of bringing it to a satisfactory conclusion fixes habits of concentration which can be transferred to other learning.

524. From infancy, children investigate the material world. Their interest is not wholly scientific but arises from a desire to control or use the things about them. Pleasure in 'being a cause' seems to permeate children's earliest contact with materials. To destroy and construct involves learning the properties of things and in this way children can build up concepts of weight, height, size, volume and texture.

525. Primitive materials such as sand, water, clay and wood attract young children and evoke concentration and inventiveness. Children are also stimulated by natural or manufactured materials of many shapes, colours and textures. Their imagination seizes on particular facets of objects and leads them to invent as well as to create. All kinds of causal connections are discovered, illustrated and used. Children also use objects as symbols for things, feelings and experiences, for which they may lack words. A small girl may use a piece of material in slightly different ways to make herself into a bride, a queen or a nurse. When teachers enter into the play activity of children, they can help by watching the connections and relationships which children are making and by introducing, almost incidentally, the words for the concepts and feelings that are being expressed. Some symbolism is unconscious and may be the means by which children come to terms with actions or thoughts which are not acceptable to adults or are too frightening for the children themselves. In play are the roots of drama, expressive movement and art. In this way too children learn to understand other people. The earliest play of this kind probably emerges from play with materials. A child playing with a toy aeroplane can be seen to take the role of both the aeroplane and the pilot apparently simultaneously. All the important people of his world figure in this play: he imitates, he becomes, he symbolises. He works off aggression

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or compensates himself for lack of love by 'being' one or other of the people who impinge on his life. By acting as he conceives they do, he tries to understand them. Since children tend to have inflexible roles thrust on them by adults, they need opportunities to explore different roles and to make a freer choice of their own. Early exploration of the actions, motives and feelings of themselves and of others is likely to be an important factor in the ability to form right relationships, which in its turn seems to be a crucial element in mental health. The difficulties of blind and deaf children whose play is restricted show how much play enriches the lives of ordinary children. Adults can help children in this form of play and in their social development by references to the thoughts, feelings and needs of other people. Through stories told to them, children enter into different ways of behaving and of looking at the world, and play new parts.

526. Just as adults relive experience in thought or words, so children play over and over the important happenings of their lives. The repetition is usually selective. Children who re-enact a painful scene repeatedly are not doing it to preserve the pain but to make it bearable and understandable. They incorporate those parts of the difficult situation which are endurable and add others as their courage and confidence grows. This is one of the ways in which they bring under control the feelings of frustration which must be experienced by those who are dependent on the will and love of adults. This kind of play can preserve self esteem by reducing unpleasant experiences to size, and reinforce confidence by dwelling on success.

527. Much of children's play is 'cultural' play as opposed to the 'natural' play of animals which mainly practices physical and survival skills. It often needs adult participation so that cultural facts and their significance can be communicated to children. The introduction into the classroom of objects for hospital play provides opportunities for coming to terms with one of the most common fears. Similarly the arrival of a new baby in the family, the death of someone important to the child, the invention of space rockets or new weapons may all call for the provision of materials for dramatic play which will help children to give expression to their feelings as a preliminary to understanding and controlling them. Sensitivity and observation are called for rather than intervention from the teacher. The knowledge of children gained from 'active' observation is invaluable to teachers. It gives common ground for conversation and exchange of ideas which it is among the most important duties of teachers to initiate and foster.

528. A child's play at any given moment contains many elements. The layers of meaning may include a highly conscious organisation of the environment, exploration of physical and social relationships and an expression of the deepest levels of fantasy. Wide ranging and satisfying play is a means of learning, a powerful stimulus to learning and a way to free learning from distortion by the emotions. Several writers have recently emphasised the importance of a period of play and exploration in new learning as, for example, in mathematics and science. (2, 3) Adults as well as children approach new learning in this way.

529. The child is the agent in his own learning. This was the message of the often quoted comment from the 1931 Report: 'The curriculum is to be thought of in terms of activity and experience rather than of knowledge to be acquired

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and facts to be stored'. Read in isolation, the passage has sometimes been taken to imply that children could not learn from imaginative experience and that activity and experience did not lead to the acquisition of knowledge. The context makes it plain that the actual implication is almost the opposite of this. It is that activity and experience, both physical and mental, are often the best means of gaining knowledge and acquiring facts. This is more generally recognised today but still needs to be said. We certainly would not wish to undervalue knowledge and facts, but facts are best retained when they are used and understood, when right attitudes to learning are created, when children learn to learn. Instruction in many primary schools continues to bewilder children because it outruns their experience. Even in infant schools, where innovation has gone furthest, time is sometimes wasted in teaching written 'sums' before children are able to understand what they are doing. The NCDS Survey (Appendix 10) shows that 17 per cent of children start doing sums in infant schools before the age of five and a half.

530. The intense interest shown by young children in the world about them, their powers of concentration on whatever is occupying their attention, or serving their immediate purposes, are apparent to both teachers and parents. Skills of reading and writing or the techniques used in art and craft can best be taught when the need for them is evident to children. A child who has no immediate incentive for learning to read is unlikely to succeed because of warnings about the disadvantages of illiteracy in adult life. There is, therefore, good reason for allowing young children to choose within a carefully prepared environment in which choices and interest are supported by their teachers, who will have in mind the potentialities for further learning. Piaget's observations support the belief that children have a natural urge to explore and discover, that they find pleasure in satisfying it and that it is therefore self-perpetuating. When children are learning new patterns of behaviour or new concepts, they tend both to practise them spontaneously and to seek out relevant experience, as can be seen from the way they acquire skills in movement. It takes much longer than teachers have previously realised for children to master through experience new concepts or new levels of complex concepts. When understanding has been achieved, consolidation should follow. At this stage children profit from various types of practice devised by their teachers, and from direct instruction.

531. Children will of course vary in the degree of interest that they show and their urge to learn will be strengthened or weakened, as we have suggested in Chapter 3, by the attitudes of parents, teachers and others with whom they identify themselves. Apathy may result when parents show no interest, clamp down on children's curiosity and enterprise, tell them constantly not to touch and do not answer their questions. Children can also learn to be passive from a teacher who allows them little scope in managing their own affairs and in learning. A teacher who relies only on instruction, who forestalls children's questions or who answers them too quickly, instead of asking the further questions which will set children on the way to their own solution, will disincline children to learn. (4) A new teacher with time and patience can usually help children who have learnt from their teachers to be too dependent. Those who have been deprived at home need more than that. Their self-confidence can only be restored by affection, stability and order. They must have special

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attention from adults who can discover, by observing their responses, what experiences awaken interest, and can seize on them to reinforce the desire to learn.

532. External incentives such as marks and stars, and other rewards and punishments, influence children's learning mainly by evoking or representing parents' or teachers' approval. Although children vary temperamentally in their response to rewards and punishments, positive incentives are generally more effective than punishment, and neither is as damaging as neglect. But the children who most need the incentive of good marks are least likely to gain them, even when, as in many primary schools, they are given for effort rather than for achievement. In any case, one of the main educational tasks of the primary school is to build on and strengthen children's intrinsic interest in learning and lead them to learn for themselves rather than from fear of disapproval or desire for praise.

533. Learning is a continuous process from birth. The teacher's task is to provide an environment and opportunities which are sufficiently challenging for children and yet not so difficult as to be outside their reach. There has to be the right mixture of the familiar and the novel, the right match to the stage of learning the child has reached. If the material is too familiar or the learning skills too easy, children will become inattentive and bored. If too great maturity is demanded of them, they fall back on half remembered formulae and become concerned only to give the reply the teacher wants. Children can think and form concepts, so long as they work at their own level, and are not made to feel that they are failures.

534. Teachers must rely both on their general knowledge of child development and on detailed observation of individual children for matching their demands to children's stages of development. This concept of 'readiness' was first applied to reading. It has sometimes been thought of in too negative a way. Children can, as we indicate in Chapter 17, be led to want to read provided that they are sufficiently mature. Learning can be undertaken too late as well as too early. Piaget's work can help teachers in diagnosing children's readiness in mathematics, and gives some pointers as to how it can be encouraged.

535. At every stage of learning children need rich and varied materials and situations, though the pace at which they should be introduced may vary according to the children. If children are limited in materials, they tend to solve problems in isolation and fail to see their relevance to other similar situations. This stands out particularly clearly in young children's learning of mathematics. Similarly, children need to accumulate much experience of human behaviour before they can develop moral concepts. If teachers or parents are inconsistent in their attitudes or contradict by their behaviour what they preach, it becomes difficult for children to develop stable and mature concepts. Verbal explanation, in advance of understanding based on experience, may be an obstacle to learning, and children's knowledge of the right words may conceal from teachers their lack of understanding. Yet it is inevitable that children will pick up words which outstrip their understanding. Discussion with other children and with adults is one of the principal ways in which children check their concepts against those of others and build up an objective view of reality. There is every justification for the conversation

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which is a characteristic feature of the contemporary primary school. One of the most important responsibilities of teachers is to help children to see order and pattern in experience, and to extend their ideas by analogies and by the provision of suitable vocabulary. Rigid division of the curriculum into subjects tends to interrupt children's trains of thought and of interest and to hinder them from realising the common elements in problem solving. These are among the many reasons why some work, at least, should cut across subject divisions at all stages in the primary school.

Some Practical Implications

The Time Table

536. These beliefs about how children learn have practical implications for the timetable and the curriculum. One idea now widespread is embodied in the expression 'free day' and another, associated with it, is the 'integrated curriculum'. The strongest influence making for the free day has been the conviction of some teachers and other educationalists that it is through play that young children learn. Nursery schools began by devoting half an hour to free play. This is still done by many kindergartens which we visited abroad. Now the whole day is spent on various forms of play, though groups of children may break away to enjoy stories or music with an adult. Infant schools usually give at least an hour a day to play, though it may be called by many different names. If teachers encourage overlap between what is done in periods of self chosen activity and in the times allocated, for example, to reading and to writing, a good learning situation will probably result. Children who are not yet ready to read can go on playing and building up vocabulary while other children are reading. Play can lead naturally to reading and writing associated with it. Children do not flit from activity to activity in their anxiety to make use of materials not available at other times of the day. Some infant schools are now confident enough in the value of self chosen activity to give the whole day to it, except for times which are used for stories, poetry, movement, and music - and even these may be voluntary, particularly for the younger children. The tendency is spreading in junior schools. Children may plan when to do work assigned to them and also have time in which to follow personal or group interests of their own choice. In a few infant and junior schools the day is still divided into a succession of short periods. In the great majority, we are glad to say, there are longer periods and these can be adjusted at the teacher's discretion.

537. These changes represent a revolution from the type of timetable implied by the forms completed by schools for local education authorities until quite recently. Heads were expected to show exactly what each class was doing during every minute of the week and to provide a summary showing the total number of minutes to be spent on each subject. In extreme cases, the curriculum was divided into spelling, dictation, grammar, exercises, composition, recitation, reading, handwriting, tables and mental arithmetic. It is obvious that this arrangement was not suited to what was known of the nature of children, of the classification of subject matter, or of the art of teaching. Children's interest varies in length according to personality, age and circumstances, and it is folly either to interrupt it when it is intense, or to flog it when it has declined. The teacher can best judge when to make a change and the

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moment of change may not be the same for each child in the class. In many schools, as we have said, children plan much of their work. Yet the teacher must constantly ensure a balance within the day or week both for the class and for individuals. He must see that time is profitably spent and give guidance on its use. In the last resort, the teacher's relationship with his pupils, his openness to their suggestions and their trust in him are far more important than the nominal degree of freedom in the time table.

Flexibility in the Curriculum

538. The extent to which subject matter ought to be classified and the headings under which the classification is made will vary with the age of the children, with the demands made by the structure of the subject matter which is being studied, and with the circumstances of the school. Any practice which predetermines the pattern and imposes it upon all is to be condemned. Some teachers find it helpful in maintaining a balance in individual and class work to think in terms of broad areas of the curriculum such as language, science and mathematics, environmental study and the expressive arts. No pattern can be perfect since many subjects fall into one category or another according to the aspect which is being studied. For young children, the broadest of divisions is suitable. For children from 9 to 12, more subject divisions can be expected, though experience in secondary schools has shown that teaching of rigidly defined subjects, often by specialist teachers, is far from suitable for the oldest children who will be in the middle schools. This is one of our reasons for suggesting a change in the age of transfer to secondary education.

539. There is little place for the type of scheme which sets down exactly what ground should be covered and what skill should be acquired by each class in the school. Yet to put nothing in its place may be to leave some teachers prisoners of tradition and to make difficulties for newcomers to a staff who are left to pick up, little by little, the ethos of a school. The best solution seems to be to provide brief schemes for the school as a whole: outlines of aims in various areas of the curriculum, the sequence of development which can be expected in children and the methods through which work can be soundly based and progress accelerated. It is also useful to have a record of experiences, topics, books, poems and music which have been found to succeed with children of different ages, and for attention to be drawn to notable experimental work. In good schools, schemes are often subject to a process of accretion which may make them so long that few teachers have time to read them. It is better for them to be sifted and revised, for matter to be dropped as well as added. Individual members of staff, with such help as the head and others can give, will need to plan in more detail the work of their particular classes. Often it will develop in an unexpected direction. A brief report on the topics, literature and so forth which have absorbed children during the course of the year will be necessary for teachers who take them later in their school career.

540. The idea of flexibility has found expression in a number of practices, all of them designed to make good use of the interest and curiosity of children, to minimise the notion of subject matter being rigidly compartmental, and to allow the teacher to adopt a consultative, guiding, stimulating role rather than a purely didactic one. The oldest of these methods is the 'project'. Some topic, such as 'transport' is chosen, ideally by the children, but frequently

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by the teacher. The topic cuts across the boundaries of subjects and is treated as its nature requires without reference to subjects as such. At its best the method leads to the use of books of reference, to individual work and to active participation in learning. Unfortunately it is no guarantee of this and the appearance of text books of projects, which achieved at one time considerable popularity, is proof of how completely a good idea can be misunderstood.

541. A variation on the project, originally associated with the infant school but often better suited to older children, is the 'centre of interest'. It begins with a topic which is of such inherent interest and variety as to make it possible and reasonable to make much of the work of the class revolve round it for a period of a week, a month or a term or even longer. Experience has shown that it is artificial to try to link most of the work of a class to one centre of interest. It has become more common to have several interests - topic is now the usual word - going at once. Much of the work may be individual, falling under broad subject headings. One topic for the time being can involve both group and class interest, and may splinter off into all kinds of individual work.

542. When a class of seven year olds notice the birds that come to the bird table outside the classroom window, they may decide, after discussion with their teacher, to make their own aviary. They will set to with a will and paint the birds in flight, make models of them in clay or papier mache, write stories and poems about them and look up reference books to find out more about their habits. Children are not assimilating inert ideas but are wholly involved in thinking, feeling and doing. The slow and the bright share a common experience and each takes from it what he can at his own level. There is no attempt to put reading and writing into separate compartments; both serve a wider purpose, and artificial barriers do not fragment the learning experience. A top junior class became interested in the problem of measuring the area of an awkwardly shaped field at the back of the school. The problem stimulated much learning about surveying and triangles. From surveying, interest passed to navigation; for the more difficult aspects of the work, cooperation between members of staff as well as pupils was needed. For one boy, the work on navigation took the form of a story of encounters of pirate ships and men-of-war and involved a great deal of calculation, history, geography and English. Integration is not only a question of allowing time for interests which do not fit under subject headings; it is as much a matter of seeing the different dimensions of subject work and of using the forms of observation and communication which are most suitable to a given sequence of learning.

Use of the Environment

543. Another effective way of integrating the curriculum is to relate it through the use of the environment to the boundless curiosity which children have about the world about them. When teachers talk about 'first-hand experience' what they often have in mind is the exploration of the physical environment of the school, though the expression of course includes other kinds of experiences as well. Whereas once the teacher brought autumn leaves into the classroom and talked about the seasons and their characteristics, now he will take the children out to see for themselves. Rural schools can be

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overwhelmed by the variety of material on their doorsteps. Crops and pastures, wild flowers and weeds, farm animals, wild creatures of every kind, roads and footpaths, verges, hedges, ditches, streams, woods, the weather, the season, the stars, all provide starting points for curiosity, discussion, observation, recording and enquiry at every level from that of the five year old to that of the 12 year old and beyond. Much of this material is also available to the newer urban schools though their sites are often laid out too formally to be suitable for children's play or for interesting studies. The most difficult problem of all is not so much that of the older urban school, despite its often restricted site, as that of the school on the large housing estate. But the weather and the stars are available to all; so are the occupations of fathers which offer a way of enlisting cooperation and interest in their children's education as well as an approach to local industry.

544. Teachers in town schools can make use of railways and other transport systems, and the local shops and factories, all of which can provide suitable material. Building sites are almost ubiquitous and can provide an approach to geography, mathematics and science. We have heard of children doing 'traffic counts', discovering from shop keepers the source of their goods and even, in one case, exploring unofficially the sewage system of their area. Museums, geared to children's interests, may also be within reach and are becoming ready to let children handle as well as look, and to lend to schools some of the surplus stock which is otherwise often stored away in basements. It may be well to look a little at this approach as it can work out in a favourable environment. A group of HMIs working in a division in which some particularly good work is to be found, write as follows:

'The newer methods start with the direct impact of the environment on the child and the child's individual response to it. The results are unpredictable, but extremely worthwhile. The teacher has to be prepared to follow up the personal interests of the children who, either singly, or in groups, follow divergent paths of discovery. Books of reference, maps, enquiries of local officials, museums, archives, elderly residents in the area are all called upon to give the information needed to complete the picture that the child is seeking to construct. When this enthusiasm is unleashed in a class, the timetable may even be dispensed with, as the resulting occupations may easily cover mathematics, geology, astronomy, history, navigation, religious instruction, literature, art and craft. The teacher needs perception to appreciate the value that can be gained from this method of working, and he needs also energy to keep up with the children's demands.'
545. Another possibility is to take children out of their own environment into a contrasting one, either for the day or for a longer period. This of course applies as much to rural children visiting towns as to urban children visiting the countryside. Such visits, carefully prepared for and not just sightseeing, are generally used as the culmination of an interest or interests. They would often serve better as starting points. For day visits, when the school situation makes it possible, those places are best which are near enough for children to visit and to revisit, individually, in groups or as a class when new questions arise. There is then a strong incentive for them to look closely at the objects which have made a further visit necessary.

546. In one northern city a school, well situated in a park on the outskirts of the city, is being used for a fortnight at a time by children from the central

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slum areas. The school has a small resident staff and is well equipped. Since the visiting children's own teachers accompany them, they can be taught in small groups of 15. During the summer months the school day is extended into the evening so that the children, who are conveyed by buses, can gain the maximum from their experiences.

547. Authorities can help schools, as some indeed do, by providing hutted camps and other residential centres which do much for children socially as well as educationally. Useful experiments have also been tried in linking country and urban schools and arranging for exchange visits. Expeditions too far afield are to be avoided, as they are generally speaking pure sightseeing tours. We have considerable doubts about overseas expeditions for primary school children.

548. A third possibility, which is open to all schools, is to make the school environment itself as rich as possible. Nearly all children are interested in living forms, whether they be animal or plants. Some acquaintance with them is an essential part of being educated. To care for living creatures offers an emotional outlet to some children and demands discipline from all. However rich the locality, emphasis must always be put on the school itself, which is an environment contrived for children's learning.


549. A word which has fairly recently come into use in educational circles is 'discovery'. It includes many of the ideas so far discussed and is a useful shorthand description. It has the disadvantage of comprehensiveness that it can be loosely interpreted and misunderstood. We have more to say about the value of discovery in the section on science. The sense of personal discovery influences the intensity of a child's experience, the vividness of his memory and the probability of effective transfer of learning. At the same time it is true that trivial ideas and inefficient methods may be 'discovered'. Furthermore, time does not allow children to find their way by discovery to all that they have to learn. In this matter, as in all education, the teacher is responsible for encouraging children in enquiries which lead to discovery and for asking leading questions.

550. Free and sometimes indiscriminate use of words such as discovery has led some critics to the view that English primary education needs to be more firmly based on closely argued educational theory. Nevertheless great advances appear to have been made without such theory and research has still a long way to go before it can make a marked contribution. At many points even so fruitful an approach as that of Piaget needs further verification. What is immediately needed is that teachers should bring to bear on their day to day problems astringent intellectual scrutiny. Yet all good teachers must work intuitively and be sensitive to the emotive and imaginative needs of their children. Teaching is an art and, as long as that with all its implications is firmly grasped, it will not be harmed by intellectual stiffening.

Evaluation of Children's Progress

551. We have considered whether we can lay down standards that should be achieved by the end of the primary school but concluded that it is not possible to describe a standard of attainment that should be reached by all or most children. Any set standard would seriously limit the bright child and be impossibly high for the dull. What could be achieved in one school might be

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impossible in another. We have suggested in Chapter 11 that, with the ending of selection examinations, teachers - and parents - will need some yardstick of the progress of their children in relation to what is achieved elsewhere. Without it teachers may be tempted to go on teaching and testing in much the same way as they did before. We therefore envisage that some use will continue to be made of objective tests within schools. Such tests can be helpful - and their norms can serve as a basis of comparison - as long as they are used with insight and discrimination and teachers do not assume that only what is measurable is valuable (see Chapter 11). Primary schools should hear regularly from the secondary schools to which they contribute how their pupils compare over a period with children from other schools. One of the principal functions of HM Inspectors is to help teachers to know what to expect from children in the circumstances of their neighbourhood and to advise teachers on standards in aspects of the curriculum where objective measurement is not practicable.

552. We have already suggested that surveys of the quality of primary schools should be made by HM Inspectorate at regular intervals. We also think that there should be recurring national surveys of attainment similar to that undertaken in reading by the Department of Education and those carried out by the NFER in reading and mathematics.

553. In this chapter, and in Part V as a whole, we describe how children learn and make broad suggestions for the curriculum and organisation of primary schools. Our views derive from evidence given to us and our own observations of good practice in the schools. At some points research supports strongly our emphasis on active learning. But many problems remain unresolved and we have, therefore, recommended further enquiry into child development and the results of new methods. We endorse the trend towards individual and active learning and 'learning by acquaintance', and should like many more schools to be more deeply influenced by it. Yet we certainly do not deny the value of 'learning by description' or the need for practice of skills and consolidation of knowledge. This part of our Report should be read in conjunction with Part IV where we discuss the teacher's responsibility for ensuring that what children learn is worth learning. At the extremes of the ability range, as we have said in other chapters, there will always be children who need special help. Not enough is known about how far, apart from variations in ability, children differ according to temperament in the way they learn. Even as children differ so do teachers. They must select those of our suggestions which their knowledge and skill enable them to put into practice in the circumstances of their schools.


554. (i) There should be recurring national surveys of attainment similar to those undertaken in reading by the Department of Education and those carried out by the NFER in reading and mathematics.

(ii) Primary schools should hear from secondary schools how their children compare over a period with children from other schools.


1. Williams JD 'Programmed Instruction Not Yet Proven?' National Foundation for Educational Research, Article in New Society, 20th January, 1966.
2. Skinner BF Harvard Educational Review, 1954.
3. Dienes ZP 'Building Up Mathematics', Hutchinson Educational Press, 1960.
4. Holt J 'Why Children Fail', Pitman, 1964.

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Aspects of the Curriculum

555. Throughout our discussion of the curriculum, and particularly in this and the previous chapter, we stress that children's learning does not fit into subject categories. The younger the children, the more undifferentiated their curriculum will be. As children come towards the top of the junior school, and we anticipate they will be there till 12, the conventional subjects become more relevant; some children can then profit from a direct approach to the structure of a subject. Even so, subjects merge and overlap and it is easy for this to happen when one teacher is in charge of the class for most of the time. Schools and individual teachers group subjects in various ways, as well as allowing for work which cuts right across them.

556. Yet an expanding curriculum makes great demands on the class teacher. For this reason we recommend in Chapter 20 that teachers expert in the main fields of learning should give advice to their colleagues throughout the school. The work of the oldest children could be shared by a few teachers who, between them, can cover the curriculum.

557. In considering the curriculum, we have discussed with expert witnesses the experiences and ideas within the traditional subjects which are suitable for primary school children, and give examples of work at most stages of the school.


558. The Council is divided in its views on religious education because of the personal beliefs of its members. The fundamental difference between the theist and the non-theist is not one we can try to resolve. A minority of members believe that religious education should not figure in the curriculum at all. They have stated their reasons in a note of reservation at the end of this Report and dissociate themselves from the views we express. Other members believe that religious education and the Act of Worship should influence the entire curriculum and set the tone of living and learning for the whole school community. The views of the remaining members of the Council range between these two extremes. We have decided to discuss in this section what reforms are possible and desirable within the framework of the 1944 Act. In doing so, we have borne in mind that a survey in 1965 (1) showed that 80 per cent of those interviewed thought that the present arrangements for giving religious education in schools and for daily worship should continue. This interest in religion is supported by other surveys. (2, 3)

559. The Act, in effect, improved the financial position of voluntary schools of which there are two main categories, aided and controlled. In aided schools, all religious education may be denominational; in controlled schools there is

*We prefer to call it religious education (RE) although the Education Act 1944 refers to religious instruction.

†See Notes of Reservation which follow the main Report.

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provision for not more than two periods of denominational instruction each week for children whose parents desire it. Most voluntary schools are Church of England; there is a substantial minority of Roman Catholic schools and a smaller number of Jewish, Methodist and undenominational Christian schools (see Table 9).

560. In both county and voluntary schools, the Act gave statutory force to the provisions of corporate worship (the 'Act of Worship') and of religious education, but it did not introduce either school prayers or scripture lessons, which were all but universal in schools before the Act came into force. It laid upon local education authorities the duty of providing or adopting a syllabus for RE which would be agreeable to the local education authorities, the churches other than Roman Catholic churches, and the teachers, but which would not be distinctive of any particular denomination. The Agreed Syllabuses were not an invention of the Act, but Parliament made general and obligatory what was already common practice. The use of the Agreed Syllabus is obligatory in county schools and controlled schools (apart from periods provided for denominational instruction) and it is quite common in voluntary aided schools.

561. The Act laid down that the Act of Worship should begin the school day: RE, which previously had to be given at the beginning or end of a session, could now be given at any time, the way being thus opened to specialist teaching. The rights of teachers who did not wish to give RE or to attend the Act of Worship were safeguarded. The rights of parents were also safeguarded so that at their request their children might be excused from RE and the Act of Worship or be withdrawn for denominational instruction or for Agreed Syllabus instruction within some limits.

562. At the moment RE is the only subject which the law requires to be taught and the only subject from which both the individual child and teacher may be excused. Its unique status causes difficulties. We stress elsewhere in this and the previous chapter the importance of the integration of the curriculum, particularly for the younger children. Can an integrated curriculum include religious education when individual parents may not wish their children to receive it and certain teachers may not feel competent or wish to give it? What is, and should be, the position of the child or teacher who wishes to withdraw, or the non-Christian head teacher? What form should the Act of Worship take? Are most Agreed Syllabuses in accordance with what is known about children's ways of learning? Is the very notion of an Agreed Syllabus compatible with the flexibility of the modern primary school? We try to answer some of these questions in the paragraphs that follow.

Teachers' Attitudes

563. The willingness of teachers to give religious education is a matter of some delicacy and, so far as we are aware, no direct approach has ever been made to the teaching profession to ascertain the facts. In 1964, however, a survey was undertaken by HM Inspectors. All those who happened to be carrying out full inspections in county schools during the Christmas Term of 1963 and the Easter Term of 1964 were asked to estimate, with the help of the head teachers, the proportion of teachers in these schools who would be likely to volunteer to give religious education if volunteers were called for. The lowest estimate of teachers willing to give instruction in any one primary

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school was 70 per cent. Of teachers actually heard giving religious education during these inspections, HMIs concluded that eight per cent of the women and 16 per cent of the men were reluctant or not much interested. It should be noted that in all but eight of the 163 primary schools included in this survey religious education was given by all the class teachers in their own classes. In the light of this evidence it seems probable that if religious education were to be given only by teachers who volunteered to give it there would be no difficulty in staffing it overall, though there might, of course, be some difficulty in individual schools.

564. The fact that schools seldom have to arrange for classes to receive religious education from other than their class teachers suggests that, although teachers are aware of their right to refuse to give religious education, not all those who wish to exercise this right on conscientious grounds actually do so. This may be because of the inconvenience which would be caused within the school, or because it is believed that a profession of agnosticism is a handicap to promotion. It seems to us that these reasons must operate, though with what frequency or force we are unable to say.

565. The morning assembly may create a greater difficulty for the agnostic aspiring to a headship than religious education itself. It is comparatively easy for a head teacher to arrange that other teachers of his staff should be responsible for religious education but, if he opts out of taking the morning assembly, his withdrawal is bound to be a subject of remark, and, since assembly is a social, as well as a religious, occasion, such a head is likely to be at a real disadvantage.

566. There is some evidence that head teachers and assistants are not sufficiently aware of their freedom in relation to the Agreed Syllabuses. In many instances, the Syllabus itself is very brief and the detailed commentary which may accompany it can be followed or not as teachers wish. In other Syllabuses, it is clearly stated that teachers may select topics and draft their own schemes to suit the children they teach. It may well be that the very existence of an Agreed Syllabus discourages teachers from thinking out schemes for themselves.

Difficulties of the Present Position

567. It does not imply any criticism of the excellent and imaginative work done in religious education in many schools to recognise that there are serious shortcomings in the present arrangements. The chief difficulties seem to be the following:

(a) Many devout Christians want for their children more convincedly Christian teaching than in present circumstances they sometimes get.

(b) For the non-Christian parent there is a difficult choice: either he must acquiesce in his child being taught beliefs which he holds to be untrue and harmful, or he must take the initiative and ask for his child to be excused from religious education, thus setting him apart from the rest of the school. He may not be prepared to do this because he does not wish to make his child appear different.

(c) For the teacher who does not accept the Christian faith, the present arrangements may encourage dishonesty or cynicism, and some sincere teachers are known not to have applied for headships because they would not pretend to a faith they did not hold.

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The School Community

568. The school should be a community within which children should learn to live a good life. They learn from their relationship with their teachers and with each other and from observing the way the adults in the school behave with one another and with children. By example at first hand children can learn to love and to care for others, to be generous, kind and courageous. Good experiences in personal relationships in early life will make a most important contribution to an understanding of spiritual and moral values when children are older. Teachers should have clearly thought out and positive views on what constitutes good moral and social behaviour. In the later stages of the junior school, children should be encouraged to discuss the basis of conduct. Junior children can feel true compassion. Children need a vivid experience of service to others. It is not enough to give money for refugees and famine areas. We have heard of a school whose 'adoption' of an Indian boy included personal friendship expressed in gifts and the exchange of letters. Another school invites the local old peoples' club for an afternoon of entertainment and hospitality. Such activities enlarge children's imagination and deepen their sympathy. Through them they learn that charity is about people.

569. Each school is composed of individuals, teachers and children, from various religious backgrounds. We believe that to provide for them and to carry out the spirit of the 1944 Act all parents should be told, when children are admitted to school, of their rights of excusal both from the Act of Worship and from religious education. They should be told how both these forms of religious education are conducted in the school and what provision, if any, is made for the children who are withdrawn from them.

The Act of Worship

570. We believe that the Act of Worship has great value as a unifying force for the school and that in it children should find, in brief moments, a religious expression of their life in school. They should be able to understand and to take part in what is happening. Yet there should be more freedom in the interpretation of the law. It is not always suitable, particularly in a junior mixed and infant school, for an assembly to include the whole school. There are occasions when it is appropriate for different age groups to have separate assemblies. Many schools have found advantages in placing the assembly at other times than the beginning of the day. In a school of mixed religious or non-religious backgrounds, it is essential that the assembly should be conducted in such a way that as large a part of the school community as possible, both teachers and children, can take part in it without offence being given to anyone's conscientious scruples. We are sure that, at this stage of education, common standards and values are of extreme importance and we cannot overemphasise the need for the security which a sense of these will give, especially to children in infant and lower junior classes.

571. The Act of Worship should illuminate personal relationships and introduce children to aesthetic and spiritual experience. It can derive material from other than Christian sources. There is no reason why heads should always conduct the Act of Worship; other members of staff may plan and lead the assembly. Arrangements such as we have described, both as to the

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content and the leadership of the assembly, already work - and work well - in many schools. We hope that heads of schools and administrators will be sensitive to the needs of minority groups, both for worship and for religious education. The need is especially evident when numbers of immigrant children of other than Christian religions are educated in schools which were hitherto largely Christian. It has long been common for special provision to be made in some schools for Jewish children. We have heard of a school with a large Mohammedan intake where pupils have been encouraged to bring their prayer mats to school and go into a room provided for prayer, rather than go out of school and travel some distance for religious observances in the town.

Religious Education

572. Our theological witnesses stressed that religious education should be given by those with a knowledge of young children. The vast majority of teachers have been brought up as Christians and accept the Christian code of morality though they are often insufficiently informed and mature about Christian beliefs and their application in the twentieth century. We believe that religious education should, when it is possible, be given by the class teacher. In practice most religious education in primary schools emphasises the cultural heritage of Christianity and the effect it has had on generations of men and women. There may be some schools in which parents' views are so divided that special periods in the timetable should be allocated for it. Whether it is given by the class teacher or assigned to a separate period, in either of these conditions, it should meet the wishes of those parents who have specifically accepted that their child should have this instruction. It should recognise that young children need a simple and positive introduction to religion. They should be taught to know and love God and to practise in the school community the virtues appropriate to their age and environment. Children whose parents do not wish them to have any RE will have to be catered for separately, but they should otherwise conform to the general life of the school. It is essential that the teacher who is prepared to give religious education should be honest and sincere in his teaching and should not pretend to beliefs he does not hold. For the non-believing teacher or one of different religion this may mean stressing the ethics and the history of Christianity rather than its theology. Children should not be unnecessarily involved in religious controversy. They should not be confused by being taught to doubt before faith is established. Inevitably at some stage of the child's growth the truth of religious teaching will be questioned and a free judgement made as to its truth or falsehood. These judgements will only exceptionally be made by children of primary school age. If children ask, as they will, whether stories are true they should be given an honest answer by each teacher according to his lights. Neither the believing nor the non-believing teacher should try to conceal from his pupils the fact that others take a different view. All teachers giving religious education should have some knowledge of Biblical criticism. There is reason to suppose that too much emphasis is still being put on the Old Testament rather than on the New Testament.

The Agreed Syllabus

573. There is an urgent need for a reconsideration and reappraisal of what aspects of religious faith can be appropriately presented to children, at what

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time and in what way. That there is anxiety about the Agreed Syllabus is apparent from the evidence we have received. One witness wrote 'In almost every case the syllabus was based on factual knowledge which it was felt a child ought to have. ... Educational thought today is questioning whether the basis ought not rather to be the development of religious concepts, and the meeting of the religious needs of children at each point of their lives'. Investigation on these lines into the spiritual development of the young child is already being carried out. (4) We welcome research which is trying to determine what religious subject matter and concepts are relevant to children's interests, their experience of life and their intellectual powers. We recognise that children may appreciate poetically what they cannot grasp intellectually. It is to be hoped that the recasting of Agreed Syllabuses will take account of all these points. It seems that children who are introduced very early to the more difficult Christian stories and beliefs are likely, especially when they come from a non-Christian home, to form concepts which are shallow and limited and attitudes which are legalistic. If they remain Christian, they may not grow beyond childish ideas and attitudes; alternatively they may reject religious ideas as their critical faculties develop, and, at the same time, the morality which they associate with them. There will certainly be some stories about the life and teaching of Jesus which children can be told at an early age. They may be led to find in him the expression of that which, in ways appropriate to their development, they have learnt to be good and true. A more systematic study of the life and teaching of Jesus should be delayed until the later years of the junior school, when children can be encouraged to think critically. At this stage children can begin to understand that the Bible is neither a work of science nor of history, and that its value is in the account it gives of man's relationship with God.

574. The selection of Bible stories to be told to children of various ages and of the hymns and prayers which they use require much thought. While young children enjoy and appreciate some Bible stories, they lose their force by too frequent repetition, and some stories are certainly better postponed until the junior or secondary stage. Prayers and hymns should be related to the child's interests and maturity but care should be taken to avoid the use of banal language and music.

575. During the last years of the junior school more specific religious education should be given, and, from such areas of the curriculum as history, literature, poetry, geography and music, discussion may arise which bears on religion and brings in judgements on values. Among the historical characters about whom the older children should hear, care should be taken to include sympathetically those who represent a non-Christian tradition, Saladin for example, as well as St Bernard. Children's moral judgements and personal aspirations will also be stimulated by hearing about great figures of both the present and past, who like themselves combine strengths and weakness and who achieve much for others despite their weaknesses. At this stage, as at any other, teachers should be sensitive to the feelings of children of parents who are non-Christian, agnostic or humanist as well as to those of Christian parentage.

576. The future of religious education in the primary school depends on the training of teachers. Although many bring skill and devotion to this part of their work, many more are aware that they are inadequately equipped to teach

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it. A more thorough training of all who are likely and willing to give religious education is certainly necessary, difficult as it may be to reconcile with all the other demands of the training course. Religious education is often given too little time in the secondary school and students are likely to come to college with inadequate knowledge and immature concepts. They should be able to relate the background and facts of the Christian revelation to situations which are within children's experience and so give their teaching vitality and greater relevance to the problems of life. When the 1944 Act made religious education compulsory too little thought was given to the training of teachers. It seems reasonable to expect that some voluntary colleges should be a major source of teachers able to act as advisers to their colleagues in primary schools who are willing to give religious education but aware of their limitations. If practising teachers are to be brought up to date in the knowledge required to give religious education satisfactorily, and if they are to become familiar with modern methods of teaching the subject, systematic provision of in-service training should be made. Another important way of raising the standard of religious education should be the appointment of advisers in this subject by local authorities. At present advisers have been appointed by only four authorities.


577. (i) Parents should be told when their children are admitted to school of their rights of excusal from the Act of Worship and from religious education.

(ii) There should be more freedom in the interpretation of the law on the Act of Worship and it should not necessarily be conducted by the head teacher.

(iii) Further enquiry should be made into the aspects of religious faith which can be presented to young children.

(iv) Further in-service training should be provided to familiarise teachers with modern thinking on religious education.


1. Survey by Research Department, Odhams Press (1962) of young people aged 16 to 25 years.
2. Survey by Institute of Christian Education (1964) of parents of sixth-formers.
3. Survey by National Opinion Polls Ltd (1965) for 'New Society' in five regions of England, Scotland and Wales.
4. Goldman RJ 'Readiness for Religion: A Basis for Developmental Religious Education', Routledge, 1965.


578. Despite the obvious importance of English both as a means of communication and as literature, it has not had a brilliant place in the history of education, at least until modern times. In the public schools English was long subordinated to the classics. The first schools for the poor concentrated on teaching children to read the Bible. Later they aimed at equipping them, in

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the short period available before they went to work, with those minimum skills in reading, writing and cyphering which would fit them for a humble and useful station in life. The past is still with us in the trend in some schools to emphasise the techniques of reading and writing at the expense of speech and in the survival of a theory of grammar that derives from the inflected language of Latin. It is significant too that, central as English has now become in the curriculum and timetable of most primary schools, revolution came later than in art, partly no doubt because English became one of the two subjects by which fitness for secondary education was assessed.

579. But revolution has certainly come. It began when infant schools recognised how much and how spontaneously children learn of the world and of language in the four or five years before they come to school, more than they will ever learn again in the same span of time. Experience and language interact all the time; words come to life in the setting of sensory experience and vivid imaginative experience. It is equally true that experience becomes richer when talked over and recreated. Its meaning can be clarified and refined, feelings about it are brought more into harmony and it becomes the basis for further learning. The achievement of many infant schools has been to build on and to extend children's experiences, to provide opportunities for talk about them and to create a warmth of relationships which encourages children to talk and to listen.


580. Much has changed in the schools since children sang

'What is infant education?
Universal information.
While the children round are walking,
None should ever be found talking.'
In successive phases, schools tried to make formal provision for speech by the object lesson, the conversation lesson and the 'news' period; now there are many schools where the day is spent in long periods of work and play accompanied by talk between teacher and children as individuals, in groups and occasionally with the whole class drawn in. But how difficult it is for teachers of large classes to spend long enough with individuals, even those who have had scant opportunities for the interplay of conversation at home. Teachers can certainly reassure children, but there is rarely time enough to wait for their hesitant words or to put the questions which will help children to classify, and so to forge the instruments of thought.

581. For this reason among others, there seems to be no justification for the sudden decrease in the ratio of adults to pupils as children pass from nursery to infant schools. Similarly there is reason for grave concern about those children who get to the top of the infant school, and even more, the lower reaches of the junior school, before they have become fluent in speech. If teachers are over-anxious to establish literacy at this stage, they may concentrate too narrowly on graded readers and spend too little time on stories. They may clamp down on children's interests and on the conversation and planning arising from them, even though they provide an incentive for reading and writing. Towards the top of the junior school, the situation

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usually rights itself, at least for the abler children. Group interests and individual hobbies provide incentives and opportunities for children to talk at some length, though perhaps because of the stress on high standards in written work, as well as on account of differences between English and American society, it is rare to find quite the same degree of confidence in speech that some of our members noted on their visits to schools in the USA. Yet there is no doubt about the improvement in children's fluency, articulation and confidence in speech in the last 20 years. Its effects are already apparent in the speech of young teachers now entering the schools. Since example in speech is all important, we can expect a further improvement in the speech of children, especially since the influence of radio and television, and of easier relationships in society, are working in the same direction.

582. It goes without saying that children should be encouraged to speak audibly, though that is certainly not the same as being asked to 'speak up' which often in practice leads to children speaking raucously and straining their voices. As they grow older and their self assurance increases, occasions should be devised for them to talk, according to their capacity, to a group, to the class and at assembly, when audibility, and practice to ensure it, become a necessity. But we are less confident about the elements of speech indicated by such terms as 'correctness' and 'accent'. Usage is always changing and teachers must not burden their pupils with the observance of outworn conventions. Correctness should be sacrificed rather than fluency, vigour or clarity of meaning. When relationships are sound, children can usually accept and benefit from correction by their teachers of gross grammatical errors and of the use of phrases like 'kind of' which impede clear communication. It is more difficult to decide whether accent is to be tolerated, welcomed, or modified. All sorts of personal and social as well as pedagogical questions are bound up in this problem and whenever the matter is discussed in the press, wide differences of opinion and strong feelings are revealed. We hope that Project English, a research programme of which we have a little more to say later, will throw light on this and offer guidance to teachers.

Teaching Children to Read

583. Traditionally one of the first tasks of the infant school was to teach children to read. It is still, quite rightly, a major preoccupation, since reading is a key to much of the learning that will come later and to the possibility of independent study. In many infant schools, reading and writing are treated as extensions of spoken language. Those children who have not had the opportunity at home to grasp the part that they play are introduced to them by the everyday events and environment of the classroom. Messages to go home, letters to sick children, labels to ensure that materials and tools are returned to their proper place; all call for reading and writing. Many children first glimpse the pleasures of reading from listening to stories read to them at school; as teachers' aides are introduced (see Chapter 24), it should be possible for even more children to have the opportunity that others have at home of looking at pictures and text as a picture book is read to them individually or in small groups. Books made by teachers and children about the doings of the class or of individuals in it figure prominently among the books which children enjoy. They help children to see meaning in reading and to appreciate the purpose of written records. Children who show interest in reading but

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who are not ready to make steady progress on a graduated series often profit from using home-made books and picture books. They can get much interest from them, without mastering the whole vocabulary, and they will be protected from feeling that they are failures because they have not passed quickly to a second book in a series.

584. As to the systematic teaching that follows this introduction to reading and writing, the most successful infant teachers have refused to follow the wind of fashion and to commit themselves to any one method. They choose methods and books to fit the age, interest and ability of individual pupils. Children are helped to read by memorising the look of words and phrases, often with the help of pictures, by guessing from a context which is likely to bring them success, and by phonics, beginning with initial sounds. They are encouraged to try all the methods available to them and not to depend on only one method. Instead of relying on one reading scheme, many teachers use a range of schemes with different characteristics, selecting carefully for each child: some schemes emphasise sight reading, others phonics; some consist of short books, with a very slow build up of vocabulary, and suit children who need quick success; other schemes help children who are able to advance rapidly and to discard primers. Reading schemes should never determine the practices adopted for all children. A few children are able, with a little help, to teach themselves to read from books of rhymes and stories learnt by heart. Rather more can pass direct from home-made books to simple story books. Many children will not need to go right through a series of books: others will require a great deal of supplementary material.

Standards of Reading

585. Successive investigations into reading ability undertaken by the Department of Education from 1948 to 1964 (see Appendix 7*), make it clear that, despite the dismal reports that appear from time to time in the press, the standard of reading in the country as a whole has been going up steadily since the war. Children of eleven have advanced by an average of 17 months since the first report was made, and backwardness now has a different connotation from that which it had in 1948. For this improvement the schools can take much of the credit, but it does not dispose of all the questions asked about reading. The most important which remain are: what can be done to help the minority of children for whom learning to read is a slow business and for a few, never achieved? What use is made of the skill once it is acquired?

586. On the first question we must repeat our conviction of the setback which children often suffer from a change of school at seven. At this age many children are at a turning point in their mastery of reading. A week, a month, a term more and their future progress may be assured. Except for those children whose experiences in the infant school have resulted in disheartenment, nothing could be worse than a change of school at this time, after a long holiday during which their half-won understanding may have faded away. Even those children who appear to have failed completely might have fared better in the infant school had their teachers known that the introduction

*A fuller account of this study is to be found in 'Progress in Reading' (1966), HMSO.

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to systematic reading could be left a little later, and that there would still be time for unhustled progress. English children are taught to read earlier than in most other parts of the world. Evidence from research (1) has confirmed that transfer at seven can have disastrous results on children's achievement in reading. It has shown that nearly half of the children in a representative sample of schools continued to need after transfer the skilled teaching associated with the infant school. But, as we have pointed out in Chapter 10, they do not get it.

587. We are concerned about the quality and content of many primers and particularly of those used by children who come late to reading from an unbookish background. Too often, the difficult problem of combining interest with a controlled vocabulary is not solved. The middle class world represented by the text and illustrations is often alien to the children, the characters shadowy, the content babyish, the text pedestrian and lacking in rhythm and there is rarely either the action or the humour which can carry children through to the end of the books. We agree with the recommendation made to us by the National Association for the Teaching of English, that research should be instituted into the types of primer and library book which are most effective with children from different backgrounds and of varying levels of ability.

588. A hundred and fifty years ago, Coleridge, anxious about his own child's progress in reading, complained about 'our lying alphabet'. How great an obstacle is it to children who have difficulty in learning to read? The Initial Teaching Alphabet has attracted great public attention and has been the subject of heated argument. Should the claims made for the use of this alphabet be substantiated, it would mean that all but a small minority of those children who find reading difficult would find it so no longer. Since at present a substantial minority find difficulty, the claims merit careful scrutiny.

589. The Initial Teaching Alphabet is the subject of research (2) which is being carried out by the University of London. It is not yet complete but interim results have been reported. The Alphabet is in use in something like five per cent of the infants' schools in England and possibly in as many as ten per cent of the elementary schools in the USA. An investigation of all the available evidence is currently being undertaken by the Schools Council and its results may be published before our Report is out. It would therefore be inopportune to make an assessment here. All that needs to be said now is that ITA is not a method of teaching reading. It is an alphabet which is more efficient than Caxton's alphabet (adapted from the Latin). It is intended only to get children over the difficult first stage of learning to read and they usually transfer from it to a fairly simple primer in traditional orthography. It can be used with various methods and, like other instruments, it can be used well or badly. We welcome the investigations being made into the evidence of its use and success with beginners, and with children who have failed in learning to read the conventional alphabet. We also welcome research into the effects of improved methods of teaching reading in traditional orthography. It is important to stress that even if methods are found which make possible an early beginning in reading, it does not follow that children's time is best spent on reading. The earlier children read and the more time spent on it, the more important it becomes to see that books are worth reading and that their substance does not outrun children's experience and maturity.

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590. Some of our witnesses have suggested the existence of specific developmental dyslexia (sometimes called word blindness), a failure in reading which is thought to be due to neurological causes. There are so many possible reasons for poor reading, such as late maturation, ill-timed or poor teaching, sensory and speech defects, strephosymbolia (misperceptions of letters or numbers which usually correct themselves in time) and the emotional disturbances which may both cause, and result from, retardation in reading, that it is difficult to be sure whether specific dyslexia exists as an independent factor. An acute difficulty in reading appears to be confined to a very small number of children, perhaps five or fewer in a thousand. Research into it is now being carried out in Leeds with the financial support of the Department of Education and Science. In the meantime, we are advised that if children have not learned to read by the age of nine they should be referred to an educational psychologist. If they are also clumsy runners, and unable to draw a diamond shape, a neurological examination is advisable (3). If possible the educational psychologist should come to the school and discuss the individual children with the teachers.

A Range of Books

591. As the skill of reading is established, it must be used and here a really remarkable change has taken place since the war. The provision of books, which was usually meagre in quantity and in quality in the elementary schools, is now much improved. The average number of school and class library books in schools in the National Survey was 1,800 (Appendix 5, Table 10). Junior school libraries of 4,000 to 5,000 books are quite common, although we show in Chapter 28 that many authorities are still insufficiently generous in book allowances. The establishment of a representative collection of children's books by the Department (commonly known as the 'Tann' collection), and its exhibition at teachers' courses and conferences all over the country, the provision of similar collections by many local authorities and by some colleges of education, the work of children's librarians, the collaboration of the publishers, some children's book shops and the displays arranged by the National Book League have all played their part in bringing the rapidly increasing range of children's books to the attention of teachers. The exhortations of Lord Eccles when Minister of Education, the readiness with which some authorities have responded to them by increasing their grants for books and the initiative which many head teachers have shown in building up school library funds in a multitude of ways have all added to the number of books in the schools. There is now a wide range of children's books, notably enriched by translations of the better books written abroad. Inevitably, there is dross as well as gold and a difficult problem of choice confronts the teachers when some 3,000 new children's books are published each year. Many schools have no book shop within reach and, save when an exhibition is arranged in their area, must send for examples of books, relying on the publications of the School Library Association and the reviews in the more reputable journals, some of which take special account of children's books. One of the functions of teachers' centres (referred to in Chapter 25) would be to house a collection of children's books which could be regularly kept up to date and could provide starting points for discussion by teachers of how children have responded to books. This discussion is important since adults

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may provide too many of the books which they enjoy themselves and which only appeal to exceptional children. There is still an insufficient supply of good light literature for the less able children.

592. Among the most welcome changes which have accompanied the growing informality of the primary school has been the move away from categories of books, each confined to a special time and purpose. In many schools there are now no longer class readers, supplementary readers, group readers, text books and library books: though library books were often the most exacting and rewarding of all, they were frequently relegated to odd moments when other tasks were finished. There are simply books - to be used as and when they are needed. Though there may still be occasions when class sets of books are useful, perhaps as a basis for discussion between teacher and children on the ways in which information can be sought, collated and summarised, much of the money that used to be spent on dull and over-generalised geography and nature study books is now available for the purchase of 'books of information'. Many are admirable but some certainly suffer from the same weaknesses as the text books they are tending to replace; over-generalisation, inaccuracy and poor illustrations.

593. Inevitably there are inequalities in the use as well as in the choice of books. There should certainly be a time for browsing among books; there is also a time for purposeful reading and consulting books to find the specific information needed, for instance, when a group project is begun, or to develop an individual interest. The starting point for an interest is often the teacher's knowledge and enthusiasm; this can carry children far beyond their usual intellectual range, the laggards and apathetic with the rest. Yet imposed interests are a contradiction in terms and are likely to result in worthless transcription from books, a danger of which teachers need to be aware. Whether interests originate with the children or are stimulated by the school, the teacher must not abdicate in favour of books but give continuing guidance and support. At the same time it is true that reading will often awake new interests as well as nourishing existing ones. Some children have a voracious appetite for facts and will read even reference books and encyclopedias from cover to cover. But it is the teacher's responsibility to see that such books are a support rather than a substitute for first hand evidence, whenever the latter is available. An adult reference book is often more serviceable to children, particularly for example for identification of flowers and birds, than the children's books in which the illustrations are usually, to quote a six year old's explanation, 'too beautiful' to be useful.

594. It may be children's appetite for fact in a world in which knowledge is increasing at an astounding rate that explains the dominating place of informative books in many school collections. Whatever the reason, fiction is often represented by a random collection of books lent by the public library, their uniform bindings sometimes comparing unfavourably with the books bought by the school. Yet most libraries will do their best to provide specific books if teachers ask for them and will leave books in schools as long as teachers need them. Many libraries set an example to schools by their choice and display of books. Certainly fiction ought to form part of the permanent collection of books in every school, since some children will come back to the same books again and again; and it is often the books which demand re-reading which are most worth reading. Probably, teachers are not sufficiently informed about

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the excellence of many contemporary children's stories or their availability in cheap editions. Since literary quality cannot be detected quickly, teachers tend to rely on the 'safe' classics and on the books they read in their own childhood. Often they are poorly produced and are in rehashed versions from which the quality has been drained away. Many of the outstanding children's classics, particularly the Victorian ones, continue to appeal, especially to the abler children. But the books of yesterday, perhaps because they derive from a period when children were artificially insulated from adult life, are often more remote from children than the timeless traditional stories and those of the classical and medieval world.

595. We are convinced of the value of stories for children, stories told to them, stories read to them and the stories they read for themselves. It is through story as well as through drama and other forms of creative work that children grope for the meaning of the experiences that have already overtaken them, savour again their pleasures and reconcile themselves to their own inconsistencies and those of others. As they 'try on' first one story book character, then another, imagination and sympathy, the power to enter into another personality and situation, which is a characteristic of childhood and a fundamental condition for good social relationships, is preserved and nurtured. It is also through literature that children feel forward to the experiences, the hopes and fears that await them in adult life. It is almost certainly in childhood that children are most susceptible, both to living example and to the examples they find in books. As children listen to stories, as they take down the books from the library shelves, they may, as Graham Greene suggests in 'The Lost Childhood', be choosing their future and the values that will dominate it.

596. We have written in some detail about the value of story because there are still too few books of literary quality in primary schools and too little time is given to reading them. Even in good schools, it is sometimes thought sufficient to allow a weekly library period when books for reading at home may be changed but there is little opportunity for guidance or stimulus. There has certainly been no glorious past here. Reading the same classic 'round the class' for a term or more, or working comprehension exercises on passages of literary quality - a practice which still lingers - can be looked back on without nostalgia.


597. It is doubtful whether poetry has ever been well treated in the majority of schools. Matthew Arnold recommended Mrs Heman's poems to the schools, admittedly with some reservations. Another inspector included 'There are fairies at the bottom of our garden' in the immensely popular English text books which he wrote before he joined the inspectorate. Until fairly recently it was common to find class sets of poetry books including far too many of the traditional anthology 'pieces' and too much tinkling verse about fairies and elves written specially for children. A period was usually set aside for poetry each week: at best children made individual anthologies and memorised some of the poems they chose to copy out: at worst the whole class copied a poem a week from the blackboard and poetry became little more than a writing lesson. Occasionally, choral verse speaking brought some vitality to the poetry period but the poems chosen were not

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always well suited to the technique. Now the class sets of poetry books are disappearing fast though individual copies of them are not infrequently the sole representatives of poetry in class and school libraries. The number of really good anthologies for children - many of them compiled by poets and well produced - has increased rapidly in the last few years. Most of them are expensive and relatively few have found their way into the schools. Selections from the works of individual poets are particularly uncommon. Similarly, poetry is poorly represented in teachers' reference libraries and is often confined to collections intended only for school use. Some good teachers lack conviction about the value of poetry and are more confident about giving children opportunities to write poems than about nourishing them with great poetry. Few children learn poems because, once the nursery rhyme stage is past, few teachers speak poems to them. Children may lose much when they are not set an example of getting poetry by heart.

598. To leave an account of literature and poetry here would be to present too pessimistic a picture. There is some evidence that the tide is beginning to turn. In a growing number of schools the head or one of the assistants makes himself an authority on children's books and gives advice to the rest of the staff. It is not uncommon to find some interchange of classes so that children can enjoy poetry with an enthusiast. The proportion of young teachers who are sensitive to quality in literature and knowledgeable about children's books seems to be increasing. This may well be one of the gains of the three year course and the deeper study of English and of education which it makes possible. Supported by teachers, children can reach out to stories and poetry that they could not manage unaided. But a teacher can only share with children what he understands and likes. He can only choose wisely what to share when he has both a well developed critical sense and an understanding of children. In poetry, above all, children can be carried by the pleasure of sound over difficulties in language, but the mood must have some relevance to their experience. In schools where the place of literature is becoming stronger, teachers will give much time to reading aloud when they are introducing a book to their class. They cast their net wide in what they read, often making use of short passages from their own personal reading. They take chances with contemporary literature, especially poetry, recognising that children may be more in tune with the spirit of the time - to which poetry often gives heightened expression - than their teachers are themselves. Poetry written for adults, or written at least by those who are poets in their own right, is usually to be preferred to children's verse. In some schools teachers vary their own interpretation of poetry by the use of recorded verse. Occasionally a group of children put on tape a programme of poems on a particular theme. They have an incentive for the best reading they can manage, or for getting their poems by heart so that they can speak them better. The ordering of the programme can lead to much thought about the poems themselves. Teachers, too, encourage children to think about poems more by the sequence and contrast of what is read than by direct comment, and are content to leave the outcome largely to children's questions.

599. When teachers read much aloud, sometimes giving children only a taste of the pleasure that awaits them and referring them to the sources, the quality of children's own reading is influenced for the better. Time and peace for solitary reading must also be found, not always easy in a school which is

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humming with activity. If it is not possible to allow all types of books, other than expensive reference books, to go home, it means that a school has too few books. Some children will be literary cormorants, swallowing all that comes within their reach; it is for teachers to see that some of it at least is of a kind to give 'an obscure sense of possible sublimities', to be worth reading and re-reading.


600. Some of our witnesses regarded drama as an integral part of English. Yet drama embraces movement, gesture and mime, and these primitive features of drama should be emphasised with young children, especially since plays written for them are usually of indifferent quality and do little to extend or clarify their experience. In practice, drama bridges English and movement. This is apparent from the dramatic play of children in the infant school. They rely mainly on movement yet, even at the stage when play is largely individual and a group may contain three heroes and only one unwilling villain, words will force a way in as part of the movement. We have been much impressed by the dramatic work which has developed in junior schools in some parts of the country. Children re-enact and reshape experiences of everyday life and those derived from literary, Biblical and historical sources. Unscripted speech plays a part but if it is emphasised too much it may cramp movement and kill action. As children become more accustomed to this way of working, improvisations can be discussed, revised and rehearsed until they grow into coherent plays from which children begin to understand something of the problems and strengths of dramatic form. When the amount of dialogue increases, some children may want to polish their plays by putting words on paper. If pupils remain in the middle schools till 12, some will probably be ready to interpret the plays of others, beginning perhaps with the mummers' plays or mystery plays whose conventions are near to the children's own. A few exceptional teachers have communicated an enthusiasm for Shakespeare to children of junior school age and have even produced scenes with them, but it is doubtful whether this should become general. It is significant that the liveliest drama in the first year of the secondary school is of the unscripted kind that we have described earlier. Certainly, though some primary school children enjoy having an audience of other children or their parents, formal presentation of plays on a stage is usually out of place.

Children's Writing

601. Perhaps the most dramatic of all the revolutions in English teaching is in the amount and quality of children's writing. The code of 1862 required no writing other than transcription or dictation until Standard VI, or about the age of 12 to 13. In the thirties, independent writing in the infant school and lower junior school rarely extended beyond a sentence or two and the answering of questions, and for the older children it was usually a weekly or fortnightly composition on prescribed topics only too frequently repeated year by year. Now it is quite common for writing to begin side by side with the learning of reading, for children to dictate to their teachers and gradually to copy and then to expand and write for themselves accounts of their experiences at home and at school. Often these accounts also serve as their first reading books. As with speech, new routines have developed which, if followed too exclusively, or with all children, can also be deadening: the

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picture always accompanied by a caption, the class news book or individual diary filled in whether or not there is anything to be said, and the 'story'. What is most remarkable now in many infant schools is the variety of writing: writing arising out of dramatic play, writing associated with and explaining the models that are made, writing which reflects the sharpening of the senses, 'the peppery smell of the lupins', 'the primroses clustered so closely that the stalks can't be seen', the writing that derives from the special occasion, the tortoise brought in for the day - 'I could hug him and snug him and our teacher wanted to tell us the story of the hare and the tortoise but we had all heard it before'. Much of the writing derives from the experiences of individual children, much from the excitement of a shared visit, 'the most day that fascinated me', a visit to a zoo which led after a longish spell of time to a description of a snake 'slithering slowly through the long grasses. Up, up, up the tree he coiled and rested his head on his tall slim body'. Less frequently the spirit and language of a story are caught, 'one day however the prince was lucky for he found to his joy on the topmost branch of an oak the Golden Bird and he said in a joyful voice "Great Golden Bird, come down and let me pluck a feather from your breast so I may marry the princess". The Golden Bird shivered ...'

602. Some teachers at the bottom of the junior school become so anxious about children's insecure hold on reading that they make too frontal an attack on it. Equally, they become concerned about inaccuracies in children's writing and about the long-winded rigmarole which sometimes follows children's discovery that they can write. They worry about the consequences of the belief, occasionally encouraged by an over-enthusiastic infant teacher, that there is virtue in sheer volume, irrespective of what is said. But here again the remedy does not lie in narrowing children's activities or confining them to a starvation course of six simple sentences on 'Myself' or on 'My School'. When inaccuracy impedes communication, that is the moment, without worrying about inessentials, to help children to see how their meaning can be more clearly and economically conveyed. It may also be prudent to concentrate for a time on writing about the shared experiences of teacher and children - first hand or vicarious - which will be clarified to some extent, and therefore controlled by previous discussion.

603. In a growing number of junior schools, there is free, fluent and copious writing on a great variety of subject matter, similar to - but extending beyond - that found in infant schools. Sometimes it is called 'creative writing', a rather grand name for it. Its essence is that much of it is personal and that the writers are communicating something that has really engaged their minds and their imaginations. To this kind of writing, here as in the infant school, we give an unqualified welcome. It is nearly always natural and real and sometimes has qualities which make it most moving to read. Several collections of children's writing (4) have been printed and for this reason we give only brief examples here.

604. It is becoming less usual for personal writing to take the form of an invented 'story'. Save for exceptional children who have a story telling gift and should be given the opportunity to use it, this type of writing tends to be second rate and derivative from poorish material. The great story can change children's ways of looking at the world and at themselves; but poorer story

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writers often have more influence, in the short run, on children's style because their conventions are mechanical and easily borrowed. In the long term, the quality of children's reading will certainly influence their writing.

605. The best writing of young children springs from the most deeply felt experience. They will write most easily and imaginatively about their homes, their hobbies and interests, about things seen and done in science, mathematics, geography and on school visits. When relationships are good, the slower children often achieve most when they have talked over with their teacher the day to day experiences of school and family life. In a few sentences, a child from a fourth stream can portray her mother: 'she is not tall or short and quite ordinary looking. She is patient and good natured and helps us in all we do. She always gives in to my sisters and to me. She says sometimes, she wishes she was dead'. Children need extension of experience, both at first hand and through reading and listening, if they are to write well. They are often stimulated by hearing good poetry read aloud, partly by its whole flavour, partly perhaps because they are encouraged to convey their meaning in relatively few words. It was after hearing, and reading for herself, some extracts from TS Eliot that a girl of modest ability described how she had felt at home on the previous evening:

'The smell of fish and chips
Cooking in the kitchen.
The baby crying for its feed
And our old Dad reading the newspaper.
Slippers lying around the house,
And big sister telling us off.
Mother has got a headache
And so have I.
The doors are slamming to and fro.
Seven o'clock.
Time for television.'
More remarkably, the poetry a boy had heard extended his vision as he looked at scaled models of the planets, strung across his classroom. Most of them were clustered against the sun, drawn on the wall, but Pluto was placed away in the corner of the room.
'Pluto the lonely traveller
Far out in the unconquered universe,
Like a hermit
In the mysterious desert of space.
Mercury the baby of the family,
The Sun the mother,
Watching over her nine sons.
Pluto the shy and lonely one,
Earth the educated son.'
606. The ablest children can benefit particularly from the disciplined writing which ought to accompany first hand observation in geography or science. Exact observation and exact language should go hand in hand and children can be helped to see that the validity of a simple experiment may depend on exact recording. But there are other aspects of the curriculum, notably

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history, which cannot be based to the same extent on experience at first hand. Whether a topic makes an impact will often depend on whether children are given, by oral lesson or through books, authentic detail on which their imagination can play. Detail, and therefore focus on selected topics, are vital in stimulating knowledge and language in every aspect of the curriculum at the top of the junior school. This is one reason for moving towards some subject divisions with the ablest children at this stage.

607. It is not easy to determine whether this flowering of children's writing has been accompanied by a decline in formal excellence - neatness, good handwriting, accuracy and arrangement. Some of our witnesses think that it has, but few collections exist which would make possible any comparison between the writing of the thirties and that of the present day. The far greater variety of subject matter now used and the decline of the 'fair copy', though it still has a place for the special occasion, make the matter even harder to decide. We very much doubt whether there has been any deterioration in the appearance of children's work but we think that there is room for improvement. Schools which make a feature of good handwriting, often in the Italic mode and sometimes in other styles, lose nothing in the freedom and imaginative quality of children's writing and can gain in other ways.

608. Some comment must be made on the efforts of schools to improve the accuracy and arrangement of ideas in children's writing. There are some schools in which, as an insurance policy for the eleven plus examination, teachers continue to prescribe and prepare with the children compositions on traditional subjects in the later years of the junior course. It is perhaps almost inevitable that the writing of older children will become rather bookish and pretentious. They may copy the hackneyed phrases which adults often use as as a substitute for thought and which even nowadays children are encouraged to adopt by being set worthless exercises of the 'cool as ...' type. There is certainly no point in forcing children into stock phrases and insincerity by setting them to write on the conventional subject: the walk in spring, the autobiography of the penny, the loaf of bread, or the tree, which may culminate in 'I am happy as a table, but I was happiest as a tree'. Children may well want to write in autobiographical form but how much more exciting and indeed more possible to imagine themselves with Columbus as he first glimpsed land, with Elizabeth as she reviewed the troops at Tilbury, or in Jerusalem on the first Good Friday.

609. Preparation of written work has more place in connection with the factual summaries which secondary schools will expect children to be able to write if their transfer from the primary school is deferred by a year. The child's view of what is important ought still to hold the field. Discussion is needed with individuals and groups about the kind of questions they will want to answer on an 'interest' or 'topic' and the ways in which material can best be ordered. In all types of writing, children will need tactful help in conveying their meaning and in the craftsmanship of writing. Ideally, it is best given orally to individuals, but the size of classes may make some written comment necessary and it may help to fix a point in a child's mind. Care should always be taken not to discourage children, particularly the younger and the less able, by too much criticism. What should children be told about their work? They ought to know if they have succeeded in sharing their meaning and, however tactfully, what impact the meaning made. Teachers should, that is to

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say, be at least as much concerned with the content as with the manner of what is said. They should be quick to notice an absurd combination of natural phenomena on a spring morning or bombs facilely disposed of by opening a plane window (though this kind of nonsense is usually the product of an imposed subject). Often the probing question is the best comment. Some 'correction', if so inadequate a word must be used, should be directed towards inaccuracies, not so much the careless slips that everyone makes throughout life, as the repeated errors in sentence construction, in punctuation and in spelling which get in the way of communication. Similarly such techniques as paragraphing can be taught when it can be made clear to children that the technique will serve their purpose in writing. With the abler children, there is room for some concern about form and style so long as it does not make children self-conscious.

610. Any follow-up of written work should be tailored to individual and group needs. The NFER survey has shown that there is relatively little group teaching in English, except in reading. Some schools provide assignment cards to correct specific weaknesses, and references to a single exercise or two in an English course book that can serve a similar purpose. Programmed texts are likely to be developed which can be similarly used to help individuals to correct errors in those particular matters in which they have difficulty. There is no sense in classes working systematically through books of exercises. Much money is wasted on these books which would be better spent in building up school libraries. Much time also is wasted by children on English course books. They learn to write by writing and not by exercises in filling in missing words.

611. The growth of the study of linguistics, with its interest in describing and analysing how language works, the differences between written and spoken language and the influence of language on children's thought and mental development, will no doubt come to be reflected in teachers' courses and in classroom techniques. Already the linguist has done a good deal to clarify the vexed question of the role of grammar in teaching English by his distinction between 'prescriptive' and 'descriptive' grammar. Speech is how people speak, not how some authority thinks they ought to speak. The test of good speech is whether any particular use of language is effective in the context in which it is used, not whether it conforms to certain 'rules'.

612. The Schools Council's 'Project English' will study among other questions the lessons that linguistics has to offer to teachers, and its findings will be awaited with interest. In the meantime we offer the following propositions for the consideration of teachers:

(a) Children are interested in words, their shape, sound, meaning and origin and this interest should be exploited in all kinds of incidental ways. Formal study of grammar will have little place in the primary school, since active and imaginative experience and use of the language should precede attempts to analyse grammatically how language behaves.

(b) The time for grammatical analysis will come but it should follow a firmly laid foundation of experience of the spoken and written language. When 'rules' or generalisations are discussed these should be 'induced' from the child's own knowledge of the usage of the language. The theory of grammar that is studied should describe the child's language and not be a

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theory based on Latin, many of whose categories, inflexions, case systems, tenses and so on do not exist in English.

(c) While there is no question of the teaching of linguistics in the primary school, some work in linguistics at colleges of education or in refresher courses will help teachers to a sound view of how language works.

613. There has been since the war such progress in the teaching of English that it might have been thought that, with Project English on the way, we might have treated it more briefly. But English permeates the whole curriculum as it permeates the whole of life. We cannot afford to slacken in advancing the power of language which is the 'instrument of society' and a principal means to personal maturity.


1. Morris JM 'How Far Can Reading Backwardness be Attributed to School Conditions?', an address presented to the International Reading Association, May 1964.
2. Downing JA 'Initial Teaching Alphabet', Cassell & Co., 1966.
3. Evidence submitted by Medical Officers of the Department of Education and Science.
4. For example:
'The Excitement of Writing', West Riding Education Committee, Advisory Centre for Education, Cambridge 1966.
'Children as Writers', Annual Anthology of entries to the Daily Mirror Children's Literary Competition, started 1960.
'Free Writing', Pym D., Bristol University Institute of Education, London University Press, 1956.
'Young Writers, Young Readers', ed. Ford B., Hutchinson, 1960.


614. For many years there have been sporadic, individual and quite uncoordinated attempts to teach a modern language, nearly always French, in primary schools. The age at which boys in independent preparatory schools began Latin and French had already shown that there was no fundamental difficulty in teaching a second language to at least some children of primary age. Whether it was possible to teach a second language to all or most children was unknown, and the scattered experiments (if they deserved the word) just mentioned threw no light on the problem. They were generally confined to the most able children in the fourth year and were undertaken because of the appearance on the staff of someone who was 'good at' or 'keen on' French. Often the subject was not begun until after the selection examination had taken place and was thus limited to the period March-July. All too frequently the weekly time allowance was too short and badly distributed and if, as often seemed to happen, the key teacher left, French dropped out of the curriculum without trace. The plain fact was that the majority of primary school teachers were not qualified to teach a modern language. Furthermore, the secondary schools to which the children concerned went showed, often with some justification, a bland indifference to their claims to have 'done some French already'. The whole proceedings were an example of the least admirable side of the English tradition of independence and, as recently as 1959, the Department's handbook of suggestions for teachers, Primary Education, gave little encouragement to the introduction of a second language.

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615. In the last few years a complete change has occurred. It is possible that the general climate was already more favourable in 1959 than the writers of Primary Education supposed. More English people, including many teachers, had been travelling abroad and there was a feeling that links with the rest of Europe ought to be strengthened. The cultural advantages of knowing a second language, as distinct from the strictly linguistic ones, had always been understood, but it was now increasingly felt that they ought to be available to a much larger section of the population. In 1962 the Nuffield Foundation offered the sum of 100,000 for the production of materials for experiment in teaching French in primary schools. The Department of Education and Science undertook responsibility for organising the necessary teacher training and a joint steering committee, on which the Department, the Foundation and the local education authorities were represented, was set up.

616. The experiment is still in progress and this is not the place to describe it in detail, still less to assess its results. The preliminary period, during which the 13 experimental areas and the 53 associated areas were chosen, the teachers trained, a process that included a three month course in France, and the early stages of the teaching material prepared, came to an end m September 1964, when the second stage - that of beginning to teach French to the eight year olds - was introduced. At the time of writing (Summer 1966) these children are nearing the end of the second year of French and a second cohort of eight year olds are finishing their first.

617. There are a number of points which seem to be worth making at this comparatively early stage:

(i) The careful and systematic planning of the experiment was in contrast to the haphazard methods of the past, involving, as it did, a reasonable assurance of sound foundations and continuity and a firm agreement with the receiving secondary schools.

(ii) The Nuffield teaching material, despite its close connection with the experiment, is not an essential part of it. There is no compulsion to use it and in fact about 20 per cent of the pilot areas are using other material, some of it devised in France, some in the USA and some in this country. The schools which are using the Nuffield material have been given every opportunity for shaping it and improving it. The continuing and constructive collaboration between all concerned - Foundation, Department and teachers - is one of the most heartening and significant features of the experiment.

(iii) We appreciate the reasons which led to the experiment being almost entirely confined to French at primary level. The number of primary teachers who know any other language well enough to teach it is minimal and French is the 'safest' language from the point of view of transfer to a secondary school. Nevertheless we must regret that the experiment is perpetuating the dominance of one language, even though it is the language of our nearest neighbours and one with a rich literature. We hope that if the present experiment is successful, the possibilities of including another language will be explored.

(iv) The introduction of a modern language into primary schools raises acutely the question of specialisation. It will be easier when many more primary teachers are qualified to teach French, but that time is still a

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long way off. In the meantime there is bound to be some anxiety lest the methods used in teaching French vary sharply from those used for the rest of the curriculum. The developing tradition in primary education since 1945 has been away from class teaching and from formal lessons, but the early stages of learning a modern language inevitably involve some class teaching and many teachers fear that much hard-won ground will have to be given up. The approach adopted in the Nuffield material, and in any of the other three sets of material in use in the pilot areas, need not occasion anxiety; but there are other courses on sale and in use which are completely out of harmony with good primary practice. Some are intended for older children, and others introduce the reading and writing of French at too early a stage. Any school embarking on French ought to scrutinise critically the course that it proposes to use. We hope that work in French will flow over into other areas of the curriculum and that care will be taken to brief specialists and peripatetic teachers about the general principles of young children's learning.

(v) It is unfortunate that many schools and areas which are outside the experiment have chosen to add French to the curriculum without ensuring reasonable conditions for success. There is obviously not the smallest reason why a freelance school or area should not do just as well as an 'experimental' one. The fact remains, however, that far too many schools have introduced French without having a teacher who possesses even minimum qualifications, without consideration of what constitutes a satisfactory scheme and timetable and without any consultation with receiving secondary schools. This can only be deplored. No good purpose can possibly be served by it. Without a teacher who is well qualified linguistically and in methods suitable for primary schools, it is better to have nothing to do with French. The presence of a native French speaker, while it guarantees the former, often fails to provide the latter.

618. The experiment has aroused keen interest in many primary schools but we retain certain reservations about it. The later stages of learning a language are more difficult than the earlier ones. It is when the later stages are reached that the learning problems of less able pupils can be assessed and the difficulties of staffing so great an expansion of language teaching can be appreciated. For this and other reasons we hope that the experimental nature of the project will be recognised and that no attempt will be made to press further the teaching of a second language in primary schools until the results of the experiment can be fully assessed.

619. We discuss the problem of teaching English to children of foreign origin in Chapter 6.


620. History for children is a subject on which it is not easy to reach agreement. The heroine of 'Northanger Abbey' 'pitied the hard fate of historians filling great volumes and labouring only for the torment of little boys and girls'. Charlotte Yonge was so spellbound by the six volumes of ancient history which she was given before her sixth birthday that she was despondent a year later when her mother refused to christen her brother Alexander Xenophon. In adult life she was to add to the histories for boys and girls, and

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some of these books are still in print. Since then many new problems have arisen in the teaching of history to children. Personalities have tended to recede from the stage and when they hold their commanding position, their motives are difficult to disentangle. Economic influences and institutions have come to the fore. History, it is said again and again, is an adult subject. How then can it be studied by children without it being so simplified that it is falsified ? There is the further problem that it is not until the later years of the primary school, if then, that some children develop a sense of time. Yet we received oral evidence of an infant school where several of the older children became absorbed in historical subject matter of the most varied kind, and we visited an infant school where one exceptional child had memorised the dates of the kings and queens of England - 'all except the muddling Anglo-Saxons'. There is, it seems, a need for further enquiry into the impact of history on children, in terms of the interest, attitudes, knowledge and concepts which it develops. In particular, more studies are needed of children's understanding of time.

621. These uncertainties may go some way towards explaining the widely differing situation of history in the schools. We have received evidence that there has been a great improvement in history teaching since the publication of the 1931 report. This must almost certainly be true. The 1931 report took it for granted that history teaching would be based on a textbook. Now, the most common criticism of work in history is that it derives from textbooks and that chapter headings form the syllabus. Despite the doubts about history in school, it has been seized on by the writers of children's books and the publishers as subject matter popular with children. Informative books on history and historical novels are often found in considerable numbers in school and class libraries, and they rarely stand idle on the shelves.

622. In most junior schools history continues to appear as a separate subject in the timetable, certainly in the last two years and often before. It usually suffers the disadvantage of being confined to two periods a week and even this meagre time allowance is occasionally sacrificed to coaching for the eleven plus in the first half of the fourth year. But the dreary notes copied from the blackboard have largely disappeared and children are at least given the opportunity to make their own summaries in which emphasis may quite rightly be very different from that of adult historians of all shades of thought. History frequently provides a successful starting point for spontaneous drama, for narrative of the 'I was there' kind and for lively art and craft. This spilling over of history into other aspects of the curriculum is probably the most general advance of recent years.

623. Work of quality of which we have heard usually occurs in schools which break away from the conventional timetable divisions, either by giving a concentrated spell of time first to one aspect of the curriculum, then to another, or by working on topics such as exploration which link history and geography or by studies of the environment. Some schools are fortunate enough to have an enthusiast for history on the staff who may show his colleagues how for a time a class can be steeped in the past. Children may study it in such detail that probing questions are asked, connections are seen and discoveries are made as authentically from written sources as from environmental study or scientific investigation. This kind of work does not usually develop until children are 10 or 11 and is equally suitable for children

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in the lower forms of secondary schools. A topic may be formally introduced by the teacher because the subject matter is interesting, important and balances other work done by the children, or it may begin with a child's question arising from a local antiquity or from a historical novel. Once interest is stirred, materials are collected from the school library, and the public library and elsewhere; stories for background, children's reference books, adult books, printed source material, illustrations, film strip, photostats of documents from the local record office or elsewhere. Collections of contemporary documents and illustrations are now on the market and some are suitable for use by children between 10 and 12. If the local museum has a school loan service, it may be possible to supplement displays of pictures and books with real objects from the period. Class discussion clarifies the aspects of the period which individuals or small groups of children can investigate. It may be advantageous to let choice take its natural course and for several children to study the same topic. Provided that the books used are not full of generalities, even primary school children may begin to glimpse that history is in part created by the historian. It is essential for teachers to help individuals and groups to clear their minds about what they want to find out, though children will often find themselves led by the material itself in unexpected directions, and to guide them with exact references to source and adult books so that they do not waste time.

624. Visits to houses and churches of the period and to museums are best made early in the school year or in a study of a topic so that, if children have further problems, they can make return visits. They are often most evocative when children are prepared, not by lists of things to look out for, but by first-hand source material which will fire the imagination. Only one brief quotation can be given from a wealth of exciting narrative which followed a visit to an Elizabethan manor house, full of priest's holes. The children had heard extracts from the Autobiography of John Gerard and could feel in some degree what it was like to be cooped up in a tiny cavity, with nothing but an earthenware bottle of water and the jar of quince jelly that the mistress of the house had in her hands when the alarm was sounded. 'As the day wore on', a ten year old wrote, 'the searchers came to the library and began scratching, tapping and measuring. Every minute they drew nearer to my hiding place. I recognised their leader's voice. He was Benedict. "I know that Father Domine is here" he said, "he must be here somewhere". When he said this I pressed myself against the wall and trembled. I wanted to cry out but I repeated again and again a fervent prayer. I quivered as a child might when about to be smacked by an angry parent. Suddenly my heart seemed to stop beating. A soldier stopped outside by the beam which I had lifted to get into my hiding place. I bit my lip, "No, no", I almost cried aloud ...'

625. At the end of six weeks or a term, when children have been led on by direct teaching, by reading and by visits, and have discussed with each other their findings, they will have escaped temporarily from their own world, have been confronted with a different world, with the fact of change in the past and its implications for change in the future. By the top of the junior school, a few children may begin to have an imaginative intuition of period, of how things hang together and men are the creatures as well as the creators of their time. They may be helped to taste, for example, the flavour of Elizabethan exuberance - the extravagant clothes of the gentry, 'sooner is a great ship rigged

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than a gentlewoman made ready'; the increasing comfort at home, the heavily carved and bulbous table legs akin to the slashed and exaggerated breeches; a passion running all through society for whatever 'is dear bought and far fetched'. Though they will not talk about cause and effect, they may sense a connection with the boom in overseas trade in the middle of the reign and the private fortunes that were being made right through to its close.

626. Study in depth of the kind we have described frequently originates from children's curiosity about their environment, from the modest survivals - the fire society mark, the milestone, the Victorian letter box, the toll house - as well as those on a grander scale. Often history will be only a small part of a study which cuts across subject divisions. How big a part history should play depends on the children and the particular environment. Even in so rich a historical environment as Bath, it was enough for one class of slow learning children to spend a day or two on history, on a vivid reconstruction of Roman life, a visit to the bath, and the modelling and painting that followed. That this much was worthwhile was apparent from a boy, ascertained as educationally subnormal, who looking at a culvert commented 'think what things must have flowed down that drain'. The same boy turned away from a model hypocaust saying that he would rather look at the real thing.

627. An example of an environmental study with a historical bias comes from a Shropshire school. Children visiting Ludlow for another purpose began to speculate about the castle - who built it, how old was it, who lived and died there, why were there so many castles in Shropshire. At this stage, class teaching on the Norman Conquest, relying heavily on the Bayeux Tapestry, became a necessity and children were soon taking sides - Norman or Saxon, and no half measures. Having begun to see the need for castles in conquered territory, held by a handful of men, the children visited early Norman castles near the school. Running up a 100ft motte, they imagined what it felt like to be Saxons or Welsh trying to storm the wooden keep, defended by Normans using arrows, stones and burning pitch. Stories of attacks and sieges stimulated ballad writing. A large-scale model of a motte and bailey castle was built, using clay for the mound and to line the moat, and wood for the keep and stakes. Extracts were read from stories like Puck of Pook's Hill, Hereward the Wake and the Gauntlet. Interest turned to weapons and particularly to archery, and led to work of a mathematical kind on the speed and distance of flight and some on the trajectory of the arrows. Before the topic came to an end, children had visited Ludlow and Stokesay and seen that a more comfortable life could be lived there than in the early purely military castles. They became enthusiasts for heraldry and devised their own coats of arms. They searched their surnames and vocabulary for traces of Norman-French influence.

628. A limiting factor on the use of school environments is their very varying nature. Suburbs and housing estates in particular may be historically poverty-stricken. Yet even in the newest estate it may be possible to build up from children's memories and those of their parents and grandparents, from old photographs and newspapers and bric-a-brac, a record of some of the vast changes that have taken place in the last 50 years. Within this limited period children can get an idea of sequence and change: from long skirts and woollen stockings and cotton prints to rayon and nylon (though the process has now ceased to be regular), from candle and oil or gas lamp to electric lighting,

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from the first probing with the cat's whisker and the broadcasts from 2LO to the valve set and then TV, and so on. This, like exploration, is one of the aspects of modern history that primary school children can appreciate and it can be given reality for them by being founded on first-hand evidence and focused on the changes in their own town or village.

629. Other springboards into the past have been found in children's names, their games, their phrases, their conventions and their hobbies. Their interest in steam engines (which grows as the steam engines themselves become fewer) and in the history of some of the everyday things mentioned in the previous paragraph has supported history based on so-called 'lines of development' which has the advantage of being backed by good reference books for children. One of the weaknesses is that, like some work on the environment, it may overemphasise gradual evolution whereas children are often more interested in the contrast of past and present. Too often, work centred on railways, ships, buildings and costumes leaves out the people who made and used them.

630. Children are interested in history because they are interested in stories. We have already suggested in the section on English that children may be starved of stories, even in good junior schools. Many of the stories through which children approach history in the earlier part of the primary school and which should balance environmental and other studies at a later stage are not to be distinguished from literature. Odysseus, Beowulf, the Norse stories, Roland, some of Chaucer's Tales, Arthur, Robin Hood: children should not be denied these stories. As they grow older and understand that the stories are legends, they may begin to realise, if Beowulf is linked with the Sutton Hoo remains, that the story illuminates a shadowy period of history when Christianity was beginning to triumph but monsters and dragons had not lost their sway. In Robin Hood they can see the memory of an England where great tracts were given over to forest and to hunting. The forest law was so harsh that even the dogs had to be crippled. Even more clearly, children can appreciate that the Arthurian stories have something to tell about medieval knights, if little about Arthur. In the story of Edward I and his son swearing on the swans that they would be revenged on the sacrilegious Robert Bruce, and the young Edward pledging himself never to sleep in the same bed till Scotland was reached, some mature children may begin to see that if history makes legend, legend also makes history.

631. It is heroes and villains - fairy tale extremes - that young children look for in legend. But even before they leave the infant school, some children press to know whether a story is really true. Stories which have actually happened have an added force for them. This is surely the moment for heroic stories, despite the many difficulties they present, for giving children 'the habitual vision of greatness' which Whitehead believed to be essential to moral development. Leonidas, Boniface, Alfred, Francis, explorers from the fifteenth to the twentieth century: these are among the characters who can be exciting company for children.

632. Whether in a story or in some other form of historical work, it is detail, not the generalisation of the textbooks, that carries conviction and stimulates enquiry. Detail for the imagination to play on is a parallel to the concrete situations from which young children may form their mathematical concepts.

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Children ask exactly what their heroes looked like. Sometimes there is no authentic information but when it exists they should be given it - Edward I's great stature and drooping eyelid, the wart on Cromwell's nose and his linen 'plain but not clean'. It is not enough to learn that Elizabethan ships were small and that music was popular in Elizabethan England. Children benefit from knowing the exact dimensions of the ships that ventured into unknown seas, that explorers like Drake and Davis found room for a small orchestra on board ships so tiny that adequate supplies could not be carried, and that Elizabethan barbers provided citherns rather than magazines for their waiting clients.

633. History may be studied in its own right or as a dimension of the many topics in which children are interested. In either case, its quality will depend on the sources available for children and teachers alike. In this, as in most other aspects of the curriculum, a consultant is needed on the staff, who will see that good historical material is available for pupils and teachers, (including the many cheap editions of sources that are now in print). He ought to make himself knowledgeable on the historical resources of the neighbourhood and to discuss with his colleagues which of children's historical interests are most worth underlining and reinforcing.

634. Though there is doubt about the belief that young children memorise more readily than adolescents, children profit from having some landmarks in chronology. Certainly if they remain in the middle school till 12 plus, they should be helped to see by time charts and other means the broad sequence of the events and aspects of history they learn about, and to acquire in effect a short 'alphabet' of history.


635. A key problem in the teaching of geography is to balance the knowledge which can be learned by children through their own senses with knowledge about distant places, which can only be learned through reports of various kinds made by other people and which demands imagination and interpretation on the part of the children. It has long been recognised that the first sort is a necessary prelude to any real appreciation of the second. For this reason many teachers have regarded local geography as the foundation upon which may be built sensitive and accurate imagining about strange lands and customs. Such teachers are prepared to accept the difficulties of organisation, the hazards of being confronted with questions which they cannot answer, and the demands upon professional skill to select from among a miscellany of experiences, all of which are the consequences of outdoor work. One of the notable changes in geography teaching in the primary school over the last 20 or 30 years has been the steady increase in outdoor work. Some schools not only conduct local studies but arrange visits to a contrasting area, often using exchange visits with another school or a brief period of residence in one of the field study centres which a growing number of local education authorities are establishing. Other schools have made little or no serious attempt to assess the potentialities of their neighbourhoods for geographical study. There has thus been an uneven growth of learning out of doors, and, concurrently with it, an uneven reassessment of the qualities that children's geographical books should possess.

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636. Forty years ago primary schools were largely dependent on series of text books written in simple language specifically for young children. Some text book writers sought to use the dependence of Britain upon imported food and raw materials as a link between the children and other lands: there grew up a fashion for the geography of products which often told of 'workers' and gave descriptions of meaningless industrial processes, rather than people and the lives they lived. Other writers sought an orderly framework of world geography; Herbertson's 'natural regions' (elements of an advanced geographical concept) were often used as the basis of world study and the children were told of the great climatic and vegetation belts as broad types of environment within which it was erroneously claimed that human activity conformed to set patterns. Terms like tundra, selvas and deciduous forest became the stock in trade of junior geography, and lessons dealt with 'the lumbermen of the cold forests', 'the pygmies of the hot wet forests', and 'the nomads of hot deserts'. These generalised cardboard characters belonged to no specific place. Subsequent writers have realised the importance for young children of the specific before the general, and there has been a steady increase in books which deal descriptively with a single family or small village, with a real farm or plantation, or with a few workers in an actual mine or factory. These sample studies carry much of the authenticity of local geography and permit genuine comparisons with the home region. There are now many hundreds of books for children, often illustrated with photographs or attractive line drawings, which tell of life as it is actually lived in many parts of the earth. These books stimulate some of the most searching questions from children and the most assiduous reference to maps and globes. There are also text books which fall between these two extremes and stimulate sample studies by manufacturing characters and names and situations which are claimed to be typical of certain areas. They rarely achieve authenticity.

637. A third element which has assumed increasing importance in the last 20 years in many schools is the use of mechanical aids; film strips, cine film, sound radio and television have made available new and vivid sources of information which call for discriminating use by the teacher.

638. Visits to schools today show an enormous variation in the extent to which teachers are prepared to exploit their localities as teaching laboratories and to use new kinds of geography books and other teaching aids. The head of the procession has advanced far beyond the tail.

639. The work done by many teachers in primary schools suggests that there are three broad stages through which children pass in their geographical education in the primary school:

(i) The first stage, which is appropriate to younger, and some older, infants is concerned with indiscriminate examining and observing of objects, events and phenomena, and learning the vocabulary needed to communicate about them. Weather, people and their actions, growing plants, inanimate objects, scenes in the road or street are all matters of curiosity and comment. A walk out of doors was recorded by infants on a large wall frieze in which houses, the church, trees, clouds, a lorry driver, a dog and the children themselves were prominently depicted: three dimensional models were made and some words, phrases and sentences written to accompany the pictorial record.

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(ii) In the second stage the continued enlargement of vocabulary (which indeed persists into adulthood) is accompanied by more discriminating and selective examination. Single objects or phenomena are isolated and analysed; changes in the weather, farming activities or the traffic flow are discussed, the different layers of soil are compared by feel, colour and texture; leaves of one tree may be set against those of another. Questions of a quite penetrating character may be asked and explanations given by parents or others may be remembered and repeated. At this stage observation can be acute and children find themselves striving for modes of expression which they have not yet mastered. The following piece of writing by a seven year old boy after seeing a picture in a geographical magazine illustrates this stage:
'Once a lovely liner was nosing down a Norwegian fjord. High steep rocky mountains towered the sides of it, and the captain of the liner was gazing out all around him. It was quite lovely and lonely. A fjord is an arm of water, like a channel with mountains at the side. All fjords are in Norway, and some are used for harbours. The captain was on his bridge eating egg sandwiches and drinking lemonade. The captain's ship was called the "Golden Glory". The funnels were red with gold stars. The ship had three funnels, a Union Jack at the front and back. It had two anchors one for the front and one for the back. The ship weighed a 150 tons. It had 21 portholes at each side. The Golden Glory was 2,000 yards long. It had a mast at each end with a flag on. The ship was two miles up the fjord.'
(iii) In the third stage the analysis and comparison of phenomena take on precision as mathematical skills, language and simple argument come to be employed. A sequence of events in human activity is recorded; temperatures are measured, clouds are classified and the directions of their movements described by points of the compass, traffic is counted and classified. Tables, graphs and written descriptions are commonly used as well as models and pictures. As children pass into this stage many of them are able to elucidate relationships and offer explanations. One group of juniors who kept a graphical record of atmospheric pressure and rainfall discovered that a large fall in pressure was accompanied by rainfall. On the single occasion when the correlation failed they wrote to the Meteorological Office to discover why.
640. Most junior schools allocate specific weekly periods to geography, though the timetable is not necessarily followed slavishly. In others the name may not appear on the timetable but the subject matter with which geographers are concerned - embracing the landscape, both natural and manmade, weather and climate and many aspects of the activities of people - is included in the curriculum in one form or another.

641. There are many first hand experiences through which primary school children can become acquainted with objects and events of geographical significance, can gain a vocabulary associated with them, and can lay the foundation of that essentially geographical skill, map reading. But the situation of the school invariably limits the teacher's choice among these experiences. In some districts a stream may be both accessible and safe and

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the observed speed of flow, the depth of water, its muddiness or clarity can become topics for observation, measurement, and, at a later stage, explanation. Terms such as source, current, bed, sediment, confluence and estuary are used and questions may need to be answered about the relationships between weather and flow. Work of this kind may enable a child to understand more clearly what the Aswan dam can mean in a country like Egypt. In another area the river may be regarded as a source of water supply, as a barrier to movement that has necessitated bridges or ferries with their dominating influence over road and rail patterns, or as a means of transport linking the interior of the country with the sea. Some schools, particularly those in northern and western Britain, may find a source of interest in rocks in their many forms. Children may become acquainted with their textures, colours and weights, observe the strata in which they occur, and in some favoured areas the fossils they contain. They may observe how rocks are used for building stone and road metal or, in the case of chalk and limestone, sent to the cement factory. Other schools have access to the coast where cliffs, beaches, sand dunes and the flotsam lines of high tide are matters of interest. Animals, machinery, crops and farming routine are part of the rural setting available to some schools. Schools in urban areas can study shops, transport, housing estates and industry. There are very few schools indeed that cannot make useful studies of building materials, that cannot observe and record weather changes, and that cannot dig a small hole in a garden or adjacent field to find out what soil is like and how it changes with depth. Elements such as these are being employed by teachers to help children to gain vivid impressions by seeing, hearing, touching, smelling and examining the world around them. Measuring and calculating come at a later stage and often accompany a change from pictorial recording to graphs, maps and written accounts. Older juniors may relate one phenomenon to another such as rainfall to stream flow, slope to cultivation, land use to elevation or industrial sites to railway or canal.

642. There are various means by which local studies carried out by children themselves may lead outwards to the study of areas that cannot be visited. Sometimes a local feature possesses a direct link with a distant place; for example, a stream may send children to maps to discover its source, the hill where it rises, other streams which share its basin, the towns on its banks and the port at its mouth; a railway, road, canal or ship may carry children in imagination from the northern industrial district to the farmlands of Lincolnshire or the Fens, from the uplands and valleys of Wales to the industrial Midlands, from London to the holiday resorts of Cornwall or the lonely Scottish highlands, from Hull to Oslo or Copenhagen. A more profitable device, especially for older children, is to stress the thematic aspects of local study. Thus a farm which is well known to the children becomes the heart of a series of farm studies; dairying in Cheshire may be compared with sheep farming in Wales, stock fattening in Northumberland, fruit growing in Kent, wheat farming in Saskatchewan, rice cultivation in Java or subsistence agriculture in Nigeria. Weather studies and graphical records may be used for comparison with exotic climates and some awareness conveyed of the great contrasts that occur in temperature and rainfall and their seasonal fluctuation from one place to another. Older children may thus enquire into some of the reasons that differentiate their home area from other areas. Younger juniors marvel at the way in which the homely matters of food, clothing and houses in

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strange regions stand in contrast to those which they know, and seek for simple explanations of some differences. In such excursions the children are called upon to exercise their powers of imagination and this is where modern aids can bring powerful support to the teacher and child.

643. The cine film, transparencies and clear pictures are a valuable complement to first-hand experience and extend indirect experience; but time must be given for studying and discussing them or much of the impact may be lost. Broadcast programmes which provide local background colour in the form of typical sounds and conversations have a similar value but they, too, need preparation and time for discussion if their value for the children is to be fully reaped.

644. To a large extent the teacher learns to control or to be prepared for the directions in which children's questions lead outwards to the world from local study, film and broadcast lessons. But there are other influences at work outside the classroom which inform children and stimulate questions. The cinema, the press, and most of all television have made available to everyone a general visual knowledge of the world such as was impossible for adults, let alone children, before their invention. Simply left to himself, the television viewer sees more of the world and its peoples than the most travelled man of a century ago. Such knowledge may be superficial but it bears the ring of authenticity. This makes the task of the school at once easier and more difficult; easier because the sources of knowledge are much greater than school geography alone, and more difficult because the wealth of impressions possessed by children will be incomplete, confused and often coloured by the selection and purposes of the programme observed. The producer of a programme on the animal life of Borneo is under no obligation to explain to his viewers that the clothing, weapons and houses of the people seen as background to the main theme may represent skilful adaptations to natural environment, available materials, social organisation and the present state of technological skills which prevail. Detailed descriptions of a variety of environments and modes of life are needed before children can realise the wise balance of adaptation that has been achieved by a great many communities. In this respect some textbooks are open to serious criticism because they convey an oversimplified and often grossly distorted version of the lives of children and grown up people in other lands. The textbook flat conical hat of the south Chinese peasant is not 'funny' to Chinese; it is sensible headgear made cheaply from available materials and well suited to a climate in which heavy rain and hot sun may alternate. Recent developments in northern Canada and Greenland have enriched the way of life of the Eskimo communities in a manner quite foreign to many standard textbook accounts.

645. Even the best books will need constant revision. There is an increasing supply of well written and well illustrated reference books, and the sources of reliable, unbiased information of the sample study type as well as of good films are constantly being enriched.

646. Some form of national and world geography ought to be studied by older juniors and the emphasis ought to be primarily on the relationship between a way of life and the total environment rather than on natural features in themselves or economic products. If such studies are accompanied by the

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regular use of globes and maps, the sophisticated conventions which they employ are gradually absorbed by the children and help to bring order to the many diffuse environments and cultures to which they have been introduced. But the important thing ultimately is that people should understand people, and in the primary school a significant contribution may be made to this end.


647. Until comparatively recently a typical 'scheme of work' in a primary school could have been summarised somewhat as follows: 'Composition and decomposition of 10. The four rules. The four rules in money. Tables. Vulgar fractions. Simple decimals. Simple problems.' Emphasis was laid upon knowledge of tables, computation and quick and accurate 'mental arithmetic'. About twenty years ago the first signs of change appeared, but it is perhaps only in the last five or six that the new ideas have spread so as to affect at least a majority of primary schools, and to justify the name of revolution in a substantial minority.

648. Rapid revolutions are not common in English education and, before describing the change and saying what we think about it, it is worth indicating briefly how it has been brought about. Changes of this nature and magnitude probably occur only when there exists a fairly widespread dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs and a predisposition to look in new directions. The dissatisfaction had certainly been there for many years and it was not confined to this country. It was associated with the growing need of society for mathematics at an advanced level. Those who supported the accepted ways argued that a sound mechanical foundation was essential before anything more adventurous could be attempted and that children must learn to walk before they tried to run. There was, however, a growing conviction that the accepted approach laid too exclusive an emphasis on mechanical operations, was too little concerned with the practical uses of mathematics, and that the traditional syllabuses included much useless lumber.

649. For 30 years or more attempts had been made both by teachers and by the writers of textbooks to make arithmetic more practical and more interesting, but it was not until a mathematical, rather than a purely arithmetical, approach began to be made, that the whole subject began to take on a new look. The various kinds of number apparatus for the use of infant schools, none of which was perhaps essential to the change that has taken place, have helped teachers to think in a fresh way about number and broken down some of the misgivings that many women teachers undoubtedly had about mathematics as distinct from 'infant number'. Even more important was the work of many infant teachers, and their advisers, who realised that learning in school and out of school went on all the time and who directed children's attention to the mathematical aspects of their environment and of their play. Many of these teachers came to realise the contribution of experience to the formation of concepts and the limited value of processes learnt by rote. Books, too, had their influence - Piaget's researches, books about the history and nature of mathematics and the Mathematical Association's 'The Teaching of Mathematics in the Primary School', which was a tremendous encouragement to change.

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650. There is little doubt that the next most important move came from the Department of Education and Science. Individual members of HM Inspectorate had, since the mid-forties, been encouraging a more mathematical approach and the Mathematical Panel of Inspectors, which had formerly been mainly concerned with secondary mathematics, had for some time taken a greatly increased interest in primary schools. In 1959 one of its members was seconded almost full-time to the task of organising courses and conferences for teachers. As a result, about 15 per cent of all primary teachers in England have by now attended courses and conferences organised by HMIs, with much valuable co-operation from local advisers and lecturers in colleges and departments of education. The aim was to introduce teachers to new ideas, to encourage them to set up local groups for further study and exchange of experiences, and to remove the insecurity and inadequacy of which many were all too conscious. These groups were an essential part of the development that took place. Some mathematical specialists from secondary schools took part in all courses. According to the National Survey 26 per cent of teachers attended courses in mathematics between 1961 and 1964 (Appendix 5, Tables 30 & 31).

651. The most encouraging result has been the great interest known to be aroused amongst teachers attending, including those who had always thought mathematics beyond them. The collaboration of mathematicians from many different institutions has led to an enrichment of mathematical knowledge and to a clearer understanding of each other's needs and problems. The experience gleaned in the years from 1959 to 1964 has been embodied in the Schools Council Curriculum Bulletin No. 1 Mathematics in Primary Schools (1), a work of much interest and, we think, of great usefulness. It contains many fascinating accounts of children's work and activities and can be recommended to any reader who wishes to know in detail what modern teaching of mathematics in the primary schools is like. It has greatly influenced the current Nuffield project in primary mathematics. A deliberate change in the curriculum has been brought about not by the issue of programmes by states or universities as is often done in the USA, but by pioneer work by teachers, clarified and focused by advisory services to teachers, and diffused on a national scale by in-service training in which self help has played a major and essential part. This may prove to be the beginning of a new era associated with the establishment of the Schools Council.

652. The Nuffield project, which is being sponsored by the Schools Council and which has been financed by the Nuffield Foundation, involves the issue of material for the use of teachers. At every stage primary teachers have been involved in its production and at every stage it is being 'tried out' in primary schools. It will thus have undergone a more rigorous testing than any ordinary mathematical textbook, which is normally the work of a single writer. But the material is not a textbook, nor is it a course. It is best described as a 'do-it-yourself' series of handbooks. Furthermore, when it is published and made available for general use, it will carry no authority other than what its own inherent qualities command and will compete on equal terms with other books and courses.

653. It would not be timely to describe in detail the present state of mathematical teaching or to pass judgement on it. We offer a brief general account of new ideas on mathematical teaching, followed by some comments derived

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from what we have seen on our visits to schools and heard from our witnesses.

654. In Curriculum Bulletin No. 1 (Chapter 3, page 9) the following summary is given of the principles underlying this new approach:

(1) Children learn mathematical concepts more slowly than we realised. They learn by their own activities.

(2) Although children think and reason in different ways they all pass through certain stages depending on their chronological and mental ages and their experience.

(3) We can accelerate their learning by providing suitable experiences, particularly if we introduce the appropriate language simultaneously.

(4) Practice is necessary to fix a concept once it has been understood, therefore practice should follow, and not precede, discovery.

Some of the practical consequences of adopting these principles are:
(a) Instead of being presented with ready made problems in a textbook the children find their own problems or are given them in a 'raw form' with the idea of their learning a mathematical concept. The old ready-made problems were often concerned with irrelevant situations such as filling baths and calculating how many men would take how many hours to dig so many yards of ditch if it took another lot of men a different number of hours to dig a different length of ditch. These were simply mechanical sums in disguise. They involved no constructive thinking, only the choice and application of a process. Now many infant schools arrange equipment so that children can themselves discover relationships between numbers in the counting sequence. The genuine problem may arise very early as when infants notice the varying length of shadows at different times of the day and ask the reason. They are encouraged to begin to look for an answer even if the description of the problem, the measuring of the shadow, is as far as they are interested or able to go. Later on a dripping tap in the cloakroom, not an imaginary one in the textbook, might provide a 'real' problem. How much water is being wasted in 24 hours, in a week, in a year? Later still the problems may be quite complicated. Some ten year old children had collected a number of bird and animals skulls and became interested in comparing the capacities of the brain cavities. They had to think out an efficient method of measuring them and then construct some cubic receptacle for measuring the dry sand that they had poured into the cavities. The cubic inch that they had used for the cat's and the rabbit's skulls proved to be too large for the bird's and the interesting discovery that a cubic quarter inch was not the same as the quarter of a cubic inch was not likely ever again to be forgotten.

(b) The communication of results in mathematical symbols and graphs develops alongside the practical experiences. Children do not first of all learn fractions, then graphs, then equations, then indices as was done in former days. They learn the appropriate symbols and techniques as they need them and often show a capacity for mathematical thinking and for processes formerly regarded as 'advanced' much earlier than was ever dreamed of under the old methods. The correct vocabulary is often quite naturally introduced at an early stage.

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(c) 'Pure mathematics' appear to have a fascination for many children, and such things as number series, sets, magic squares and the geometry of shapes now appear in the primary school curriculum. Some schools are experimenting with teaching mathematics through the language of sets. This approach has been taken up more strongly in the United States. There is hardly enough evidence as yet to judge the success of these experiments.

(d) Although the new approach has brought much new experience and material into primary schools and has made for a much greater flexibility in matters of presentation and sequence, it has not removed the necessity for a very carefully thought out scheme of work in junior schools, for careful individual records of progress, for practice in computation and for accuracy.

655. Our first comment upon these generalisations would be that this sort of approach demands a considerably greater knowledge of mathematics or rather degree of mathematical understanding in the teachers than the traditional one. If the children have to think harder, so do the teachers. Some have difficulty in identifying the mathematical aspects of topic work. Many teachers, especially women, faced the change with a poor equipment of mathematical training, and it is a measure of their willingness to learn and ability to profit by their learning, that so much has been achieved in so short a time. The changes in the study of mathematics in colleges of education ought to produce a generation of teachers with a much better initial equipment than formerly.

656. There is ample evidence that many of the claims made for the new approach are well founded. Moreover, the number of non-mathematicians floundering in a welter of half grasped rules and inaccurate figures is noticeably less.

657. The extent to which the primary schools have adopted the new approach is difficult to measure precisely. The general impression of HM Inspectorate is that at least a majority of schools have been influenced by the developments of the last five years and that a substantial minority, something between ten per cent and 20 per cent, have completely rethought and reorganised their mathematical syllabus and teaching methods. One of the most encouraging features of these developments is the evident enjoyment that many teachers themselves display on encountering mathematics in its 'new' form.

658. Will the modern methods lead to a decline in computation and accuracy? A modern approach can be mishandled like any other, and a lazy or unsympathetic or muddle-headed teacher could fail in this approach, no less than in the traditional one. Occasionally children may be given too little guidance but there is nothing new in this. When taught by older methods, children were sometimes either kept together as a group or left to 'work on' in their book without enough teaching, stimulus or discussion. Accuracy, indeed, is likely to improve, since in this kind of work there is a built-in incentive to accuracy. The children are much more personally involved and are often called upon to exercise their own judgement on the degree of accuracy, either in measurement or in computation, that each particular operation requires, whereas in the old arithmetic books inches appeared in the same sums as miles. It has been feared by some that computation would

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be given too little place. The more fascinating the mathematics, the less the enthusiasm that might be felt for 'sums', but here again there is an automatic safeguard. Computation can be seen to have a clear purpose, that of 'fixing' a necessary process and increasing the speed of its performance. The introduction of the decimal system should reduce the time necessary for arithmetical computation.

659. If, as we think, it is desirable that this development should continue, the process which brought it about may indicate the means of furthering this. We believe that the local groups of teachers which sprang up in the wake of one HMI, and those who worked with her, provide a useful model. If the stimulus is provided by industry, local education authority organisers, university lecturers, researchers and HMIs, the initiative and responsibility for development must lie mainly with primary school teachers themselves. They must form working groups which exist not primarily to listen to lectures but for the discussion of experience and ideas and for practical work. The centres for teachers which are being established in some areas will fail in their object if they encourage either a passive attendance or attendance with the object of learning how to teach a programme. They must have as their main objective the encouragement of initiative and of imaginative and constructive thinking.

660. It is obvious that in a large number of smaller primary schools mathematics must be taught by those who are in no sense mathematical specialists, while even in the largest schools a full-fledged mathematician cannot, even if it were desirable, do all the mathematics teaching. We think that the teachers' groups that have been described will be the most useful means of ensuring that the mathematicians and the non-mathematicians work in a team and that the latter learn from the former. The specially devised machinery of the Nuffield project must be succeeded by established machinery. The future will depend upon the extent to which we can produce teachers with the necessary knowledge and understanding to use and improve upon the material made available to them, and to keep themselves up to date. This is the responsibility of the colleges of education, supported by whatever permanent arrangements are made, locally and nationally, for in-service training.

661. The 'Southampton School Mathematics Project' in which a number of maintained and independent schools have co-operated, was the first of several experiments at the secondary level. Nevertheless children who have learned to think mathematically in the primary school are too often faced with little more than mechanical computation, repetitive sums and revision when they arrive in their new schools. The moral is that arrangements made for the in-service training and the re-education of primary school teachers should be increasingly available to the teachers of the younger pupils in secondary schools, and that the latter should be actively encouraged to take advantage of them. The raising of the age of transfer will make this an urgent necessity.

662. It happens that our enquiry has coincided with a period of change in the teaching of mathematics and we have been privileged spectators of it. While it must be evident from our remarks that we are full of enthusiasm for what we have seen and of hope for the future, we must emphasise that the last thing we wish to see is a hardening of the new approach into an accepted

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syllabus supported by textbooks, work books and commercially produced apparatus and consecrated by familiarity. The rate of change must obviously slow down, but the initiative must remain firmly in the practising teachers' hands.


1. 'Mathematics in Primary Schools', Schools Council Curriculum Bulletin No. 1, HMSO, 1965.


663. Traditionally, the only science taught in primary schools was nature study which varied from a close study of living things at first hand to avid note making and illustrations of animals, birds, plants and insects seldom actually seen and often scarcely recognisable. BBC talks and the admirably produced pamphlets which accompanied them often aroused interest but resulted too rarely in first-hand observation. Unless the individual teacher had a real knowledge of natural history, the subject tended to be one of the less satisfactory in the primary school.

664. We must emphasise that there is hardly any material more suitable for study by young children than living forms. The observation, identification and recording of fauna and flora found in the neighbourhood of the school, the elementary study of ecological features, simple studies in human biology, the breeding and care in good conditions of insects, small mammals and fish, are all educational and appropriate. Some authorities are setting up animal 'banks' from which animals, much greater in variety than those formerly seen in the classroom, can be supplied. The presence of animals encourages a great deal of writing and practical work. Interest in living things tends to be particularly long-lived.

665. Quite naturally, the children's enquiries can lead to some understanding and respect for the fundamental life processes of breathing, feeding and movement, of sensitivity and reproduction. Discussion of the significance of these could be sufficiently wide-ranging to include some reference to human organs and their functions; but it must be handled with delicacy and should avoid eliciting too morbid an interest in self. Curiosity so aroused can lead to simple experiments which test the efficiency of digestive juices like saliva, of the design and arrangement of muscle, sinew and bone, and of the heart and circulation. Some enquiry into the workings of sense organs and their efficiency and limitations is another fascinating topic and should lead to studies of reaction times and even to some interest in the functioning of the brain and nervous system. Although we include later in the report a separate section on sex education it may best arise in the context of a general study of life processes, and teachers would perhaps be wise to channel and encourage enquiries to this end. It would certainly seem natural and desirable to foster in older children a sense of wonder at the power of organisms, including man,

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to adjust to environment, to escape enemies, to grow from tiny origins and complete a life-cycle, covering remarkably varied spans of time, and to produce young like themselves. Indeed, with this in mind many schools consider it important to supplement classroom studies with visits to farms and the growing of suitable plants.

666. But there is no reason to confine scientific studies to biology even in environments particularly favourable to that kind of work. There are some teachers who are more at home in the field of physical science, which is certainly a source of absorbing interest to most children. Young children have enjoyed playing with models, magnets, siphons, low voltage electricity, lenses and so on for as long as anyone can remember. For some years, interest tables in many infant schools have been stocked with magnets, pulleys, levers and magnifying glasses and have proved stimulating when supplemented by oral or written suggestions from the teacher. Teachers have drawn children's attention to physical phenomena through water play without trying to explain too much. But, for no clear reason, little place was found for these matters at the junior stage and for most children their first serious introduction to physical science was in the secondary school.

667. In 1957 a meeting of teachers was called by the Department of Education and Science and conducted by HM Inspectors. It was followed by national and local courses, the publication by the Department of a pamphlet 'Science in the Primary School' and, in 1963, by a Nuffield project, planned on similar lines to the mathematics project and in close co-operation with it. The material produced by the Nuffield team became available on a limited scale in the autumn of 1965 and is still in an experimental stage. By late 1966 a teachers' guide, a volume of case histories of science in the primary school, and a series of teachers' books on a variety of general topics will be available for purchase by the many local education authorities who wished to take part in the first phase of the Nuffield project but who could not then be accepted. This second phase, of testing materials, used on a large scale, over a period of six years or so, will be evaluated by a study commissioned by the Schools Council. The project is planned to cover not only the primary years as at present defined but also the years up to 13.

668. A twofold change is therefore occurring: first the introduction of a much greater variety of subject matter into primary schools and secondly a new approach. The physical environment of a school, as of an individual child, contains an immense variety of objects and phenomena. Besides the natural world of living forms and of sun, moon, stars, wind, rain, snow, frost, fog, heat and cold, night and day, there is the man-made world in all its technical complexity. The conventional ways of categorising these phenomena as biology, branches of physics such as optics, electricity and magnetism, chemistry, engineering and so on are neither natural nor, except very crudely, understandable classifications to young children of primary school age. If, for the terms used above, rabbits, railway engines, telescopes, TV sets and aeroplanes are substituted, these are at once seen to be things about which children show a spontaneous curiosity and ask endless questions. The subject matter of primary school science thus almost settles itself. It is those objects and phenomena in the physical world which attract and interest. The choice

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within that vast range must depend partly on the immediate environment, urban or rural, plain or mountain, coastal or inland, partly on the special resources and interests of the teacher who may be a keen birdwatcher, a radio amateur, an enthusiast for railways or for twenty other different things, and will do best if he shares his special interest with his pupils. Clearly, the topic must be suitable for study by children of primary school age. Mains voltage electricity would be fascinating, but might also be fatal, and electronics would involve concepts too difficult for all but the most able children to grasp.

669. The treatment of the subject matter may be summarised in the phrase 'learning by discovery'. In a number of ways it resembles the best modern university practice. Initial curiosity, often stimulated by the environment the teacher provides, leads to questions and to a consideration of what questions it is sensible to ask and how to find the answers. This involves a great exercise of judgement on the part of the teacher. He will miss the whole point if he tells the children the answers or indicates too readily and completely how the answers may be found, but he must not let them flounder too long or too helplessly, and can often come to the rescue by asking another question. But, though constant dialogue between teacher and children is an essential feature of the approach we are describing, it would be wrong to picture it all as taking place in a classroom or even a laboratory. Essential elements are enquiry, exploration and first-hand experience which may mean expeditions, perhaps no further than to the playground, but sometimes to a railway station, a factory, a wood or a pond. The making of models and the construction and repetition of experiments will also play an important part. Young children may want to repeat experiments over and over again and the comparison of results will often lead to further enquiry. If, as children become older, they jump to generalisations too readily from the results of a single experiment, the teacher should see that they repeat their experiments. By this means children's understanding of precision, reliability and the nature of evidence can be increased. Some enquiries will certainly lead children to books, and information picked up from books or from television will also provide starting points for enquiry. But if primary school science is confined to knowledge taken from books, the whole purpose of the study of this area of the curriculum will be lost.

670. Although we welcome the extension of primary school science to include the physical sciences, we would regret any tendency to underestimate the importance of the opportunities of natural history. Our first example of first-hand study of the environment is therefore drawn from the latter, and is an extract from a much longer account by the headmistress of a little country school.

'In the spring of last year a mother carried a jar of frog spawn to school for her five year old son following his interest in a discussion we had after a ramble down the lane to find any material indicating that spring had arrived. He had asked his mother to take him for a walk after school and they had seen the frog spawn in a dirty pond so father was sent with the jar to get some for school.

The spawn was put into the tank and next day pond water and plants arrived from many sources. Daily observations were made, always some-

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body was popping over to see if the 'black things' were frogs yet. We found shy children giving their views as to whether they were bigger than yesterday, and what movement could be seen. The older children began to note down and sketch the changes, but the Easter holidays broke into this piece of observation, and the interest was flagging when one of my managers visited the school and invited us to fish for tadpoles in her lily ponds.

Next day nylon stockings, wire and sticks, for fishing net making, arrived. The following day a shuttle service with cars conveyed all the infants and then any juniors who were without bicycles to Hailey House.

My helper took charge of the infants to fish in the lily ponds while we fished in the disused swimming pool. Although it poured with rain their spirits were not dampened, and very reluctantly after an hour, the party left with tadpoles and jars of creatures and mud from the swimming pool. Days were spent in naming newts, beetles, water boatmen, making charts with pictures cut from old books or magazines from home and information added which had been sought for in library books. Feeding habits were watched at odd times and inhabitants were counted as it was realised that some were being eaten. Some of our original tadpoles were put in their tank too, so that the water in the tadpole tank could be lowered and stones put above the water line so that they could now be amphibious, and as the change to frogs seemed too slow I suggested they should have natural surroundings but not too far away for us to watch. After discussion it was decided that plastic would hold water and having some big plastic bags the boys dug a hole and made a very satisfactory pond which lasted until the summer holidays. This gave them the chance of seeing the final development into frogs and the comparison of indoor and outdoor growth. Discussions arose naturally on stagnant water, fresh water, drinking water and flowing water which took us down into the village to note the currents, depth, etc., and to fish. Plants in the water and at the edge were named. The use of bridges and fords was another topic, the flooding and the debris left behind, and the flowing of the streams into the River Thames and its journey to the sea.

After this a girl brought a jar of water from the football field to show me that it was not fit to drink although it was always used for the players' tea. Then the boys wanted to find out if the rain water running down the bank contained any debris, so more jars of water were left to settle and the children were again experimenting a bit farther.'

This account, besides giving a vivid picture of an activity, illustrates at several points the ways in which this kind of approach serves and enlivens the three Rs.

671. Our second example is an account of some group work by second year juniors on heat. It illustrates the interplay of the children's discovery and the teacher's guidance. We print it at the end of this section, as it was written.

672. Once again we emphasise the importance of language in this kind of approach. We have been told of a class of rather backward children who, after a term of being taught science in this way, showed a startling improvement in both spoken and written English. What they had said and written had a meaning and purpose for them which they had scarcely known previously. For the first time, perhaps, school was offering them first-hand

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experience which demanded exact recording. For some less able children it may be appropriate for this free-ranging enquiry to continue beyond the primary school; it may still be for them the best way of learning. For others, perhaps the older and abler ones, a pattern of experience may emerge from their work that engages their attention and impels them to confine their enquiries within a chosen framework. For them a narrower field and deeper, cognate enquiries may become more satisfying. This development could fit them well for the more mature and systematic work that is more evident at the secondary stage.

673. The development that has been described has not been greeted with unanimous enthusiasm in all quarters. Some teachers of science in secondary schools have feared that children would come to them possessing all kinds of fragmentary, unclassified information, some of it inaccurate or at least 'unscientific', all of it incomplete. Although it is too early to make a general assessment of the new approach, this particular objection to it can be fairly summarily disposed of. Knowledge is always incomplete, and it is only gradually that children can build up a coherent understanding of any aspect of it. The kinds of classification that are useful and necessary at an advanced stage may be meaningless at the age of 11. If children leave their primary schools with their natural curiosity not only unimpaired but sharpened, with experience of first-hand discovery in several different fields, with some idea of what questions to ask and how to find the answers, they will be well equipped to proceed with a scientific education. We believe that many secondary school teachers of science welcome this already and we hope that soon all of them will do so.

674. Whatever the outcome of the current projects, we are confident that the teachers' groups described in the section on mathematics will have an important part to play. The close connections between science and mathematics point to it, and the groups might well in practice be identical. Much of the material needed for science and mathematics is the same. Most science equipment is simple, and can be obtained from local shops or made in school. Some is expensive and requires careful 'housing'. Further, science is constantly extending its boundaries and though the frontiers of pure science are remote from the primary school, the practical application of new discoveries are not. Children now ask questions about space flight and transistors, neither of which existed a generation ago. We hope that, as in mathematics, teachers' centres will encourage initiative in teachers and will certainly not be used to draw up school syllabuses, though examples of the materials which can be handled by children at various ages, and of the ways in which investigation has developed in individual instances, can be useful. They should provide opportunities for teachers to extend their own scientific knowledge by practical work, and by study courses and lectures given by experts. The new methods demand more knowledge in teachers. There ought also to be opportunities for them to make apparatus to use in school and to discuss with their colleagues the innovations they are trying out, and opportunities for them to see each other's work in the classroom. There already exist the field study centres at Flatford, Malham Tarn and elsewhere, which have done much for the further education of teachers in biology and, more particularly, ecology, and a similar need undoubtedly exists in the non-biological sciences.

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The precise relationship which ought to exist between teachers' centres, institutes of education and colleges of technology will probably vary from area to area but we have little doubt that some kind of partnership is needed. In the long term, the development of this work is bound also to depend heavily on the success of colleges of education in educating teachers who have broad scientific interests.

675. We have indicated the close connections which exist between science and mathematics and science and English, but the kind of science that we have been describing has even wider connections than these. A visit to a stream with the avowed object of collecting specimens may lead to non-scientific consequences to a poem, or a painting, or to drawings which may be at once accurately observed and artistically pleasing. A visit to a church, with history and religion in mind, in one instance that came to our notice, resulted in a decision by the children to find out how the church was built, what were the engineering problems involved and, surprisingly, how much it weighed! The project involved much careful planning and hard work in mathematics and science, and a great deal of speaking, reading and writing. In a modern primary school this kind of thing is increasingly apt to happen. We applaud it because it reflects not only the nature of young children and their methods of learning but interconnections of subjects which have been more or less arbitrarily classified.

Is Polystyrene Warm?

We were puzzled in our group because the polystyrene feels warm to your hand. I'm sure I felt warmth when I held the palm of my hand about half an inch away from a cube surface.

We thought at first the warmth must come from inside the polystyrene so we drilled a deep hole in one cube, and placed a centigrade thermometer inside the hole and hung another thermometer outside near it. But they both said 21½°C. so there couldn't be warmth coming out of the material. For a long time we were puzzled and couldn't solve the mystery ... where was the warmth coming from? Then Penny tumbled on the truth (we think!). The warmth coming from your hand hits the face of the cube and bounces back to your hand. So the material doesn't contain heat, doesn't soak up or absorb the heat it throws it back. Our teacher says the name for such a material is an insulator. He then put our long iron poker in the fire and we felt the heat coming up to the handle. Iron must take up heat, not reflect it, so we learned that it is a conductor.

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Finding More About Polystyrene as an Insulator

Now we decided to find out if any heat at all will pass through polystyrene. So we set up sheets of polystyrene in front of the stove, where it is very warm.

Next we hung a thermometer on each side of the sheet of polystyrene. After 5 minutes A read 31½°C, B read 22½°C. Suddenly I realised it wasn't a good experiment because A thermometer was nearer to the stove than B, and so we couldn't tell how much heat the polystyrene really stopped.

How We Improved The Experiment

We hung both thermometers on the side of the polystyrene away from the stove, but only one shielded by the material and the second one much higher and with nothing to protect it from the heat of the stove.

We did this experiment with ½" [half inch], ¾" and 1" sheets of the material and these were the results.

Room Temp.AB
1" sheet21½°27°22½°
¾" sheet21½°27°22½°
½" sheet21½°27°22½°

I expect the air round the stove would be warmer than anywhere else in the room, so that will account for the one degree higher readings on thermometer B. But apart from that it looks to us as though polystyrene is a very good insulator, not soaking up any heat nor letting heat pass through it. Out of curiosity, we got our teacher to open the stove damper to make more heat come from the stove, and we put the three sheets of polystyrene through the same tests against more heat.

The B thermometer stayed at 22½°C though A rose and rose. We were amazed to find that the thinnest sheet of polystyrene kept the heat in just as well as the thickest sheet.

Poly ½"18¾°22½°
Poly ¾"30½°22½°
Poly 1"34½°22½°

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[click on the image for a larger version]


676. Art is both a form of communication and a means of expression of feelings which ought to permeate the whole curriculum and the whole life of the school. A society which neglects or despises it is dangerously sick. It affects, or should affect, all aspects of our life from the design of the commonplace articles of everyday life to the highest forms of individual expression.

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677. The beginning of the revolt against formalism occurred in the realm of pictorial art. In the late 1920s the influence of Marion Richardson began to be felt and by 1939 a considerable number of schools had broken away from the old tradition and were trying something new. The old tradition consisted of the careful copying of objects - flowers, twigs, fruit, geometrical forms and sometimes pictures - usually in black and white and usually with a hard lead pencil. If colour was introduced, it was to fill in outlines, and crayons were much commoner than paint. If paint was used, it was cheap water colour. There was little in this tradition to commend. It encouraged neither vision nor invention. The close observation and careful recording that might have been its merits were disappointingly absent from the work of the majority of children, for whom the demands made were quite inappropriate. The essence of the new approach was to let children use large sheets of paper and big brushes, requiring larger movements of hand and arm, more suitable to their age than the fine, delicate movement required by the old tradition. Powder colour in plenty and free brush work were introduced from the earliest moment and the children were allowed to paint 'what they liked'. Little attempt was made to teach them perspective or techniques, but certainly Marion Richardson and those close to her did much to arouse children's powers of observation.

678. The immediate result of the inter-war approach was the production of vast quantities of childlike pictures, boldly executed, usually aglow with colour, often showing freshness and originality of vision and sometimes a remarkable power of organising two-dimensional space. This stage of almost complete freedom from teaching of techniques was necessary. It was probably the only means of breaking away from the arid formalism of the tradition, but it was only a stage, and good primary school art has developed considerably beyond it in recent years.

679. There are many more teachers now than there ever were with an appreciation of painting and other arts and an understanding of their value for children. They still do little teaching of techniques, but do much more than those of 30 years ago to stimulate children's vision, to develop the 'seeing eye', to multiply the possible sources of inspiration and to enrich the school environment. They supply the better art books and magazines and make use of everyday objects of good design from this country and others, as well as of the resources of the past. The subject matter, the treatment and the media of children's painting show a much greater variety than those of the thirties. The primary schools have, indeed, participated to the full in the more general flourishing of art in the whole community. Some primary schools encourage close observation of the detail and subtleties of colour and texture to be found in bark, stones, shells, plants and seaweed. Many delightful coloured and black and white drawings are acutely observed and lovingly executed. Much that was banished in the thirties, and rightly banished because it was feebly conceived and inadequately provided for, has now returned to its rightful place, infused with life and assisted by the use of better tools and media.

680. We think that, at its best, primary school art is very good indeed. But there is no cause for complacency. Many schools still show too little sign of having moved far from the outlook of the thirties and although this is better than the tradition that preceded it, it is too limited in scope to be acceptable. There is

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often too little progression, and the work of the ten year olds is less developed than would be expected from what is done by the sixes, sevens and eights. This is partly attributable to a failure on the part of teachers to realise their pupils' possibilities, and partly to teachers' lack of confidence in their power to help. As long ago as 1933 some children in Wiltshire painted large murals in the school and expressed a desire to brighten up in a similar way the local station waiting room, a suggestion in which the railway company took no interest! We are convinced that the artistic capabilities of children are much greater than many primary teachers realise. This underestimate will become more serious if some children remain in the middle school till nearly 13. Too many teachers still believe that after that 'first fine careless rapture' children's imaginative powers diminish and wither. Others teachers have proved the reverse. What has to be recognised is that, as children grow, their vision and also their interests and viewpoint change. For example, although not all twelve year olds 'see' perspective in the adult sense, many become deeply absorbed in what the adult world calls 'drawing'. The form and construction of things, both natural and man-made, are of consuming interest to some boys and girls of this age. If the school can feed and satisfy this interest, all should be well. Of course twelve year olds will paint differently from nine year olds; but, if they have a full life, their work will certainly not be empty or derivative: it will be as exploratory and as satisfying to themselves as it ever was. Moreover, the impact of commercial art and the influence of the camera, particularly through television, must be recognised. The school has to manage these forces tactfully. In both there is something stimulating and good as well as bad, and the discerning teacher will know how to guide his children's emerging powers of criticism. A more fundamental obstacle to full development is the lukewarm attitude not only of the public but also of many teachers and many schools, especially grammar schools, to the importance of art in education. If the word 'frill' is not now often used of it, the attitude that it implies is still widespread. We shall return to this point later, and will only say here that we are ourselves satisfied that the practice of art by children is a fundamental and indispensable part of their education.

681. Craft in the elementary school was traditionally separated from art. For the boys it meant woodwork, cardboard models and geometrical drawing and for the girls needlework and knitting. Certain other crafts, notably basket-making, bookbinding, weaving, block printing and occasionally pottery became common in the senior elementary schools in the thirties, but the primary schools were not much affected. Latterly a much greater variety of crafts, including wood-carving, clay-modelling, dyeing and block-cutting, have come into the primary schools and the distinction between what is done by boys and girls has partly disappeared. Except possibly for the oldest children, it is quite artificial and unhelpful: boys enjoy stitchery and girls can benefit from work in wood and metal.

682. The basis for much of the best work done in the primary school has been the willingness of many infant teachers to make materials and tools of good quality available to young children. There has been a welcome trend away from didactic to natural materials and to those whose use is rooted in our tradition. Clay has replaced plasticine, the well-kept 'piece box' has taken the place of the hessian mats and school knitting cottons, and wood

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and waste materials have been substituted for paper as a medium for three dimensional models. Children need to experiment with a wide range of materials, natural and man-made.

683. The connection of art and craft with the rest of the curriculum is of paramount importance. The development of sensitivity and the growth of techniques come partly as the result of play and experiment with materials. But, just as in mathematics, techniques are learnt most easily when they are needed for the purposes children have in mind.

684. At its best, the craft of English primary schools is outstanding. We have seen work of extraordinary beauty and technical perfection which we could hardly have believed had been produced by young children had we not watched them doing it; but here, equally, there is much still to be done. There is far too much mechanical and repetitive work, especially in needlework, far too much dull and tasteless craft, far too widespread an acceptance of poor standards, far too little integration of the craft into the curriculum as a whole. If children stay in the middle school for an extra year, more account must be taken of their growing concern to know how things work and how to do a job 'properly', almost to pursue a technique for its own sake. There must be a more workmanlike and ambitious outlook for the older children. Some girls will certainly wish to make simple outfits for themselves. They should be given opportunity to discriminate between the fabrics which are suitable for their purpose and for their degree of skill, and should be helped by frequent discussion. Guidance should be given in the ways of holding and manipulating tools and materials, and the sewing machine should have a place. Many of the crafts associated with textiles, block printing, tie dyeing, embroidery and weaving appeal to boys and girls alike. An over-academic emphasis in the work of the abler streams in the grammar schools and the neglect of craft in their education has left its mark on the great majority of teachers in primary schools. Some of the colleges of education have done splendid work in the correction of this lopsided education, as also have some of the advisers to local authorities. Exhibitions of children's work have also provided much stimulus, but a considerable upheaval in the educational world and the world in general will be needed before art and craft take their proper place in the education of the young.

685. For most of their history the English people have shown at least as much genius as any other for the creation of a physical environment suitable for human living. The eighteenth century town, the village, the country house, the parkland, the cottage garden, the farm with all its appurtenances - the ages which produced them could be criticised for their inequality, their poverty, their squalor and their harshness, but not for their taste and craftsmanship. The industrial revolution saw a decline in many things aesthetic, a decline which became steeper as the nineteenth century advanced, though we are beginning to perceive achievement even in the worst period. The results of this decline are about us, above all in our large towns, and the schools of the period are characteristic. Until recently people had become accustomed to the idea that schools were ugly and dark places surrounded by dreary stretches of asphalt without and painted dark brown within, though some teachers worked wonders by the environment they created inside the school. Opinions will differ about contemporary school buildings, but it is generally

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agreed that they represent an advance in lightness, spaciousness and convenience, and anyhow in aesthetic good intentions. But much of the rest of the environment, rural as well as urban, in which children grow up is all too evidently the product of a crude indifference to aesthetic values and of an insensitiveness to many of the deepest human needs. We should like to see the schools becoming, much more than most of them now are, places in which the children are surrounded by many examples, old and new, of taste and discrimination - furniture, clocks, fabrics, ceramics, pictures and books. It should be the object of every school to do all in its power to add to the beauty of its equipment and environment, in exactly the same way as a householder with a sensitive eye for beauty will make such constant additions, improvements and adaptations as his means allow to the house and garden in which he lives. In recent years the public have become familiar with the interiors of many great houses which were once closed to all but a privileged few, and which are now worth seeing because their former owners had taste, thought their own surroundings important and took trouble with them. We should like to see schools set out on the same course, so that in time every school in England is worth visiting, not only for what goes on in it, but for the surroundings it gives to its children and the example it sets of civilised living. Much of the beauty in the school environment should be created by the children themselves and by the care taken in the display of their work. There are schools which already do much and which are showing others the way. Though opportunities and circumstances are very unequal, every school could do something and in the aggregate the schools could become a strong, perhaps a decisive, influence on public taste.


686. Music had a place in the elementary schools from their earliest days, though until the second third of the 20th century it was almost exclusively vocal. Where a member of the staff was musically educated, the singing of hymns and songs was often admirably done, but in a great number of schools, where no such teacher was to be found, standards were low. Out of tune and sometimes broken pianofortes and wheezy harmoniums were beyond the skill of even the most gifted to use well; but far too often, even if the instrument was satisfactory, the playing was wretched and the choice of music deplorable. Some large schools made a feature of massed choral singing and, at its best, this provided a good, if limited, musical experience and education for the children. The appointment of music organisers by a number of local education authorities helped to raise standards, but progress was, and still is, very slow, mainly because of the neglect of systematic musical instruction in the grammar schools and colleges of education and the consequent musical illiteracy of the great majority of teachers.

687. In the early thirties the percussion band and the bamboo pipe made a welcome innovation in infant and junior schools, but here again progress was often disappointing and for the same reasons. There was a dearth of competent teachers and, too often, the instruments provided and the music

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performed were of poor quality. Percussion bands and music were often introduced to children who were too young for them. When good progress was made in the primary schools, there was rarely any follow-up in the secondary school. This lack of continuity between primary and secondary school work is still a weakness. Non-competitive festivals became popular at this period, and did much to bring schools together for musical help and for the sympathetic guidance of experienced conductors. Competitive festivals, while helping to raise standards of repertory and performance, sometimes tended to narrow musical training.

688. Although the position today is rather better than before the war and exhibits several promising signs, it cannot be described as satisfactory. The recorder has made considerable headway in the primary school; the pitched percussion instruments, including those associated with the name of Carl Orff, as yet a much slighter one. The teaching of stringed and wind instruments by peripatetic teachers is increasing slowly, and primary school orchestras are by no means rare and sometimes very good. These influences have increased the scope of musical education. The School Broadcasting Council too have made a great contribution in providing music of quality for the schools at a time when many teachers have lacked the knowledge and skill to help their pupils. The close liaison of the School Broadcasting Council with the teachers has added to the value of its work. The greater accessibility of recorded music of all kinds since the invention of the microgroove record has given teachers one of their most valuable resources. Finally, the growth of professional orchestras, the organisation of children's concerts and the establishment of children's and young people's orchestras have increased the opportunities for listening and the incentives for music making.

689. The present unsatisfactory position will have to be tackled systematically and resolutely. Perhaps the first requirement for this is already in being. Music of all kinds is now almost universally 'available'. The population in general are much more aware of its possibilities than they were 30 years ago. It is accepted as a source of pleasure for all, especially in recent years when the popularity of the guitar has brought with it mass interest in music amongst the young. The climate is more favourable to musical education than ever before.

690. It is to the musical education of the teacher that attention must first be given. By this we do not mean the education of the music specialist. Provision for the latter exists and has recently been expanded. Large numbers of young musicians are being trained in the colleges of music and their musical competence may be assumed, though they may lack training in how to teach young children. Comparatively few primary schools, however, can, for some time to come, expect to have a music specialist as a full-time member of the staff and it is even doubtful whether a specialist responsible for most of the teaching is desirable. It is the musical education of the non-specialist which, in our view, is the key to the problem. This education takes place mainly in the secondary schools and in the colleges of education, and until both these institutions regard a music course as part of their obligation to all their students and particularly to intending teachers, progress will continue to be slow. But in the meantime much can be achieved by the use of peripatetic teachers and private teachers and by the development of short and extended

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courses for teachers in service. Music centres such as are being established could provide in-service training for teachers and also opportunities for gifted children.

691. Next, we think that all authorities should look to the musical equipment in their schools, which is often still inadequate in quantity and quality. Pianofortes are probably better in quality and better kept than they were, but there are not always enough of them, while other instruments are often woefully scarce and, when found, frequently of poor materials and workmanship. The Committee set up by the British Standards Institution is publishing a useful series of booklets on the qualities to be sought for in musical instruments of all kinds. There is some tendency for the hymn chart, so common before the war, to reappear. It is a poor substitute for hymn books with music. A thorough review of the musical equipment of most primary schools is overdue and should result in a drastic 'turn-out' and generous restocking.

692. As for what goes on in the classroom, we put forward the following points for the consideration of all who teach music:

(a) In many schools mass instruction is given in music, and in music alone, to whole classes or even combined classes: little is attempted in groups or by individual methods, and teacher direction persists in this field even in schools where it has almost disappeared in language, mathematics and art. Massed hymn practice and massed festival songs sometimes dominate the scene in both infant and junior schools, and the musical merits of teachers tend to be judged on the basis of their capacity to direct, and accompany on the piano, such choral activities.

(b) The principle of individual progression is seldom consistently and successfully carried into the musical sphere. In schools where progress in language is carefully checked, the achievements expected in music of older pupils as compared with younger ones are often ill-defined and vary enormously from school to school. This is a frequent ground of criticism from specialists who take over the children in the first year of the secondary school; there is, however, another side to the question - the secondary specialist often does not know how to link up with what has been taught.

(c) The importance of musical literacy is not fully understood. Without it, independent effort, progression and discovery are impossible, and unfamiliarity with musical notation breeds the kind of suspicion that verbal illiteracy usually brings in its train. Some teachers believe that learning to read music increases difficulties and diminishes enjoyment, whereas the contrary is true. Literacy must however, be closely related to active music-making; it must be functional, not theoretical.

(d) The planning of music as a creative subject lags behind work in language and the visual arts and crafts. There are two aspects of musical creativity - the making of original patterns in sound (extemporisation, composition) and the re-creation of patterns already devised by a composer (performance, interpretation). The latter is easier to control and direct, is usually more in line with the teacher's own musical training, and as a rule gives more pleasing results to outsiders than the former. Nevertheless, a balanced musical education should allow scope for both:

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(i) Exploration of sounds in their raw state is a useful first stage in independent creation, a first stage which many infant schools have reached, but the need for control, selection, discipline and technique soon arises if the work is not to become static and repetitive. It is easier to start improvisation than to continue it into the junior and secondary stages. Not enough is yet known about how to develop children's creative powers in music. Here, research is needed.

(ii) A valuable teaching situation is often produced when teacher and children work upon the basis of material already 'processed' - for example a simple folk tune - and add their own ideas to it, perhaps through the use of percussion instruments, instead of by taking over a ready made arrangement.

(iii) 'Musical appreciation' has lately fallen a little into disrepute, partly because what used to be done under that name was often ineffective and partly because, rightly in our opinion, the best way of learning to appreciate music is to make it. But there is a place for listening to good music whether played by the teacher or a visitor or heard by means of recorded sound. Young children's listening powers are usually exhausted fairly quickly and the choice of music, the occasion for listening and the duration of the performance all call for great judgement on the part of the teacher. There can be a link here with other branches of the curriculum. A medieval hymn such as 'A great and mighty wonder' that the children sing at Christmas, the dances and madrigals of the 17th century, the Water Music of Handel, the Hebridean Overture, can all be illuminated by, and can themselves illuminate, non-musical material.

693. It has been suggested to us that the most musically gifted children cannot be properly provided for in the ordinary schools and that special schools of music should be set up for them, a question to which we return in Chapter 22. The USSR and Hungary have done this and in this country a school has been recently established to give to especially talented pupils of both primary and secondary age a musical and general education. It is self-evident that the musical education of children thus segregated will benefit and we are far from opposing experiments of this kind in the private or indeed in the public sector; but they will always be exceptional and care has to be taken that the general education and development of children are looked after when they are in separate schools. However that may be, we are clear that it is the musical education of the generality of children that most needs critical examination and reform and it is to that need that our attention has been chiefly directed.

694. If the upper age limit of the primary school is extended to 12 some fresh problems will result but there will also be new opportunities. As far as boys are concerned, many of their voices will be at their best, and singing of high quality, which should include singing in parts, will be possible at the primary stage. With earlier maturing, however, some boys and not a few girls of this age will be passing through a phase of uncertainty, and it may be advisable to reduce the amount of singing expected from some children, to limit the register range of what they sing and to provide other means of practical music making.

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695. Those who have begun the study of instruments may by this time have developed considerable facility and will need expert guidance and opportunities for playing together. Where the existence of outstanding talent is suspected, the schools should feel a responsibility for fostering it and consult with the local education authority's advisory staff or anybody else who is qualified to help on such cases. The proliferation of musical activities at this period greatly increases the need for planned accommodation for group and individual tuition and for the storage of instruments.

696. The primary school bears the main burden of responsibility for sending out pupils who have had a wide range of musical experience, are familiar with the idioms of sound in pitch, time and timbre, and able to help themselves in creating and re-creating music by interpreting and using the visual symbols of conventional notation. The schools have an excellent starting point in children's enjoyment of music and rhythm, but much work remains to be done.


697. The '1933 Syllabus of Physical Training for Schools' forms a useful starting point for this section of the report. It was in preparation at the time of the 1931 report and the two publications must have had a common source of reference in the newer ideas and developments to be seen in various parts of the country during the previous ten years. The term 'physical training' was still in general use for one aspect of physical education, and the 18 'lessons' and 42 'tables' of exercises in the Syllabus were so planned as to form a common scheme for infants and juniors, and even for older pupils, in schools all over the country during the 'physical exercise lesson'. Teachers were trained in and expected to adhere closely to the nine tables of exercises drawn up for each year in the primary school. The first half of each lesson consisted of localised exercises for different parts of the body, arranged and applied in an anatomical sequence; formal commands and formal class arrangements were recommended and many of the exercises had remedial or corrective objectives. There were, however, signs of a break with formality in the introductory activities in the form of games and in the greater emphasis given in the second part of the lesson to individual and group practices and to games.

698. For some years after 1933, the main effort in the initial and in-service training of teachers throughout the country was directed towards putting the Syllabus into practice, although, almost from the time of its publication, progressive teachers and schools were experimenting and extending their work beyond what it defined. The retraining of teachers was achieved by the widespread appointment of local education authority organisers and advisers in physical education. The importance of gym shoes and suitable clothing, which were often a charge on parents, had to be pressed, and in the poorer areas some opposition was encountered on the grounds of modesty as well as on those of economy. But by 1939 much progress had been made.

699. During the war and in the early years after the war, several influences combined to produce simultaneous developments in different parts of the

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country. The interplay between new concepts of primary education and a reappraisal of the purpose and nature of physical education brought about innovations corresponding to those to be found in other aspects of the curriculum. When improvements in material conditions and in the supply of equipment were made after the war, further progress was made and the momentum still continues.

700. The introduction of large climbing apparatus into infant and junior schools had begun before 1939. Scrambling nets, which formed part of the training of army commandos, were adapted for use in schools. When supply became easier after 1945 there was a rapid increase in the use of all kinds of apparatus including climbing frames, ladders, bars and ropes. Children were encouraged to explore the possibilities of such apparatus rather than required to practise specific activities, an approach which had for some time been typical of nursery and infant schools and which spread upwards into the junior schools and beyond. The increased provision of playing fields and, more recently, of learner swimming pools has been a further help to a fuller and more varied programme.

701. Another major development was the abandonment of formal class teaching. This arose partly from a general change in the relationships between adults and children and consequently between teachers and pupils, and partly from a recognition that marks for standing still and team marks for the straightest line limited the activity that physical education was intended to provide. Formal commands, formal class arrangements and the performance of exercises in unison gave way to informal, conversational teaching and to an acknowledgement that individual children needed to work at their own rate and at their own level of ability and, therefore, to have scope for individual practice. The level of performance came to be regarded as more important than ability to respond to a command or to conform to a class rhythm; localised exercises ('head, arm, leg, trunk' is a sequence that will be recalled by older readers) gave way to movements of the whole body with an emphasis on activity, agility and skill.

702. A third development, the most significant so far, has been the adoption of general principles of movement training and their application to different aspects of the physical education programme. Various systems of gymnastics and eurhythmics have attempted a generalised training in movement, but their concern has been predominantly with the structure and anatomical parts of the body rather than with the process of moving based on a comprehensive analysis of movement. More recent developments derive to a large extent from the teaching and writing of Rudolf Laban, and from a growing acceptance of the analysis and principles of movement enunciated by him. Laban's early work was related to the theatre and to dance, but he was interested in all aspects of human movement and when he settled in England in 1936 he established connections with industry and education as well as with the stage. His early influence in schools, mainly in secondary schools for girls, was through the medium of Modern Educational Dance, but his principles have been increasingly adopted for their value in all aspects and stages of physical education.

703. In the primary school, a harmony was recognised between the general approach to movement and current educational ideas and ideals. With new

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emphasis on the building up of a child's resources in movement and their extension into many different situations, and with scope for individual exploration, choice and practice, physical education made a more significant contribution to educational development.

704. An associated development has been the increasing recognition of the place of expressive movement in primary education. Children have a great capacity to respond to music, stories and ideas, and there is a close link through movement, whether as dance or drama, with other areas of learning and experience - with speech, language, literature and art as well as with music. In the USA, modern dance has led to a highly developed theatre art form but it has had little or no influence in the elementary schools whereas, in certain parts of England, there has been a flowering in the primary schools which, at its best, reaches a high standard. Anyone who has visited schools or seen films of the work cannot fail to be impressed by its quality and by the pupils' total absorption and involvement in it.

705. All these developments were already in evidence in 1952 when the 1933 Syllabus was replaced by the Department's 'Moving and Growing' (Part I of 'Physical Education in the Primary School'; Part II of this publication 'Planning the Programme' became available in 1953 and deals more specifically with the organisation and planning of lessons). This publication, with its wealth of illustrations, relates these various developments to the needs of the children. It has been influential in shaping the philosophy of physical education in the primary school in the last 12 years and it prepared the way for a further recognition of the value of expressive movement. It refers to 'the movement period' instead of the 'physical exercise lesson' of earlier publications. In many schools and other educational institutions the mainstay of the physical education programme has come to be referred to as 'movement'. There is some misunderstanding about the use of this term and several special meanings have come to be associated with it. It should be used broadly and comprehensively and it may be concerned with agility, on the ground or on apparatus, with ball or athletic skill, or with expressive movement of dramatic or dance-like quality. In such work, exercises or techniques are unlikely to be taught; the aim is rather to develop each child's resources as fully as possible through exploratory stages and actions which will not be the same for any two children. When these ends are pursued successfully, the children are able to bring much more to any situation than that which is specifically asked of them; the results transcend the limits of what can be prescribed or 'produced', and lead to a greater realisation of the high potential of young children.

706. We welcome what is being done and lay particular stress on the need for a balanced programme. Children need activities of an acrobatic and athletic type as well as ball games, swimming, dance and drama, and to neglect any of these is to impoverish the programme. Work with the lower age groups is likely to be of an experimental and exploratory nature. Children will invent different sequences of movement and will enjoy discovering their bodily powers and capabilities. This stage cannot be hurried and time is needed to enjoy it to the full; variety also is needed. In the upper age groups, and especially with an extension into the thirteenth year, lessons and teaching will need to be more systematically planned and directed as the children's capacity for sustained and co-ordinated performance increases. With young

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children, the work will be very general and it will not always be easy to separate different modes of movement and experience. By the time they are ready to leave the primary school, however, the work and the teaching will be more closely related to specific ends: gymnastics, games, dance, drama and swimming will be the normal elements of a weekly or seasonal programme.

707. Between the ages of 11 and 13 girls and boys are at their most agile and responsive and a blend of vitality, inventiveness and control can lead to high accomplishments. They need space and apparatus to challenge and extend their powers. Lessons must be planned with skill and understanding, and response guided by knowledgeable and perceptive comment. In spite of differences in physique and aptitude, no child's effort should be inhibited by fear of failure or ineptitude. Later attitudes and achievement will derive to a large extent from the bodily resources built up at this stage.

708. Early play and free practice with balls, bats and sticks, which will begin in the infant school, will lead to simple games in association with partners and against opponents. Girls and boys at the top of the primary school will be acquainted with the rudiments of the main national games - netball, hockey and tennis for the girls, football and cricket for the boys. For their future progress as well as for their current enjoyment, girls as well as boys need a firm foundation for their games in the primary school. But the range of ability is wide, and care is needed to relate the teaching and coaching to the ability and 'readiness' of the performers. Some 12 year olds enjoy and respond successfully to the complexities of a full team game, others need a much simpler organisation. We hope that the approach to games training will emphasise the essential nature of the game and the true spirit of play. The establishment of sound attitudes is important from the start.

709. Swimming and athletics also appeal to juniors - in fact, many infants may have learnt to swim and in any case enjoy movement in water. In recent years, the building of indoor shallow water swimming pools has enabled many young children to be introduced to swimming. The older juniors respond enthusiastically to taxing demands and strenuous routines and their full potential is seldom realised. We hope that under wise guidance the maximum number of juniors will develop and enjoy their powers to the full, but we believe the first priority is rightly placed on teaching the highest possible number of young children to gain confidence in water and to swim; we have been impressed by recent efforts in this direction. Running, leaping and throwing are a natural part of a child's activity and are often stimulated by a desire to run faster, jump higher and throw further of more accurately than others. A well equipped primary school offers ample scope in the open air for these activities from which athletic events will later take shape, and we welcome their inclusion in the programme. But whilst juniors will practise and compete with zest in running, jumping and throwing contests, a more specific introduction to athletics is more appropriate to the secondary stage of education.

710. The marked post-war development of outdoor pursuits in education has not passed over the primary school. As more older pupils in secondary schools embark on mobile camping, sailing, canoeing and mountain activities, many junior schools and local education authorities are recognising that nine is a good age to introduce campcraft and country activities in general. The

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competence and pleasure with which some schools organise their own camps lead us to hope that many more children will be able to enjoy similar opportunities.

711. We have stressed the need for a balanced programme, and have considered some of the activities included in it. We would also stress the importance of good quality in performance. Exploratory and experimental stages are essential - so also are skill and mastery. How something is done matters as much as what is done. At a time when in some fields notability is rather easily won, this is especially important. Children have the capacity for high level performance, an eagerness to learn, an urge to explore, a hunger for skill and a thirst for adventure. At the top of the primary school, they readily identify themselves with stars of the games field, of the athletics track and of the stage. Some will show a flair for technical accomplishment. All will apply themselves with intense and unselfconscious effort unless their interest is dulled.

712. There are some obvious dangers, and some not so obvious, in the situation. The achievement of some children may lead to their being introduced to techniques before they are ready for them and to their being submitted to an adult conception of sport and personal performance. Techniques are necessary and the technical ability of some top juniors is impressive, but if patterned movements are introduced too soon they may quench the ability to play creatively. Competition clearly has a place, but it can be overdone and we think it sometimes is, in the form of inter-school leagues and championships.

713. What is desirable in modern primary physical education will only be nurtured, and what is dangerous avoided, if the arrangements made for training teachers are satisfactory. We have been told that in the upper forms of some secondary schools, little time or attention is given to physical education; in others the pupils are allowed little freedom to choose the type of activity they wish to pursue. The result may be that physical education is too infrequently chosen as a subject by students in colleges of education. In some colleges the curriculum course in physical education is optional. We do not wish to see specialist teaching of physical education in primary schools, though an advisory teacher with a specialist qualification would be invaluable in a large school. There is however some danger of a dearth of young teachers whose training has fitted them to teach physical education. We hope that all primary teachers will take an adequate curriculum course in this subject, which they will be expected to teach regularly.


714. We have felt some reluctance about including a section on sex education in our report. It rarely appears on the timetable of a primary school. In many schools it receives little mention, while in others it is treated, if at all, in biology or in general talks between the class teacher and his class. But it is a matter to which we have given consideration and on which we have something to say. As it is one on which teachers may feel a need for guidance, it seems simplest to treat it separately here.

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715. We have no doubt that children's questions about sex ought to be answered plainly and truthfully whenever they are asked. Some questions will be repeated over the years and on each occasion the answer must satisfy. What is a proper and full answer for a six year old will not do for him four years later. The answers given must provide an acceptable and usable vocabulary for the child. This raises a difficulty. The 'popular' vocabulary, the four-letter words, is the one that the children will use clandestinely or openly among themselves. It is less 'taboo' than it used to be, but most people would probably still consider it unacceptable for use in schools. Its associations are still too powerful. The circumlocution ('the little nest inside mummy') is often confusing, tends to be purely personal and has a sentimental, shamefaced sound. The scientific terms are really the only ones available.

716. We are unanimous that, if they are able to do it, the proper people to answer children's questions are parents. Young children often find the facts of sexual intercourse incredible. They associate their sexual organs with excretion and that they are also instruments not only of reproduction but of love is difficult for them to believe. When the information is given in the context of a happy home by loving parents it may be more acceptable than if given by someone else, however well intentioned. The fact, however, is that not all homes are happy and some parents still find it embarrassing to discuss the physical details of sex with their children. Who, in such cases, ought to answer the questions and in what circumstances?

717. If the parents make their own arrangements there is no problem. If they approach the head teacher of their child's school, he must fit their request into the general pattern. The simplest plan seems to be for the school, though not necessarily all the teachers in it, to undertake to answer questions, though making sure that the parents agree with what is being done. Any tendency to specialise, or to import a specialist, destroys the spontaneity of question and answer. The questions may arise at any time - in the scripture lesson as well well as in biology. Ideally, questions should be answered then and there, though some are best answered individually. Not all teachers will feel equally comfortable in tackling questions and this is something to which the colleges of education must give some thought. Every school must make the arrangements that seem best to it and should have a definite policy, which, in consultation with parents, covers all the children. It is not good enough to leave matters vague and open, hoping for the best.

718. Some primary school heads feel that a regular course of instruction ought to be given to fourth year pupils and, when the extra year is added on, this number may increase. We have been impressed by the care and sincerity with which this work is done and we should be the last to condemn it. On the whole, however, we feel that a more informal method is to be preferred and that the essential questions will all either crop up or be easily stimulated without any systematic course being initiated. Now that an increasing number of girls are beginning to menstruate while in the primary schools, it is important that the facts should be explained early to them and that proper arrangements should be made for them in schools. There are a number of excellent books on human biology which are suitable for juniors and some of these should find a place in the school or class libraries.

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719. So far we have been thinking mainly of the more or less strictly biological aspects of sex, of those which are essentially present in the mating of animals as much as in that of human beings. But human sex involves relationships, and relationships involve ethics; although this side of the matter seldom directly affects primary school children, at least to any depth, it will be there, implicitly or explicitly, in many of their questions. Direct questions must be answered as honestly as possible, with due regard for parental opinion, but a great deal will depend on the general human relationships that exist in the school. We return to this in Chapter 19. The foundation for good sexual ethics can be laid in a school in which the children learn to respect and appreciate each other as personalities, to treat everyone with consideration and never to make use of human beings or treat them callously or contemptuously and where they find in adults the same attitude towards each other and towards themselves.

720. From time to time teachers in primary schools will come across manifestations of what is often called 'an unhealthy interest in sex'. It may take such forms as the passing round of indecent pictures, the sending of obscene notes, graffiti in the lavatories or elsewhere, various Peeping Tom practices and sometimes what in adults is known in law as 'indecent exposure'. All this is clandestine. It is probably a good deal more frequent than some teachers believe, and, when it is discovered, is often an occasion for moral indignation and severe punishment. We feel quite sure that such manifestation should not be taken too seriously. In the sort of atmosphere described above they are a good deal less likely to occur than in a repressive one. They represent much more a response to adult attitudes than any undesirable sexual precocity. If dealt with rather as breaches of good manners, and even then without too much solemnity, rather than as grave moral delinquencies, we think that their true weight will have been accorded to them and the tension that produced them largely dispersed.

721. A society in which the mass media are preoccupied with the physical aspects of sex and seem unable to put them into perspective must not be surprised if its children are affected. It would be unfair to look to the schools to cure this sickness, but they can make a beginning.

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Aids to Learning and to Teaching

722. The oldest and most universal aids to learning are the picture and the book. To these aids frequent reference has been made throughout the chapter on the curriculum. Two points should perhaps be emphasised. Books and illustrations must be accessible at least as much for individual as for class use. The implication is that, especially for the younger children, collections of books and illustrations should be housed mainly in the rooms or adjacent to the rooms where children are normally working. There must be a central collection as well, since some books, illustrations and maps are too expensive to be duplicated. Children should have access to books which are finely produced and illustrated and to some adult works of reference. These central collections must also be accessible and not shut away in a room so often occupied by a class that individual children can only use them once or twice a week. The school's collection of illustrations, tapes, filmstrips, photostats, discs and programmed texts needs to be indexed so that teachers and children can find out what material there is of interest to them. Much of this work can be done by a teacher's aide under the supervision of the head teacher or of an advisory teacher.

723. Some primary school teachers think that such aids to learning as broadcasting, television, cine film, filmstrip and discs are the negation of modern primary methods which stress individual learning. This helps to explain the relatively small use that has been made of them in some of the best primary schools. But it is a mistaken view. They should be used to bring into the classroom personalities and voices, scenes and places, that could never appear there by any other means. They enrich enormously the resources available to teachers and children. Intelligently selected and used, they provide excellent background material, historical, geographical, biological and aesthetic. Teachers have from the start been enabled by their membership of BBC and Independent Television Authority committees, and by requests for criticism, to play a big part in planning sound and television programmes.

724. There is a further reason for introducing more aids into school. Television is now, as films and sound broadcasting have long been, a part of ordinary life to which children are accustomed. It has even been described as 'a rival system of education'. Children must be taught to use it profitably and to associate it with learning as well as with entertainment. This point of view has to be balanced with another: for the youngest children in particular, who spend more time in front of the television screen than any other age group, there is a particular need for the school to provide direct experiences when all the senses come into play. In this way precision, associations and meaning can be added to what is seen and heard on television.

725. Many teachers in the past, with some reason, preferred cine film, filmstrip and discs, to broadcasting. The former can be seen or heard in advance, can be chosen by the teacher to suit his own purposes, can be used at the most suitable moment in the day and can be stopped or repeated by the teacher or

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by the children themselves. Strips can be cut up and transformed into individual slides, a highly desirable method of dealing with them, since many filmstrips are too long and too repetitive. Many teachers, indeed, make their own slides. Flexibility of this kind has not in the past been shared by radio or television broadcasts save in so far as teachers could predict from the excellent supporting publications what was likely to be coming and could switch off the set if what in fact came was unsuitable. The tape recorder, and the permission given to schools to record and use sound broadcasts for a period of twelve months, have made it possible to use them in much the same way as discs and film and to reconcile their use with a flexible time table. Video tape may in the long run do the same for television broadcasts.

726. Another important development, perhaps potentially the most important of all those so far noted, is that it is no longer necessary for these aids to involve class teaching. Hand viewers and slide projectors are increasingly used by individuals and by groups. Earphones enable children to listen to speech recorded by themselves or teachers, or to the spoken word accompanying a written text. The more flexible school buildings become, the more they are provided with small group rooms, the easier it is for children to use aids without disturbing others.

727. Though some radio series are intended to be followed in sequence, others have been designed as an a la carte menu from which teachers choose individual programmes to suit the rest of the work that is being done with their classes. If unstreamed classes and provision for group viewing and listening become more general, more programmes might profitably be designed as entities to be followed by such particular groups as very able or very slow children.

Programmed Learning*

728. We have left till last the consideration of the most recent and controversial of teaching aids, the making of teaching programmes and their presentation in books or by machines. It has roused strong feelings in the teaching profession because more than any other aid it has seemed to some that it might take over part of the teacher's job. Since most programmes for primary

*A programme presents the learner with all the material he needs to master a particular task. At the present time most programmes are written on one of two systems. In linear programmes material is presented in a carefully prepared logical sequence and in such a way that progression from one small step (or 'frame') to the next is almost certain. The size of the steps and their sequence are determined empirically by trying out the programme on a representative sample of the pupils for whom the programme is intended and what proves difficult is altered until a successful approach is achieved. A basic principle of linear programming is that success should be virtually inevitable at every step and that the student should be told of his success at each point. The pupil's interest is held by the way the material is presented, the easy small steps and by the fact that he is told immediately he takes any action whether or not he has done right: the next piece of information is not presented until the one before has been mastered. In branching programmes, each step of the programme contains more material, is planned on the assumption that some mistakes will be made, and that the pupil will profit by discovering why he has gone wrong. This method is more closely related to that of existing teaching practice in that the writer of the programme sets out to anticipate the pupils' difficulties. At each frame the pupil is given a choice of responses: the correct answer leads him forward; an incorrect one takes him through a branch sequence designed to correct the error he has made.

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school children have been concerned with the acquisition of factual knowledge, programmed learning has seemed counter to current trends of basing children's learning on interest and discovery.

729. Yet programmed learning could relieve the teachers of some routine tasks and free them to exercise their influence more constructively. The motive for learning may arise from the children or may be stimulated by discussion between teacher and children. The teacher can help children to become aware of problems and to recognise the need for specific knowledge. At that point a programme might provide knowledge, techniques and practice in them, its great advantage being that both the programmed text and the programmed machine can be used individually. Once children have assimilated knowledge, the possible uses to which it may be put become again a matter for discussion. Few programmes have been devised for or tested with primary school children and their use is not yet sufficiently widespread either here or in the USA for firm judgements to be made.

730. In one area teaching machines have been successfully used for teaching a few backward juniors and secondary pupils to read. It seemed from this experiment that children who, because of past failure, are too unsure of themselves to form a relationship with a teacher, can learn from a machine, gain in this way in confidence and so are helped to return to normal relationships. It is claimed that the machine and the programme have special advantages for this kind of child; the child learns in private and does not have to share his learning device; he has no fear of punishment, the small steps of the programme make success likely and yet the child can withdraw from the learning situation without seeming aggressive. We have also heard that some children become bored with programmed learning.

731. We are glad to know that the Department are supporting research projects which are designed to discover the best methods of programming school learning and of using programmes in schools of all kinds. The Department have also encouraged institutes of education to provide short courses to train teachers to write programmes. Until more programmes have been produced, research results cannot be convincing. Furthermore it is stimulating for teachers to make programmes since they are forced to think hard about what they are teaching and why and to test its success. Scrutiny of the difficulties encountered by pupils in using programmes can give teachers new insight into the processes of teaching and learning.

732. One final word should be added on these aids for teachers. It is often a matter for mild amusement at educational conferences that nothing is more certain than that, at a session in audio-visual aids, the aids will in some way fail: the films break, the record player is so sensitive that it exaggerates extraneous noise, and, at the very least, the plug is of the wrong size. There is here certainly a moral for the schools. Children are used to high standards in commercial film projection and in television. Not only must the standard of educational films, broadcasts and television be high but the machines themselves must be in good order. Local authorities might well employ technicians to service the mechanical aids which we hope will be found in most primary schools. It is, however, doubtful whether authorities should provide all this equipment automatically for schools. The automatic supply of equipment

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does not ensure good use. But the allowance made to primary schools should be sufficient for them to buy and use such of this equipment as they are prepared to use to the full.

733. This is an age of increasing mechanisation. Inevitably, more and cheaper mechanical aids will find their way into the primary schools. Teachers must, therefore, consider how they can use them best to enrich the ways in which children can learn.

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The Child in the School Community

734. Many changes have taken place in the past 30 years or so in the relationship between children and adults. The causes of these changes include the increased employment of mothers outside their homes, the greater earning power of young people generally, the virtual disappearance of juvenile employment and the greater appreciation of children and their needs that has spread through the population. As a result, the children of today are more independent and less ready to accept parental authority than their parents were. The resulting relationship has some obvious good features, actual as well as potential. It allows a much freer interchange of opinions and a greater friendliness between parent and child than was usually possible under the old authoritarian relationship. At the same time it raises problems which have not yet been solved and which may give rise to anxiety and unhappiness. If authority simply decays the results can be negative. A new and positive relationship between parent and child, and indeed between old and young, still needs to be worked out. Some families have gone a long way towards it. Others are bewildered.

735. There are other changes, too, which have had an unmistakable effect in the schools. The first of these is the increased diversity of occupations available to school leavers and the decreasing extent to which particular occupations are tied to social class. Every school has to prepare its children for a wider range than 30 years ago. Even young children demand, and are given, if not always willingly, a much broader choice of outlook and conduct as well as of subsequent occupation. A school which tried to impose the kind of discipline that was common before the war would soon find itself in difficulties. The effects of these changes are naturally more acute in the secondary schools, yet it is the primary schools which have moved most quickly in the new directions that they demand.

Relationships in Primary Schools

736. The general public is hardly aware of what a primary school run on modern lines is like and of the extent as well as the profundity of the changes that have taken place since the war. A middle aged visitor, educated in an ordinary elementary school at the time of the 1931 Report, who visited a good primary school in 1966, would find much to surprise him. If he arrived at the official opening hour he would find that many of the children had been there long before him, not penned in the playground but inside the school, caring for the livestock, getting on with interesting occupations, reading or writing, painting, carving or weaving or playing musical instruments. Probably some of the teachers would also be early, but whether they were there or not, would not affect what the children were doing. The visitor might be surprised to notice that when the bell rang, if there was a bell, no very obvious change took place. As the morning went on he would see various pieces of more organised

*See Note of Reservation at the end of the main Report.

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activity, backward readers being taken as a group, an assembly of the whole school for prayers and hymns, an orchestra, some movement, some group instruction in mathematics, some exploration outside and so on. During all this time he would hear few commands and few raised voices. Children would be asked to do things more often than told. They would move freely about the school, fetching what they needed, books or material, without formality or interference. Teachers would be among the children, taking part in their activities, helping and advising and discussing much more frequently than standing before a class teaching. Mid-moming break and even midday break for lunch would show little change and at the end of the day there would be no sudden rush from school, leaving an empty building, but a much more leisurely and individual departure, so that important tasks could be finished and interesting questions answered. In this kind of school it is common for some of the older children to spend two or three weeks away with their teacher in another environment. In this way many children have their first experiences away from the family in a secure setting, and also an opportunity for getting to know their teachers better.

737. These schools are not exceptional. What here concerns us about them are the implications for relationships and discipline and these are many. They raise the following questions. What kind of assumptions about children are involved in running a school on these lines? By what process does a school run on authoritarian lines change into the kind of school just described? In what circumstances is it impossible or too difficult to run such a school and, in such a case, what is to be done about it?

738. The relationships of the school described are certainly not the product of mere permissiveness. For all the appearance of free-and-easiness, for all the absence of the traditional forms of discipline, there is behind it all, not only a deep understanding of children, but careful planning. The two basic assumptions are that children respond in kind to courteous and considerate treatment by adults and that they will work with concentration and diligence at tasks which are suited to their abilities. Neither assumption is true for all children, or for any child all the time, but both are true enough to make them a workable basis for many primary schools. With them must go a great deal of perceptive thought and action. The balance between free choice and directed choice, the safeguarding of intellectual discipline, the few rules that are to be insisted upon, the richness, suitability and variety of what is provided, the means of ensuring and recording progress, the treatment of misfits - all these and many other problems need careful and skilful leadership. When the head or his or her staff can bring it off, it is a way of running a school which we think is ideally suited to the needs and nature of children and to their development as human beings. We believe that the atmosphere in a school run on these lines is healthier than one in which discipline is authoritarian, and can foster self-discipline, a sense of responsibility for others in the community, and honesty in action and in thought. There is, for example, no reason to cheat or to crib. If each child is valued for himself, there is less reason to lie, whether from fear, idleness or the desire for self-aggrandisement.

739. It is clear that to change a school run on traditional lines to one run on free lines requires faith and courage. The fact that a substantial number of schools have made the change is evidence that these qualities have not been wanting. They are certainly the first requirements in a reforming head, but

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they are not the only ones. It is not a question of saying 'freedom is in, discipline is out', an attitude which could lead to instant disaster. The change involves the total life of the school, and the staff, or a substantial proportion of it, must at least be ready for change and must understand something of the philosophy underlying it. A small country school which had been run on traditional lines was able to make the change quickly because the staff of two retired simultaneously, and were replaced by a man and his wife who knew what they wanted to do and were able to set about it without delay. The children responded and in less than a year the school closely resembled that described at the beginning of this chapter. On one occasion the headmaster was obliged to be absent for two days and was unable to obtain a substitute. The children in his class were then left to their own devices, with only such supervision as the infants' teacher in another room was able to give them. 'There was no trouble' said the headmaster, 'and they had done two good days' work when I got back'. A ten year old boy at this school observed to a visiting HMI: 'The trouble with this place is that we haven't enough time to do all we want. We are trying to get Mr .... to start a night school for us, so we can get on with our work in the evening'. There will be many readers, including teachers, who will find this story almost incredible, remembering, as they will, the instantaneous, disorderly relaxation which used to characterise a class when the teacher went out of the room. The change is a major one which is beginning to revolutionise the primary schools of England, but it needs teachers of great personal qualities, strong character and a deep understanding of children, and it also needs first rate organisation. If, for example, children are allowed choice in what they do the choice must be genuine and the alternatives interesting and worth doing. Boredom is a deadly enemy. Time wasting occupations and exercises 'to keep the children quiet while the teacher is busy, or marking the registers' are fatal to good discipline and to good learning and there is no place for them, or need for them, in the kind of school we are discussing. Furthermore, although in such a school rewards and punishments in the ordinary sense may seem to have little or no place, there is in fact a substitute in the form of approval and disapproval. The more sympathetic a teacher is, the more successfully he or she establishes with the children a relationship of affection and respect, the more clearly will approval be a reward, and withdrawal in some sense a punishment. Such a system is preferable to arbitrary authoritarianism, but if it involves the abrogation of one kind of power, it bestows another and must be used with understanding and scrupulousness. Children like to know where they stand and what to expect. They must depend upon adults for their moral standards and for guidance on what behaviour is tolerable in society; an adult who withholds such guidance is in fact making a decision which involves as heavy a claim for his own judgement as is made by the martinet. There may be occasions, as the children grow older, when such guidance ought to be withheld so that children can think out problems for themselves, but this only underlines the fact that the teacher has a crucial role to play at every point in the 'free' school.

740. We must now consider why it is that this happy state of affairs is not commoner and whether there are schools or areas or circumstances in which it would be foolish or impossible to try to introduce it. Many older teachers brought up on authoritarian precepts may feel hostile or contemptuous when

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they are told of 'free discipline' and, even if sympathetic to the idea, may feel afraid of trying it. The thought of the possible chaos is too daunting. Some may genuinely doubt whether, even if it comes off, it is good for the children. They fear that the school would be too unlike the world outside where people have to struggle, learn to take orders and face uncongenial and uninteresting tasks. We sympathise with these fears and anxieties, but the last one at least is quite unfounded. We believe that the modern, relaxed, friendly approach is a much better preparation for life in contemporary society than the old authoritarian one.

741. Not all reforming heads are in the fortunate position of the one described earlier. They may have staffs who cannot 'take it' and may feel that it would be unwise as well as unjust to the staff to force the pace. They will have to move slowly and wait patiently for favourable signs and developments. In addition, there are certainly schools and even whole areas where the difficulties involved in freedom are very grave. If a large proportion of the children come from insecure or unloving homes, they will be disturbed and, although they may need freedom more desperately than children from good homes, the transition may be too perilous to face. It is just the 'difficult' schools which find it hardest to recruit and keep good staffs and no one with any knowledge of such schools will wish to weaken the influence of teachers or make their task any harder. In a single class there may be children who are regularly and perhaps brutally thrashed at home, children who are taught implicitly or explicitly that all authority is an enemy and children who have never known any consistent discipline or control, let alone warm affection and interest.

742. Quite apart from these specially difficult cases, there are children, usually boys, in all areas and in most schools, who need to feel the pressure of authority in order to come to terms with it. The high spirited, mischievous child is traditionally regarded with affectionate tolerance. 'Boys will be boys', 'You're only young once', 'I was just the same when I was his age', people say, and generally win an approving nod. A boy who never gets up to mischief, it is suggested, is not a proper boy and a good spanking will keep him within bounds. The mental picture often seems to have an archaic rural background and to evoke the suggestion of a little mild apple stealing. Stealing from a supermarket seems to put the matter in a different light. Everybody loves Huck Finn, but he can be a thorn in the side of young and inexperienced teachers. Yet boys need an element of adventure and out of school activities can often satisfy this need legitimately.


743. We have made it clear that the kind of school that we should like to see is one in which the delights as well as the rigours and demands of learning are built into the whole life of the place, so that there is little or no need for the stimulus of marks and class places and rewards, or for the sanctions of punishment in the cruder sense. Such schools, as we have said, are not visions of the future. There are many of them. Nevertheless, many teachers will feel that punishment is sometimes necessary and that the right to give it when it is judged to be necessary ought not to be withheld. Few indeed will now consider it in any way positively 'good for children' to be punished, and few will regard punishment as a cure either for deep seated evils, such as persistent

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cruelty, or for laziness, inattention and poor work. Punishment will be defended simply as a means to order. A single unruly member cannot be allowed to upset the whole of a class. The boy who 'tries it on' just to see how much the teacher will take, must discover quite soon that he will not take much. The child who persistently ignores rules of safety, for example, when crossing the road, must be sharply reminded of them. This we accept and we think that the decision whether to punish or not must be left to the individual teacher acting within the policy of the school. It is unwise to try to lay down precise rules which would confine individual professional judgement, but the excessive use of punishment of any kind should be regarded as an acknowledgement of someone's failure.

744. What kind of punishment should be given is more open to doubt. We have little hesitation in saying that punishment ought not to humiliate a child, though it sometimes ought to humble him. But children differ. Something that will bitterly humiliate one child may be accepted with cheerful indifference by another. Sarcasm is a weapon that should never be employed. A punishment must be understood by the child and be seen to be just and to this extent accepted by him; the most difficult children may be, at least temporarily, beyond this kind of understanding and be afflicted with a sense of injustice in spite of every attempt to remove it. The conclusion seems to be that in the matter of how to punish as well as in that of whether to punish, the judgement of the teacher must be respected, although in the most difficult cases expert advice on problems of behaviour should be sought from school doctors and child guidance clinics. We do not feel justified in leaving the argument there. Corporal punishment appears to us to be in a special category and to need special consideration.

745. We have considered the opinions of the teaching profession and of HM Inspectors and have studied the regulations of local education authorities. We have also considered the views of psychologists, a sample of parental opinion and practice in other countries.

746. From the evidence available to us the following conclusions can be drawn:

(a) The overwhelming majority (between 80 per cent and 90 per cent) of the teaching profession are against the abolition of corporal punishment, though few support it except as a final sanction. (1, 2, 3, 4)

(b) Public opinion appears to be in favour of its retention and a considerable majority of parents agree to its occasional use.

(c) Only one local education authority forbids its use, but there is great diversity in regulations, some of which have not been revised for 20 to 30 years. To some extent local authority regulations reflect public opinion and the lack of any pressure for change; the infrequent revision of regulations may also be explained by a decline in corporal punishment (5).

(d) While there are few primary schools in which corporal punishment is never used, there are a large number in which it is used only rarely and its use is on the decrease. Infants and girls seldom receive it. (6)

(e) The associations of psychologists consulted by the Council agree that the advantages of corporal punishment are outweighed by its disadvantages. (7, 8)

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747. The present legal position is that a teacher, who stands in loco parentis to a school child, is held to be justified in using a reasonable amount of force by way of correction. Magistrates can and do convict when they judge that an unreasonable amount of force has been used. Although it would be technically possible to make it a legal offence for a teacher to inflict any degree of corporal punishment on a child in school, this would present difficulties in practice. It would in particular make a teacher vulnerable to malicious prosecution. Moreover, it could be asked whether the same sanction should not apply to parents as well as teachers. In Denmark it has been possible to abolish corporal punishment in both school and home because public opinion was strongly behind the measure.

748. It has been almost universally outlawed in other western countries. (9) It can be associated with psychological perversion affecting both beater and beaten and it is ineffective in precisely those cases in which its use is most hotly defended. We think the time has come to drop it. After full consideration, we recommend that the infliction of physical pain as a recognised method of punishment in primary schools should be forbidden.

749. The most convenient method of carrying out our recommendations in the case of maintained schools seems to be an amendment of the Schools Regulations to provide that the infliction of physical pain as a method of punishment should not be allowed. No comparable sanction is available for independent schools generally and to prohibit corporal punishment in them would involve an amendment of the law. We believe that the law should be amended so as to give power to the Secretary of State to deny registration to any independent school in which the infliction of physical pain is a recognised form of punishment. In the meantime we recommend that no independent school in which this practice obtains should be granted recognition as efficient and we urge the professional associations of the independent schools to do everything in their power to ensure that it is discontinued in non-recognised schools. We hope that the schools themselves will take steps to abandon the practice entirely.

750. Our recommendations are likely to meet with some opposition. We may be accused of encouraging softness and of indulging the evil doer. The majority of teachers sincerely believe that corporal punishment may be necessary as a constraint. Indeed, a lack of corporal punishment in school will often contrast sharply with what happens in the child's home. We believe, however, that the primary schools, as in so much else, should lead public opinion, rather than follow it. Often corporal punishment is the result of school conditions trying the patience of both teachers and pupils. Smaller classes and the presence of teachers' aides (see Chapter 24) in all schools, particularly in the educational priority areas, may help those schools whose conditions are such that corporal punishment seems difficult to avoid. Teachers need to give time and individual attention to children who get into trouble; persuasion is a time-consuming business and cannot easily take place if a class is too large. On theoretical grounds alone, we believe that the kind of relationship which ought to exist between teacher and child cannot be built up in an atmosphere in which the infliction of physical pain is regarded as a normal sanction. The psychological evidence which we sought also supports this view. Our Report makes it clear at many points that we believe in discipline. But it can only come from a

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relationship between teacher and child in which there is mutual respect and affection. There is nothing soft or flabby about this relationship. It is impaired by disorder, untidiness, boredom and slackness and only flourishes in an atmosphere of order and purposefulness. To achieve the right balance between encouragement and restraint, between permissiveness and direction, between reward and admonition, between withdrawal and intervention, is the teacher's art. It is with this art that much of this report is concerned and the art is not simply an amalgam or sum total of skills, knowledge, methods and aids, but rather a combination of these with judgement, discrimination, sensitivity, sympathy, perception and imagination, all of which are involved in the exercise of discipline and the education of children.


751. (i) Decisions on punishment should generally be left to the professional judgement of the individual teacher acting within the policy of the school.

(ii) The infliction of physical pain as a method of punishment in primary schools should be forbidden. Schools Regulations, which apply only to maintained schools, should be amended accordingly.

(iii) The Secretary of State should be given power to deny registration to any independent school in which the infliction of physical pain is a recognised method of punishment. Until such time as a change in the law can be made, no independent school in which this practice obtains should be recognised as efficient, and the professional associations of the independent schools should endeavour to ensure its discontinuance in non-recognised schools.


1. National Foundation for Educational Research: A Survey of Rewards and Punishments 1952.
2. The Council's Questionnaire to 2,500 teachers (Appendix 1, Volume 2).
3. The National Union of Teachers. Memorandum submitted at Council's request.
4. The National Association of Schoolmasters. Memorandum submitted at Council's request.
5. Survey based on Council's enquiries to local education authorities on regulations on corporal punishment in primary schools.
6. See 5.
7. The British Psychological Society. Memorandum submitted at Council's request.
8. The National Association of Mental Health. Memorandum submitted at Council's request.
9. The Council also sent enquiries and received information on practice abroad from the following countries:

Federal Republic of Germany,

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How Primary Schools are Organised


752. Most primary school work is done in classes. The children who form a class spend most of the day with their class teacher. This is what teachers are used to, and what overwhelmingly they think right. More than two thirds of those in our sample of primary school teachers (Appendix 1, Table D.22) thought that the class teacher should be mainly responsible for his class, while a further quarter accepted the system but thought that the class teacher could reasonably share more of his present responsibilities with other teachers. The bulk of the evidence received also supported the class teacher system.

753. But a class need not necessarily be taught as a whole. There has always been much class instruction and we believe that there is still too much. Yet to some extent, the early age at which English children were admitted to school has always put limits on it, as can be seen from reports from the early twentieth century of three year olds falling asleep on the floor from the gallery benches where 80 at a time were assembled for needle-threading drill or for object lessons. There was also a far more liberal tradition deriving from Robert Owen and reinforced by the ideas of Froebel and Montessori. By the time of the 1933 report, the majority of infant schools divided their classes into groups for teaching reading. Some teachers found they could arrange their work in such a way that children learnt individually at their own pace. The 1931 report on the junior school was more cautious in advocating group and individual learning except for younger juniors. Throughout the thirties, the number of groups within a class of 40 or 50 tended to be limited to three or four, whether or not this number corresponded to the range of achievement in the class. In junior schools 'group reading', with each group supervised by a child teacher (whose fate was usually to read below his own ability) and the teacher circulating round the groups, was and is a popular device for increasing the number of occasions on which each child read aloud. It was an improvement on reading in chorus or reading aloud round the class but is shown by recent research to be far from effective. Class instruction in arithmetic was often followed by practice in two or three groups which were given sums of varying difficulty. Other schools allowed individual children to work through the sums in their text book at their own pace.

Individual Group and Class Learning

754. In the last 20 years schools have provided far more individual work as they have increasingly realised how much children of the same age differ in their powers of perception and imagery, in their interests, and in their span of concentration. The more obvious this becomes, the less satisfactory class instruction seems. When children first come to school they learn most effectively if they choose what to do from amongst a range of materials carefully selected by their teachers. Similarly, throughout the primary school, children should have time to follow their own interests and hobbies, to read for pure

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enjoyment and to record their personal findings and experiences, in words, in pictures and in movement. But from the start there must be teaching as well as learning; children are not 'free' to develop interests or skills of which they have no knowledge. They must have guidance from their teachers. The younger the children, the more solitary their pursuits are apt to be and the more short-lived the groups they form. The demand for help in the exercise of techniques and skills, whether, for example, in reading or in so different a skill as sewing usually arises 'on the job'. Teaching must often be individual, though other children will look on and often learn in the looking. The varying interests of older children and their differing ability and knowledge means that they too ought often to be taught as individuals both for reading and mathematics. Sharing out the teacher's time is a major problem. Only seven or eight minutes a day would be available for each child if all teaching were individual.

755. Teachers, therefore, have to economise by teaching together a small group of children who are roughly at the same stage. Ideally, they might be better taught individually but they gain more from a longer period of their teacher's attention, even though it is shared with others, than they would from a few minutes of individual help. This is particularly true of children who have reached the same stage in reading and computation. A group of this kind should be formed for a particular purpose and should disappear when the purpose is achieved. But it is rare to find a class all of whom will fit tidily into groups. If children are learning according to their capacity, some are almost bound to be racing ahead and some will barely have reached the starting point.

756. Choral singing, games and physical education for the older children are obvious examples of things usually taught to a whole class. Experiences like listening to a story, a poem, or music may be heightened by being shared with a class, but it is often best to leave children to make their private and individual response. There are no infallible rules. Recapitulation, explanation, or question and answer may standardise and devalue the more deeply felt experiences, yet on occasion the right comment, briefly made, may illuminate them. A vivid reconstruction of the past or an account of life in another part of the world can also be presented to a whole class. Sometimes a topic for group or individual work is introduced to the whole class which is again brought together for discussion and instruction as the work develops. Some modern language teaching is also usefully given to all together. Class teaching for these various purposes is sensible and helps to make the class a unity. On the other hand, the practice of setting a whole class laboriously to copy notes from a blackboard, and other similar mass drills are best avoided.

757. Children of junior school age tend naturally to go about in small groups. Groups of three to 15 pupils are good for many kinds of school work. In this way children learn to get along together, to help one another and realise their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of others. They make their meaning clearer to themselves by having to explain it to others, and gain from opportunities to teach as well as to learn. Some children are so timid and inarticulate that they need to hear their companions put to teachers the questions they themselves are unable to frame. Apathetic children may be infected by the enthusiasm of a group, or decide to sit back as idle passengers, a danger which the teacher needs to watch. Able children benefit from being

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caught up in the thrust and counter thrust of conversation in a small group of children similar to themselves. They would also profit from reading with a teacher a book which is too difficult for the rest of the class. But this is an opportunity they rarely get.

758. Group work has often demonstrated the capacity of primary school children to plan and follow up mathematical and scientific enquiries. They are less shy of risking a hypothesis in a group than before the whole class, and sometimes the extravagant guess turns out to be right. More children, too, get the chance of discussing, and so understanding more clearly, what their problem is. Expeditions gain in value when the class is broken up into smaller groups. More children can help to plan the visit and each group can be given a different target. But each individual child needs some time during the expedition to follow up his own interests.

759. A class or group 'interest' depends for its value on the children being absorbed in it and the teacher giving it skilful guidance. There should be opportunity for each child's individuality to show itself. The production of a class magazine illustrates this. It calls for class discussion of the general outline, for the formation of groups to plan sub sections, and freedom for children to make their individual contribution.

760. Some types of group work are too ambitious. Local historical or geographical surveys, for example, may demand from each child an artificial narrowing of the field of study and a measure of collaboration which few adults can achieve. Success depends on the teacher's skill in knowing when to drop a topic, when to intervene, to sustain or reinforce the interest of an individual, a group, or occasionally, the whole class. Then the pieces of the jig saw can be fitted together or seen not to fit. Usually children's records of their work should be individual. Occasionally the outcome may be a group or class record and will give children an incentive to reach a particularly high standard of presentation. The final product may be a useful addition to the school collection of books.

Team Teaching

761. In making a case for children to have experience of individual, group and class work are we merely justifying what exists? Are the class and the class teacher necessary? Supporters of 'team teaching', a method developed in the USA, raise this question. The broad principle of team teaching is that, instead of each teacher working mainly on his own, teams are organised within a school so that the experienced and able carry responsibility, the newly trained receive guidance, and students and teaching aides are integrated into the work of the school. Use is made of the special skills and knowledge of individual teachers. A team of teachers may be responsible for the work of a number of children ranging from 60 to 200. For teaching purposes, the children are arranged in groups which vary in size and composition according to what is being taught. Some groups may contain only a handful; others one or two hundred. In some schemes, the class as a teaching unit disappears. Any number larger than 15 is considered a big group, so that a class of 30 is thought little better than an assembly of 100 or more children. The pupils, however, usually have a 'home room' and a 'home teacher' who registers their attendance and is generally responsible for their welfare.

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762. Many English primary schools have for long tried, and liked, several of the practices which, taken together and raised to a principle, are described in America as 'team teaching'. But they have done so without abandoning the framework of the class and its class teacher, our principle of stability. It is common, for instance, for junior school teachers to exchange classes. In this way special strengths are made use of, special weaknesses avoided. The musical and the tone deaf will change places; a teacher with scientific interest will take more than one class: a young teacher will relieve an elderly one for physical education. New subjects for primary schools such as French are leading to more interchange of classes.

763. Classes in the junior schools are sometimes rearranged for mathematics and reading because a child's achievement often varies considerably from one to the other. Sometimes the classes in one or two year groups or even the whole school are redivided into sets based on the children's attainment. The size of sets can be varied according to the amount of help their members need. If a part-time teacher is available, or if the head teacher takes a set, there can be more sets than classes and smaller teaching groups all round. But in spite of these advantages, this practice seems to be less favoured than it was (see Appendix 11, Section 6b, paragraph 1), probably because it has been applied too rigidly and emphasised subject divisions on the timetable before they were desirable or necessary.

764. For part of the week, the senior classes in the junior school are sometimes reorganised into clubs for music, drama or art so that children get an opportunity to make further progress than they can achieve within their own classes. Several classes may be linked together in arts and crafts, and children may go term by term to pottery, painting or needlecraft, each taken by a teacher with a particular bent for it. These arrangements are especially helpful for children who develop special interests at an early age.

765. The informal arrangements possible in small schools have probably done more to make teaching flexible between classes as well as inside a class than the organised timetabled arrangements discussed in the last two paragraphs. The recognition that nursery children gain from living in a family group of mixed ages made it artificial to divide the school into separate rooms and classes for different ages. Because the entire school is rarely more than 60, it is common for children to have the freedom of the whole building and be in touch with all the staff including the nursery assistants and students. But each member of the staff has a small group of children who are her special charge. They naturally turn to her. An infant school classroom is too small and too confined for all the things the children need to do. They overflow into the open air where there are no walls to shut off one class from another; they stray into corridors which are not marked out into pens like sheep folds. The classroom is the children's home, their teacher's base; but outside it any teacher may be drawn into any child's concern. The school becomes a unity.

766. A similar situation is becoming more usual also in the junior school. Room for individual work is found in corridors and foyer. Here may be the central collection of books which are more accessible and more fully used than in a library room, in which each class may have only one or two timetabled periods. In an increasing number of schools, classroom doors are,

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metaphorically at least, open. Teachers know what is going on all over the school. Children are encouraged to visit classes other than their own, to use equipment kept there, or to consult a teacher who has the particular knowledge that they need. In overcrowded town schools where an additional teacher is provided but where there is no room in which to form an extra class, two teachers sometimes work side by side and find that in this way they can learn from each other and do more for children individually.

767. Another kind of flexibility, arising from a different situation, has been developed in many two teacher country schools. The strict class teacher system would mean that children would be taught for three or four years by one teacher who would be unlikely to possess all the necessary gifts. Instead both teachers and the ancillary helper, if there is one, take some responsibility for all the children. Space is shared as seems best from time to time. On occasion one teacher supervises the majority of the children in order that the remainder can be given special help.

768. Until recently primary schools were designed merely as a collection of classrooms and a hall. Thirty years ago they were furnished in such a way as to make class instruction easy, group and individual work difficult. We have seen how they are now used. This in turn has stimulated the building of experimental schools in which classrooms are linked, some facilities shared and quiet individual working spaces provided. Experiment in buildings has reinforced experiments in teaching. If this is team teaching, we welcome it.

The Class Teacher

769. How far should schools break down class organisation? Even young children can work happily with more than one adult. In fact, some change of teacher during the week is stimulating to most children. It also makes easier the transition from one class teacher to another after the summer holidays or when there has to be a change in the course of the year. A particular child and a particular teacher may find it difficult to get on with one another. An occasional change gives relief from the situation, a sense of perspective and a second opinion to help decide whether a change of class is necessary. Yet it is not surprising that when children are asked what class they are in, they usually give their teacher's name in reply. The youngest children in particular need a steady relationship with one teacher who should know them well. It is hard enough to know 40 children; it is virtually impossible to know 160. If there were no class teachers, nobody in a school would have the depth and clarity of knowledge of individual children on which their education depends. The most economical way to get to know children is to supervise their learning, to talk to them, to teach them, to be with them for enough of the day to see their changing moods and responses.

770. Children may sometimes see too much of each other as well as of their teachers; a few need a fresh start with new class mates. Yet the dismay that children usually show at a change of class in the middle of the year suggests that they benefit from a stable community whose values they can assimilate and where they know what to expect. A class is large enough to have groups which can form and reform for different purposes. A skilful teacher is able to some extent to influence the roles that individuals play within the groups and to provide some measure of success for most children. Meantime the class

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takes on a personality, with its own history, its own jokes, its own favourite words, all in some sense a protection from the mass of the school.

771. It is, in fact, class teachers working for much of the day in their classrooms who have succeeded in establishing individual and group learning as the usual way of education in infant schools, and who are on the way to achieving a similar pattern of learning in junior schools. Teachers are able to make time to help individuals when they have most of the day at their disposal. For the same reason it is possible to take account of children's varying spans of attention, and children are able more often to bring their work to a conclusion instead of being interrupted for a change of teacher or group when interest and thinking are at a climax. The more children move from teacher to teacher, the more time and thought are bound to be absorbed in organisation, and the more anxious teachers may become about whether they are covering enough ground in the curriculum.


772. We conclude that the class, with its own teacher, should remain the basic unit of school organisation, particularly for the younger children. The great bulk of teaching of children up to eight or nine should normally remain with the class teacher. Yet even at this age there are benefits in the children knowing and having access to other teachers. The classroom doors should no longer be shut, as still happens in some schools, with the teachers, both experienced and inexperienced, isolated in their rooms. There may be circumstances when the best course will be for a class to be shared by two part-time teachers, or for two classes to be shared by a full-time teacher and two part-time teachers. But teachers sharing a class must work together and be consistent in their attitudes. There is a good deal to be gained if teachers, especially those who have classes of the same age, or a year younger or older, can arrange to plan some of their work together and to share equipment. Teachers' aides would fit well and easily into this kind of association. Interconnecting classrooms and some shared working spaces can encourage teachers to make adjustments, to vary the size of groups for different purposes and to form some groups from more than one class.

773. The older children might benefit from a more systematically planned contact with two or three teachers, each expert in one of the main aspects of the curriculum and able to teach related subjects. As the range of the primary school curriculum widens, it becomes increasingly difficult to equip students in a three year course to teach all subjects to older pupils. It will be even more desirable, if our recommendation for the extension of the middle school by one year is adopted, to provide the oldest pupils with teams of teachers who, between them, have some mastery of the English subjects, of a modern language, of mathematics and science, and of the arts. We recommend that experiments should be tried out in associating two or three classes up to about 100 children in the care of two or three teachers. Some of these experiments might treat the age group as a social unit, subdivided for various teaching purposes, to test whether children gain or lose from the larger unit. The effects on the teachers ought also to be watched. There is some danger that the staff would become stratified and that teachers would be confined to a narrow age range within the school.

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774. There will be occasions when the work of both younger and older children should be enriched by occasional or regular teaching from a specialist in a subject such as music. But it needs to be recognised that the result of this may be that some teachers who exchange classes with specialists are left to 'fill in' subjects which become isolated from the rest of the curriculum without the compensation of gifted teaching.

775. The case for giving children some individual teaching and allowing them to work in small groups is strong. We have therefore tried to discover activities in which it is profitable for a large number of children to be put in the care of one teacher so that the other teachers may have time to work with smaller groups. It has not been easy. When children watch television or listen to radio, all the teachers who are concerned with follow up work need to be there. We have received oral evidence which suggests that attention diminishes when a group is larger than the ordinary class. It is also significant that music, which is the subject for which primary school classes are most frequently combined, is one of the least developed. Perhaps the most promising line is for the large group to be engaged on individual work in which many children can get on by themselves without the help of a teacher.

776. Teachers who allow a substantial amount of individual work may have reason to fear that they do not have the knowledge they need of each child's progress and difficulties. But apparent attention to a class lesson may be no more than mask of inattention. Teachers who rely on rigid grouping may have the security of feeling that they know where the children have got to, but the price which is paid for this may be that some have not got far enough, or do not really understand what they are doing. Careful records are essential, but the task of keeping them increases with the amount of individual work. We recognise therefore that the blend of individual, group and class work in any one class must be the one that the particular teacher can manage.

777. Similar conditions apply to the more flexible grouping of classes and teachers that we hope to see. Room must be left for the teacher who is an individualist and works best on his own. The children too will differ in the changes of relationship which they can tolerate. For over sheltered and timid children a gradual introduction to an enlarging circle of adults and other children is best. Even more, those children whose home life lacks structure and consistency will need a simple class organisation from which they can move out to the wider community of the school. The organisation of each school ought to fit the individual circumstances of the children and the qualities of the staff.


778. In 1931 the Consultative Committee deplored the 'stereotyped instruction and mass discipline and lack of help for the individual' that resulted from a class of 50 and recommended that no class should be larger than 40, a recommendation which was not adopted in Ministry of Education Regulations till 1944. As the abnormally large age groups of children born immediately after the war entered the primary schools the size of classes increased but from 1954 there was a gradual fall in average size of class and in pupil-teacher ratio. For the past two years the position has been roughly

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stable, in spite of rising numbers. This has been achieved by employing more unqualified teachers and, to a less extent, by closing some very small schools, which are extravagant to staff. Diagram 7 shows the proportion of classes of various sizes at intervals since the war. Table 16 shows the number of children and the percentage of all pupils in classes of varying sizes:

Diagram 7

Infant and Junior Classes

Table 16 Size of Primary Class, England: January 1965

Size of Class
Number of Pupils
Pupils in (2) as percentage
of all pupils
51 and over50.1

Source: Statistics of Education, 1965, Part One, Table 20.

779. In 1965 17 per cent of primary school pupils were in classes over 40, the average size of class was 30.7 and the pupil-teacher ratio, taking into account the full-time equivalent of part-time teachers, was 28.5 (see Table 18). It is clear from the tables that the average size of class and the pupil-teacher ratio are derived from a wide range of sizes and ratios. The smaller classes are in the smaller schools. The National Advisory Council on the Training and Supply of Teachers suggested in 1965 that infant school classes would increase in size in the next few years and that the improvement, which might have been expected in the primary schools after 1970, is likely to be checked by the transfer of primary teachers to secondary schools after the school leaving age is raised.

780. Almost all our witnesses believe in the value of smaller classes. They see the supply and quality of teachers as the two crucial factors in primary education. The LCC [London County Council] evidence urged that an improvement in the pupil-teacher ratio should be a major objective of policy. Most witnesses, asked to suggest what size of class should be the objective for the next 20 year period, chose 30. Some said that 30 was the maximum number of children of the same

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age that an average teacher could teach effectively without strain. But if, for example, a class contained children from 8 to 11, they thought the number ought to fall to around 25. Some witnesses added that a class of fewer than 15 to 20 did not provide sufficient stimulus for teacher or children besides making obvious difficulties for physical education, music and drama. Rather smaller classes were suggested for infants than for juniors and the admission class should, it was thought, be the smallest of all. Support for these views can be found in Swedish practice where the statutory class size for the first three years of schooling from seven to ten years is smaller than in the later years. There is a striking measure of agreement between the witnesses who gave individual evidence and the sample of teachers who responded to our questionnaire on primary education. Some 61 per cent of head and assistant teachers believe that 30 is the maximum reasonable size of class. Of the remainder, the majority favour classes of 25 or smaller (Appendix 1, Table D.18). Parents certainly believe in small classes. That is one of the main reasons for sending children to independent schools, where the average number of pupils to teachers is less than half that in maintained schools.

781. Despite all this agreement, some research surveys have shown no significant relationship between class size and attainment in reading or other aspects of the curriculum in which results can easily be measured. Other surveys (1, 2) (see also Appendix 9) have even shown a positive relationship between attainment in these skills and large classes. What is the reason for this discrepancy?

782. The most up to date and thorough analysis of the relation between attainment in reading and school and home conditions is provided by the National Survey (1966) (Appendix 4). Its results derive from an analysis in which the association of size of class with reading comprehension is isolated, and many other variables - such as the size of the school, home circumstances and attitudes, the effects of streaming - are held constant. In those surveys which produced a positive association this was done for far fewer or no variables. The National Survey itself has provided no evidence that when other things are equal large classes are associated with good results in the reading comprehension test. This squares with common sense. But why has not research confirmed the equally common sense judgement that small classes positively make it easier to learn to read? A possible explanation is that, as we know, small classes tend to be found in small schools; and that small schools tend to be either in the country, or in those older areas of towns where bad social conditions may have a cumulative effect on children. In both instances, classes may contain children of several different ages.

783. There is further evidence from the National Survey bearing on this problem. If, instead of comparing school with school, each school is studied individually, we find that the pupils with the better reading scores tend to be in the larger classes. But general experience, confirmed by the NFER Survey of Junior School Organisation, (Appendix 11, Part 11, Section 5:6) shows that backward pupils are often, as a matter of policy, put into small classes. There is also a tendency for young and inexperienced teachers to be put in charge of them, partly no doubt because their classes are small.

784. The importance of size of class may vary according to an individual teacher's objectives and methods (3). If the teacher treats the class as a unit, its size is relatively unimportant. If the aim is to teach individuals and small

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groups, there is a limit to the number of pupils for whom one teacher can be responsible. Large classes may encourage concentration on a narrow curriculum. As a consequence, pupils' scores may improve in the measurable but limited range of work with which research has mainly been concerned. The advantages of small classes may lie in the possibilities they offer for developing individual work.

785. We agree with the observation of the Scottish Research Council (4) that 'the results of an investigation based on accepted organisation ... are biased from the beginning ... that an investigation of this topic (class size) would require a specific design, in which the accepted principles for organising classes would be altered for the purpose of the experiment'. Experiments should be made to test the effects of small classes and generous staffing ratios.


786. Although positive evidence from research in favour of small classes is lacking, this does not outweigh professional advice, public opinion and the example of other countries. The present statutory maximum size of a primary school class in this country is larger than in most European countries and in most American states, where primary classes are also sometimes smaller by regulation than secondary classes. The parents of children in maintained schools, interviewed for the National Survey (Appendix 3, Section 3, paragraph 56) had two principal complaints and anxieties about primary schools. The buildings were old and the classes were too large.

787. Some of our witnesses would not go so far as to maintain that a teacher necessarily did better with his class when it was less than 40 or worse when numbers rose above it. Much depends on the skill of the individual teacher. There are even some who find big classes a challenge to their determination and professional competence. Some infant teachers immediately after the war developed individual work with classes of 50 and triumphed over every disadvantage.

788. But achievement in the face of such difficulties cannot be expected of all teachers, and should be asked of none for long. The fact that the improvement in primary schools is so widespread and general reflects in part at least the reduction in size of classes. Further progress depends on the development of individual and group learning. Teachers must be able to prescribe and provide for each child what he needs. We do not believe that any but exceptional teachers can know, in this sense, more than about 30 children and their parents. We, therefore, recommend that the maximum size of primary class should be reduced and that within the primary schools classes for the youngest pupils should be the smallest. We discuss staffing prospects, proposals for their betterment, and the effect on size of class in Chapters 23 and 24.


789. During the last war two of the set questions which army recruits were asked were: 'What standard were you in when you left school? Was that the top standard?' From 1862 onward the classes in English elementary schools were described as standards. The 'standard' was the level which an average child, taught by an average teacher, was expected to have reached at

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the end of a year's work. The normal rate of progress was one standard a year from the age of six. There was a strong incentive to move children into Standard I as soon after six as possible because under the system of 'payment by results' this was to the school's financial advantage. But there was no financial point in accelerated promotion through the standards because there was no extra grant for children who had got beyond Standard VI. Some schools but not all, had a Standard VII, hence the interviewers' second question. The idea of 'standards' regulating promotion survived the end of 'payment by results' in 1898, and was indeed given a new twist by the introduction of the junior scholarship system. This secured 'free places' in what we now call grammar schools for the ablest children in the elementary schools. A child was held to have a better chance with competitive examination at the age of ten or 11 if he could get quickly to the top of the elementary school. Naturally he was encouraged to do so. Accelerated promotion for some was counterbalanced by delayed promotion for others who repeated the same work year after year. Some left from Standard II or III. Practice had not made perfect.

790. The decision to have separate schools for children over 11 meant, where it was carried out, the rejection of classes with a very wide age range. The building of senior elementary schools left empty places in the old all-age school. These places were not, of course, left empty but filled with other children aged between seven and 11. Their greater number meant that there had to be more classes for them. The development of mental tests by educational psychologists had made clear, and apparently measurable, the differences between children, differences which were thought to be roughly constant but whose effect on attainment increased with age.

791. The Consultative Committee in 1931, therefore, recommended that, where classes were rather large, grading in ability within an age group (now called streaming) should be introduced into junior schools. It had reservations about jumping to conclusions about children's ability as soon as they had left the infant school, and stressed the importance of easy transfer between streams. These reservations tended to be forgotten. Grading by ability, in one form or another, became almost universal in all but the smallest schools. Some shift of opinion and of practice has now become apparent, partly in response to the idea that, since the world contains people of all grades of ability, children should learn to mix with them at school. This has become more practicable as group and individual work within classes has been developed.

Infant Schools and Classes

792. Infant schools are exceptionally difficult to organise because of their termly intake but annual output. The number of children is bound to rise throughout the year; whether the size of the staff expands and contracts in the same way depends upon the authority's policy. Few authorities staff for the year on September numbers; the majority base the number of teachers on the January roll, providing an extra teacher in the summer if the pupil teacher ratio becomes very unfavourable and a teacher can be found. Quite often an additional class of the youngest children is formed for the summer term only. Occasionally the classes for the youngest children in September are deliberately kept small enough to take in their newcomers in January and after Easter so that the other classes may be left undisturbed. More commonly,

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all the classes are arranged to be roughly equal in size at the beginning of the year, and there are sufficient termly promotions to balance the termly admissions. This principle may be applied to all classes, or the top classes may be left undisturbed.

793. Some schools arrange all their classes strictly by age. Often, however, the children who are making progress in reading are promoted first and in a two form entry infant school the classes in the final year may be clearly differentiated by attainment. It is rare to find this acknowledged in the way the classes are named. An accurate picture of grading in the infant school could only be obtained from a survey as detailed as that made by the NFER on the junior school (see Appendix 11). Such information as is available to us (Appendix 10) (5, 6) suggests that in a quarter to a fifth of infant classes, children of six are graded by attainment. In some schools grading begins even earlier.

794. As long ago as 1933, in a few areas many infant schools which could have organised on an age basis were experimenting with 'vertical classification'. Each class contained children aged from five to seven or eight. The advantage was said to be that at the infant stage, as in the nursery, children learnt from one another and learnt more successfully when there was an age range wider than a year. It was also argued that children gained from a longer association with one teacher. This type of grouping remains a minority practice. It is prevalent in two or three areas which are among those which have the most lively infant school work in the country. It is now being tried in the lower classes of a few junior schools. We return to a discussion of this organisation in paragraphs 799-804.

Junior Schools and Classes

795. About four fifths of the junior schools and three fifths of the junior mixed and infant schools in the National Survey took into account attainments as well as age in deciding in which class to place their pupils (Appendix 5, paragraph 9). The much larger NFER survey of junior schools puts the proportion at 56 per cent for certain with another 14 per cent of probables (Appendix 11, Table 1). In big schools, it is easy to be sure. There are, for instance, eight classes in a two form entry school - two for each year - and these are normally divided into an 'A' stream and a 'B' stream. In smaller schools with anything between two and six or seven junior classes it is less easy to be sure how children are divided between the classes. The most common practice in schools with between five and seven classes is to consider the eight and nine year olds together and divide them between classes according to their attainments and to do the same for the 10 and 11 year olds. A good many schools of this size, and more of the smaller ones, still work on something like the old standard system, though with fewer over age and under age pupils in a class than in the days before Hadow and, of course, a smaller age span because the 12 and 13 year olds are in another school.

796. When a junior school pays attention to attainments or ability in placing a child, how does it assess them? Most head teachers rely in the first instance on the infant school. Often the record card will make specific recommendations about the most suitable 'stream'. Rather less than half the junior schools in the NFER survey use a standardised intelligence test. Some other methods, in decreasing order of popularity, are the head's own judgement, the result

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of internal school examinations, a child's position within the age group, and standardised attainment tests. In the later years of the junior school, increasing reliance is placed on school examinations, teachers' judgements and standardised attainment tests. Most schools would claim that they group children both on attainment and on ability. In fact, the intelligence test itself measures a kind of attainment (Chapter 2), though it is less influenced by subject knowledge than are the skills usually measured by attainment tests.

797. Some 21 per cent of the children in schools included in the NFER survey were placed in classes which were intended to include the whole range of ability in the school (Appendix 11, Table 2, Part 1). The most usual arrangement in a large school is to separate the older and younger children within a year group. Some schools do their best to ensure classes exactly parallel in ability by relying on children's records, test results and so forth. Others allocate children to classes at random, or according to where they live, or alphabetically by their surnames.

The Criteria Discussed


798. A flexible age of transfer between schools based on developmental age was considered in Chapter 10 and rejected. The same arguments apply to movement from class to class as to movement from school to school. If work within a class is adjusted to individual capacity, there seems little case for moving children out of their age group. If the class is taught as a unit, 'skipping' classes may mean gaps in the course, and retention for a second year can result in wearisome and disheartening repetition of the same work. Investigation in Belgium and in other European countries where promotion from grade to grade depends on achieving a specified standard have shown that failure tends to be cumulative and that pupils who repeat a grade on one occasion, far from catching up with their contemporaries, are more likely to have to do so again a second or a third time (7). They do less well than those pupils who are promoted despite their poor attainment. These results, and similar ones from research in the USA, confirm the experience of English schools when a similar system was in force. We recommend that promotion should normally be by age. Some children are so exceptionally advanced or retarded that they are better placed with an older or younger group. Decisions for acceleration or retention should take into account children's all-round development, physical and emotional, just as much as intellectual. The presumption should be that children are better with their friends in their own age group, unless there is clear evidence to the contrary.

'Vertical Classification'

799. Is it desirable deliberately to extend the age range of each class to two or three years in order to extend the range of attainment that teachers might expect from their pupils and so make it easier for them to provide for children who are exceptionally able or retarded? Some schools in the United States are ungraded, but the evidence they provide is hardly relevant to our situation.

800. Experience of vertical grouping exists in some English infant schools where one of the reasons for its adoption has been termly admissions. Even if all children are admitted, as we have recommended, at the beginning of the school year, some of the difficulties it is designed to avoid will remain. Even

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though children first enter school in small groups, week by week or month by month, teachers of the first year classes will be hard pressed to give enough time to beginners who may up to now have had their mother's full-time attention. If the class covers a two or three year age span, a small group of newcomers can be absorbed into a settled routine in a community which may well include a brother or sister, or a neighbour's child. The new entrants learn by imitating the older children and talking to them. During the first few months the teacher can concentrate on giving personal attention and reassurance to the younger children when it is needed. Later in the year, extra time can be found for the older children who demand daily or twice daily help with reading. Among the newcomers may be a few children who have begun to read at home or will quickly read if they are given help. These children will be attracted to the simple reading books provided primarily for the older children. Certainly no less important, those older children who are not yet ready to read can play and talk with the younger children without any feeling of failure. The teacher becomes increasingly sensitive to her pupils' needs as she gets to know them and their parents over two or three years.

801. But there are also disadvantages. For children to spend the whole of their infant school life with one or at most two teachers may be to distribute the strengths and weaknesses of the staff unfairly. It may also limit children's contacts with adults to too narrow a circle and some children may be too sheltered or lack stimulus. In practice, however, schools which deliberately widen the age range of classes are usually closely knit communities. Teachers work with children from classes other than their own, and children seek help outside their own class.

802. There may be some danger that the younger children will be overshadowed by the older ones, may imitate them too closely, and have insufficient experience of the kind of play that is an investigation rather than a use of materials. Great skill is called for from the teachers, both in supporting the young children and in seeing that the older ones are given enough stimulus. They may need to be taken separately for story telling and music. Yet many of the traditional children's stories have the quality of myth and can be enjoyed at many different levels: and even when a story may seem too difficult for the younger children, they often pick up much from it, as do children in a family who listen eagerly to stories intended for older brothers and sisters. Interests, like stories, may be enjoyed at many different levels. For most infants prehistoric animals are hardly to be distinguished from dragons and from fantasy, and therein lies their attraction. Some of the older children are ready to learn about them quite seriously, measuring their bones in the local museum and memorising their extraordinarily difficult names. The need to make suitable provision for the older and abler children ought to be very much in the mind of teachers of a 'vertically grouped' class.

803. The older children become, the more widely the range of their achievement fans out. Many schools find a year's range in attainments so unmanageable that they group children by attainment at seven. It is of some interest that many of the heads of junior schools of five to seven classes in the NFER streaming survey complained of the difficulties of a wide age range in a large class. Many of these schools have more than one age group within a class of more than 35 pupils. They share, that is to say, the conditions of a school which voluntarily widens the age range in its classes.

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804. We have been impressed by the liveliness and good quality of the work in infant schools where classes extend over two or three age groups. We think that this organisation has advantages at the infant school stage though they may become rather less marked if our recommendations for a single term of entry and part time introduction to schooling are adopted. In the meantime, it is for each head teacher, in consultation with her staff, to balance the gain and loss of classes containing more than one age group. No evidence is available to show whether a double age group is advantageous in the junior school.

Classes Including Less Than a Year Group

805. Some schools extend the age range in their classes. Others, particularly infant schools and some large junior schools which do not grade children by attainment, adopt a precisely opposite policy and narrow the age range in each class to a six months period. The effect in the last year of the infant school may be to concentrate in one class too many children who are needing help in reading. It may also persuade a teacher that she has a class who are all at much the same level and blind her to the exceptions. There is some evidence that, when senior and junior unstreamed classes are formed within a year group, the younger children do less well by the end of their junior school course, even when allowance is made for their age. The explanation may be that the younger children at first appear less able, both because of their age and because they have had a shorter time at school, than the older children. Teachers may then ask less of them so that their achievement is further depressed in comparison with that of the older class. More research on this topic is needed, particularly since this kind of grouping is becoming relatively common. There may be occasions when it is useful to collect the younger children together for a limited period so that they can be given additional help. Teachers, however, need to be aware that a younger class may easily be considered a less able class.

Classification by Attainment or Ability (Streaming)

806. Streaming is, as we have seen, by far the most common way of organising junior schools, but there is reason to think that practice is changing. Only four per cent of junior schools had rejected streaming according to a 1962 survey (8). The next year the NFER found in their enquiry into junior schools that six per cent did without it. Their report also showed that recent changes in organisation in the schools surveyed had lessened the amount of streaming and that other schools were intending to introduce mixed ability groups.

807. Teachers' views may be moving faster than practice has done. In the 1962 Survey, 85 per cent of primary teachers favoured streaming, six per cent had mixed views and nine per cent were hostile. Of the replies of teachers to our own enquiry (Appendix 1, Tables D.19, 20) only 34 per cent approved of streaming for all or most junior children, 25 per cent approved of streaming for older pupils and 30 per cent were hostile. It should be added that our enquiry, unlike the earlier one, included teachers in schools which were too small to stream and teachers in infant schools. It may also be significant since heads plan school organisation that many more heads than assistants are critical or undecided about streaming.

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808. To judge by the parents in the National Survey (Appendix 3, Section 3, paragraph 40 and Table 56) professional opinion is swinging more rapidly against streaming than is public opinion generally. In 1964, two thirds of the parents preferred their children to be taught in classes streamed by ability. There was no difference according to social class. A clear majority favoured streaming even among those parents who thought that their children were being taught in classes of mixed ability. There may be some connection with the preference expressed for grammar school education.

809. Before the 1939 war, streaming was seen as a device for opening the grammar schools to talented working class pupils. The grammar school in its turn was expected to make available to its pupils a choice of occupation and of a way of life. Selection for secondary education has been challenged on three main educational grounds: the accuracy of the selective process, the contrast in the provision made for children of differing ability and the effect of segregating them on their achievement. It has also been criticised as being socially divisive both because it gives middle class children a better chance than manual workers' children to secure grammar school places, and because it gives better career openings to grammar school than to modern school pupils. The same arguments are also used against selection for primary school classes, or streaming. We must now consider them.

810. In coming to our conclusions we have taken into account our impressions of schools which we have visited, the evidence we have received and the results of research. Streaming is almost unknown on the continent of Europe, and repetition of the year's work, which is a form of streaming, is declining. While we have tried to take account of all the research findings which have been brought to our notice, we owe a special debt to the investigation into streaming in the primary school which was undertaken by the NFER and financed by the Department of Education and Science. But, as will be clear from the summary printed as Appendix 11, this research is far from complete. A survey of junior school organisation in 1963, a study of matched streamed and unstreamed schools and a cross-sectional inquiry into the achievements and characteristics of pupils in all four junior years in 1964, is to be succeeded by a longitudinal study of the seven and eight year olds as they pass through the junior schools, and by intensive work on a small number of schools.

811. Streaming involves selecting. In schools which are streamed throughout, children are selected at seven. We know of no satisfactory method of assigning seven year old children, still less those who are even younger, to classes graded by attainment or ability. When head teachers rely on their own judgement and those of the infant school heads, they may underestimate the difference which the home makes to the speed of learning to read. But this is one of the main yardsticks by which teachers compare children. Differences in attainments may be more due to differences in age than heads recognise - after all, some seven year olds have had half as much education again as others. Objective tests have the advantage that these tests make allowance for age but few group tests are satisfactory at seven and few primary school teachers can find time to give individual tests. There is, too, a danger that if objective tests are known to be used a seven plus test with its pressures and tensions may be substituted for an 11 plus examination. It is known that of the predictions made at 11, by the best methods available, between ten per cent and 20 per cent turn out to be mistaken within the next three to five years. The earlier

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that tests are given, the less relevant they are bound to be to an education which will continue to 15 or later. The younger the children, the larger the number who will be clustered together in the middle ranges of ability and attainment. The less useful, therefore, the tests will be as a means of discrimination.

812. If many children are bound to be wrongly placed at seven, the amount of transfer between classes is important. Professor Vernon has estimated that it would be reasonable to expect ten per cent of pupils to be transferred each year. It is clear that the actual proportion of transfer is smaller. One sample of two streamed schools showed an annual rate of transfer of 2.3 per cent between eight and 11 (9). In a small sample of three streamed schools there was a transfer rate of six per cent (10). The conclusion drawn by the NFER from their survey was that there was a relatively small amount of transfer in 1961-62.

813. The reasons for a small amount of transfer are not clear. Teachers, when asked to estimate a figure, almost always overestimate it. It may be that assessments as children progress through a school are no more reliable than those first made and give no firm grounds for reversal of judgements. Once in a class, children probably take on its characteristics, including its average level of attainment, and this may result in part from their adapting themselves to the rate of progress or work which the teacher expects. Some teachers are understandably reluctant to upset children who have settled down with their friends in a class and who may suffer some setback if they are promoted and still more if they are 'put down' to make room for another child.

814. Some of the effects of early selection are evident both from the NFER enquiry and from other research. The system of streaming favours girls who are, age for age, more mature than boys and more disposed to play 'the good pupil role' and therefore to gain the approval of their teachers. Research is certainly not needed to substantiate the evidence of any observant visitor to schools that lower streams and remedial classes contain more than their share of boys. The lower the stream, the younger the average age and the higher the proportion of children who will have had only six terms in the infant school. Conversely, the higher the stream, the older the average age and the higher the proportion of children who will have spent nine terms in infant classes. Of the children in remedial classes in schools studied by the NFER, (Appendix 11, Part II, Table 10), 39 per cent had been at the infant school for the minimum period of six terms and only 12 per cent for the maximum course of nine terms.

815. There is also much evidence that streaming serves as a means of social selection (11). It is not simply that middle class pupils congregate in upper streams and the children of semi-skilled and unskilled workers in lower streams. That might be expected from the association of intelligence with social class and occupation. Evidence is also available that more middle class children are to be found in upper streams and fewer in lower streams than would be expected from their results in objective tests (12). Similarly a higher proportion of children, known from earlier records to have received poor maternal care in early childhood, were in lower streams than their test scores warranted. How much of this placing was due to characteristics in the

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children which might have made them unsuccessful in an upper stream, how much to teachers' assumptions that clean and well kept children are abler, it is impossible to say.

816. Selection will inevitably be inaccurate. If the conditions for upper and lower streams were equally good and if all children stood equally high in the respect and affection of the staff, it would not perhaps matter very much whether children were wrongly placed. One of the principal advantages claimed by teachers for streaming is that it makes possible smaller classes and individual help for the slower children. That significantly smaller classes are in fact organised for these children is demonstrated quite clearly from the NFER survey. But it is also true that a bigger class is thought to demand a stronger teacher, and the smaller classes, where almost every child may have difficulty in learning and many also have emotional problems, may therefore fall to the less experienced teachers. Their lack of experience may make it exceptionally difficult for them to set their sights - or rather the children's sights - high enough. The multiplicity of the problems with which some teachers have to deal, their low assessment of the children's capacity and the slow rate of progress at which they aim may explain why, at the end of the year, few children stand out as needing transfer. There are of course many schools where teachers alternate between upper and lower streams and where much thought is given to the selection of teachers for classes of slow learning pupils. Nevertheless experience, borne out by research (NFER, Appendix 11, Part II, Section 5, paragraph 5), suggests that in the main the older and more experienced teachers and particularly the deputy heads and holders of graded posts are assigned to the upper streams. Teachers may be streamed, no less than pupils. The more established the teacher the more probable it is that he will get one of the better classrooms and a generous supply of books and equipment. The NFER survey showed that a higher proportion of the lowest streams were in classrooms which faced north (Appendix 11, Section 5:6). A low stream may be housed in a canteen or annexe because the children will have more space or be able to make a noise without disturbing the rest of the school, but the gain may be offset by the children's isolation from the rest of the school.

817. Finally what is the effect of streaming on children's achievement and attitudes? In 1959 a summary of research on streaming (13) concluded that it was not possible, on the evidence available, either to establish a case against streaming or to prove that it was a more effective form of organisation. Since that date further evidence (14, 15, 16) (Appendix 9 and 11) has been published, but it has not materially altered the conclusion. There has been some indication that the standards of attainment of the weaker children may rise when schools are deliberately unstreamed (17). But the Manchester Survey 1964 (Appendix 9) shows that attainment in objective tests tends to be better in streamed schools and that this association does not disappear when allowance is made for the size of school, which is usually related to the type of neighbourhood and therefore to good attainment. It also gives no support to the view that streaming has an adverse effect on children of low ability. The National Survey, in which many more variables are held constant, shows no association, positive or negative, between streamed schools and reading attainment, except for a small positive association in the case of top infant girls. The results of the NFER cross-sectional study of attainment in matched streamed and unstreamed schools

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are particularly interesting (Appendix 11, Section 4, paragraph 2). Reasonably enough, the tests chosen are similar to those generally used in junior schools. Both at seven and at ten children in streamed schools did somewhat better than those in unstreamed schools. But in no case save in mechanical arithmetic, which is known to give poor prediction of later success in mathematics, was the average difference more than two or three questions right on a test of 30 or 40 items. The advantage for children in streamed schools was most marked when tests assessed the more formal work such as computation and least marked in reading. By ten the lead of children in streamed schools had been reduced in all tests and there was no significant difference in reading, a result identical with that found in the National Survey. There is other evidence which suggests that children who are taught by informal methods make a slower beginning and catch up towards the end of the primary school (18, 19).


818. There is some evidence which suggests that achievement in the limited field of measurable attainment is higher in streamed schools. It is not so marked as to be decisive, and our view - which is supported by the results of the NFER enquiry - is that forms of organisation are less critical than the underlying differences in teachers' attitudes and practice which are sometimes associated with them.

819. Nevertheless organisation can reflect and reinforce attitudes. Schools which treat children individually will accept unstreaming throughout the whole school. When such an organisation is established with conviction and put into effect with skill, it produces a happy school and an atmosphere conducive to learning. Not all teachers are yet ready or able to go so far. Even so, it has now been generally accepted that it is impossible to assess accurately the potential of children of primary school age. The younger the children, the greater the inaccuracy is bound to be. We welcome unstreaming in the infant or first school and hope that it will continue to spread through the age groups of the junior or middle schools.

820. Whatever the decision about the organisation of classes for the older children there will be certain problems to be faced. If streaming is retained, children should be classified in a way which is related to the distribution of abilities in the particular school. For example, in some three form entry schools the usual large 'A' class is bound to contain a wide spread of ability. It would become only a little wider, and some of the dangers of streaming would be removed, if two parallel classes were formed, together with one really small remedial class. In another school where there was too little stimulus for able children, it might be right to form for at least part of the day or week, a group where these children could work together.

821. It is essential to ensure that the staff realise that any classification is bound to be faulty, that there certainly will be big differences between individuals in each class and that those differences can be expected to increase as children grow older. Differences in attainment as well as in interest demand individual and group learning in the streamed class as well as in the class which is avowedly of mixed ability. When all the children in a class appear to work at the same pace and the same level, they are probably conforming to what their teacher expects of them.

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822. The division into classes made, every possible means should be adopted of blurring the distinction between streams. In this connection the suggestions made earlier in this chapter for informal cooperation between classes are relevant. If for some purposes classes work together and are regrouped, some of the disadvantages of streaming will be reduced. It is difficult to know to what extent teachers remain with the same stream or the same age group but we are clear that it happens too often. If almost all classes are bound to include a range of ability it is important that teachers in streamed schools should turn their attention now mainly to one section of the range, now to another, so that they will be aware of what children can achieve. There may be some teachers who temperamentally or in other ways are not suited to the slower children. Usually it is stimulating to teachers to take their turn with each of the streams. In that way, attitudes and expectations are less likely to harden and the strengths and weaknesses of the staff will be fairly distributed. Survivals from the past linger too long in English education. For the fourth year 'A' class to cease to be the preserve of one or two teachers in each large junior school might be one way of speeding the disappearance of exercises which serve little purpose save to prepare for an examination which is itself now disappearing.

823. Streaming can be wounding to children. Great care ought to be taken not to suggest that trust and responsibility, or prowess in games, or the ability to look after library books are the preserves of certain classes. No more certain way could be found of alienating children from school or of creating irresponsibility.

824. The problem in the unstreamed class will be to translate into practice the principle of individual learning. If class teaching plays a large part, the abler children will be held back and the slower will lose heart. Clear cut streaming within a class can be more damaging to children than streaming within a school. Even from the infant school there still come too many stories of children streamed by the tables they sit at, of 'top tables' and 'backward reader' tables, and newcomers to school mystified by what they conceive to be the art of 'reading backwards'. There must be groups, of course, based sometimes on interest and sometimes on achievement, but they should change in accordance with the children's needs. One difficulty in the unstreamed class will certainly be to provide for the very able and for the slow learners. The slower children can gain from the enthusiasm and interests of the able children but only if the teacher sees that the slow children are absorbed into the class community and into small groups, and given praise, attention and instruction enough to encourage them to fresh effort. For the able children much more can be done by making accessible, in the classroom and the school as a whole, a liberal range of books and other equipment, though they ought sometimes to be fired and challenged by working with like minded children from another class. Checks will be needed that children are working to their capacity. Careful individual records are essential. Schemes for the whole school will need to be in every classroom and classes, as well as individuals, ought to have records which show, for example, the literature that has been read to them and the interests which have provided a point of departure for the class as a whole or for substantial groups within it.

825. It is possible to exaggerate the contrast in the problems and difficulties which confront teachers in streamed and unstreamed classes. In both there

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will be big and growing differences in children's ability and attainment but they will follow no tidy pattern because interest and motive can make havoc of prediction. In both there will be children who are far more alike in their common human needs than they are differentiated by their background and abilities.


826. Schools Regulations require that 'on every day on which a school meets there shall be provided for the pupils:
(a) .........................
(b) in a school or class mainly for pupils under eight years of age, at least three hours of secular instruction, and
(c) in a school or class mainly for pupils of eight years of age and over, at least four hours of secular instruction,
divided into two sessions, one of which shall be in the morning and the other in the afternoon unless exceptional circumstances make this undesirable.' In practice most primary schools work for longer hours than the regulations require.

827. We found on our visits abroad that the school day was shorter than in England, although children may go to school on Saturday and homework is usually set. There is more variation abroad than in England in the length of school day for children of various ages. For example, in Denmark children work for only three hours in the first year and the length of day increases steadily up to the fifth year. The shortness of the day and the early hour at which it begins in some countries makes possible more flexible use of staff and buildings than are usual in England. The longer day here may, however, have allowed an informal pattern of education to develop more easily.

828. Relatively few of our witnesses have commented on the school day except to suggest that a full day's attendance should not be required of the younger children. We have recommended that part-time attendance should be usual for nursery, optional for beginners at school and available in exceptional circumstances until the child is six. It might, however, be preferable for somewhat older children to be in school for a slightly shorter period than now so that they can be in smaller classes for part of the time. Local education authorities might permit schools, in consultation with parents, to shorten the dinner hour so that children get home earlier, or to experiment, where classes are large and cannot be reduced in any other way, with staggered hours for slightly younger children. For example, some children might come to school at 9am and remain till 3pm, others might come at 10am and remain till 4pm. This arrangement would result in sessions the length of which would be within the limits imposed by Schools Regulations.

829. According to Regulations all schools must meet for 400 sessions (half days) in the year. Almost all schools take their main holidays at Christmas,

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Easter and August (with varying amounts added in July and September). An increasing number of schools have a week at Whitsun and in some areas a full week's holiday is taken in October and February.

830. It is commonly held by teachers and parents, and our witnesses agreed, that the summer holiday is too long for the younger children. Many children get bored and there is some evidence that delinquency increases. Our witnesses suggested that four evenly spaced terms with shorter intervening holidays would be of greater benefit to the children. They also expressed the view that holidays should be arranged by the local education authority in consultation with the schools and that primary school holidays should be coordinated with those of secondary schools. There is a general move towards the staggering of holidays and the change of date of the August Bank Holiday is an example of it. Although traditions fade slowly, it is likely that holidays will in future be more evenly spread through the summer months.

831. The spring and winter terms impose some strain upon teachers and children, both of whom tire towards the end of term. These are times of the year when children and members of the staff are most liable to illness. Young children do not work well in school during the long days of June. They might be better served if they were on holiday at this time and at school during August. Yet in some schools, a good deal of time may be spent at the beginning of each term before the work gets into top gear and a similar period is given to winding up work at the end of each term. An increase in the number of breaks might therefore lead to a reduction in the amount of effective learning.

832. We welcome experiments by authorities with a four term year and other variations in the time in which the schools are on holiday. The holidays of primary and secondary schools within each area should be coordinated.


833. (i) We recommend a combination of individual group and class work and welcome the trend towards individual learning.

(ii) The class should remain the basic unit of school organisation, particularly for the younger children; even so, children should have access to more than one teacher, and teachers should work in close association.

(iii) Experiments should be tried in associating two or three classes of the older children up to about 100 children in the care of three teachers. Some experiments might treat the large group as a social unit.

(iv) The maximum size of primary school classes should be reduced. Experiments to test the effects of small classes and generous staffing should be established.

(v) We welcome unstreaming in the infant school and hope that it will continue to spread through the age groups of the junior school.

(vi) Flexibility in the length of the school day and the spacing of the school year should be encouraged.

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1. Morris JM 'How Far can Reading Backwardness be Attributed to School Conditions?', an address presented to the International Reading Association, May 1964.
2. Kemp LCD 'Environmental and Other Characteristics determining Attainment in Primary School', British Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol. XXV, Ps. 67-77, 1965.
3. Markland S 'Scholastic Attainments as Related to Size, Homogeneity of Classes', Ed. Research, Vol. 6, No. 1, November 1963.
4. Scottish Scholastic Survey of 1953, Scottish Research Council, 1963, p.168.
5. Jackson B 'Streaming: An Education System in Miniature', Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1964.
6. 'Streaming in the Primary Schools'. Statement prepared for the Council by the Metropolitan Division of HM Inspectorate.
7. Wall WD, Schonell FJ and Orson WC 'Failure in School', UNESCO, 1962.
8. See 5 above.
9. Douglas JWB 'Home and School', MacGibbon and Kee, 1964.
10. Daniels JC 'The Effects of Streaming in the Primary School', B. J. Ed. Psychol., Feb. 1961.
11. See 5 above.
12. See 9 above.
13. Yates A and Pidgeon D 'The Effects of Streaming', Ed. Research, Vol. 2, No. 1, November, 1959.
14. See 5 above.
15. See 10 above.
16. See 12 above.
17. See 10 above.
18. Gardner DEM 'Experiment and Tradition in Primary Schools', Methuen, 1966.
19. McV Hunt J 'Intelligence and Experience', New York, Ronald Press Company, 1961.

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Handicapped Children in Ordinary Schools

834. However nearly we approach in future the ideals we have suggested, however small classes can eventually become, however well the learning of children within these classes can be guided individually, there will always be a minority of children in need of special help. A child may be handicapped mentally, physically, emotionally, or, as we have shown earlier, by his environment. The extent and seriousness of handicaps are likely to change in different medical and social conditions, but they are unlikely to be altogether eradicated. Indeed, although the incidence of some handicaps has declined the advances in many fields of medical knowledge have resulted in the survival of thousands of children who in rougher or more ignorant times would have died in infancy. The schools and particularly the special schools have therefore to face more severe and complex handicaps. At the same time society has created new stresses and strains. Modern society accepts responsibility for the welfare of its handicapped members to a greater extent than did earlier generations and much has been done during the last 50 years to enable children suffering from all kinds of handicap to take their place in society as they grow up. This is specially true since the 1944 Act, but much remains to be done.

835. We have not been able to study the education of children in special schools which is, in any case, the particular concern of the Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on Handicapped Children. Our terms of reference, however, make it appropriate for us to comment on the way in which handicapped children, some of whom will eventually be in ordinary primary schools, are identified and on how their needs are met. The problems of backward children, most of whom are in ordinary schools, are of particular concern to us.

836. Under Section 34 of the Education Act of 1944 it is the duty of each local education authority to ascertain which children in their area require special educational treatment. To fulfil this obligation they may require parents to submit their children from the age of two 'for examination by a medical officer of the authority for advice as to whether the child is suffering from any disability of mind or body and as to the nature and extent of such disability'. When a disability is severe it is almost always recognised in early infancy and the parents themselves usually take the initiative in informing and seeking the help of the local authority. Children with handicaps such as blindness, deafness, severe behaviour disturbance and the more severe forms of physical handicaps are usually sent to special schools, where specialised equipment, small classes, and, usually, specially trained teachers are available to meet their particular needs. Other handicaps however are neither so serious nor so easily identifiable. A decision on the kind of schools most suitable for a particular child is not always easy to reach. There are borderline cases about which opinions differ.

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837. The policy of the Department of Education and Science is that each individual child should be placed wherever he has the best opportunities of developing his resources to the fullest extent. For most children this will be their ordinary primary school. Circular 276 (1954) gives clear expression to this view: 'No handicapped child should be sent to a special school who can be satisfactorily educated in an ordinary school'. Nearly all our witnesses supported this policy and we are in agreement with it. A handicapped child who will spend his life in the society of normal people and often in competition with them must learn to accept his disabilities and his differences though he needs the assurance that he is not alone in them and that help is available. The unnecessary segregation of the handicapped is neither good for them nor for those with whom they must associate. They should be in the ordinary school whenever possible.

838. Early and accurate identification of handicapped children is essential however slight or severe their disability. Rapid mental and physical development in the first four or five years of life makes their early environment of particular significance. Some children with physical handicaps will not develop residual skills unless they have been encouraged to use them in early childhood. For those children who are gravely handicapped in their intellectual development, whether by reason of hereditary endowment, their environment, or both, a wide range of experiences and opportunities is necessary, so that they may be enabled to realise their full potential. It might in this way be possible to help them attain a higher level of functioning than they do at present.

839. Full use should be made of the wide range of local authority, general practitioner and hospital services which may be available for the diagnosis and assessment of handicapped children from the time of their birth. Some authorities have established diagnostic classes and units for children from two or three upwards. In several cases children have been able to go from them into ordinary schools. These classes can provide opportunity for contact with parents under easier and more natural conditions than those in clinics and hospitals. The child benefits from being with other children and seeing other adults. But it is essential that the teachers have the full support of medical and educational specialists. Speedy identification and assessment must depend on the efficiency of the local authority whether in maintaining a risk register, in using the records of maternity and child welfare clinics or establishing diagnostic units or classes. When a child is ready to start school some handicaps indicate clearly the type of school needed. Others only begin to show or to carry obvious disadvantages after a child has started school. Partial sight and limited mental ability are examples of these. Teachers need to be alert to detect children and bring forward for expert examination without delay any child who fails to make satisfactory progress or seems to have sensori-motor, social or emotional difficulties. In this connection we are disturbed to learn that there are still a few authorities which do not test vision or hearing on entry to school.

840. As shown in Table 17 [on page 299] there are for purposes of administration ten categories of handicapped children. These are defined in Regulations made under Section 33(1) of the Education Act 1944*. However useful they may

*The current Regulations are the Handicapped Pupils and Special Schools Regulations 1959 as amended by the Regulations of 1962.

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be administratively they are inevitably somewhat artificial and children do not necessarily fit neatly into them. An acute and prolonged difficulty in learning to read, which does not appear in the list at all, may spring from a variety of causes. A large and growing number of children are found to have more than one disability. A deaf child may be mentally retarded; maladjustment is often a consequence of a physical or mental handicap; physical handicap can include a wider range of disabilities. Some of our witnesses have expressed concern over the lack of adequate provision for children with two-fold or multiple disabilities.

841. In addition to these handicapped children there are the severely subnormal children who are designated 'unsuitable for education in schools' and who are the responsibility of the local health and hospital authorities and of the Ministry of Health. Some witnesses have made the point that there can be no firm and accurate division between children who are suitable for 'education' and those who are not. From our knowledge of the difficulties of interpreting the response to intelligence tests and of distinguishing how much the environment contributes to children's effectiveness, we would agree with them.* These witnesses stress the need for the educational service to be linked with the health service responsible for junior training centres for the mentally subnormal. They have drawn our attention to interesting experiments in dealing with borderline children, which are the shared responsibility in some areas between the health and education services.

842. The assessment of a handicapped child is not simple and cannot be made with finality. It is a continuing process and because of the complexity of the task both the process itself and the treatment of the total situation demand teamwork in which teachers, doctors, psychologists and parents must co-operate. Assessment of handicap is needed not only for educational purposes, but also to ensure medical and social support.


843. Teamwork is necessary between all concerned and in this connection we must stress the vital role of the parent. Legally, parents must be informed of their right of appeal to the Secretary of State against any decision about their child's education. There is an elaborate appeal procedure. But essentially this is a problem of human relations. Whether parents have discovered their child's handicap for themselves or not, they will be at least worried about it and they may feel acute distress, bewilderment, resentment or even shame. They will almost certainly need help, first in accepting that their child is not like other children and then in understanding his needs and in adopting a balance between excessive protectiveness on the one hand and indifference or even rejection on the other. All our evidence emphasises the need to advise and support the parents and to associate them as closely as

*The British Psychological Society in 'Children in Hospitals for the Subnormal' (1966), a study of 403 children aged 1-15, found that 24 per cent had IQs over 50, 14 per cent over 70, and 4 per cent over 100. (155 children were testable). They recommended: 'The educational work of both Junior Training Centres and schools in hospitals for the subnormal should become the full responsibility of the Department of Education and Science. Pending the assumption of such responsibility, more flexible arrangements should be made whereby educational advisers, psychologists and inspectors of schools can advise staff of hospital schools and Junior Training Centres'.

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possible with the education of their child. This is not primarily a matter for an official letter but for sensitive and sympathetic advice given personally by a familiar figure, doctor, health visitor, social worker or teacher whom they have learned to trust. The head teacher should regard it as a special part of his duties to advise parents and to bring about close contact between them and their child's teacher, and any medical or social staff who are involved. If it is necessary for a child to go to a special school, or still more to a training centre, parents need to be helped to accept and understand the decision, and they should always be consulted well before it is made. This is not only a question of courtesy and humanity; it has practical importance. The readier the parents are to help and co-operate, the more likely is the child's education to be successful.

844. There is need for an advisory or counselling service for the parents of handicapped children, which should be available when the handicap of the child is first identified, often before the child has started school. The service should of course report back to those who have referred parents or notified cases to it (1). It should coordinate those matters which are the concern of welfare, health, education and youth employment departments and it would be the responsibility of health visitors, doctors, teachers and hospital almoners to refer parents and to notify cases to it. Such a service would ensure continuity of help for parents and would enable them to make the best use of the services which are available. It would also give them support and encouragement and help them to feel less isolated.

Table 17

Numbers of Handicapped Pupils Receiving and Awaiting Special Education (in Special Schools, Classes, Units, in Hospitals and at Home) and Prevalence per 10,000 of the School Population in England and Wales, 1961 and 1966.

CategoriesNo. of ChildrenPrevalence per 10,000 of School PopulationNo. of ChildrenPrevalence per 10,000 of School Population
Partially Sighted2,182 2.82,3263.0
Partially Hearing2,0132.63,2964.2
Physically Handicapped10,75714.011,616 14.8
Educationally Sub-Normal47,24761.755,51470.9
With Speech Defect1510.22240.3

Source: Statistics Branch, Department of Education and Science.

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The Handicapped Child in the Ordinary School

845. We turn now to the provision made for the handicapped child in the ordinary school. No device or organisation will be much good unless the teachers concerned understand the nature and implications of the handicaps they meet. This is partly a matter of initial and in-service training to which we shall return later but it is also one of the 'climate' of the school and one in which the other children have a concern. If handicapped children, either as individuals or as a group, are looked upon as a nuisance, or with pity, they will not flourish. It follows that a school such as we have described in Chapter 19 is not only right for the normal but right for the handicapped, for their fundamental educational needs are similar though there may be differences in the way they are satisfied. The school must provide for and cherish all its members. Some handicaps evoke more sympathy than others. Blindness, for instance, excites almost universal sympathy, deafness much less, while maladjustment is often exasperating, and certain kinds of physical deformity are felt by many to be repellent. Not every teacher is able to overcome the emotional and psychological reactions which some handicapped children arouse. If children such as these are to be placed in a normal class it is essential that the co-operation of the teachers is secured, after the nature of a child's disability has been made clear. It must not be forgotten that even one or two severely handicapped children add greatly to the responsibilities of a busy teacher in a large class. In such instances some ancillary help may be essential. If relationships in a school are good and if other children have had the nature of the handicapped child's difficulty explained to them they will rarely be cruel or hostile, but they may express their concern by being too sympathetic and too eager to help so that the handicapped child becomes spoiled and excessively dependent.

846. Many children whose handicap is not severe are taught in ordinary classes. In some instances more severely handicapped children have been successfully placed in them too. For instance a number of limbless children including some from the thalidomide group are satisfactorily placed in ordinary classes. We have been told of one congenitally limbless child who, provided with powered limbs, has gone successfully through the junior school. It is significant that since the birth of this child his mother has been well supported by the consultant paediatrician and that all concerned have shown excellent co-operation. We have also been told of six children from a special nursery school who were transferred not to another special school but to the ordinary infant school. They included a child with spina bifida and a girl with cerebral palsy. The local authority made special sanitary arrangements for these children and provided ancillary help. They also ensured that specialist advice was available to teachers. In such circumstances some children can be fitted satisfactorily into primary schools, though their continuing development needs to be carefully watched.

847. It may well be that similar arrangements will be made more frequently in the future, but there will always be other children needing more specialised education either in a special school or in a special class in an ordinary school. The aim when such a class is set up is to concentrate on the learning disability in the special class and to allow the child to take as much part in the ordinary life of the school as possible. There are a small but growing number of special

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classes in many areas for the partially hearing. There are also a very few for the partially sighted. The need here is, of course, for specialised equipment and for teachers trained in its use. The expense of the installation and the prevalence of the handicap mean that special classes must serve a wider area than the school's normal catchment area.

848. Fewer authorities provide special classes for maladjusted children, although referrals to child guidance clinics reach a peak at about nine. Difficulties often increase at adolescence. But demanding, aggressive, unco-operative or withdrawn behaviour may appear before this and teachers need to have sufficient knowledge of the emotional and social developments of children to notice it and to refer children when necessary. Check lists of children's difficulties, imperfect as they are, can be valuable in helping a teacher to describe a child's difficulty. In schools where there is absence of stress and generous attention to individual and group needs, disturbed children often remain and improve in their ordinary classes. One organisation in their evidence to us (2) estimated that 15 per cent of children in primary schools may at some time need special help and understanding from their teachers. But disturbed or aggressive children can be upsetting and disruptive and some authorities have established classes for them on two or three mornings or afternoons a week with considerable success. Similar arrangements have been made for children discharged from mental hospitals and psychiatric units in hospitals. This has helped them to settle down in ordinary schools.

Slow Learners

849. By far the largest number of handicapped children who need special education are those described as educationally sub-normal. This term causes unnecessary distress to parents and we suggest that the term 'slow learners' is adopted instead. Both descriptions include children who are genetically poorly endowed as well as those of average ability who are seriously retarded in their attainments. Although it is doubtful whether it is yet sufficient, a great variety of provision exists for this large category of children. Some are educated in special ESN [Educationally Sub-Normal] schools, others are in ordinary schools either in special classes with special staffing ratios and specially qualified staff; others remain in the ordinary classes. In 1966, 45,000 such children were in special schools and at least another 10,000 in ordinary schools awaiting admission to special schools.

850. There is serious delay in identification of these children. In 1964 although one in four pupils in special schools for the physically handicapped was under eight, the corresponding figure for the ESN schools was one in 18. The needs of the slow learner, as we shall henceforward refer to him, are not so obvious as those of the physically handicapped and no doubt some of the discrepancy in age of assessment is attributable to this. But there are good reasons why all slow learning children should be identified early. Until an authority is fully aware of the numbers of these children, it is not in a position to plan adequately for them, nor is there any incentive to do so. Only after a full investigation is it possible to assess the needs of children in difficulties; the investigation should reveal ways in which the teacher and

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the parents can be helped to meet the needs of the child, whether he remains in the ordinary school, or until he can be admitted to a special school. Some teachers are hostile to the idea of early referral for assessment and do not ask for children to be examined. This may be because they have found in the past that no action follows referral, because there are no vacancies at special schools or because, with some reason, they doubt the reliability of tests for young children. As it becomes clear that the special education selected for children depends on all their circumstances and not simply on an IQ or attainment score, and that assessment is regularly reviewed, teachers should become more ready to refer children early. To enrich their educational background is likely to be the surest way to compensate for earlier disadvantages.

851. Five per cent of the children in the NCDS sample (Appendix 10, Section 5(a)), were receiving some form of special education and heads estimated that a further eight per cent were in need of special help, 13 per cent in all. The Department have estimated that approximately one child in every ten aged over seven is sufficiently retarded to need special education, though this number is significantly greater in some areas. The vast majority of these pupils will rightly remain in their ordinary primary schools. Whatever the precise figure may be, and it is one that is bound to depend to some extent on personal judgement, it is clear that the ordinary school must make special provision for a substantial number of children, unevenly distributed in different areas.

852. Slow learning children in the ordinary schools are best served by the approach which characterises the most progressive primary schools of today. Somewhat different provision may be required by those children who will always develop slowly and those who, with help, should be able to make relatively rapid strides. Remedial or 'opportunity' classes are sometimes provided for slow learners and in other instances children join a remedial group only for a part of the school day. If they are good these classes or groups provide an effective education which enables the child to remain in the ordinary school. But to be educated in an unsatisfactory remedial class can be the worst arrangement of all for a slow learner. The danger of a remedial class or group becoming a place from which none escape and which perpetuates a sense of failure and hopelessness ought to be recognised. The aim should be to limit the stay of a retarded child in such a class and to regard it as a ladder back to the normal level. Even the child who will never catch up may profit from the stimulus of a change of teacher and companions and ought not to remain in the same 'slow learning' class for more than two years, if it can be avoided. Opportunities should be made for children in slow learning classes to mix with other children in the school.

853. Slow learning children, many of whom are emotionally disturbed, may profit even more than other children from movement, drama, music, craft and painting. Though they should have opportunities for choice, these may need to be restricted to some extent and the pupils patiently and consistently guided by teachers. They need many opportunities for talk about people, places and things. Though slow children may need a more gradual and explicit introduction to the world about them than other children, their interest is unlikely to be held by materials designed for much younger children. They often spend hours at home before the television screen and some of the

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television programmes they watch may provide good starting points for discussion as also will some of the school television broadcasts. It is probable that programmed learning and other mechanical aids could help these children to overcome some of their specific learning difficulties.

The Teachers

854. It is implicit in all that we have said that the handicapped child in the ordinary school needs an understanding and gifted teacher; children with certain disabilities need to be taught by specially trained teachers. Our main concern is with the ordinary teacher who in the ordinary school has to deal with handicapped children, most of them the slow learners who may be in a special class, or in a C stream, or in ordinary classes. Many teachers have developed a particular interest in handicapped children and become successful practitioners without having had any special training, but we think that more preparation is needed. Every primary school teacher will have to help slow learners sooner or later and should have sufficient knowledge to be able to recognise children who need special help and to provide it for the majority of them. If the problem is beyond his resources he should know clearly to whom to turn. There should be opportunities for teachers to discuss individual children with school doctors or educational psychologists.

855. Our evidence suggests that some colleges and departments of education encourage teachers to acquire a good deal of knowledge of the differing rates of children's intellectual, social and emotional growth, usually as part of the course in child development. This might be extended possibly by the provision of an optional course during the final year, so as to give young teachers more help in dealing with the difficulties of slow learning and other handicapped children in ordinary schools.

856. A number of one year courses are available to serving teachers who wish to teach handicapped children, and serving teachers should be encouraged to attend them. Even so, only a minority will be affected. We are, therefore, glad to learn of the increasing number of courses lasting one term, and of short in-service courses dealing with the needs of handicapped children; head teachers as well as teachers of handicapped children should be encouraged to attend them.

857. Many local authorities make use of part-time peripatetic teachers to give help to individuals or to groups of children who have difficulty in learning. Peripatetic teachers are particularly useful when they act as a bridge between the school psychological service and practising teachers. Some part-time teachers, however, are not experienced or knowledgeable in the methods needed to teach slow learning children. While the individual attention they are able to give almost always produces some beneficial results they could achieve more if they were given initial help and retraining. To these teachers the school psychological service can provide valuable advice and support. In some cases it has proved more successful for part-time teachers to take the normal children, releasing the class teacher to help the handicapped.

858. It must be emphasised once again that any arrangement that is made for the education of the handicapped child must be subject to constant review. Whether a child is sent to a special school or to a special class of whatever kind in an ordinary school the decision must not be regarded as final (3). There

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must be no vested interest in preserving an arrangement which is no longer necessary and teachers, parents and psychologists and doctors must all co-operate in ensuring this.

859. Though we have viewed the problem of the handicapped child only from the periphery and have concerned ourselves primarily with the problem of the handicapped child in the ordinary school, it is apparent that children with similar degrees of disability are provided for differently. In one area a child may be in a diagnostic unit attached to an ordinary primary school whereas a child with the same disability in another area may be excluded from school as unsuitable. Some special schools have children who in another authority's area might be in a special class in the ordinary school. Some special schools and training centres are sited close together and are even under the same direction. We recommend a study of the needs of the handicapped child, including the slow learner, and of the provision made for him, with an assessment of the methods and organisation in use, and the extension of carefully supervised experiments and trials of new systems. Account should be taken of the changing pattern of handicaps, the new optimism about the educability of children once thought 'ineducable', the increasing ability of some schools to provide for children with very different handicaps and the increased number of special schools able to experiment in various ways.


860. (i) Early and accurate identification of handicapped children from birth onwards is essential. Teachers need to be alert to children showing difficulty and to arrange for them to have expert examination without delay.

(ii) Assessment of handicap should be a continuing process in which teachers, doctors, psychologists and parents must co-operate as a team.

(iii) A counselling service is needed for the parents of handicapped children.

(iv) A detailed enquiry should be made into the needs of handicapped children including slow learners and the provision made for them.

(v) The term 'slow learner' should be substituted for 'educationally sub-normal'.

(vi) Teachers in training should be equipped to help handicapped children as far as they can.


1. Department of Education and Science: Circular 9/66, dated 31st March, 1966.
2. Association for Special Education: Evidence to the Council.
3. Ministry of Education: Circular 11/61, dated 3rd July, 1961.

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The Education of Gifted Children

861. We have not undertaken, or commissioned, any special study of the education of gifted children. This has been done by others (10 but we have formed some impressions, in the course of our general enquiries, which it may be useful to describe briefly at this stage in our report.

862. While it is universally admitted that exceptionally gifted people do exist, both the identification of them as children and the treatment that such children need are a matter of some disagreement. There is first of all what may be described as an egalitarian suspicion of the whole concept of giftedness. This is no less strong for being a confused mixture of, among other things, dislike of privilege, doubts about intelligence tests and defensiveness about comprehensive schools. At the outset giftedness meets with an irrational obstacle. Even when this is overcome, there remains a real problem of identification. Giftedness is not a clearly defined category. It is characteristic of a small minority and the size of that minority is a matter of choice. It can be five per cent, one per cent or 0.1 per cent according to the degree of giftedness that is being postulated, but any definition in terms of IQ or, indeed, of any other attempts at measurement, is certain to be too inaccurate to be worth much. Giftedness varies in incidence in particular schools. In one independent preparatory school of which we have been told, as many as six per cent of the children are said to have an IQ of over 140, yet only 0.5 per cent of the whole population have, so far as measurement at that level is reliable, an IQ above that figure. In schools where the contributory population is less gifted, a child with an IQ of 125 (five per cent of the population) might be exceptional. Finally, there are forms of giftedness which are imperfectly revealed by intelligence tests; the tests devised to reveal creativity so far do not possess much validity.

863. In any ordinary group gifted children are bound to have particular needs. Their quality of thinking shows itself in the power to organise material and to perceive early the need for many different words to express shades of meaning, and the power to make analogies and use images. They seem to have the capacity of adapting methods and even of lowering sights in the pursuit of some idea. Self-criticism, beginning usually with criticism of others' work, often develops early, and it is often a problem to deal with the gifted child's dissatisfaction with his own capacity to carry out his ideas. The ability to see and to make a joke is an important if small indication of high ability. These children are often better adjusted and more cheerful than normal ones. Their distribution in the population makes it unlikely that chance will result in their meeting others of their kind. The attitudes of their contemporaries vary with the school and neighbourhood, but they may be unsympathetic. If their parents and teachers are not understanding, they may well find the world discouraging. Their interests may be branded as unhealthy or precocious, and their questions, which may seem tiresome and difficult to answer, resented and discouraged. These children may therefore

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become frustrated and impatient. One must not restrict the search for the highly gifted to children who are doing well in school, to the 'good' children; one must look at the 'difficult' ones as well.

864. Some difficulties can arise from failure to recognise gifted children early enough. It is too often assumed that gifted children will be able to do the same things as the others but better. It is probably true that they could, but they often do not. They tend to be less conforming: their handwriting is often behind their mental development. They may suffer from boredom and set up a habit of day dreaming and escaping.

865. Even when the gifted child is recognised for what he is he may experience difficulties which will need very sympathetic handling by his teacher. He will often work and play with children older than himself, and be unable to match the physical skill or prowess of his companions, something which is highly prized by juniors. He may not feel at home with his contemporaries and yet he may not be accepted by those who are older.

866. The general conclusion to be drawn is sufficiently obvious. The needs of the highly gifted, however we define them, must be met. Their first and most important need is for perceptive parents. Though the genetic factors cannot be precisely determined they are unquestionably weighty. It is more likely than not that the parents of the exceptionally gifted will themselves be highly intelligent or will have highly intelligent immediate forbears. But this is far from being a certainty and in any case the parents may have had environments unfavourable to the development of their intelligence. We think that advice and help should be available to all parents who, for whatever reason, find their children hard to understand or to handle and, what is perhaps more difficult, that they should be persuaded to make use of it. The proposals that we make elsewhere for the establishment of nursery groups ought to help in the early identification of the gifted. The child welfare service also has a part to play. But it is when the children arrive in the infant school and move forward year by year towards conceptual thinking that the gifted begin to stand out and their needs therefore become clamant. ['noisy, insistent, urgent', OED.]

867. A possible solution of the problem is to concentrate them in certain schools. The question as to whether special schools for the gifted are as necessary as those for the handicapped has frequently been asked and demands consideration. In our own country some of the independent schools have been, in effect, something like this. In a stratified society such as ours this is perhaps not surprising, but in the United States, in spite of its long tradition of equality and of a common programme, classes for the gifted have for some time now been making their appearance. There are undoubtedly particular artistic gifts which either show themselves or need to be developed at an early age. Music and ballet, for example, are difficult to provide at a high enough level except in a school staffed and equipped for the purpose. It must of course provide a balanced education as well.

868. Most of our members believe that schools for the gifted should be limited to those providing training in such arts as music and ballet. In the first place, it is not desirable that the gifted should think of themselves, more than is necessary, as a class apart, still less that they should have no experience of living and getting on with more ordinary children. Secondly, the majority of us believe that the English system of primary education at its best

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is better adapted than any other we have seen to provide for the needs of the gifted individual, without segregating him. We are aware that the best is more often sought than attained, and that gifted children are often at present bored in the upper reaches of the junior school. As we have said in Chapter 10 there will be some exceptional children who, because of their all-round development, intellectual, emotional and physical, should transfer from one stage of education to another earlier than their contemporaries. These children need to be with older children who are close to them in intellectual level. Most of us are confident that it is possible to provide satisfactorily for the majority of gifted children in the kind of primary school described throughout the Report. In a school where children are not confined to their own classroom, teacher and equipment, exceptional children should be able to spend part of the day with others of like ability and have access to the school collection of books and materials.

869. To teach a brilliant child, to receive from him a thought that could not have come from the teacher himself, ought to be a source of delight, yet it may not be easy for all teachers to admit to themselves that a pupil is more intelligent than they are. A teacher who finds himself with such a child must offer his sympathy, encouragement and delight in good work and never take refuge in the dangerous half truth which many people are fond of uttering that 'the clever child will look after himself'. He needs just as much support from his teacher, though of a different kind, as the dull and backward. He needs to be helped to cultivate his gifts and to place them at the service of the community. He needs subject matter beyond the normal range. He needs a richer curriculum, not simply a quicker journey through the ordinary one. He needs to go deeper and wider and he must have and use the resources that this implies - a really good library, the programmes of BBC and ITV and whatever contacts can be contrived with individuals outside the school who share his interests or can further them - the local museum curator, for instance, or any practitioner, architect, ornithologist, physicist, painter - who is willing to help him. The schools have a responsibility towards these children which must be taken seriously. We cannot afford to waste their talents.

870. In one area the problem is tackled by sending 60 highly intelligent children to a college of education where, on one day a week, they are given special lessons with an emphasis on concentrated work to which they are said to react with positive pleasure. In some areas, too, the needs of specially gifted young artists and musicians are met by out of school activities at art centres, at colleges of music, in children's orchestras and at schools of ballet and drama. Some of these special attempts are conducted on a voluntary basis and without tests for admission. They have, nevertheless, attracted the gifted and provided opportunities for developing specific talents.

871. A growing amount of attention, especially in the United States, is now being paid to the education of the gifted child and there is now little likelihood of his problem being overlooked in good primary schools. Indeed, there is some danger that the results of research undertaken in other countries may be too readily applied to the condition of our own. We think there is much still to be discovered and we welcome all attempts to improve the life and prospects of the gifted in the primary schools of this country. Long term studies should be mounted to elucidate further their needs and achievements.

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872. Long term studies should be made on the needs and achievements of gifted children.


1. Terman Lewis M, Oden Melita H and others 'The Gifted Child Grows Up. Twenty-five Years Follow-up of a Superior Group', Stanford University Press, 1947, is perhaps the most famous of many studies in this field.

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Part Six

The Adults in the Schools

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Introduction: The Role of the Teacher

873. In every section of our report we have been forced back to the teacher's role and its importance. A superficial conclusion from the National Survey might be that schools and teachers are less crucial to children's education than was formerly thought. Our inference is that teachers must enlarge their endeavours and enlist parents' interest to a greater extent in their children's education. When children are materially, intellectually or emotionally deprived, teachers must strive to serve as substitutes for parents, to make children feel that they matter, however little they are able to respond, and however unattractive they may appear to be. Much is asked of teachers in these circumstances: to be patient when children develop slowly or regress, to provide experience rather than short cuts to it, to care tenderly for individual children and yet retain sufficient detachment to assess what they are achieving and how they are developing.

874. Our study of children's development has emphasised the importance of maturation to learning. The corollary is not to make the teacher's role passive but to underline the importance of diagnosing children's needs and potentialities. Teachers face the difficult task of assessing individual differences, appraising effort in relation to them and avoiding the twin pitfalls of demanding too much or expecting too little. Teachers must support apathetic children until they gain a momentum of their own. They must challenge and inspire children who are too readily satisfied and, on occasion, force independence on those children who wait to be prompted. They must sometimes recognise a child as being more gifted than they are themselves and be perceptive enough to provide through books or by invoking the help of another teacher the stimulus which they cannot themselves furnish.

875. Similarly, as we have surveyed the way children learn, the demands made on teachers have appeared frighteningly high. The primary school curriculum must touch on the scientific and mathematical knowledge on which the modern world depends and in which children are particularly interested. The teacher who used to give set lessons could manage on a little knowledge and use it over and over again. Far more knowledge, both about subject matter and about how children learn, is called for in teachers who have continually to exercise judgement, to 'think on their feet', to keep in mind long term and short term objectives. They have to select an environment which will encourage curiosity, to focus attention on enquiries which will lead to useful discovery, to collaborate with children, to lead from behind. That instruction is going on throughout periods of free play has been well demonstrated by a recent enquiry into the role of the teacher in the infant and nursery school (1).

876. To a unique extent English teachers have the responsibility and the spur of freedom. They adapt schemes of work to the children for whom they are responsible and in an increasing number of schools they plan how the day will be spent. It has long been characteristic of the English educational system that the teacher has been expected to carry the burden of teaching by example as well as by precept. He is expected to be a good man and to influence children more by what he is than by what he knows or by his

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methods. 'First he wrought and afterwards he taught' is particularly relevant to the teacher of young children and extends to every facet of education. Teachers cannot escape the knowledge that children will catch values and attitudes far more from what teachers do than what they say. Unless they are courteous, they cannot expect courtesy from children: when teachers are eager to learn and turn readily to observation and to books, their pupils are likely to do the same. There is little hope that children will come to an appreciation of order and beauty either in nature or what is man-made, unless these qualities are enjoyed by their teachers and exemplified in the schools.

877. So broad and ill defined a role is almost bound to be at one and the same time satisfying and yet over demanding. The teacher's work can never be seen to be completed. Its outcome is usually undramatic and success can never be finally or tidily assessed. The more sensitive and conscientious teachers are, the more they will realise that some failures are inevitable and the greater the danger that they will become so absorbed in their work with children that they will deny themselves an adult life of their own and thus dry up the sources of the help they give to children. The deference and respect that children show to good teachers may to some extent isolate them from other adults, especially since, with justification, every parent claims to know something of the upbringing of children and many fail to see the subtleties of the teacher's task.

878. There can be no doubt of the importance or the exacting nature of the teacher's task. On the teachers, on their skills and on their good will, far more than on organisation or on buildings, the future of education depends. Yet we write at a time when, despite all the efforts of the colleges of education, the primary schools are 20,000 teachers short of the number needed on present staffing standards.

[The reference is at the end of the next chapter.]

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The Staffing of Schools

879. It is not our intention to write yet another report on how to get enough teachers, but our proposals for making better use of the teachers we have must be seen against the national situation. The first factor is necessarily the number of children to be taught. In pre-war years England had grown accustomed to the dwindling numbers entering her schools each year. In 1938 there were half a million children aged five years. After the war the position changed. In 1952 there were three quarters of a million and in the following year 829,000. In 1955 there were over a million more children in primary schools than there had been in 1946. This was the post-war 'bulge', the result of marriages and child bearing postponed during the war. It was assumed that it would be a temporary emergency, and the fall in the number of births after 1948 seemed to confirm this. For a time there was a slight easing in the primary schools, and mounting pressure in secondary schools as the children born immediately after the war reached the age of 11 and an increasing number of older boys and girls decided to stay at school after 15. Then the birth rate rose again. Ten years ago, before the 'bulge' was quite clear of the primary schools, the pressure on them began to return. It has grown steadily worse, and now affects both primary and secondary schools. These two forces, the biological facts of bigger age groups, which educational policy can only accept, and the social pressure for longer school life, which it would be wrong to oppose, have created a record demand for teachers.

880. Many more teachers are needed. Until recently new recruits for the profession have had to come from the small age groups of the pre-war and war years. In spite of this, spectacular progress has been made. In 1947 there were some 115,000 teachers taking primary classes; by 1958, the number was 138,000. There have been two great changes since the inter war period - far more careers were open to women so that more competition had to be faced; women teachers no longer had to resign on marriage so that, immediately at least, the supply of teachers was increased. Today over half the women teachers in maintained schools are married women. But the removal of the ban on marriage carried with it a middle distance threat of heavy wastage as wives became mothers and only a long term promise of a return to teaching once child bearing and child rearin