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Full text of "Secondary education for all : a policy for labour"

MHMNtMHM 






THE LIBRARY 



The Ontario Institute 



for Studies in Education 



Toronto, Canada 




SECONDARY EDUCATION 
FOR ALL 

A POLICY FOR LABOUR 



Edited for 

THE EDUCATION ADVISORY COMMITTEE 

OF THE LABOUR PARTY 

by 

R. H. TAWNEY 



. -»<.^ji>Liiij«ii LLUi xxarjvr 




APR • ^ "S ■i'^^.fc 



LONDON : THE LABOUR PARTY 
33 ECCLESTON SQUARE, S.W. i 

LONDON: GEORGE ALLEN & UNWIN LTD. 
RUSKIN HOUSE, 40 MUSEUM STREET, W.C. i 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Summary OF Labour Party's Policy ... ... ... 7 

I. Introductory Chapter ... ... ... ... ... 15 

II. The Present Position OF Secondary Education ... 34 

(i) The Demand for Secondary Education ... ... 85 

(ii) The Number ofChildren attending Public Secondary 

Schools ... ... ... ... ... ... 42 

(iii) The Duration of the School Life 49 

III. The Programme OF Labour ... ... ... ... 54 

(i) The Need of Increasing the Pupils in Secondary 

Schools ... ... ... ... ... ... 54 

(ii) Secondary Education for all ... ... ... ... 60 

(iii) The Reaction on the Primary School ... ... 72 

(iv) Summary of Proposals ... ... ... ... 77 

IV. The Freeing OF Secondary Education 79 

(i) The Existing System 79 

(ii) The Abolition of Fees 83 

(iii) The Necessity of an Adequate System of Main- 
tenance Allowances ... ... ... ... ... 87 

(iv) Teachers and Accommodation ... ... ... 92 

V. The Proposed Substitutes for Secondary Education 97 

(i) The Main Alternatives 97 

(ii) Part-time Continued Education ... ... ... 101 

(iii) The Future of Central Schools and similar Institu- 
tions 104 

VI. The Position OF the Secondary School Teachers ... 114 

VII. The Lion IN the Path 124 

(i) The Cost of our Proposals ... ... ... ... 124 

(ii) Can the Nation " Afford " Education ? 130 

(iii) The Conclusion of the Matter ... ... ... 141 

Appendices 149 



SUMMARY OF LABOUR PARTY'S 

POLICY 

I 

THE GENERAL OBJECTIVE 

THE Labour Party is convinced that the only 
policy which is at once educationally sound 
and suited to a democratic communitv 
is one under which primary education and 
secondary education are organised as two stages in a 
single and continuous process ; secondary education being 
the education of the adolescent and primary education 
being education preparatory thereto. Its objective, 
therefore, is both the iviprovement of primary education 
and the development of public secondary education to 
such a point that all normal children, irrespective of the 
income, class, or occupation of their parents, may be 
transferred at the age of eleven -\- from, the primary or 
preparatory school to one type or another of secondary 
school, and remain in the latter till sixteen. It holds 
that all immediate reforms should be carried out with 
that general objective in view and in such a way as to 
contribute to its attainment. It recognises that the 
more secondary education is developed, the more 
essential will it be that there should be the widest possible 
variety of type among secondary schools. It therefore 
looks forward to the time when Central Schools and 
Junior Technical Schools will be transformed into one 
part of a system of free and universal Secondary 
Education. 

The creation of such a system must, however, be a 
matter of time, and must depend largely upon local 
initiative. In order to prepare the way for it, 
Labour should throw its whole weight, nationally and 
locally, into securing the instalments of reform which 
are set out below. 

7 



8 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

II 

THE REMOVAL OF FINANCIAL BARRIERS 

At the present time large numbers of children are pre- 
vented from entering a secondary school at all by the 
poverty of their parents. In the year 1919-20 11,134 
children in England and Wales were refused admission to 
secondary schools because there were no free places avail- 
able for them, though they reached the intellectual 
standard required by the school authorities.' Of the 
small percentage of children who do pass from the 
primary to the secondary schools a large proportion leave 
at, or soon after, their fifteenth birthday because their 
parents cannot afford to keep them at school longer. 

In order that the financial barriers which make 
secondary education inaccessible may be removed : — 
(i) Fees at grant-aided secondary schools should be 
abolished by Local Education Authorities, either 
at one stroke (as at Bradford) or by increasing the 
number of free places from year to year, as is 
proposed by the County of Durham, until by 1924 
all are free, 
(ii) Pending the complete abolition of fees, the Board 
of Education should at once carry out the recom- 
mendation of the Departmental Committee on 
Scholarships and Free Places to increase the per- 
centage of free places in grant-aided secondary 
schools from twenty-five to forty per cent, 
(iii) Local Education Authorities should revise their 
system of maintenance allowances with a view 
(a) To a large increase in their number. 
(a) To an increase in their value. 

(c) To grading them in such a way that there 
may be a progressive increase in their value 
from twelve to eighteen. 

(d) To taking immediately full advantage of the 
Board's Maintenance Allowance Regulations. 

1 Keport of the Departmental Committee on Scholarships and 
Free Places (Cmd. 908), 1020, App. I, Table D. 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 9 

III 

THE PROVISION OF ADEQUATE SECONDARY 
SCHOOL ACCOMMODATION 

In the year 1919-20, in addition to the children 
excluded through lack of free places, 10,076 children tvere 
refused adrnission to secondary schools because there was 
not sufficient accommodation to receive them.^ In order 
that this grave scandal may be remedied, Labour should 
press for the adoption of the following measures : — 

(i) Each Local Education Authority should take as 
its immediate programme, to be carried out at the 
earliest possible date, the provision of secondary 
school places for not less than twenty per 1,000 of 
the population. This standard (which was 
recommended by the Departmental Committee on 
Scholarships and Free Places) is, however, 
far behind that already obtaining in the 
more progressive States of America, and should 
be regarded as purely provisional. At the same 
time, therefore. Local Education Authorities 
should prepare an estimate of the number 
of secondary school places required in order 
to provide for twenty-five per cent., fifty 
per cent., and seventy -five per cent, of the 
children leaving the primary schools. On the 
basis of it a programme should be begun which 
will ensure that within ten years secondary school 
places are provided to accommodate not less than 
seventy-five per cent, of the children. 

(ii) The carrying out of such a programme will 
obviously necessitate the erection of new schools. 
It is important that the planning of these schools 
should not be such as to perpetuate the existing 
vicious division between "elementary" and 
"secondary" education. They should be 

designed in such a way as to make it evident that 
primary and secondary education are successive 

2 Ibid. 



10 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

stages in a single continuous system, and that the 
primary school is simply the preparatory school, 
from which, at the appropriate age, the majority 
of children will pass, as a matter of course, to the 
secondary school, 
(iii) In the meantime, in order partially to meet the 
immediate shortage of secondary school places, 
this programme should be accompanied by the 
following transitional measures and, when neces- 
sary, by such a temporary modification of the 
Secondary School Regulations of the Board of 
Education as may permit of their being 
adopted : — 

(a) The Preparatory Departments in grant-aided 
secondary schools should (as recommended by 
the Departmental Committee on Scholarships 
and Free Places) be discontinued. These 
departments now contain some 26,000 fee- 
paying children, the majority under the age 
of ten. Their accommodation can be put to 
better use in providing school places for chil- 
dren of eleven and over. 

(b) Central Schools and Junior Technical Schools 
are important, as representing a type of 
higher education designed to meet the needs 
of those children who progress most easily 
by means of a curriculum containing a con- 
siderable infusion of practical work appealing 
to their creative instincts. It ought to be 
recognised, however, that they are not 
a mere continuation of primary education, 
but part of the secondary system, and, 
wherever possible, they should be remodelled 
so as to become grant-earning intermediate or 
secondary schools. 

(c) Such primary schools as are suitable should 
he converted to the same purpose, whenever 
the change can be carried out without undue 
pressure upon the primary school accom- 
modation. 



SECONDARY EDUCATION tl 

(d) In rural districts, where distance often makes 
the secondary school inaccessible to many 
children, the Local Education Authority 
should organise a motor transport service for 
the conveyance of children to and from school. 

IV 
THE REGRADING OF EDUCATION 

The division of education into "elementary" and 
"secondary," as interpreted and organised hitherto, is 
educationally unsound and socially obnoxious. It 
results in (a) a grave waste of talent, (b) the exclusion 
from the secondary schools of children who ought 
to enter them, (c) the imposition on the primary 
schools of the task of educating children between twelve 
and fourteen, for which they may not be specially fitted, 
(d) waste and inefficiency arising from overlapping. 

It should therefore be abolished, and in place of it 
schools shouM be graded as follows : — 

(i) Primary, for all children up to eleven to twelve. 
Subdivided into — 

(a) Nursery and Infant Schools for all children 
up to the age of seven. 

(b) Preparatory schools, for all children between 
ages of seven and twelve. 

(ii) Secondary, for boys and girls between the age of 

twelve and sixteen-eighteen. 

(iii) Higher, providing education of a University type. 

All normal children should pass from the primary to one 

type or other of secondary school at the age of eleven + 

and should remain in it, with the aid of adequate 

maintenance allowances, to the age of sixteen. 



12 SECONDARY EDUCATION 



THE TRANSFERENCE FROM THE PRIMARY TO 
THE SECONDARY SCHOOL 

(1) Transference from the primary school to higher 
education should depend solely upon whether it is likely 
to be for the benefit of the children concerned. 

(2) Transference should normally take place at the 
age of eleven to twelve, but there should be provision by 
which **late-developers" can pass to a secondary school 
up to the age of fourteen. 

(3) As long as the number of school places is 
inadequate, competition for admission to the secondary 
school is inevitable. But examinations should be supple- 
mentary and subsidiary to the use of school records and 
of reports by teachers. 

(4) The test of admission for children applying for free 
places and for fee-paying pupils should be the same. 
Nor should further intellectual tests be imposed as a 
condition of receiving a maintenance allowance. Labour 
should resist strongly the policy of admitting fee-paying 
pupils on easier terms than free-place pupils, and free- 
place pupils who do not receive a maintenance allowance 
on easier terms than those who do. 

VI 

THE SUBSTITUTES FOR SECONDARY 
EDUCATION 

(1) Part-time continued education between fourteen 
and sixteen, while an improvement on the present posi- 
tion, cannot be accepted as a substitute for the develop- 
ment of a system of secondary education. The policy 
on which Labour should insist is the development (as 
already proposed by certain authorities) of full-time 
secondary education — interpreted in such a way as to 
include a wider variety of curriculum than is normally 
the case at present — for boys and girls between twelve 
and sixteen. The continuation school should "continue" 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 13 

secondary, not primary or preparatory, education, and its 
proper sphere is the provision of part-time education for 
those who leave the secondary school at sixteen. 

(2) Central Schools of the type which is most common 
to-day, while possessing certain advantages, do not 
supply a satisfactory alternative to secondary education. 
In staffing and equipment they are normally part of the 
''elementary" system, and their curriculum is sometimes 
unduly and prematurely specialised. They ought to be 
reorganised in such a way as to become part of the 
secondary system. 

(3) The Board of Education should hasten the con- 
version of such schools into secondary schools by (a) 
recognising as secondary schools all schools that provide 
a course of full-time instruction between eleven + and 
sixteen years of age, (b) requiring that such schools shall 
comply in respect of staffing and equipment with the 
regulations for secondary schools, (c) paying grants on 
account of them on the secondary scale. 



VII 
THE NEED FOR KNOWLEDGE 

If an intelligent public opinion is to be formed on 
educational questions, it is essential that full information 
with regard to the progress of education in the United 
Kingdom and in other countries should be made regularly 
and easily accessible. At the present time such informa- 
tion is provided only in a piecemeal and haphazard 
manner. Whereas the student of economic questions can 
find in official documents the data for an examination of 
foreign trade, unemployment, movements of wages, and 
similar questions, to obtain equally authoritative 
evidence about the educational situation is difficult or 
impossible. The result is that, when educational con- 
troversies arise, the community has not got before it the 
facts on which alone an intelligent judgment can be 
based. 



14 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

In order that such facts may be available with regard 
to secondary education, it is suggested that the Board of 
Education should publish annually figures showing : — 

(i) The number of children (a) leaving primary 
schools in the area of each authority, (6) passing 
from primary schools to grant-aided secondary 
schools, with and without free places, (c) passing 
to secondary schools from private schools. 

(ii) The number of pupils per 1,000 of the population 
in grant-aided secondary schools in England and 
Wales, and in corresponding schools in Scotland, 
the principal European countries, and the U.S.A. 

(iii) The number of children excluded from secondary 
schools in England and Wales (a) through lack of 
accommodation, (6) through lack of sufficient 
free places. 

(iv) The school life and leaving age of pupils in grant- 
aided secondary schools, distinguishing between 
free-placers and fee-paying pupils. 

(v) The expenditure of Local Education Authorities 
on (a) free places, (h) maintenance allowances. 

(vi) The number of pupils (a) leaving grant-aided 
secondary schools, (b) passing from secondary 
schools to Universities. 
Further, Labour members of Local Education Authori- 
ties should press them to publish corresponding figures 
with regard to their different areas. 



CHAPTER I 

INTRODUCTORY 

WHATEVER may be the fate of the Educa- 
tion Act of 1918, it has had one effect which 
will survive its suspension. It has 
compelled the nation to face the whole 
jH-oblem of secondary education, and to face it in its 
relation to other parts of the educational system. The 
creation of a structure of part-time education for young 
persons between fourteen and eighteen, the establishment 
of which was the most novel and most hotly contested 
part of the Act, has been, at least temporarily, postponed. 
But the problem of adolescent education, with which 
section 10 was concerned, has been, ever since 1902, 
in one form or another, the centre of educational dis- 
cussion. It will not lose its prominence merely because 
the particular method of dealing with it which was 
proposed in 1918 has been for the time being abandoned. 
Industrial interests could scrap the work of Parliament, 
but not even the Federation of British Industries can 
abolish the children. In spite of the apostles of 
"economy," the perversity of human nature will con- 
tinue to cause some 650,000 young persons every year 
to reach fourteen and to leave the primary schools with 
the inevitable regularity of a recurring decimal. As long 
as ninety per cent, of the 2,500,000 young persons 
between fourteen and eighteen are receiving no kind of 
education, the question which the Act tried to answer 
remains. Its answer has been negatived. It remains 
either to insist that it is the right answer, or to find a 
better one. 

"Or to find a better one." For the Act of 1918, with 
all its advantages, had one defect. It did not really 
face the questions : What is the function of primary 

15 

B 



16 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

education? What is the function of secondary educa- 
tion? What ought to be the relations between thera? 
But, as half a century of bitter experience ought to have 
taught us, it is just these questions which are vital. 
Less than any other human activity can education be 
handled effectively if it is handled piecemeal. Neither 
primary, nor secondary, nor continued, nor — it may be 
added — university education can function unless their 
objects are cleariy conceived and their relations deter- 
mined upon some intelligible principle. And if the 
failure to bring into operation section 10 is used as an 
opportunity to reconsider the larger problems of post- 
primary education, with which the Act dealt, admittedly, 
by way of compromise, then that failure, discreditable 
though it is to our common sense and our humanity, 
may prove in the long run not to have been wholly a 
misfortune. 

The truth is, the continuation schools were a make- 
shift—a makeshift which, while preferable to the 
existing neglect of boys and girls who have left the 
primary school, was not the solution which would have 
been chosen either by most educationalists or by the 
Labour movement, had their hands been free. Part- 
time continued education was to be welcomed as 
establishing some measure of educational supervision 
over the critical years of adolescence, and it is important 
that Local Education Authorities should use their powers 
under the Act of 1918 to obtain all the light that 
experiment can throw upon it. But the weakness 
of our present arrangements is a matter not merely of 
quantity, but, still more, of quality. It is not simply 
that the vast majority of children receive no further 
education beyond fourteen, but that, because there is 
no vital and systematic relation between primary and 
secondary education— because the crucial problem of so 
grading education that it may correspond with the natural 
development of children has never been seriously faced 
in England — the secondary schools are starved of able 
pupils, and the primary schools, which ought to be pre- 
paratory schools, are driven to undertake the work of 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 17 

adolescent education for which they may not be specially 
suited. What is needed, in fact, is not merely an 
extension or continuation of education, but a reclassifi- 
cation or regrading of education. In the attempt to 
prevent the higher education of most children altogether, 
the opponents of the Act have raised the question 
whether, in the form proposed, the part-time schools of 
section 10 represent quite the form of higher education 
which we need most. Acting with the worst intentions, 
they have saved us from the blunder of merely tacking 
a system of continuation classes on to the present elemen- 
tary schools. They have given us, in fact, an opportunity 
for second thoughts, and the proposals before some Local 
Education Authorities show that it is being taken. We 
ought to use it to reconsider the most vital and hitherto 
the most neglected question of educational policy, the 
establishment of a living and organic connection between 
primary and secondary education. 

It is the purpose of this book to suggest the 
practical steps to which such a reconsideration would 
lead. There are aspects of education, and its most 
important aspects, which elude analysis, and which, 
because they are essentially individual, cannot usefully 
be discussed in terms of policy and organisation. "We 
do it wrong, being so majestical. To offer it the show of 
violence" — lew persons can have felt the influence of a 
good school or a great teacher and then turned to read, 
say, a debate upon education in the House of Commons, 
without experiencing something of the sensation which 
these lines evoke. We do not forget the imponderables 
of personality and spirit and atmosphere; they are the 
root of the whole matter. But even education works 
within the limits set by a material scaffolding of policy, 
administrative organisation, and finance. It is with 
that scaffolding that this book is concerned. 

Its proposals, at least in principle, are not novel. But in 
the last twenty years several causes have combined at 
once to strengthen the case for the reorganisation which 
we advocate and to increase its feasibility, and, if our 



18 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

recommendations are disputed, few will deny the urgency 
of the problem with which they deal. Both in the 
criticisms passed upon the present system and in the 
proposals for improving it there are signs of a funda- 
mental agreement which did not exist ten, or even five, 
years ago. In England it is not ungentlemanly to steal 
halfpennies from children, and industrial interests, it may 
be assumed, will oppose any reform which interferes with 
the supply of cheap juvenile labour. But among 
educationalists and teachers, economists and social 
workers, administrators and, not least, the parents them- 
selves, there is not a wide diversity as to the main weak- 
nesses of the existing arrangements or as to the principles 
upon which they should be reformed, provided that the 
difficulties of finance — cost to the taxpayer and cost to 
the parent — can be satisfactorily overcome. 

Primary and secondary education have grown up in 
England as two separate systems, between which, since 
1902, partly as a result of the Education Act of that 
year, partly through the development of the Free Place 
system, partly through the wise insistence of the Board 
of Education that intending teachers should spend four 
years in a secondary school, an increasing, if sadly 
inadequate, number of bridges have been cast. The 
time has now come for a radical reconstruction of the 
relations between them. "It may be hoped," writes 
Dr. Hendy, Director of Training in the University of 
Oxford, "that the old misleading parliamentary distinc- 
tion between elementary and secondary may disappear, 
and that we may see a new grouping of schools on a 
genuinely educational basis, into primary, educating 
to the age of ten to eleven, and secondary, educating 
beyond that age.'" That sentiment will be echoed by all 
serious reformers. What they would desire is that the 
wide gulf which still divides the two should be closed, 
that primary education should be so planned as to lead, 
in the case of all normal children, to one type or another 
of secondary education, that secondary education should 

1 " TheHniversities and the Training of Teachers. An Inaugural 
Lecture by F. J. R. Hendy. 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 19 

begin at eleven + £ind be built on the foundations of 
primary education, instead of side by side with it, and 
that part-time continued education should follow at least 
four years' full-time secondary education, instead of 
being offered, as the Act of 1918 proposed, as a substi- 
tute for it. 

Continuation schools. Central schools. Junior Tech- 
nical schools, or at any rate the last two, have a future 
before them if they are organised frankly as part of 
the secondary system. But, except in so far as 
that is the case, they are at best — what the able 
educationalists of The Times have described them — 
mere "transitional phenomena." At worst, we may add, 
they are one more blind alley from which a generation 
hence, after a heavy expenditure of money and effort 
diverted from more important educational tasks, we shall 
be obliged to return. We have half a century of 
experience of cheap substitutes. To invest in yet 
another of them, when the genuine article is obtainable, 
would be insanity. What we require is to recognise 
boldly that nothing less than general secondary educa- 
tion will either stand the criticism of the educationalists, 
or satisfy the demands of a working class that has tasted 
of the tree of knowledge and does not intend that its 
children should be fobbed off with the educational shoddy 
which was foisted upon itself. In place, in short, of 
"elementary" education for nine-tenths of the children 
and "secondary" education for the exceptionally 
fortunate or the exceptionally able, we need to envisage 
education as two stages in a single course which will 
embrace the whole development of childhood and adoles- 
cence up to sixteen, and obliterate the vulgar irrelevances 
of class inequality and economic pressure in a new 
educational synthesis. 

It is not suggested, of course, that the practical 
application of such principles can be other than gradual. 
Educational reforms are limited — to mention no other 
conditions — by the supply of teachers and of school 
accommodation. Neither can be improvised. When we 
speak of "general secondary education" as the goal of 



20 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

educational policy, we do not in the least ignore these 
well-worn truisms. If the direction is agreed upon, the 
precise speed at which different stages on the road are to 
be reached is a question which must be solved in the light 
of the varying circumstances of different authorities. All, 
we may take it, will begin by increasing the provision of 
secondary school accommodation sufficiently to make up 
the gross and admitted shortage which exists at present. 
All will reject the odious and short-sighted policy of 
making secondary education scarce and dear by raising 
fees. All will free it, as soon as practicable, in the 
schools provided by them, and will greatly develop their 
system of maintenance allowances. But naturally the 
scale on which they provide facilities will depend on the 
extent and growth of the local demand. In some places 
accommodation at the rate of fifteen to twenty per 1,000 
will meet it for the time being ; in others something more 
will be required almost immediately. In each case they 
will proceed, therefore, experimentally. What they will 
not do is to acquiesce — as in the past — in the idea that 
the normal and inevitable thing is for only a small 
fraction of the children leaving the primary schools to 
pass to any kind whatever of secondary school. They 
will accept, as the object to be aimed at, the establish- 
ment of a system under which the majority of children 
will receive a secondary education from eleven -f to six- 
teen, and will plan their immediate developments with a 
view to attaining it at the earliest moment that circum- 
stances allow. 

Such a policy is idealistic but it is not visionary. It is 
no part of the purpose of this book to attempt, even 
in outline, to summarise the recent history of secondary 
education in England. But it is permissible to 
emphasise that our proposals, so far from involving a leap 
in the dark, are the natural culmination of the main 
developments which have taken place in the world of 
public education during the last twenty years. The 
number both of pupils and school places in 1922 is, as we 
show below, all too small. But, inadequate as they are, 
they represent something like an educational revolution 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 21 

compared with the almost complete absence of 
public provision which existed prior to 1902. When in 
1895 the Royal Commission, of which Lord Bryce was 
chairman, investigated secondary education, it found 
that the pupils in secondary schools did not exceed 2.5 
per 1,000 of the population — in Lancashire they 
actually amounted only to 1.1 per 1,000 — as against the 
figure of 8.7 per 1,000 in the year 1918-19. When, in 
1897, the Education Department took a census of 
secondary schools, it found that of 6,209 schools, attended 
by 158,502 boys and 133,402 girls, more than two-thirds 
were conducted by private enterprise, that more than a 
quarter were endowed schools, embracing every variety 
of foundation from the wealthy boarding school to the 
local grammar school with an income from its endow- 
ments of a few pounds a year, and that actually less than 
two per cent, were owned and controlled by public 
authorities.^ Apart from the activities of the Charity 
Commissioners, the intervention of the State in Secondary 
Education was represented mainly by the Science and 
Art Department. In so far as School Boards and County 
Councils had entered the field, they had done so piece- 
meal and almost furtively, sometimes by straining their 
powers and almost always in such a way as to compete 
with each other. Of any conception of the meaning of 
secondary education, of any central unifying purpose, of 
any philosophy of its function in society and of its 
relation to other parts of the educational system^ in spite 
of the teaching of distinguished theorists, there was 
hardly a trace. The full comedy of the situation was 
revealed in 1900, when, nearly a century after France 
and Germany had laid the foundations of a public system 
of secondary education, the Court of Appeal virtually 
decided that there was no Public Authority in England 
with legal power to establish and maintain secondary 
schools. 



* For a convenient summary of the results of this inquiry see 
Norwood & Hope, " The Higher Education of Boys in England," 
pp. 39-40. 



22 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

Of all the medley of schools which could be regarded as 
giving secondary education twenty years ago, there is 
probably only one group which can be said to-day to 
stand approximately where it did. The institutions con- 
ventionally described by the comically inappropriate 
name of Public Schools, and the private schools which 
prepare boys for them, have doubtless improved their 
methods and curriculum. Further — an important 
development — it is probable that the majority of the 
former are now open to inspection by the Board. But 
in their dominant characteristics — the classes they serve 
and the objects at which they aim — they are still much 
what they were in 1897. In the main, except in the 
matter of inspection, they stand by their own choice apart 
from the general system of public secondary education, 
and need not be taken into account in considering how 
that system can be improved and extended. 

"While, however, the great boarding schools, though 
educationally more efficient, remain in their general 
purpose and character much what they were, a new 
system of public secondary education has been brought 
into existence in the course of the present generation, if 
not out of nothing, at least out of chaos. It has been 
built up partly by the entry into a national system of 
schools already in existence, partly by the establishment 
of new schools by Local Education Authorities. The intel- 
lectual foundations of it were laid by the Royal Com- 
mission of 1895. In 1901 the newly established Board 
of Education began the system of paying grants to such 
schools as would comply with its regulations, and 
"recognising as efficient" those which, without accept- 
ing grants, submitted to inspection. In 1902 elementary 
and secondary education were united in the hands of the 
county and county borough councils. The most obvious 
quantitative measurement of the movement is the 
increase in the number of schools on the grant list of 
the Board of Education. In 1902-3 there were only 
thirty -one schools in receipt of grants, and the Board 
still grouped schools of science and secondary schools 
together under the general name of higher education. 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 28 

In 1904-5, 482 schools, with 63,782 pupils, were receiving 
grants; in 1907-8, 742 schools, with 124,110 pupils; by 
1914-15, 929 schools, with 180,507 pupils. The war 
naturally arrested the building of new schools. But in 
1919-20 the number of grant-aided secondary schools in 
England and Wales had risen to 1,140, and the number 
of pupils to 307,759, or, in England alone to 282,005.-' 

It is true, of course, that this increase in schools and 
in the school population must not be interpreted as 
representing anything like an equivalent net increase in 
the educational resources of the country, or in the 
number of children profiting by them, since a large pro- 
portion of the schools had been in existence before they 
became eligible for grants from the Board. The variety 
of institutions included in the system is one of its merits. 
It is an amalgam of schools old and new, endowed and 
proprietary, established by public authorities and taken 
over by them from other bodies. Even so, however, 
the development, though only the beginning of the pro- 
vision which requires to be made, is impressive. It is 
noticeable that, apart from the endowed and other 
schools which have entered the public system by comply- 
ing with the Board's regulations and receiving grants, 
municipal and county authorities have created in the last 
twenty years a fabric of secondary education which owes 
nothing to pre-existing institutions. In 1897 less than 
two per cent, of the secondary schools of the country 
belonged to Local Authorities. In 1904 Municipal and 
County Schools numbered sixty-one. By 1912 Local 
Authorities had established 329 secondary schools and 
taken over fifty-three. In 1919-20, 487 out of 1,021 grant- 
aided secondary schools in England were controlled by 

'Report of the Board of Education for the year 1919-1920 
(Cmd. 1451), pp. 30 and 36. 

In this Memorandum, both here and below, we are concerned 
only with schools on the grant list of the Board. The schools 
" recognised as efficient " by the Board are, of course, more 
numerous. They numbered in 1919-20, 1,346 in England and 
Wales, with 344,818 pupils. In addition to these there are 
" private " schools, of which there appears — a singular fact — to be 
no correct record. 



24 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

Local Authorities. In fifteen years, therefore, the schools 
owned and managed by them had been multiplied 
approximately eight times. As secondary education 
develops^ it is these schools which will more and more 
be the dominant and typical element in the system. 
Apart from them, the schools which in a more general 
sense are Public Secondary Schools, because they comply 
with the regulations of the Board and receive grants from 
it, increased twenty-fold between 1902 and 1914. The 
number of children educated in them to-day is consider- 
ably larger than the number educated in secondary 
schools of all kinds a generation ago. 

Since 1902, therefore, we have nationalised the greater 
part of secondary education, though the service which we 
provide is still on a scale quite incommensurate both with 
the effective demand and— still more — with the educa- 
tional needs of the community. Not only so, we have 
begun to communalise it. England has not yet imitated 
the example set by America and by most of the British 
Dominions in making public secondary education free. 
But since 1907 it has been the law of the land that all 
grant-aided secondary schools, in the absence of special 
permission by the Board of Education, must admit one 
quarter of their entrants without payment of fees. As 
far as some 73,000 children are concerned — nearly one- 
third of all the pupils in public secondary schools — 
secondary education is already, like primary educa- 
tion, free. Certain authorities have gone further and 
abolished fees altogether in the secondary schools pro- 
vided by them, and certain others propose to do so in 
the near future. The Departmental Committee on 
Scholarships and Free Places has just recommended that 
the payment of fees at grant-aided secondary schools 
shall be brought to an end as soon as the financial cir- 
cumstances of the nation allow of that reform being 
introduced. 

Not less important, the quality of secondary education 
has improved as well as its quantity. It is probably true 
that in the process of organising secondary education the 
danger of over-organisation has not been altogether 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 25 

avoided, that the time of teachers is too often wasted 
in clerical duties which, however administratively neces- 
sary, are certainly not the business of a headmaster or 
headmistress, and that there is a danger of fettering 
initiative by insistence that a time table once arranged 
shall not be modified. But when over-organisation is 
criticised (as it should be), it ought to be compared with 
the chaos which existed prior to 1902. No one who will 
examine English secondary education to-day in the light 
of the conditions revealed, for example, by the census of 
1897, in the "private venture" schools, which formed 
two-thirds of the total, and the majority of which appear 
to have been giving, under the name of "secondary," a 
bad elementary education, will be disposed to question 
the immense progress which has been made in improving 
the quality of the staff, in liberalising the curriculum, 
and in encouraging the advanced work which ought to 
be the crown of secondary education. So far, indeed, 
from the supervision of it by a public department pro- 
ducing the deadening uniformity which was dreaded 
twenty years ago, most candid observers would agree 
that the Board's regulations, by prescribing a minimum 
standard as the condition of grant, have brought the 
laggards and the eccentric into line and raised the general 
average of efficiency, without seriously cramping the 
activities of the most enlightened and progressive. 

All this means that even before 1918 we had travelled 
far from the doctrine of 1870, that "elementary" educa- 
tion was the education of a special class which would 
obtain no other — what the Committee of Council called in 
1839 education "suited to the condition of workmen and 
servants" — and secondary education that of their masters. 
We had travelled far, but we had not then, and we have 
not now, travelled far enough. Slender hand-rails — how 
slender we show below — have been built between the 
primary and the secondary school. But there is still no 
vital or organic connection between them. They remain, 
what they were in origin, two separate systems, and the 
educational considerations which would unite them have 
even yet not been strong enough to overcome the social 



26 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

traditions and class organisation — the fatal legacy of 
English education — which keep them asunder. It is 
still true, therefore, that instead of secondary education 
being, what it ought to be, the education of the adoles- 
cent and primary education preparatory education, the 
former too often is a landing without a staircase, and the 
latter a staircase without a landing. It is still true that, 
as far as more than ninety per cent, of the children are 
concerned, the primary school is like the rope which 
the Indian ]uggler throws into the air to end in vacancy ; 
that while in the United States some twenty-eight per 
cent, of the children entering the primary schools pass to 
high schools, in England the percentage passing from 
elementary to secondary schools is less than ten, and that 
of those who do, the majority have hitherto left at, or soon 
after, their fifteenth birthday and after a school course 
of less than three years. 

Nor can it be said that there is at present any clear con- 
viction in England as to the part which secondary educa- 
tion should play in the life of the community or as to the 
lines upon which it should develop in the future. There 
are some signs, indeed, as we point out below, that the 
policy advocated in this pamphlet has commended itself 
to certain of the more progressive Local Education 
Authorities, several of whom — we need mention only the 
West Riding and Durham among the counties, and 
Darlington and West Ham among the county boroughs — 
appear to envisage as their goal the development of full- 
time secondary education to such a point that the 
majority of children may be transferred to a secondary 
school at eleven, and remain in it to the age of sixteen. 
But the earlier tradition, which subordinated educational 
to social and economic considerations, dies hard. Apart 
from the children of the well-to-do, who receive secondary 
education almost as a matter of course, and whose parents 
appear usually, though quite mistakenly, to believe that 
they pay the whole cost of it, secondary education is still 
commonly regarded as a "privilege" to be conceded only 
to the exceptionally brilliant or fortunate. It is still 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 27 

possible for an association of manufacturers to protest 
against any wide extension of it for the rank and file of 
children on the ground that it is likely to be "unsuitable 
for the employment which they eventually enter."* It 
is still possible for the largest education authority in the 
country to propose to erect inequality of educational 
opportunity into a principle of public policy by solemnly 
suggesting, with much parade of philosophical argu- 
ments, that the interests of the community require that 
the children of well-to-do parents, who pay fees, should 
be admitted to public secondary schools on easier intel- 
lectual terms than the children of poor parents who can 
enter them only with free places, and that the children 
who are so contemptible as to be unable to afford second- 
ary education without assistance in the form of main- 
tenance allowances shall not be admitted unless they 
reach a higher intellectual standard still !' 

These survivals from the doctrines of 1870 have their 
significance. But they need not disturb us overmuch. 
It would be a grave injustice to employers to assume 
that the pronouncement of the Federation of British 
Industries represents the views of a majority even of its 
own members : as a matter of fact, indeed, it was immedi- 
ately repudiated by a considerable proportion of them. 
Against the special pleading of the London County 
Council can be set the declarations of Directors of Educa- 
tion and of educational theorists, the policy of twenty 
other Local Education Authorities, the policy of Parlia- 
ment itself. For, whatever the shortcomings of the Educa- 
tion Act of 1918, it did two things of capital importance. 
For the first time in English history it imposed on Local 
Education Authorities the duty of organising higher 

* Federation of British Industries Memorandum on Education 
(January, 1918), p. 4 : — 

At the same time they would very strongly advise that in 
selecting children for higher education care should be taken 
to avoid creating, as was done, for example, in India, a large 
class of persons whose education is unsuitable for the 
employment they eventually enter, 
s Scheme of the London County Council (July 21, 1920), pp. 81-83. 



28 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

education ; for the first time it declared that no child 
capable of profiting by higher education should be pre- 
vented from obtaining it by inability to pay fees. But 
in effect this last provision concedes in principle the very 
demand for universal secondary education which is 
urged by the educationalists and which has been for a 
generation the policy of the Labour movement. For 
what the most recent expert inquiry tells us is that 
seventy-five per cent, of the children in the primary 
schools are intellectually capable of profiting by full- 
time education up to sixteen.® If secondary education 
is to be so organised that three-quarters of the children 
are to pass from the primary school to one type or another 
of secondary school, then clearly the old conception 
both of "elementary" and of secondary education vanishes 
for good and all. The latter becomes the education of 
all normal children during the years of adolescence from 
eleven to sixteen ; the former the preparatory education 
of children of whom three out of four will continue it 
in a secondary school. The doctrine of the parallel 
systems with links between them disappears. The 
doctrine of the single system, with two stages embracing 
various types of institution, takes its place. 

It is such a system which it is the policy of the Labour 
movement to establish and of this book to commend. 
In doing so, we would emphasise the word "various." 
There must be local initiative and experiment. There 
is no probability that what suits Lancashire or the 
West Riding will appeal equally to London or Glouces- 
tershire or Cornwall, and if education is to be an inspira- 
tion, not a machine, it must reflect the varying social 
traditions, and moral atmospheres, and economic condi- 
tions of different localities. And within the secondary 
system of each there must be more than one type of 
school. Like most of our educational terminology, the 
phrase "secondary education" is not free from ambiguity. 
No statutory definition of it, so far as we are aware, has 
ever been given. But, for our purpose, it is sufficient to 

• Report of the Departmental Committee on Scholarships and 
Free Places, 1920 (Cmd. 968), p. 9. 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 29 

adopt the extremely catholic definition of a secondary 
school given by the Board as *'a school which provides 
a progressive course of general education suitable for 
pupils of an age range at least as wide as from twelve 
to seventeen."^ Defined by the stage of life for which it 
provides, it is the education of the adolescent. Defined 
by its curriculum, it assumes that the preparatory work 
of developing the simpler processes of thought and 
expression has already been accomplished, and that its 
pupils are ready to be introduced, at least in outline and 
by degrees, to the subjects which will interest them as 
adults and an acquaintance with which may reasonably 
be expected from educated men and women. Defined 
by its purpose, its main aim is not to impart the special- 
ised technique of any particular trade or profession, but 
to develop the faculties which, because they are the 
attribute of man, are not peculiar to any particular class 
or profession of men, and to build up the interests which, 
while they may become the basis of specialisation at a 
later stage, have a value extending beyond their utility 
for any particular vocation, because they are the condi- 
tion of a rational and responsible life in society. 

These general characteristics distinguish the work of 
the secondary school from other types of education and 
determine its essential quality. As compared with 
primary education, it is concerned with children at an 
age when they are conscious of new powers and eager to 
come into contact with "real" interests. As compared 
with technical education, it aims not at the intensive 
cultivation of some particular aptitude, but, especially 
in its earlier stages, at laying broad foundations of know- 
ledge by "a curriculum sufficiently comprehensive in 
range to avoid undue narrowing of outlook, and suffi- 
ciently varied in character to arouse latent interests and 
dormant capacities." It must, in short, be liberal in 
spirit, must develop so as to keep pace with the develop- 
ment of the pupils, and must retain them sufficiently 

^ Regulations for Secondary Schools, 1921 (Cmd. 1399), chap. I, 
par. 1. 



80 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

long to enable the course not merely to be a truncated 
fragment, but to possess, on its own plane, some degree 
of unity and completeness. 

Provided, however, that these general characteristics 
are present, the greater the variety among secondary 
schools the better for education. They will naturally con- 
tinue to differ in the future, though not, if may be hoped, 
so widely as to-day, in the length of the school life of their 
pupils, and therefore in the nature of the course which 
can be offered them, some leaving at sixteen, others 
remaining till seventeen or eighteen. Though the subjects 
required by the Board, English, one foreign language, 
geography, history, mathematics, science, and drawing, 
may provide a common nucleus of study, the degree of 
emphasis laid on the linguistic, as compared with the 
mathematical and scientific side, will naturally vary from 
school to school. There will be schools which, without 
sacrificing the main object of providing a good general 
education, will properly develop a rural or an indus- 
trial "bias," and which will make a generous use of 
the interest of boys and girls in "practical" work. 
There will be others which make a speciality f 
humanistic studies. The demand of Labour for the 
democratising of secondary education implies no wish to 
sacrifice the peculiar excellence of particular institutions 
to a pedantic State-imposed uniformity, still less to 
forgo the amenities of culture for the sake of a utilitarian 
efficiency. The Labour movement may reasonably claim, 
indeed, that those for whom it speaks have been freer from 
educational Philistinism than many whose educational 
opportunities have been greater. Its desire is that what 
is weak in the higher education of the country should be 
strengthened, and that what is already excellent should 
be made accessible to all. 

That task will demand the continuous effort of a 
generation. It is for the Labour movement to see that 
the new order is brought into existence with the utmost 
possible rapidity, and that no proposal of cheap alterna- 
tives is allowed to divert effort and money from its 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 31 

creation. Thanks to the educational and social develop- 
ments of the last generation, the time has come when 
Matthew Arnold's warning, "organise your secondary 
education," can be given a wider application than it 
could bear in the seventies of last century. What is 
needed now is to provide it not merely for the middle 
classes, to whom his appeal was primarily addressed, 
but for the children of the whole nation. In pressing 
for a general system of full-time education up, at least, 
to sixteen. Labour can claim with some confidence that 
it is both voicing the demands of nearly all enlightened 
educationalists and working for the only organisation 
of education which will enable the community to make 
the best use of the most precious of its natural resources 
— the endowments of its children. 

We are far, indeed, from making the best use of it to- 
day. "The fact to bear in mind at present," The Times 
has truly said, "is that the highway which Mr. Fisher 
himself helped to construct is effectively blocked. . . . 
Our educational system is not economical because of the 
waste of power in the elementary schools. The whole 
'elementary system' imposes a wrong upon the 
2,000,000 children who are ripe for secondary education 
and are denied it. Mr. Fisher, at Romford, talked of 
there being no need for an official definition of elementary 
and secondary education. We entirely agree ; but in fact 
there is in existence 'elementary' education whether it 
is defined or not, a type of education which is not second- 
ary, which does not supply an outfit for life, a truncated 
type of instruction which is condemned on all hands and 
is responsible for a truncated type of training for 
teachers. The whole system is wrong and cannot be 
made right by waiving aside definitions. The country 
wants no definitions, it wants to be rid, once and for all, 
of 'elementary' education. Every child in this country 
who is intellectually fit for secondary education is 
entitled to it under the express provisions of the Act of 
1918, and yet 2,000,000 children are clamouring for it 
only to meet ivith a blank refusal, not really on the 
ground of economy at all but because ive insist on 

c 



82 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

maintaining an ^elementary' system supplemented by a 
totally inadeqiiate number of so-called secondary schools, 
containing a large percentage of children who have no 
capacity for secondary education at all. The whole 
system is wrong, costly, and inefficient. If the Washing- 
ton Conference succeeds in realising money for 'the pro- 
gress of civilisation,' the first claim on its use is surely 
possessed by the children of England. Reconstruction 
and a better world have been promised to the nation as 
a reward for the losses and tireless labours of the Great 
War. There is one supreme way of reconstruction : the 
creation of such a system of education as will secure the 
physical, the mental, and the spiritual uplifting of the 
present generation of children. Those children will 
determine the whole character of the world, and moneys 
that can be saved from war should be devoted to this, 
the main, security for peace. But no money spent will 
make the present educational system efficient or effective. 
The system has got to be transformed, and every child 
has to be assured of the certainty that his capacities will 
be wrought into their true values. That cannot be the 
case while local authorities have to work under the Act 
of 1870. America has no system of 'elementary' educa- 
tion. It stands for primary education followed by 
universal secondary education, and all that springs from 
such a basis. Germany, it is true, still holds down the 
children of the agricultural and industrial classes to a 
specific limited education. Yet even in Germany the 
barriers are falling and the highway is opening. In 
England at present the highway is closed. The most 
that can be hoped under the present system is an 
increased drift of children of uncertain intelligence into 
the overcrowded and unorganised secondary schools, 
which are devoted according to Mr. Fisher *to the active 
business of getting over the examination stile.' Even 
if the active business were carried on with any clear 
measure of success, it is not true secondary education. 
A true secondary system, part and parcel of the people's 
schools, is yet to be found."" 

8 The Times Educational Supplement, November 9, 1921. 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 33 

For the Labour movement itself the issue is 
vital. The organisation of education on lines of 
class, which, though quahfied in the last twenty- 
years, has characterised the English system of 
public education since its very inception, has been at 
once a symptom, an effect, and a cause of the control 
of the lives of the mass of men and women by a privi- 
leged minority. The very assumption on which it is 
based, that all that the child of the workers needs is 
"elementary education" — as though the mass of the 
people, like anthropoid apes, had fewer convolutions in 
their brains than the rich — is in itself a piece of insolence. 
It has been maintained, in spite of repeated demands by 
the Labour Party and the Trades Union Congress for 
free and universal secondary education, because those 
who have hitherto governed the nation, believing, and 
believing with justice, that ignorance and docility go 
hand in hand, have taken care to ration the education 
of the workers in doses small enough to be innocuous to 
the established order. Organised Labour has fought 
many ringing battles against that odious doctrine of 
class domination in the world of industry, and will fight 
more in the future. But, if it is to liberate the lives of 
the rising generation, it must also emancipate their 
minds. It must lay the foimdations of a democratic 
society not only in the workshop and in Parliament, but 
in the schools. 



CHAPTER II 

THE PRESENT POSITION OF 
SECONDARY EDUCATION 

IN the present chapter we endeavour to present in a 
summary form certain broad and elementary facts 
as to public secondary education in England, in 
particular the evidence as to the unsatisfied demand 
for secondary education, the number of children entering 
secondary schools, and the length of the school life. The 
questions involved are obviously of the first importance. 
If there is a keen demand among parents for higher 
education, then the community can proceed to increase 
the facilities for obtaining it without any anxiety lest 
they should not be utilised. If children pass easily to a 
secondary school, and neither are refused because there 
are no available school places nor prevented from enter- 
ing by the poverty of their parents, then, other things 
being equal, educational opportunities are widely 
distributed, and the nation is making an intelligent use of 
its human resources. If, having entered a secondary 
school, nearly all of them remain till sixteen and a sub- 
stantial proportion to seventeen or eighteen, then not 
only is the school course long enough to have a profound 
effect on the character and intellect of the vast majority 
of children, but there is a large reservoir in the public 
secondary schools, fed from all classes of the community, 
upon which the Universities and the professions can draw 
for recruits. If the majority of boys and girls receive a 
full-time education up to sixteen, then, what is even more 
important, quite apart from the selection of special talent 
for special cultivation, the rank and file of the community 
will carry into their v/orking lives the idealism, the 
corporate loyalty, the intellectual alertness which are 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 35 

fostered during the impressionable years of adolescence 
by the life of a good school, and their outlook will 
gradually permeate and transform the whole structure 
of society, as, with all the difficulties which have con- 
fronted the primary school, it has been largely trans- 
formed since 1870 by primary education. To some of 
these larger considerations we return in a later chapter. 
At present we are concerned only to set out the facts, and, 
where possible, the figures, with such comments as may 
be needed to explain them. 



THE DEMAND FOR SECONDARY EDUCATION 

The most obvious of the facts revealed by an inquiry 
into secondary education is the growth which has taken 
I place in the last ten years in the public demand for it. 
It is sometimes suggested that if the percentage of chil- 
dren who pass from primary to secondary schools is small 
— a point to which we return later* — the explanation is to 
be found, not in any lack of facilities, but in the indif- 
ference of the parents. Whether there has even been in 
recent times a period in which, given a sufficient number 
of school places and adequate machinery for overcoming 
the economic obstacles to higher education, there were 
not a large number of parents eager to secure it for their 
children, is a point which we need not discuss, since it is 
only in the last twenty years that these conditions have 
begun to be brought into existence. Before 1902 a 
system of public secondary education hardly existed. 
Before 1907 there was no compulsory provision of free 
places. Public policy was dominated by what may be 
called the doctrine of 1870, according to which 
"elementary" education was not one stage in a course 
extending from childhood through adolescence, but a 
special and self-sufficient kind of education designed for 
a particular section of the community, and that attitude 
met, if not with approval, at least with acquiescence, on 
the part of the great mass of working class opinion. The 

1 See Section II of this chapter and Chapter III. 



36 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

result was that the advantages of secondary education, 
which in any case was almost unobtainable, were hardly 
considered, and that a generation ago working class 
parents, with rare exceptions, no more thought of sending 
their children to a secondary school than they thought 
of sending them to Oxford or Cambridge. 

The change in the supply of secondary education 
which has taken place since 1902 has already been 
described. But it is not always realised, except by those 
directly engaged in educational administration, that, 
greatly as it has increased, it is far from having kept pace 
with the growth of the demand. Almost the most 
impressive feature of the world of public education to-day 
is the fact that, in spite of the economic obstacles which 
prevent many children, as to whose ability there is no 
doubt, from entering secondary schools, of the serious 
difficulties arising, especially in rural districts, from the 
distance which must often be travelled in order to reach 
school, and of the competitive examination which is the 
normal test of admission, the number of children applying 
for admission to secondary schools to-day largely exceeds 
the accommodation available for receiving them. 

The fact is that in the last fifteen years a revolution has 
taken place in the educational outlook of a considerable 
section of the population, the effects of which are only 
now beginnmg to be felt. On the one hand, the increase 
in the number of secondary schools, the recjuirement by 
the Board since 1905 that intending teachers should have 
a secondary education at least up to sixteen, and the 
establishment since 1907 of a system of free places for 
children from the primary schools, have all combined to 
make secondary education a familiar idea among classes 
who thirty years ago had hardly heard of it. On the 
other hand, during the years from 1914 to 1918 a con- 
siderable number of families found themselves, 
temporarily at least, in improved economic circum- 
stances, and used part of such margin of income as they 
possessed to send their children to a secondary school, or, 
if they were attending one already, to keep them there 
longer. When in Bradford a plebiscite was taken of the 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 37 

parents of children who, after entering for the scholar- 
ship examination, had failed to secure admission to a 
secondary school, in order to ascertain whether, if 
secondary school accommodation were available, 
they would be prepared to keep their children 
at school to fifteen-!, more than 1,000 out of 
2,800 replied in the affirmative. That result is typical 
of the degree to which the provision of a secondary 
education for one or more of their children has to-day 
become the aspiration of families who, tv/enty years ago, 
would have withdrawn them from school at the earliest 
age which the law allowed. One consequence is that, 
though the secondary school population has more than 
doubled within the last twelve years, the increase, so far 
from satisfying the demand, has given it an additional 
impetus by spreading more widely the knowledge both of 
the meaning of secondary education and of the possibility, 
under favourable circumstances, of obtaining it. In the 
words of the Scheme of Education prepared by the 
London County Council : *'It is perhaps the best testi- 
mony to the influence of the secondary schools that at the 
present time they cannot accommodate the large number 
who are seeking admission to them. They have helped 
to create a demand which has outrun the supply. "- 

How widespread that demand is, is emphasised again 
and again in the schemes prepared by Local Education 
Authorities under the Act of 1918. In London, where 
in March, 1919, there was accommodation for 18,315 
boys in the public secondary schools, the numbers 
actually in attendance were 18,882. "One of the out- 
standing features in connection with education," states 
the Birmingham Education Authority, "is the great 
increase in the numbers of children anxious to enter 
secondary schools and capable of profiting thereby. To 
meet the demand, the various schools, with the permis- 
sion of the Board, have granted admission almost to the 
point of overcrowding. Despite this the Authority has 
ijeen reluctantly compelled to refuse admission to numbers 

« Scheme of the London County Council (July 21, 1921), p. 28. 



88 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

of well qualified children." From Leeds comes the 
statement that "it seems impossible just now to meet 
adequately the demand for secondary education . . . . ; 
it does not seem unreasonable to suggest that during the 
next ten years there will be required at least 2,000 
additional secondary school places." Manchester, 
Salford, Bradford, Stockport, Liverpool, Wallasey, 
Wakefield, Southampton — to mention only a few towns 
out of many — all call attention to the increased number 
of applicants for admission to secondary schools and the 
present shortage of accommodation. Nor is it only the 
large urban authorities with whom the problem is acute. 
It is emphasised by the authorities of Staffordshire, 
where the director speaks of "the sudden outburst of zeal 
for secondary education," of Kent, Devonshire, Essex, 
Rutland, Warwickshire, and Lancashire. In the County 
of Durham^ states the Director of Education, where the 
existing secondary schools provide for 3,000 children, 
"although the amount of secondary school accommoda- 
tion is so restricted, and many of the parents know how 
difficult it is to secure admission on account of the 
dearth, about 5,000 elementary school scholars apply 
annually for admission to secondary schools."^ 

The clearest indication of the growing appetite for 
secondary education is the fact that large numbers of 
children are at present refused admission to secondary 
schools, not because they do not reach the intellectual 
standard demanded, but because there is no accommoda- 
tion for them. The gravity of the present situation is 
shown by the following table* : — 

" For the facts and quotations in this paragraph the reader is 
referred to the schemes prepared under the Act of 1918 for the 
authorities of the areas mentioned. The more elaborate of them — 
mention may be made in particuhvr of those of London, Kent, 
Staffordsliire, Durham, and Birmingham — contain a mine of 
valuable information as to the present position of English education. 

* Report of the Departmental Committee on Scholarships and 
Free Places, 1920 (Cmd. 968), App. I, Table D. (It should be 
noted that some imsuccessful candidates for free places are after- 
wards admitted as fee-paying pupils.) For fuller particulars see 
App. to this Memorandum, Table II. 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 



89 



(iv) 

No. of free 
places not 
taken up at 
beginning 
of 1919-20 




>o CO 


00 
CD 


o 1 
in \ 


05 

in 


(iii) 
Total of (i) and (ii) 




10,581 
7,470 


in 
1-^ 


1,804 
1,355 


05 
rH 

co" 


'6 


4,308 
3,908 


CO 

oo" 


in 05 

05 O 


CO 


o 


6,273 
3,562 


in 

CO 
00 

05" 


so CO 

in CO 

X I- 


CO 
rH 
CO__ 




(ii) 

No. of applicants to 

same whom school 

authorities would have 

been ready to admit 

had free places been 

available 


"cS 

o 
H 


5,386 
3,394 


o 

CO 

I- 

00 


1,343 
1,011 


»0 
CO 

of 


i2 


2,265 
1,595 


o 

CO 
00 

co" 


o ■<? 

CO ■* 


CO 

q_ 

rH 


O 

CQ 


3,121 
1,799 


o 

01 

05 


CO i^ 

O 00 
l> >0 


rH 


(i) 
No. of applicants for 
admission as fee- 
paying pupils to 
grant-aided secondary 
schools excluded at 
beginning of 1919-20 
for want of 
accommodation 




5,195 
4,076 


rH 

oT 


1-H •»« 

CO -4 

■* CO 


"0 

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00 


CO 

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2,043 
2,313 


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CO 


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T^ CD 
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w 




ir 

r" 

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01 

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•i 

W c 

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►4 C 


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Xi 

3 

2 

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XI 

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3 

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'a 

4- 
C 





40 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

It will be seen from these figures that, quite apart from 
any proposed extension of secondary education, the 
existing accommodation is gravely inadequate even to the 
present demand. Actually 9,271 children were excluded 
from secondary schools in England at the beginning of 
1919-20 because there was no accommodation of any 
kind for them, and a further 8,780 because, though they 
reached the standard required, there were not sufficient 
free places to make it possible to take them in. In 
1919-20, therefore, had the necessary provision been 
available, the secondary school population of England 
would have been increased by something over 18,000 
children, a number equal to between seven and eight 
per cent, of the existing population of grant-aided 
secondary schools, and rather more than the total popu- 
lation in grant-aided secondary schools in the counties 
and county boroughs of Cumberland, Durham, Northum- 
berland, and Westmoreland. If 500 is taken as the 
number of children in a secondary school, then, in order 
merely to meet the demand actually made in 1919-20, 
thirty-six more such schools would have been needed. 

In reality, of course, the number rejected is not an 
accurate measure of the number desirous of obtaining 
secondary education. On the one hand, as is pointed 
out by the Director of Education for the County of 
Durham in the passage quoted above, a considerable, 
though uncertain, number of parents refrain from apply- 
ing for the admission of their children to secondary 
schools, because they know that, in the present shortage 
of accommodation, their application is almost certain 
to be refused. On the other hand, these figures relate 
to England as a whole, and thus conceal the special 
deficiencies of the more backward areas. In South 
Staffordshire, for example, the Director of Education for 
the county states that the present secondary school popu- 
lation (to be increased by the creation of five new 
schools) is at what he describes as "the scandalously low 
rate"^ of 2.03 boys and 2.08 girls per 1,000 of the 
population. It is no consolation to a parent who sees 

* Scheme of Education, Staffordshire County Council l<2ducation 
Committee, p. 21 . 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 41 

his child deprived of a secondary education because he 
is not within reach of any school, in, say, Herefordshire 
or Huntingdon, to know that in Lancashire or the West 
Riding or London secondary schools are more abund- 
ant. The amount of accommodation must necessarily 
vary from area to area. But it would obviously be desir- 
able that it should bear some definite relation to the 
child population. The ideal to be aimed at, in short, 
would be that there should be a minimum standard of 
secondary school places based on the number of children 
in attendance at the primary schools. It would appear 
from the figures given in the Appendix, Tables I. and 
III., that that result is very far from being attained. 

These figures do not pretend to complete accuracy. 
But even when allowance is made for a considerable 
margin of error, it will be seen that there is nothing 
approaching a constant relation between the primary 
school population and the number of children attending 
public secondary schools, which, owing to the fact that 
the secondary schools are almost everywhere full to over- 
crowding, is for practical purposes equivalent to the 
secondary school accommodation. Broadly speaking, 
it would probably be true to say that the factors 
determining the supply of secondary school accom- 
modation are partly historical, partly economic, 
some districts which have to-day a relatively 
small population possessing a comparatively large number 
of old endowed schools, which have been converted since 
1902 into grant-earning secondary schools, others having 
made up for the lack of old foundations by possessing 
resources which enabled them to build county and 
municipal secondary schools. To some extent these two 
factors balance each other. But they are far from doing 
so entirely. West Ham is populous but poor; Cornwall 
sparsely populated but relatively well supplied with 
secondary schools. 

The result is that educational opportunities vary 
widely from district to district. As between urban and 
rural districts, in spite of the higher proportion of 
secondary to primary scholars shown by certain 



42 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

county authorities, it is normally the rural districts 
in which secondary education is least accessible. It is 
not merely that the proportion of children in secondary 
schools per 1,000 of the population is, on the whole, 
higher in county boroughs than in counties, but that the 
population of an agricultural district is not concentrated, 
and that therefore, even when a county is relatively well 
supplied with schools, their distance from the homes of 
many of the children is a serious obstacle. A single 
example may serve to illustrate the conditions which, in 
some rural areas, still make secondary education almost 
unobtainable by a considerable proportion of the popula- 
tion. Gloucestershire (thanks to the piety and wool 
trade of the later middle ages) is by no means badly 
supplied with secondary schools. But out of its eleven 
urban districts there is one, and out of its twenty-two 
rural districts there are actually ten, in which no 
secondary school at all is in existence. For a population, 
in fact, of over 50,000 persons, with some 5,000 children 
between eleven and fifteen years of age, secondary educa- 
tion is out of the question. It is obviously impossible 
to state what its demand for secondary education would 
be in different circumstances, because the demand does 
not become vocal till facilities for satisfying it are brought 
into existence. What is clear is that to the unsatisfied 
demand, which, as proved by applications for admission 
to secondary schools, already exists, must be added a 
large potential demand which only requires opportunity 
to find expression. If the experience during the last 
decade of those areas which are relatively well equipped 
with secondary schools is a safe indication, the first result 
of bringing secondary education within reach of sections 
of the population to whom it is at present almost inaccess- 
ible will be to create a demand for it with which only the 
most strenuous effort will enable the supply to keep pace. 

II 

THE NUMBER OF CHILDREN ATTENDING 

PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOLS 
We turn next to the question of the diffusion of 
secondary education — the question, that is to say, of the 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 43 

number of children who, at one time and another, for 
a shorter or longer period, do in fact enter a secondary 
school, and of the proportion which such children form 
of those leaving the primary schools.® 

The latest estimate is that contained in the report of 
the Departmental Committee on Scholarships and Free 
Places,' which gives the number of children in grant- 
aided secondary, junior technical, and similar schools 
per 1,000 of the population. 

The figures are as follows : — 

• This question is crucial, but the answer to it is not easy. It is 
not merely that no reliable information exists as to the endowed 
boarding schools and private schools preparatory to them, with 
which we are not concerned. It is that no satisfactory figures are 
available even as to those schools which are part of the system of 
public education. The Board publishes statistics of the number of 
boys and girls in schools aided by grants and schools recognised as 
efficient. But it does not state how many children are in secondary 
schools per thousand of the population in each area ; still less does 
it reveal, what is more important, the number of children in each 
area annually leaving primary schools, and the number of children 
entering secondary schools from them and from other sources. 
Figures have from time to time been published by private 
investigators, by official committees and commissions, and by 
Local Education Authorities. But they have the disadvantage 
that they appear rarely to be collected on the same basis. Some 
inquiries estimate the number of children in secondary schools 
per thousand of population, some the number per thousand children 
in the corresponding age groups, some the number per thousand 
children between ten and eleven in the elementary schools, and some 
the percentage of children leaving the primary schools who 
enter secondary schools in a given year. The commonest basis is 
probably the first. It is also the least illuminating, but has the 
advantage of making possible a comparison with foreign countries, 
where it appears to be usually adopted. The most useful, if it were 
available, would be the last. In view of the great importance of 
the subject, it may be suggested that the Board should publish 
every year, in its annual report, figures (a) of the children leaving 
the primary schools in the area of each authority, (6) the number 
of children from primary schools entering secondary schools 
with and without free places, (c) the number of children entering 
secondary schools from private schools. Labour members of Local 
Education Authorities should press for the annual publication of 
similar figures for their respective areas. 

^ Report of the Departmental Committee on Scholarships and 
Free Places, 1920 (Cmd. 968), App. I, Table A. 



44 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 



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SECONDARY EDUCATION 45 

It will be seen from this table that, in the first term 
of the year 1919-20, the proportion of children 
in grant-aided secondary schools (including pre- 
paratory departments), junior technical, and similar 
schools was 8.7 per 1^000 of the population in England 
and 10.2 in Wales. If preparatory departments and 
junior technical and similar schools are excluded, it was 
7.6 per 1,000 in England and 10.05 per 1,000 in Wales. 
Between different parts of the country there are consider- 
able variations. Everywhere, except in the East Central 
Division, the number of children per 1,000 in secondary 
schools was higher in the county boroughs than in the 
counties. The area in which it was greatest was in the 
county boroughs of the South-Westem Division, where 
it was 12.8, and of the North-Eastem Division, where it 
was 12.2. It was lowest in the counties of the Northern 
Division (6.1), and of the North-Western Division (6.2). 

Statistics of the number of children per 1,000 attend- 
ing a secondary school are useful for the purpose of 
comparison with foreign countries, and for offering a 
simple standard by which Local Education Authorities can 
work. They do not, however, answer the question : How 
many children pass from primary to secondary schools ? 
And this question is vital, since upon the answer to it 
depends whether equality of educational Opportunity 
is a reality or a fiction. Unfortunately, no entirely 
satisfactory evidence on this point is available. The 
figures as to the composition of the population of second- 
ary schools, which are sometimes quoted as proving that 
secondary education is easily accessible, are not, of 
course, relevant. What they show is that of the children 
who enter a secondary school roughly sixty to seventy 
per cent, have come from a primary school. But, 
in so far as secondary school accommodation is deficient, 
or as parents of small means are unable to send their 
children to secondary schools, the fact that about two- 
thirds of the pupils in them have previously attended 
primary schools would be quite compatible with 
secondary education being — what in fact it still very 
largely is — a luxury obtained by only an insignificant 



46 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

percentage of children. What it is important to know, 
and what these figures do not tell us, is not merely what 
proportion of secondary school pupils have attended a 
primary school, but what proportioyi of children leav- 
ing the primary school begin, at any rate, a secondary 
education. 

While, however, no exact answer can be given to this 
question, estimates have from time to time been put 
forward by means of which an approximate judgment of 
the situation can be formed. In 1912, in a memorandum 
prepared for the Royal Commission on the Civil Service, 
the Board of Education stated that "from calculations 
recently made by the Board for other purposes it appears 
that of the children leaving the public elementary schools 
in that year (i.e., in 1911) about one child in twenty-three 
goes to a public secondary school." The Departmental 
Committee on Juvenile Education in Relation to Employ- 
ment after the War made the following estimate of the 
number and percentage of children in each age group 
"under full-time instruction in State-aided and other* 
secondary schools recognised by the Board of 
Education" : — 



12-13 13-14 14-15 15-16 16-17 17-18 

32,709 36,455 30,722 20,628 11,522 4,005 

(4-68) (5-28) (4-47) (3-08) (1-71) (0-74) 

Finally, in 1920 the Departmental Committee on 
Scholarships and Free Places published figures of the 
number of children admitted to grant-aided secondary 
schools, junior technical schools, and similar institutions 
during 1918-19, compared with the number of children 
between the ages of ten and eleven in the primary 

* Final Report of the Departmental Committee on Juvenile 
Education in Relation to Employment after the War, 1017 (Cmd, 
8512). The " other secondary schools " were presumably schools 
" recognised as eflicicnt " by the Board. The figures were probably 
out of date when they appeared, as they seem to have been based 
on returns relating to the year 1911 (sec Report, p. 31). 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 



47 



schools on January 31, 1919. The most important facts 
which they reveal are set out in the follo^\dng table" : — 





Percentage of admis- 






sions of children/rom 


Percentage of total 




public elementary 


admissions to grant- 




schools into grant- 


aided secondary 




earning secondary 


schools, junior tech- 




schools, junior tech- 


nical schools, and 




nical institutes, and 


similar schools to 




similar schools to 


numbers in public 




number in public 


elementary schools 




elementary schools 


between ten and 




between ten and 


eleven 




eleven 




England— 


■ 




Counties 


8-8 


13-3 


County boroughs . 


10-7 


150 


Total 


9-5 


13-9 


Wales — 






Counties 


14-6 


16-3 


County boroughs . 


12-3 


140 


Total 


14-4 


15-8 



These figures do not show with precision the propor- 
tion of cliildren who pass from primary schools to 
secondary schools. But they make possible an approxi- 
mate estimate. The Board's calculation for the year 
1911 may be taken as a minimutn, which is now 
out of date. In that year the proportion of 
ex-elementary school children entering secondary 
schools was 4.3 per cent., and since the popula- 
tion of English grant-a ided secondary schools increased 

» Cmd. 968, App. I, Table B. The first column in the table 
printed above (percentage of admissions from pubHc elementary 
schools, (fee.) does not appear in Table B of the Report, but has been 
calculated from the figures contained in it. For the figures on 
which those given above are based see Table II in Appendix of the 
present Memorandum^ ^ 



48 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

from 151,045 in 1911 to 308,372 in 1919, it may be 
assumed that the proportion has increased. On the 
other hand, the figure given by the Departmental Com- 
mittee on Scholarships and Free Places is a maximum^ 
and it would not be correct to suppose that the proportion 
borne by entrants to secondary schools to children leaving 
primary schools was in fact represented by it. It will 
be seen that in the year 1918-1919 the entrants from 
primary schools to grant-aided secondary schools, junior 
technical schools, and similar institutions stood to each 
100 of the boys and girls in primary schools between 
ten and eleven (at which age entrance to secondary 
schools begins) in the proportion of 9.5 in England and 
of 14.4 in Wales. This proportion is obviously higher 
than that which would be reached by taking the figure 
of entrants into grant-aided secondary schools alone. 
Further, as up to 1921 children left the primary 
schools from the age groups thirteen to fourteen and 
fourteen to fifteen, in addition to entering part-time 
employment at twelve, this figure is also higher than 
that which would result from comparing entrants to 
secondary schools with all children leaving primary 
schools. 

Where exactly between the minimum of 4.3 per cent, 
and the maximum of 9.5 per cent, the figure ought at 
the present moment actually to be placed it is not easy 
to determine. In Manchester, which is certainly not 
abnormally backward, the Director of Education states 
that "it would be approximately correct to say that out 
of 12,000 children finally leaving the Manchester elemen- 
tary schools every year only about GOO enter the 
Manchester secondary schools.'" It must, of course, be 
borne in mind that the number of C7it rants is not to be 
read as implying that an equivalent number of children 
remain under education in secondary schools for any 
considerable length of time — a point to which we return 
later. As is shown by the figures quoted above from the 

"Spurley Hey, Director of FAucatlon, Manchester Educational 
Problems (December, 1918), p. 24, 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 49 

Report on Juvenile Education in Relation to Employment 
after the War, the school life of most of them is deplor- 
ably short; the percentage of each age group receiving 
secondary education is, in fact, at its maximum between 
thirteen and fourteen, and falls rapidly after fourteen. 
Further, it must be remembered that of the pupils in 
secondary schools a considerable proportion have sought 
admission to them with a view to becoming qualified as 
teachers. It is, of course, eminently desirable that 
intending teachers should receive a secondary school 
education. But in considering the influence of public 
secondary education on national life, it is proper to 
remember that hitherto it has been largely, though not 
predominantly, occupied with providing recruits for a 
single profession, that of teaching. 

Ill 
THE DURATION OF THE SCHOOL LIFE 

In the preceding section we have been concerned with 
the entrants to public secondary schools. But obviously, 
in order to form an opinion of the diffusion of secondary 
education, it is necessary to know not only the numbers 
entering the secondary schools in the first instance, but 
the average length of their school life. Between about 
five and nine per cent, of the children leaving the primary 
schools are admitted to secondary schools. How long 
do they remain in them? 

The short duration of the school life among boys and 
girls admitted to secondary schools has been a constant 
complaint of educational reformers for the past twenty 
years. The advantage of even a short period of attend- 
ance at a secondary school must not, it is true, be under- 
estimated, nor must remedies be proposed which would 
lengthen it only at the cost of drastically reducing the 
number entering secondary schools in the first instance. 
Even if the supply of free places and maintenance allow- 
ances is very largely increased, economic pressure will 
continue to compel a large number of parents to with- 
draw their children from school at, or soon after, their 



50 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

fifteenth birthday. To lay down (as was suggested by 
the Departmental Committee on Scholarships and Free 
Places) that only those children should enter a secondary 
school who are prepared to remain in it to at least sixteen 
would be, in effect, to deprive a considerable number of 
children of any secondary education at all on the ground 
that it is desirable for them to obtain more of it. We 
are inclined, therefore, to question the wisdom of the 
paragraph (chapter I., paragraph 2) introduced into the 
Regulations of 1921, which declares that a school will not 
be recognised for payment of grants unless . . . ."the 
school life of the pupils normally extends to at least the 
age of sixteen." It is, of course, most desirable that 
children should remain at school till that age. But 
can it honestly be said that the community has 
taken sufficient pains to smooth the road to higher educa- 
tion to be in a position to impose disabilities on those 
who travel only part of the way along it ? 

While, however, the expediency of insisting that all 
children entering a secondary school shall remain till at 
least sixteen may be doubted, the emphasis of the Board 
of Education on the importance of lengthening the school 
life will command general approval. However much 
value may be attached to even a short period spent in 
the environment of a good secondary school, it will be 
generally agreed that, up, at least, to sixteen, each 
successive year gives a more than proportionate 
return. It is in the later parts of the school course that 
a child reaps much of the benefit of the work which has 
gone before, and every pupil who leaves before the age 
of sixteen represents, if not, as is sometimes said, a waste 
of educational resources, at least a plan of development 
which has been interrupted before it could mature. 

The following figures'' show (i) the average leaving age 
of boys and girls attending grant-aided secondary schools 
from 1907-1913; (ii) the average length of their school 
life ; (iii) their age distribution. 

^^ See the unuual reports of the Board of Education. 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 51 

Average Leaving Age 

1907-10 1908-11 1909-12 1910-13 

Boys 15-6 15-7 15-7 15-7 

Girls 160 160 160 160 

Average Length of School Life 

1907-10 1908-11 1909-12 1910-13 

Boys 2-7 2-8 2-8 2-9 

Girls 2-7 2-9 2-10 21 1 

Age Distribution of Secondary School Pupils 

October 1 Under 10 10-12 12-16 16-18 18+ Total 

1914 14,385 30,468 120,176 14,488 090 180,507 

1915 15,710 33,213 124,910 14,646 858 189,487 

1916 17,225 36,317 130,306 14,096 815 198,759 

1917 19,577 40,709 141,498 14,506 689 216,979 

1918 23,187 48,723 157,559 16,018 703 246,190 

1919 27,027 56,359 177,988 19,593 1,038 282,005 

1920 29,232 60,505 194,665 22,762 1,208 308,372 

These figures show that, while the school life had some- 
what lengthened between 1907 and 1913, it was still 
lamentably short. On the average, boys left at just over 
fifteen and a half, after spending two and three-quarter 
years in school, girls at sixteen, after spending just under 
three years. Complete figures for a later date than 1913 
are not obtainable, but such information as is available 
does not suggest that there has been any substantial 
change. It should be observed, further, that in so far 
as a lengthening of the school life has taken place, it has 
been due rather to a reduction of the age of admission 
than to a postponement of the age of leaving, children 
under ten forming 7.9 per cent, of all secondary school 
pupils in 1914, and 9.4 per cent, in 1920. The result is 
deplorable. It is that, as the following figures show,'^ 
the age group containing the largest number of second- 
ary school children is actually that from thirteen to 
fourteen, and that the smallest is between sixteen and 
seventeen. 

*^ Final Report of the Departmental Committee on Juvenile 
Education in Relation to Employment after the War, 1917 
(Cmd. 8512). 



52 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 



Age group 12-13 18-14 14-15 15-16 16-17 17-18 

Number 32,709 36,455 30,722 20,628 11,522 4,905 

Percentage of 

all children in 

same age - 

group 4-68 5-28 4-47 3-08 1-71 0-74 

In other words wastage begins immediately after the 
fourteenth birthday, and at the age of sixteen to seven- 
teen, the age immediately preceding entry into a Univer- 
sity, less than two per cent, of the boys and girls of the 
country were receiving, when these figures were pub- 
lished, a full-time education in a public secondary school. 

One other point deserves attention, because it reveals 
the economic reasons which shorten the school life. The 
following figures give the average school life and leaving 
age of a group of boys and girls in the year 1912-13, 
distinguishing between fee-paying and free pupils : — 



TOMTIT AVTl 


Number who 

left under 

twelve years 

of age 


Pupils who left after r 
twelve years of a 


eaching 


AND Wales 


Total 
No. 


Average school 
life (omitting 

school life below 
age of twelve) 


Average 

age 

at 

leaving 


Boys — 

(i) Fee-paying 
pupils . . . 
(ii) Free pupils 


1,981 
86 


16,588 
8,319 


2-6 
3-3 


15-5 
1510 


(iii) Total 


2,067 


24,907 


2-9 


157 


Girls— 

(i) Fee-paying 
pupils . . . 
(ii) Free pupils 


1,376 
39 


12,088 
7,253 


2-6 
310 


15-8 
16-6 


(iii) Total 


1,415 


19,341 


30 


160 



It will be seen that among the boys the free pupils 
remained at school on the average nine months, and 
among the girls sixteen months, longer than the fee-pay- 
ing pupils. The moral is obvious. If the community 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 53 

desire to increase the number of children in the advanced 
stages of secondary education, it must increase the 
provision of free places. If the public will find the 
money the pupils will find themselves. ^^ 

^' It should be noted, however, that the discrepancy is somewhat 
exaggerated in the figures given above, since some Authorities 
require free-placers to sign an agreement to remain at school till a 
certain age. 



CHAPTER III 

THE PROGRAMME OF LABOUR 



THE NEED OF INCREASING THE PUPILS IN 
SECONDARY SCHOOLS 

THE evidence summarised in the preceding 
chapter shows that the pupils in grant-aided 
secondary schools, junior technical schools, 
and similar institutions form about 8.7 per 
1,000 of the population in England and 10.2 in Wales, 
and that of the children leaving primary schools in 
England something over five per cent, and under nine 
per cent, are admitted for a shorter or longer period 
to secondary schools. It is evident that, compared with 
the conditions of thirty years ago, these figures repre- 
sent a genuine movement in the direction of democratis- 
ing secondary education. But it is evident also that 
that movement has hardly more than begun. As long 
as more than seven-eighths of the children who leave the 
primary schools do not even begin a course of higher 
education, and of those who begin it the majority end it 
before the age of fifteen, the waste of human capacity 
suffered by the community is as tragic as the baulked 
aspirations of children and their parents, and the so- 
called "educational ladder" is, not a ladder, but a greasy 
pole. The most urgent educational task before the 
nation is to take at the earliest possible date the 
measures needed to secure a large increase in the 
secondary school population. 

The paramount importance of securing a far wider 
diffusion of secondary education than exists to-day is 
probably, indeed, the point upon which there is at pre- 
sent the most general agreement among educationalists. 
It has been emphasised by Parliament, by Local Educa- 
tion Authorities, and by the Board of Education, as well 

54 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 65 

as by students of education. The Act of 1918, which 
for the first time has made the provision of secondary 
education a statutory duty, has laid upon Education 
Authorities the obligation of using their powers in such 
a way that "adequate provision shall be made to secure 
that children and young persons shall not be debarred 
from receiving the benefits of any form of education of 
which they are capable of profiting through inability to 
pay fees." Education Authorities themselves, as has 
been shown in a preceding chapter, have, with hardly an 
exception, stated that the provision for secondary 
education in their areas is gravely deficient. The most 
recent expert inquiry has stated that the secondary 
school population ought to be more than doubled, and, 
possibly, in a more distant future multiplied eight-fold, 
and has urged a large increase in the number of free 
places. The Times has pleaded for universal secondary 
education. The President of the Board of Education 
has stated that "the primary need of the moment is the 
multiplication of secondary schools."^ 

Nor can we afford to neglect the experience of other 
nations. England has gone farther than France and 
Germany to bridge the gulf between primary and 
secondary education. In most parts of the United 
States- and of the British Dominions it has never existed 
to the same extent. In the former in 1913, 14.4 per 
1,000 of the population were attending high schools, 
compared with 8.7 in England, and while less than nine 
per cent, of children leaving primary schools entered 
grant-aided secondary schools in England, the percentage 
of children entering primary schools in the United States 
who passed from them to high schools was actually 
twenty-eight. In the United States, as in England, the 
wastage during the secondary school course is heavy, 
and less than one-third of those who entered the high 
school appear to remain in it until their fourth year. But 

1 House of Commons, August 12, 1919. 

2 For facts and figures as to the United States of America see 
Sandiford, Comparative Education, pp. 58 seq., and for Canada, 
ibid., pp. 402 seq. 



66 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

in the United States secondary education is normally a 
continuation of primary education, not, as in England, 
a separate and parallel system, to which some slender 
bridges have been thrown. For a child to pass from 
the latter to the former is not an achievement attained 
only by exceptional ability or good fortune, but a 
common, and, in certain States, almost a normal, 
incident.' 

There is, therefore, a general agreement as to the 
necessity of increasing the number of pupils in secondary 
schools and, in particular, of smoothing the passage 
from primary to secondary education. In practice, 
however, that agreement is compatible with the widest 
diversity of opinion as to the extent of the provi- 
sion to be made. The Departmental Committee 
on Scholarships and Free Places,* while declining 
to commit itself positively to any definite figure, 
mentioned three standards as having been submitted 
to it, that of ten secondary school places per 1,000 
of the population proposed by the London County 
Council, which it regarded as a minimum ; that of twenty 
per 1,000, which it regarded itself as "a better basis for 
reasonable development," and that based on the opinion 
of educational experts that seventy-five per cent, of the 
children in the primary schools, roughly 2,250,000 
children, apart from those who have not attended a 
secondary school, were "intellectually capable of profit- 
ing by full-time instruction up to or beyond sixteen." If 
the first standard were adopted, the number of children 
attending secondary schools in England and Wales would 
be 360,000, or only 05,000 more than it is to-day; if the 
second, it would be 720,000; on the view that three- 
quarters of the children should attend secondary schools, 

■ Table III in the Appendix sliows (i) the number of children 
enrolled in grant-aided secondary schools in certain counties and 
county boroughs in England for each thousand in the primary 
schools ; (ii) the number of children enrolled in high schools in 
different States of the Union for each thousand in the primary 
schools. 

* Op. cit., pp. 9-10. 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 57 

the ratio of school places to the population would not, 
as now, be 8.7 per 1,000, nor even, as the committee think 
should be the standard for the immediate future, twenty 
per 1,000, but 62.5 per 1,000. The secondary school 
population would, in fact, be increased about eight-fold. 

The schemes of development submitted by Local 
Education Authorities show a similar diversity of opinion. 
Virtually all are agreed that, in order to be reasonably 
adequate, secondary school accommodation must be 
largely increased. But here their agreement ceases, and 
to the question, "What is adequate?" a variety of 
answers is given. The scheme of Gloucestershire looks 
forward to the time when secondary education will be 
universal — *'free and compulsory up to the age of six- 
teen." West Ham, while stating that "free full-time 
education for all to the age of sixteen" is "the goal of 
the development of the stage of educational advance with 
which the present scheme is concerned," proposes that 
in the immediate future secondary school accommodation 
shall be provided for the comparatively modest number 
of 8,000 children, or slightly over ten per 1,000 of the 
population. The London County Council is content to 
reaffirm the standard of ten per 1,000 of the population 
which was stated to be necessary as long ago as 1909, 
and proposes, as an alternative to further increasing 
secondary schools, to raise the accommodation of the 
central schools from 23,000 to 40,000 places. The 
counties of Durham and Devonshire propose to take as 
the guide to their immediate policy the ratio of twelve 
per 1,000 ; Kent of fifteen per 1,000 ; Norwich of eighteen 
per 1,000, and York of twenty per 1,000.® 

So far as the immediate task of meeting the demand 
for secondary education is concerned, these differences 
of opinion are not for the moment of any very great 
practical importance. The significant fact is that a large 
increase in the secondary school population is generally 
recognised to be essential. Even if the standard 
taken were only sixteen per 1,000, the effect would be 

* See the schemes of the authorities mentioned. 



58 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

approximately to double it. To find school places and to 
provide teachers for some 570,000 instead of 294,000 
children will demand all the energies of Local Educa- 
tional Authorities during the next five or ten years. To 
secure that, when provided, the places are occupied, that 
children are not debarred from secondary education by 
"inability to pay fees," and that a larger proportion 
remain to the age of sixteen will raise the whole ques- 
tion of the desirability of freeing secondary education. 

To that question we turn in a subsequent chapter. 
But opinion both as to the desirability of freeing 
secondary education and as to the figure to be 
taken as the standard of adequacy in the pro- 
vision of school places depends in the last resort upon 
the view which is held of the place of the secondary 
school in the educational system and of the proper 
relation between primary and secondary education. 
The different standards to which different authorities 
propose to work are due not merely to the varying econo- 
mic circumstances of different localities, but, at any 
rate, in some cases, to a radical, if sometimes not fully 
realised, divergence of educational and social theory. 
It would be a mistake to suppose that the general 
agreement as to the urgency of an immediate extension 
of secondary education makes it superfluous to consider 
the larger questions of policy involved. We ought in this 
matter to learn from past experience. The refusal to 
view the different stages of education as a unified whole, 
which was almost a principle (if not, indeed, the only 
principle) of public policy down to 1902, resulted in an 
unnatural division of primary from secondary education, 
in the starving of the secondary schools and the perver- 
sion of the primary schools from their proper function 
of providing a preparatory education, and in the multi- 
plication of makeshifts — higher grade schools, higher 
elementary schools, higher tops, evening classes — to 
repair the mischief caused by a divorce which should 
never have existed. 

What we have to ensure now is that, in the development 
of a system of higher education, that mistake is not 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 59 

repeated. There is ample room for variety of institu- 
tions, and no one would propose that experiment should 
be sacrificed to any pedantic passion for uniformity. 
But between the policy of what is virtually universal 
secondary education, urged by some Local Education 
Authorities and supported by the statement of the 
Departmental Committee that seventy-live per cent, of 
the children in the primary schools are capable of 
profiting by full time instruction up to sixteen or beyond, 
and the policy of providing secondary school places for a 
smaller fraction of the children leaving the primary 
schools and acconamo dating the remainder in central 
schools organised as part of the elementary system, and 
part time continuation classes, there is a clear gulf of 
principle. If the latter policy is adopted, vested in- 
terests will inevitably be created, which will make it diffi- 
cult at a later date to recur to the former ; if the former, 
then effort should not be wasted on creating institutions 
appropriate only to the latter. In the words of the 
Director of Education for the County of Gloucestershire : 
"When secondary education becomes free and com- 
pulsory up to the age of sixteen, as no doubt it will 
within such time as Authorities in their schemes should 
survey and provide for, then inferior substitutes (central 
schools and continuation schools) will have to be re- 
placed ; and either they will be scrapped and there will 
be great waste, or they will be absorbed into the new 
system, which henceforth will be handicapped by all the 
disadvantages of unsuitable buildings designed for 
another purpose, and not easily adaptable to a new one, 
and staffs of teachers selected for entirely different work 
and trained under conditions foreign to those of the 
secondary school.'"^ 

This forecast may be thought to be unduly 
optimistic, but its emphasis on the need of planning 
development with a definite object is sound. Whether 
the policy, already adopted by the London County 

* Gloucestershire Education Committee, Interim Scheme in 
Respect of Secondary Education (January 31, 1920). 



60 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

Council, of fixing a comparatively low standard 
of secondary school accommodation, and providing for 
other children by means of central schools and continua- 
tion classes is wise or not, clearly, once it is generally 
adopted, it will be difficult to reverse it. It is of para- 
mount importance, therefore, that, in planning educa- 
tional policy under the Act of 1918, an attempt should 
be made to take into account the longer future. We have 
to consider, not merely the immediate necessity of 
increasing the provision for secondary education, but 
the relations which, when schemes have had time to 
work themselves out, it is desired to establish between 
the primary and the secondary school. 

II 
SECONDARY EDUCATION FOR ALL 

The principal views which have been taken of the place 
of the secondary school in the educational system are 
three. They may be called respectively the doctrine of 
the two systems or of separation, the doctrine of selec- 
tion or of the educational ladder, and the doctrine of the 
single system. From the time when in 1839 the Com- 
mittee of the Privy Council expressed the wish that ele- 
mentary instruction should be kept in close touch with 
"the condition of workmen and servants" down almost 
to the end of the nineteenth century, public education in 
England developed as a class institution. "Elementary" 
education was the education of "the independent poor," 
established for them by the governing classes for 
religious, economic, and humanitarian reasons. 
Secondary education was the education of the well-to-do. 
The most obvious fact about the system was that the divi- 
sion between them was based, not on educational, but 
on social and economic, considerations. Educational 
differentiation began not after the primary school, but 
beknc it, and was related not to the future of the chil- 
dren but to the position of the parents. Secondary 
education was not built upon primary education, but was 
parallel to it. They were, in short, not different stages 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 61 

in a single system, but different systems of education 
designed for classes whose capacities, needs, and social 
functions were supposed to be necessarily so different as 
to make a unified system at once impracticable and 
disastrous. 

This conception of secondary education has long been 
abandoned by such educationalists (if any) as ever held 
it, and has ceased for nearly a generation to be the 
dominant force in public policy. But, in spite of the 
progress made in the last twenty years, its evil legacy 
is not yet exhausted. When after 1902 the nation began 
to set in earnest about the creation of a systenti of public 
secondary education, the character of "elementary'* 
education was already fixed. It was to last till thirteen or 
fourteen. It was to be the education of children the 
vast majority of whom would receive no further educa- 
tion after they had ended it. It was, in short, not pre- 
paratory education, but working-class education. 

Into these facts and the ideas on which they were based 
the new secondary education had to be, or at any rate in 
fact was, fitted. It was not considered whether, once 
a public system of secondary education were established, 
it would not be desirable to modify primary education 
in such a way as to make it preparatory to adolescent 
education beginning between eleven and twelve. It was 
not asked whether, if secondary education was good for 
some children, it would not be good for all. It was not 
attempted, in short, to make secondary and primary 
education successive stages instead of parallel systems. 
Nor, had such ideas been mooted, is it probable that they 
would have met with anything but derision, or that, had 
they commanded support, it would have been possible 
in the circumstances of the time to give effect to them. 
What was actually done was to establish an empirical 
compromise between the traditional conception of 
"elementary" education as the education of a class and 
the new demand that opportunities of full-time secondary 
education should be given to some of the more intelli- 
gent of the children attending the primary schools. 
The practical form which that compromise assumed Wf^s 



62 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

a system of selection. The existing assumptions and 
organisation of "elementary" education were retained 
intact. But, by means of scholarships, free places, and 
maintenance allowances, bridges were thrown — how 
slender they still are has been shown in a preceding 
chapter — between it and the newly-organised system of 
public secondary education. 

Selection for higher education by means of scholar- 
ships has been for the last twenty years the accepted 
policy of English education. The number of children pass- 
ing by means of them from primary to secondary schools, 
though still small, has steadily increased, and if the 
schemes prepared by Local Education Authorities under 
the Act of 1918 are carried out, it will increase more 
rapidly in the future. But the policy of selection may 
obviously be given two opposite interpretations. If, as is 
hinted miglit be the case by the Departmental Com- 
mittee on Scholarships and Free Places, the effect of it 
were that seventy-five per cent, of the children in primary 
schools passed to secondary schools, then selection 
would be hardly distinguishable from universal provision. 
When it results, as in certain areas to-day, in the 
pupils in the secondary schools amounting to less than 
two per 1,000 of the population, selection is hardly dis- 
tinguishable from no provision at all. 

One may, in fact, proceed either by inclusion or 
by exclusion, either by endeavouring to ensure 
that all children other than the obviously sub- 
normal shall pass at adolescence to some form of 
secondary school, or by treating full-time second- 
ary education as an exceptional privilege to be reserved 
for children of exceptional capacity. The plan of 
development suggested in the schemes of West Ham and 
of Gloucestershire would lead in the first direction. The 
scheme of the London County Council, or the views 
expressed in the scheme of the Education Authority of 
Salford that a "secondary school is intended for those 
who will prepare for some of the more responsible posi- 
tions in after life," or the opposition of the Federation 
of British Industries to a wide diffusion of higher 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 68 

education on the ground that it would "unfit children for 
the employments they eventually enter," or the proposal 
of the Select Committee on Educational Expenditure to 
restrict the access to secondary schools by raising their 
fees, would lead to the second/ 

On the one view, primary and secondary education 
are stages in a single process through which all 
normal children ought to pass, because all, though 
in different degrees, will respond to them ; the 
measure of the success of both is the heightened human 
capacity which they evoke. On the other view, the 
primary and secondary school represent, not stages 
of education, but systems of education. There must be 
facilities for passing from the one to the other, for the 
brighter children of the working classes are needed to 
supply the educated personnel — the "intellectual prole- 
tariat" — which modem industry, in its higher ranges, 
requires. But equality of educational provision up to 
sixteen is impossible of attainment and mischievous 
could it be attained. Industry needs cannon fodder as 
well as staff officers, and it is not desirable that the 
minds of the rank and file, even if capable of develop- 
ment (which the Federation of British Industries doubt), 
should be unduly developed. When the cream of intelli- 
gence has been skimmed off by scholarships, the mass of 
children must pass at fourteen to the factory with such 
part-time continued education (if any) as the exigencies 
of industry may permit. 

The choice between these two views is the most 
momentous issue of educational policy before the nation. 
As far as the workers of the country are concerned, their 
decision has already been made. They demand neither 

' Seventh Report from the Select Committee on National 
Expenditure (December, 1920), p. xiv. The committee appears 
to have been much shocked by the fact that " the fees charged for 
secondary and higher education are very low, in fact far below 
the cost of the education which is afforded," It apparently did 
not occur to it to inquire whether in any country, at any time, the 
policy of selling higher education at cost price (or, as the committee 
would presumably prefer, at a profit) has ever been adopted, and 
if not, why not ? 

E 



64 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

central schools, nor part-time continuation schools, nor 
any other of the makeshifts by which it is sought to 
mitigate in detail the evil results of that organisation on 
lines of class which is the tragedy of English education, 
while maintaining it in principle and in substance. They 
demand full-time secondary education for all normal chil- 
dren up to the age of sixteen. So to increase the provision 
for secondary education as to enable the majority of chil- 
dren to pass to a secondary school at eleven will obviously 
require an effort extending over a period of several 
years. But the measures taken now will depend upon 
the goal which is envisaged, and in insisting that the aim 
of development must be a universal system of secondaiy 
education up to sixteen, in insisting that it shall be, in 
the words of the Director of Education for Gloucester- 
shire, "a scheme which shall ultimately bring a complete 
secondary education within reach of everybody," the 
Labour Party is recommending nothing either extrava- 
gant or impracticable. It has on its side the expert 
opinion of many teachers, of educationalists, of a con- 
siderable number of those who are engaged in the 
practical work of educational administration. Its policy 
is framed not for the advantage of any single class, but 
to develop the human resources of the whole community. 
The case for a development of education on these lines 
advanced by the educationalist is simple. From his 
point of view the intrusion into educational organisation 
of the vulgarities of the class system is an irrelevance as 
mischievous in effect as it is odious in conception. 
"Secondary education of the best kind," states the 
Executive Committee of the Incorporated Association of 
Assistant Masters in Secondary Schools, "should be oi)en 
to all ; and the time is long overdue for the removal of 
any restriction of opportunity for secondary education 
through accident of birth, social position, or financial 
means. The removal of such restrictions we regard as 
an act of social justice."* What the educationalist 
means by "secondary" and "primary" education has 



« Resolution of March 14, 1921. 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 65 

nothing to do with class stratification and the curious 
educational ritual which in England is annexed to it. It 
is adolescent education, and education which is prepara- 
tory to adolescent education. The capital message of 
educational theory, he would argue, is that the success 
of education is proportionate to the degree to which it is 
related to the facts of natural development. Hence it 
must be envisaged as a whole. The crucial point in 
development is adolescence. Hence the years from 
eleven should not be the fag-end of the primary school 
course, but a period marked by new beginnings in educa- 
tion as in life. The foundations for specialisation must 
be laid by a sound general education. Hence, general 
education should last to sixteen, and children should not 
be encouraged to specialise, still less to enter industry, 
before it. The younger the children the more precarious 
and unreliable the classification of them according to the 
test of examination. Hence all classifications made (as 
in examinations for free places) should be purely pro- 
visional ; no child should be excluded from a secondary 
education as a result of them ; all children should pass as 
a matter of course at the appropriate age to the secondary 
school, just as all children have passed up to that age 
through the primary school. The educationalist, in 
short, looks forward with Professor Adams to develop- 
ments under which, "in twenty years' time, there would 
be one system of free education from the cradle to the 
grave, or for as long as we should desire it."" He 
urges, in the words of Professor Nunn's report to the 
Education Reform Council, that "though schemes of 
education necessarily take account of varying social 
conditions, their essential lines must follow the true lines 
of growth of human nature," that "the present break at 
fourteen should not be regarded as an unalterable feature 
of the social system," and that "the years from twelve to 
fourteen must be treated as part of a continuous course 
that in no case reaches its end earlier than the age of 
sixteen."^" 

• Lecture by Professor Adams, reported in The Times Educational 
Supplement, November 12, 1921. 

^'' Education Reform, 1917. Report of Committee E, 



66 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

These general considerations are reinforced by the 
evidence resulting from the development of more exact 
measurements of intelligence than could be applied till 
recently. It is sometimes objected by persons without 
practical experience of educational questions that a 
wide extension of secondary education up to sixteen is 
not desirable, because all but a small minority of children 
— usually, it may be observed, a minority not in excess 
of the number being educated at the time when the 
objection is advanced — are not, as it is said, "worth 
educating." It is not necessary to point out that those 
who use this argument do not, apparently, regard it as 
applicable to themselves or to their own children, whose 
absolute "worth" is assumed to be self-evident, or to 
emphasise the obvious fallacy of assuming that the value 
of education can be reduced to the terms of a profit and 
loss account, or to inquire into the precise nature of the 
calculus which decides that the child of, say, a mine 
owner is "worth educating" up to twenty-one and that 
of a miner not "worth educating" beyond fourteen, or 
to ask why, if it is worth while for the community to pro- 
vide full-time education for a child up to fourteen, the age 
when it leaves the primary school, it suddenly ceases to 
be worth whole for it to provide any further education 
whatever when that momentous date is passed. To those 
who ask, "What use is secondary education to a working- 
class child?" the most obvious answer would appear to 
be to ask, "What use" (since that is the formula 
favoured) their education has been to them ? 

In reality, however, absurd as this view is on other 
grounds, the whole tendency of recent educational investi- 
gation has been still further to discredit it by emphasising 
the immense mass, not only of average talent — and 
average talent is worth cultivating — but of exceptional 
talent, which is sterilised for lack of educational oppor- 
tunities. It is true, of course, that not all children 
respond equally to the same methods and curriculum. 
Equality of educational provision is not identity of 
educational provision, and it is important that there 
should be the greatest possible diversity of type among 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 67 

secondary schools. But the theory that money spent on 
developing secondary education is likely to be wasted 
because the majority of children are not "capable of 
profiting" by it finds no confirmation among educa- 
tionalists or administrators. We have already referred 
to the statement of the Departmental Committee that 
"practically all children, except the subnormal, are intel- 
lectually capable of profiting by full-time instruction up 
to sixteen or beyond." Inspectors familiar with 
primary schools are stated to regard twenty-five per 
cent, of the children as above normal, fifty per cent, as 
normal, and twenty-five per cent, as below normal. Such 
estimates are obviously very rough. But they show at 
any rate that there is a widespread opinion among 
persons of experience that a great deal of educable 
capacity misses education. Since the entrants to public 
secondary schools from primary schools formed in 
1918-19 only 9.4 per cent, of the children between ten 
and eleven in the latter, it is evident that not only are 
we failing to cultivate the intelligence of all the children 
described as normal, but we are actually failing to pro- 
vide higher education for almost two-thirds of those who 
are of exceptional intelligence ! 

The evidence on this point is overwhelming. "The 
results of nine years' experience in examining elementary 
school candidates for scholarships to secondary schools," 
states the Director of Education of a county borough, 
"has led me to the conclusion that between forty and 
fifty per cent, of the candidates would undoubtedly profit 
well by a course of secondary school education." Greater 
precision has been given to these estimates by the investi- 
gations of Mr. Burt," the distinguished psychologist 
employed by the London County Council, who recently 
made a survey of the educational abilities of £.11 
the children — in number 31,965 — in the schools of a 
single London borough. The course followed was to 

11 London County Council Report by the education officer 
submitting three preUminary memorasida by Mr. Cyril Burt, M.A., 
psychologist, on The Distribution and Relations of Educational 
Abilities (1917). 



68 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

ascertain the degree of correspondence or deviation 
between age and attainment, children who entered 
standard I. at the age of seven and advanced a standard 
a year till they reached standard VII. in their last school 
year being treated as normal, children whose ability 
corresponded to standards higher or lower than this being 
treated respectively as backward or advanced. The 
result of the investigations was to show that, of 19,645 
children between eight and thirteen, attainments were on 
a level of age in the case of thirty-seven per cent., were 
one year in advance of age in the case of twenty-five 
per cent., and in the case of 6.4 per cent, were more than 
one year in advance of age. These results, it must be 
remembered, were obtained after the brightest children 
in the later years had already passed out of the primary 
schools by means of scholarships. London has a 
relatively efficient scholarship system. But that, even 
in spite of it, a very large proportion of able children 
fail to attain post-primary education is shown by the fact 
that the standard required for success in it is estimated 
to be that of a child two and a half years in advance of 
the normal at the age of ten. The children in the age 
group ten to eleven in the schools which Mr. Burt investi- 
gated numbered 3,319, of whom 1,060 or thirty-two per 
cent, were classed as supernormal, and 1,196 or thirty- 
six per cent, as normal. If, therefore, higher education 
were provided for all children of supernormal attain- 
ments, nearly a third of the children of ten to eleven in 
the primary schools ought to receive it ; if for all normal 
children as well, then the proportion receiving it should 
have been between two-thirds and three-quarters. In 
reality the proportion of children of the age group ten 
and eleven who passed with scholarships to secondary 
schools was ten per cent. 

It would be a mistake, no doubt, to lay too much 
weight on the precise degree of our failure to cultivate 
ability suggested by quantitative estimates of this kind. 
The results of statistical investigations depend partly on 
the definitions from which they start, and it is possible 
that the proportion of "normal" and "supernormal" 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 69 

children should be written down from two-thirds to one- 
half. Since either figure is greatly in excess of the 
percentage of children passing to any fonn of higher 
education, the lower estimate has the same significance 
for immediate educational policy as the higher. Evidence 
such as this is a striking testimony to the educational 
wisdom of the Labour Party's demand for free and 
universal secondary education. It suggests that, so far 
from there being any foundation for the fear that money 
may be wasted in providing higher education for children 
who cannot make good use of it, the actual fact is that not 
only money, but brains and character, are being wasted 
through our failure to provide it for those who can. 

And, of course, there are considerations of social well- 
being and efficiency to be taken into account, which are 
not less material than those of educational expediency. 
The evils which flow from the neglect of the community 
in the past to make any provision for the needs of the 
adolescent are a commonplace, and we need not re-tell at 
length a miserable and thrice-told tale. From the Poor 
Law Commission of 1908 to the Report on Juvenile Educa- 
tion in Relation to Employment after the War which 
appeared in 1917, one official inquiry after another has 
insisted that, in abdicating its responsibilities at fourteen, 
the community is not only condemning many hundred 
thousand boys and girls to lose half the benefit of 
their previous training, by withdrawing them from the 
influence of education at the moment when its fruits 
are beginning to be garnered, but is exposing them, alert, 
plastic, still sensitive and unformed, to a physical and 
moral strain which only the strongest, or least impres- 
sionable, or most fortunate, can hope to withstand. If 
the educationalists tell us that our present arrangements 
sin against every canon of education, the investigators 
of social conditions repeat with no uncertain voice that 
the fruits of "this educational and moral chaos" have 
been disaster. ^^ 



1* The official documents on this subject are numerous. The most 
important are the Majority and Minority Reports of the Poor Law 



70 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

What is a less noticed, but ultimately a not less 
important, fact is that in starving the education of the 
adolescent the nation is sterilising itself. If all that a 
community demands is orderliness, docility, a capacity 
to understand orders and obey them, then it may be 
satisfied with a primary education which ends at fourteen, 
or which is followed' by some small degree of vocational 
training. But in reality, though that conception of 
education might be natural enough in the seventies of the 
last century, no lengthy argument is needed to show that 
it is inadequate to-day. What society requires for the 
sake both of economic efficiency and of social amenity, is 
educated intelligence. But it cannot obtain educated 
intelligence unless it will bear the cost of educating it. 
And the result of its failure to educate it is that it arrests 
the flow of intelligence midway in its career. By a 
singular irony, at the very moment when it is notorious 
that some industries are congested with youths who have 
been thrown prematurely into industry, the teaching pro- 
fession, though no longer actually, as it was a few years 
ago, a "decaying trade," is starved of the recruits who 
might have entered it. In the impressive words of the 
Birmingham Education Authority : "When it is remem- 
bered that industry and commerce are calling for a great 
increase in the number of highly trained workers . . ., 
when it is realised that all the secondary schools in the 
country could not furnish the number of teachers required 
in the immediate future by the various local authorities, 
and when it is recalled how great are the necessities of 
the community for increased education in view of the 
complexity of the problems now to be faced, it cannot be 
regarded as other than disastrous that the Authority is 
unable to provide the necessary facilities for training for 

Commission (1909), the Report of Mr. Cyril .Taekson on Boy Labour 
to that commission, the Report of the Consultative Committee of 
the Board of Education on Attendance, Compulsory or Otherwise, 
at Contiiuiatlon Schools (1909, Cmd. 4757), the Report of the Select 
Committee on Juvenile Education in Relation to Employment after 
the War (1917, Cmd. 8512), the Report of the Ministry of Recon- 
struction on Juvenile Employment during the War and After (1918). 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 71 

those of proved ability keenly desirous of taking advan- 
tage thereof." 

Nor must it be forgotten that the intelligence which 
the community can command will rise with every 
widening of the area of selection and fall as that area 
contracts. Granted that capacity and incapacity — to use 
colourless words — tend to reproduce themselves, there 
seems little reason to suppose that nature is so obliging 
as to follow the lines of the social and educational divi- 
sions which exist to-day, and hardly more for suggesting 
that the latter, depending, as they do, on economic condi- 
tions and legal institutions, have any close correlation 
with natural differences of capacity. Ability, 't 
appears, is probably dispersed more or less at random 
over the whole population, in the sense that its distribu- 
tion follows laws of its own which have little discernible 
relation to differences of class or income. The potential 
scientist or poet or inventor or statesman is as likely to 
be born in West Ham as in Westminster. He is as likely 
to be born there, but he is most unlikely to be developed 
there. For, on the one hand, special capacity is 
neither discovered nor cultivated without an education 
extending beyond the primary school, nor, on the other 
hand, is it likely without such an education to find 
the opening best suited to it, since all the professions 
and an increasing number of branches of industry are 
recruited from those who had a full-time education to, at 
least, sixteen. Hence the direction of ability into the 
channels in which it can best serve the community 
depends upon the existence of such abundant oppor- 
tunities of higher education that every child can be fitted 
to the service which it can best render. "There is in the 
elementary schools," states a Director of Education, "a 
vast reservoir of intellectual power in pupils of conspicu- 
ous ability. But, owing to the absence of an adequate 
system of maintenance grants, the wrong sluice is 
opened, and the pupils flow out into industrial careers 
of a mechanical nature. . . . The highest output of the 
nation .... demands the best brains which the country 
can produce. And yet head teachers of elementary 



72 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

schools aver that, year by year, boys of exceptional 
promise, who are potentially valuable assets to the com- 
munity, are lost in the vast industrial whirlpool." 

In so far as such statements are true — and evidence to 
the same effect could easily be multiplied — the fear that 
a wide extension of secondary education may "lower 
the standard" is obviously groundless. It is notorious, 
indeed, that at the present time some children who 
receive secondary education are, judged by accepted 
standards, less able than some of those who are excluded 
from it : we need mention only the well-known fact that 
some of those who have failed in the examination for free 
places are subsequently admitted as fee-paying pupils, 
while others, who may have succeeded in the examina- 
tion, enter industry because their parents cannot afford 
to dispense with their earnings. Apart from all other 
considerations, the wider the field the better the candi- 
dates. We have not such a plethora of ability in the 
wealthier classes that we can afford to starve the talent 
of the mass of the people. And the field can only be a 
wide one if the majority of children receive a secondary 
education. As long as so small a proportion as at present 
of the children leaving the primary schools pass to 
secondary schools, the community must continue to 
draw for its leadership upon an insignificant fraction of 
the whole population. 

Ill 
THE REACTION ON THE PRIMARY SCHOOL 

Wc are not directly concerned in this book with 
•primary education, but we may point out that not 
the least of the advantages of the Labour Party's pro- 
posal to aim at an organisation of education, under 
which ultimately all normal children will pass at eleven -|- 
to a post-primary course lasting to sixteen, appears 
likely to be the reaction of such a change upon the 
primary school. The arrangement under which children 
remain in the primary school till the age of fourteen was 
natural as long as "elementary" education was regarded, 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 73 

as in the nineteenth century, as the discipline of a class 
for whom the very idea of providing higher education 
was an absurdity. But once that odious doctrine is dis- 
carded, once it is recognised that the normal thing will 
be for the child of working-class parents to pass to some 
form of higher education, the primary school will be 
free, as it has not been free in the past, to undertake its 
proper work of providing preparatory education for chil- 
dren who will begin their secondary education about 
eleven. It will cease, in short, to be an "elementary" 
and will become a "preparatory" school. 

What this will mean in practice will naturally vary 
from school to school. But its general effect will be 
that the transition in education, as the transition in the 
physical and mental development of the children, will 
take place with adolescence — somewhere between the 
ages of eleven and twelve. The work of the secondary 
school will begin at a moment when the child itself is 
conscious of new needs and new powers ; the work of the 
primary school will be lightened and simplified because 
it will no longer be faced with the problem of providing 
education suitable to children who have passed out of 
the stage of growth of most of its pupils. Such a revision 
of the school course — the transference from primary to 
secondary school at eleven + taking the place of elemen- 
tary education up to fourteen, followed by a plunge into 
the industrial whirlpool — is only possible if it is recog- 
nised that, as the Labour Party proposes, all normal 
children are to receive a secondary education — that in 
the words of The Times, "The doctrine of universal 
secondary education does away with that distinction 
(between elementary and secondary education) and gives 
every child the education best suited for the development 
of his or her personality." It is urged by educational- 
ists — we need only refer to the already quoted words of 
Professor Nunn. It will commend itself to teachers, 
who are only too conscious of the waste of capacity 
arising from the present arrangements. It is already 
envisaged by administrators and Local Education 
Authorities. 



74 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

It is significant, indeed, of the change which has over- 
taken educational opinion in the course of the last fifteen 
years— a change, the result partly of the teaching of 
educationalists, partly of the very development of public 
secondary education which we have already described — 
that at the present time there seems to be something 
like a consensus of opinion that the time has come for a 
radical regrading of primary and post-primary educa- 
tion. "It is necessary to distinguish," states an experi- 
enced official, "between the elementary school as it has 
been understood in the past and elementary education. 
The elementary school has kept its pupils till about four- 
teen years of age, but for the normal boy elementary 
education stops at about eleven. Beyond that stage the 
pupil, on account of the great physical changes through 
which he passes, becomes in reality a new being with 
new powers, new desires, and a new outlook. It is a 
mistake to continue after this stage the educational 
methods that are suitable for the preceding stage. It 
would be a great gain if it were definitely recognised that 
elementary education stops at eleven." "It seems to 
be very generally agreed," writes a correspondent in The 
Times Educational Supplement,^^ "that the existijig rigid 
division of schools into elementary, secondary, and higher 
is both wasteful and lacking in efficiency by reason of 
the overlapping that it causes of expenditure and effort 
— that it is largely a concession to social prejudices and 
opposed to the spirit of the age. It is further widely 
agreed that the present class denomination 'elementaiy' 
should be abolished, and that schools should be broadly 
divided into : — 

(i) Primary, for all children up to eleven to twelve. 
Subdivided into : — 
(a) Nursery and infant for all children up to the 

ages of seven to eight. 
{b) Preparatory for all children between the ages 
of eight and twelve, 
(ii) Secondary, for boys and girls between the ages of 
twelve and sixteen to eighteen ; and 



1* October 8, 1921 . 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 75 

(iii) Higher, providing education of a University 
type." 

Such criticisms by educationalists on the traditional 
system of "elementary" education up to fourteen could 
be multiplied. What is even more significant is that all 
over the country schemes are being prepared for turning 
the work of the upper standards of "elementary" schools 
into intermediate education. In the words of the scheme 
of the Kent Education Authority : "By general consent 
the normal age of transition from the strictly elementary 
to the advanced forms of education is eleven or there- 
abouts. Reform lies in adopting the corollaries that 
follow from this. ... It is no longer a question of 
determining whether some or all should enjoy the benefits 
of a secondary education. The deciding factor is whether 
the special aptitude of a group of pupils will enable them 
to profit most by this course or by that." The same 
point is put with even greater emphasis by the Essex 
Education Committee. "The committee proposes," 
they state, "gradually to transform the existing elemen- 
tary school system into a preparatory or true primary 
school system, and to arrange that the normal elementary 
school pupil shall leave the elementary school at the end 
of the school year in which he attains the age of eleven 
years, and pass on to a school giving secondary or higher 
education, where, at a critical point in his school life, he 
will have a new outlook, a different atmosphere, fresh 
interests, and a curriculum specially adapted to his 
needs." 

Nor, once the object of such a reorganisation is made 
clear, is it to be feared that parents will not welcome it. 
True, many children to-day, by the eagerness with which 
they leave school, and some parents, by their comments 
upon it, seem to be, if not a lion, at least a dormouse in 
the path of the reformer. But consider what this atti- 
tude means. Is not their scepticism about education — a 
result, not of educational theories, but of practical experi- 
ence—directed against precisely those features of our 
present system about which the educationalist himself 
is most sceptical ? Is not the burden of the parent's 



76 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

complaint that between twelve and fourteen the child 
is marking time in the primary school; that the child 
himself (as he well may be) is sick of schooUng; and that 
it is no good raising the school age because, as it is, 
the later years are largely wasted ? If he desires his child 
to receive a secondary education, is it not notorious that 
he finds it difficult, and sometimes impossible, to secure 
its admission to an already overcrowded secondary 
school, still more difficult to secure a free place, most 
difficult of all to get a maintenance allowance which will 
keep it at school to the age of sixteen without causing 
its young brothers and sisters to be stinted ? And is not 
all this a practical comment upon our educational system 
which is much to the point, from which its organisers 
should learn, and from which, instead of railing at 
popular apathy, they should start in devising their 
reforms? Why, the child's desire to be making a new 
start, and the parents' dissatisfaction with the later stages 
of the "elementary" school, so far from being unreason- 
able, touch the very points which have evoked the criti- 
cism of educationalists. If, with those defects what they 
are, parents and children think that they do not care about 
education, that is a tribute to their good sense, for, in 
these respects, the education offered them has not been of 
a kind which any sensible person should care about. 

The truth is that, if education is to be loved, and not 
merely tolerated, it must be seen, at any rate in outline, 
as an intelligible whole. It must give a sense of move- 
ment, of growth, of continuous progress towards expand- 
ing horizons. Too often, at present, public education 
does none of these things. Too often it is in the nature 
of a course which must be covered because the law 
requires it, but which ends in a cid de sac, and leaves the 
child eager to start its real life elsewhere, when school 
is happily over. Too often, in fact, the public school 
is neither venerable like a college, nor popular like a 
club, but merely indispensable like a pillar box. And 
if we are to overcome such indifference when it exists, we 
can only overcome it by relating the organisation of our 
educational system to the natural development of the 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 77 

child, so that at eleven to twelve, when his primary 
school course is over, his parents know that he is going, 
not to mark time till the age for leaving school arrives, 
but to make a momentous departure and to enter on the 
real business of higher education which will carry him 
forward till he knows himself and what he is fit for. If 
we are to make education appeal with force we must take 
care that the arrangement of education shall make 
evident what education is for — that it is not a mere dis- 
cipline or ritual, but that it is vitally connected with the 
life and growth of those who are being educated. We 
must give meaning to our primary education by mak- 
ing plain to what it leads, and substance to our secondary 
education by supplying it, not with a trickle of "bright" 
children, but with the great mass of the nation's youth 
to help forward in their growth to manhood. We must, 
in short, work for a new connection of primary — no longer 
"elementary" — with secondary education; a new educa- 
tional synthesis planned to embrace the whole period of 
growth from five to sixteen. 



IV 

SUMMARY OF PROPOSALS 

What we propose, then, is that the nation should take 
as the objective of its educational effort the creation of a 
system of universal secondary education extending 
from the age of eleven to that of sixteen. Nothing 
less than this will satisfy the demands of the workers of 
the country ; nothing less is urged by the most eminent 
educationalists ; nothing less will enable the community 
to make the best use of its human resources, the 
development of which is at once the goal of economic 
effort and the source of all wealth which is produced. 
We are aware, of course, that such a programme can be 
realised only over a period of years. But it is the end 
towards which policy should be directed, and, in the 
meantime, the reforms of the transition period should be 
planned with that end in view. 



78 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

Were these proposals carried out, primary and 
secondary education, instead of forming, as now, two 
separate systems with frail handrails thrown from one to 
the other, would form two parts of a harmonious whole. 
Secondary schools would be various in type, and not all 
children would pass to the same kind of school. But all 
children would pass to some kind of secondary school and 
would spend the critical years from eleven to sixteen 
under the invigorating influence of a progressive course 
of full time education. 

In the following chapters we proceed to consider in 
greater detail some of the questions raised by this 
programme. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE FREEING OF SECONDARY 
EDUCATION 

THE development of post-primary education on 
the lines suggested in the preceding chapter 
will involve (1) the removal of the financial 
obstacles which at present prevent parents 
from sending their children to a secondary school and 
keeping them there as long as is desirable, (2) the provi- 
sion of sufficient school places and the recruitment of the 
necessary number of teachers. Neither of these 
measures can produce their full effect immediately. 
A movement in the direction of both can, and should, be 
made at once. We proceed in this chapter to consider 
them. 



THE EXISTING SYSTEM 

Unlike secondary education in the United States and 
some of the British Dominions, education in public 
secondary schools in England is not free, but is condi- 
tional, with the qualifications described below, on the 
payment of fees. Subject to the provision that they must 
be approved as suitable by the Board of Education, the 
fees charged are in the discretion of the school authorities. 
Of the total income of grant-aided secondary schools in 
England in 1912-13 roughly forty-one per cent., 
£1,100,245 out of £2,668,661, was derived from 
fees.^ The last volume of educational statistics, 
in which schools are classified according to the fees 
charged to pupils of twelve years of age, shows that in 

1 Report of Departmental Committee on Scholarships and Free 
Places, 1920 (Cmd. 968), p. 12. 

79 F 



80 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

1913-14, out of 1,025 schools 6 charged no fee, while of 
the remainder 242 charged from one to five guineas a 
year, 623 from five to ten, 107 from ten to fifteen, and 
47 over fifteen guineas. Since that date fees have been 
widely, if not universally, revised." The average fee per 
pupil (free and fee paying) in attendance appears to have 
been about £5 10s. in English schools in 1912, which 
probably meant that for fee-paying pupils only it might 
be put at that date at something between eight and ten 
guineas. At the present day the corresponding figure is 
probably something between eleven and thirteen guineas. 
It should be observed that even the fee-paying pupil does 
not pay the full cost of his education ; to the extent of 
rather more than half of it he is subsidised out of public 
funds. 

If secondary education were obtainable only on these 
conditions it would have remained to the present day 
inaccessible to almost all working-class children, since 
their parents would have had to pay an annual fee of 
anything from one to ten guineas for each child receiving 
it. As it is, the financial obstacles in the way of 
secondary education remain, as we show later, serious. 
But a scholarship system, in one form or another, is as 
old as secondary education itself. Apart from endow- 
ments, the Commission on Secondary Education found 
that as long ago as 1895 some 2,500 scholarships tenable 
at secondary schools were provided by Local Authorities. 
By 1900 they had risen to between 5,000 and 5,500. By 
190G they numbered approximately 24,000, and were held 
by nearly a quarter of the children. It is only, however, 
since 1907 that the provision of a certain minimum of 
free places has been obligatory upon all secondary 
schools receiving grants from the State. By Article 20 of 
the Regulations of that year, the Board required that ot 
the beginning of each school year all schools charging fees 

* Between 1913-14 and the end of 1919 some 206 schools would 
have appeared to have raised their niiniinuni fees, and some 242 
their maximum fees. In the ease of liio former GO raised it less 
than one guinea, 61 by one and under two fruineas, 40 by two and 
under three guineas, and only .'J9 by three guineas or more. 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 81 

should, as a condition of eligibility for grant, offer a per- 
centage of free places to candidates for admission enter- 
ing from the public elementary schools, a percentage 
which should normally be fixed at twenty -five, but which 
might be reduced in the case of any particular school at 
the discretion of the Board. According to the most 
recent returns it would appear that some 127 schools are 
permitted to offer less than the full minimum. The 
remainder are required to offer not less than twenty-five 
per cent., and in practice some among them offer con- 
siderably more. It should be observed that both the 
character and the value of free places vary. They may 
be provided either by Local Education Authorities, or by 
the school governors, or by other endowments. They 
may cover either the remission of fees only, i.e., free 
tuition, or free tuition phis the cost of books, travelling 
and other incidental expenses, or free tuition plus a grant 
of money for the purposes of maintenance. 

The system thus developed has been the principal 
means of bridging the gulf between primary and 
secondary education. In 1919-20, 82,630 children out of 
282,005 in the grant-aided secondary schools of England 
held free places. As far, therefore, as one-third of the 
children in public secondary schools are concerned, free 
secondary education has already been established. The 
objections to the arrangement advanced by some schools 
and Local Education Authorities when it was first intro- 
duced appear virtually to have ceased. By common 
consent the free-place system has both brought 
secondary education within reach of thousands of children 
to whom otherwise it Avould have been inaccessible, and 
raised the intellectual standard of the schools by irrigat- 
ing them with a stream of talent upon which othei-wise 
they could not have drawn. ^ 



3 For the figures see Report of the Board of Education for the 
year 1919-20, and Report of Departmental Committee on Scholarships 
and Free Places, App. I, Table B. The history and working of the 
system is discussed ibid., pp. 2-7, and in the Report of the Committee 
of the British Association upon The Effects of the Free-Place 
System upon Secondary Education, 1918. 



82 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

It has done this so far as it goes. But it does not go 
far; and if the figure of 82,030 free-placers seems impos- 
ing, it must be remembered that, compared either with 
the demand for secondary education or the number of 
children "capable of profiting," it is insignificant. The 
important comparison is not between the number of free- 
placers and the number of pupils in the secondary 
schools, but between the number of free-placers and the 
number of children in the primary schools from whom 
the secondary schools are recruited. Judged by that 
standard, the number of free places is lamentably 
deficient. The children admitted to secondary schools 
without payment of fees in 1918-19 amounted to 3.0 per 
cent, of the children between ten and eleven in the 
primary schools of England and 0.02 per cent, of those 
of the same age in the primary schools of Wales, which 
means in effect that at that age a child in England had 
three chances in 100 of getting a free secondary education. 
So grave is the deficiency of free places compared with 
the expressed demand, that, at the beginning of 1919-20, 
actually 8,780 children in England and 2,354 in Wales 
were refused admission to secondary schools, though they 
had reached the required intellectual standard, and 
though the school authorities, had free places existed, 
would have been prepared to receive them.^ 

The effect of this shortage has been, in many 
places, to give a quite different significance to the 
free place from that which was originally contem- 
plated. When, in 1907, Article 20 was first introduced 
into the Regulations, its object was to ensure that 
secondary schools aided by grants should be made 
fully accessible to the children of all classes, and the 
intention of the Board was that the standard of admis- 
sion for free-place children should be the same as for fee- 
paying children of the same age. What has actually 
happened is that, in many areas, owing to the shortage 
of provision, the competition for free places is such that 

* Report of Departmental Committee on Scholarships and Free 
Places, App. I, Table D. It should be noted that these figures are 
only approximate (see note at end of Tabic 1) in the Report). 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 83 

they can be obtained only by children who reach what is, 
in effect^ a scholarship standard, and not by all of them. 
The London County Council, for example, throws over- 
board the spirit and purpose of the free-place system, 
and declares in its scheme that "it has felt itself justified 
in applying a test for free higher education different from 
the ordinary admission test."^ As long as the number of 
free places is so gravely inadequate to the demand as it 
is at present, it may be almost impossible for a Local 
Education Authority to refrain from slipping into this 
policy. But obviously, in so far as it is adopted, it 
defeats the object for which Article 20 was introduced 
into the Regulations. So far from equalising opportuni- 
ties of higher education, it creates one standard for the 
children of well-to-do parents, and another and higher 
standard for the children of parents of small means. 

II 
THE ABOLITION OF FEES 

In view of facts such as these there can be no doubt 
that, as long as fees continue to be charged in public 
secondary schools, there should be a large and immediate 
increase in the number of free places. The figure pro- 
posed by the Departmental Committee on Scholarships 
and Free Places was forty per cent., instead of, as now, 
twenty-five per cent., which, on the basis of the present 
secondary school population, would result in increasing 
the number of free-place pupils in England from 82,630 
to 112,800, and (since the required number is likely, as 
now, to be somewhat exceeded in practice) to something 
more. But evidently such a figure, like the original 
figure of twenty-five per cent., is both arbitrary and pro- 
visional. It cannot seriously be argued that out of the 
6,000,000 children in the public elementary schools only 
112,000, or even 200,000, are "capable of profiting" by 
secondary education. 

The truth is that the free-place system, though useful 
as making a breach, if a small one, in the walls of 

* Scheme of the London County Council, p. 81. 



84 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

educational exclusiveness, was really the product of an 
age in which secondary education was regarded as an ex- 
ceptional privilege to be strained through a sieve, and 
reserved, so far as the mass of the people were concerned, 
for children of exceptional capacity. The Labour 
Movement cannot accept that position, and it has long 
been abandoned by educationalists. We agree, therefore, 
with the Departmental Committee that the goal to be 
aimed at is not merely an increase in the number of free 
places, but free secondary education, and that, in the 
meanwhile, all steps for the immediate improvement of 
the financial basis of our secondary system, particularly 
in the matter of scholarships and free places, should be 
taken with that end in view. 

In America and in some British Dominions free second- 
ary education already exists. It has long been demanded 
by the British Labour Movement. When, as President of 
the Board of Education, Mr. McKenna explained the 
proposals as to free places to the House of Commons, he 
stated that he trusted that in secondary schools provided 
by Local Authorities all places would be free.® But in 
spite of that declaration free secondary education 
has not yet proceeded far in this country. In 1913-11' 
six grant-aided secondary schools charged no fees, 
and since that time, in particular areas, further 
steps have been taken in the same direction. 
Bradford established free secondary education during 
the war. The County of Glamorganshire has done 
the same. The scheme of the Durham County Council 
provides that from September, 1920, forty-five per cent, 
of the vacancies shall be awarded as free places, from 
September, 1921, sixty per cent., from September, 1922, 
eighty per cent., and from September, 1923, 100 per cent. 
Clearly, if the proposal for something like universal 
secondary education from eleven to sixteen, advanced in 
the preceding chapter, is accepted, the abolition of fees is 
a necessary corollary. But secondary education can be 

• Hansard, May 15, 1907 : " The schools might have as many 
more free places as they liked, ami xvhere the schools were prortded Inj 
the local education authority he trusted they tvould all be freer 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 85 

made free before it becomes universal, and, even though 
it should continue to be the case that only a minority of 
children pass through the secondary schools, the argu- 
ments for free secondary education, as the Departmental 
Committee points out, remain, nevertheless, extremely 
strong. No form of education has ever been able to 
"pay for itself" nor do sensible persons expect that it 
should/ Primary education for which fees were 
originally charged has been predominantly free since 
1891, and there is no question of charging fees for the 
part-time education up to eighteen contemplated by the 
Act of 1918. It may, indeed, be replied that these forms 
of education are compulsory, but the answer is largely 
irrelevant. The ground of making them compulsory was 
the same as the ground for making them free, that it was 
regarded as in the interests of the community that 
children and young persons should receive them. The 
ground for freeing secondary education is the same, and 
though it would be illogical to make it compulsory with- 
out making it free, there is nothing unreasonable in 
making it free without at the same time making it 
compulsory. 

Even if the argument from the analogy of other forms 
of education be rejected, both the educational and the 
practical reasons for free secondary education remain 
overwhelming. On the one hand, the present arrange- 
ment, a compromise between the 1870 conception of 
"elementary" education as designed for a special class 
and the modern view of it as preparatory education, 
emphasises precisely that divorce between primary and 
secondary education which it is the object of all reformers 
to abolish. By making the former free and charging fees 
for the latter, it suggests that one is a necessity and the 
other a luxury. But, in reality, of course, that arbitrary 
division is either meaningless or mischievous. Education, 

^ The Select Committee en National Expenditure proposed that 
fees should be increased. But perhaps that body was not an 
exception to the statement made above. The education given in 
the so-called " public " school^ is normally subsidised out of 
endowments. 



86 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

if it is to be effective, is not a medley of unrelated 
systems, but a continuous process. To charge a fee 
before a child is permitted to enter for the second stage in 
its educational development is about as reasonable as it 
would be to impose a tax upon it merely because it had 
reached the age of eleven. On the other hand, from the 
point of view of the administrator, the present arrange- 
ment is hardly less unsatisfactory than from that of the 
educationalist. As long as free places are conceded only 
to a minority of children, it will remain necessary to use 
a competitive examination to discriminate between those 
who are to be admitted to them and those who are not. 
However skilfully it may be employed, and however it 
may be supplemented by provisions enabling children 
who have failed once to be admitted later, to decide the 
educational future of children by competitive examina- 
tion held at the age of eleven — the age when, it is agreed, 
transference of children to the secondary school should 
normally take place — is not a satisfactory procedure.* 
Section 4 (4) of the Education Act of 1918, which provides 
that "children and young persons shall not be debarred 
from the benefit of any form of education by which they 
are capable of profiting through inability to pay fees," 
has increased the practical difficulties. As long as fees 
are charged, an education authority, in order to carry 
it out, must ascertain (a) how many children are 
"capable of profiting," (b) how many parents of such 
children are unable to pay fees. What it must not do, 
if it is to comply with the Act, is — what is often done now 
— to hold a competitive examination for a limited number 
of free places, since obviously, if that is done, some of 
the children who show by success in the examination 
that they are "capable of profiting" will be excluded 
because the free places are not sufficient. But, clearly, 
to discover who exactly are the parents unable to pay 
fees is not an easy task, and will become more difficult 

* Even if fees are abolished selection by competitive examination 
or some analagous means will continue as long as the number of 
secondary school places is so gravely deficient as it is at present. 
But to abolish fees would obviously make it a less crucial factor in 
deciding a child's future. 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 87 

with the inevitable and much to be desired increase in 
the number of children seeking admission to secondary 
schools. Once the principle of free secondary education 
is established, the difficulty of discriminating between 
those parents who can, and those who cannot, afford to 
pay fees vanishes. 

In view of these advantages it is not surprising that the 
Departmental Committee on Scholarships and Free Places 
should have endorsed, with only one dissentient, the 
Labour Party's programme of free secondary education. 
Nor is the cost of abolishing fees such as to create any 
very great difficulty. In 1912-13, the last year for which 
figures were available, they contributed £1,100,245 out 
of a total revenue received by secondary schools of 
£2,663,661. Owing to increases which have taken place 
since that date, they may now perhaps be put at 
£2,000,000. That, therefore, would be the cost of 
freeing secondary education, on the basis of the present 
number attending the schools. If, as is to be hoped, the 
secondary school population increases, there will, of 
course, be a corresponding addition to it. 

Ill 

THE NECESSITY OF AN ADEQUATE SYSTEM OF 

MAINTENANCE ALLOWANCES 

The abolition of fees is the first step towards the 
creation of a democratic system of secondary education. 
But the fact must be faced that it will not by itself 
remove the economic disabilities which at present thwart 
the development of the children of parents of small 
means. Quite apart from the charge made by the school 
or the Education Authority, a hardly less serious obstacle 
is offered by the difficulty of dispensing with the addition 
to the family income made by the earnings of a child 
when the age of compulsory attendance is past. In many 
cases, indeed, the word difficulty is inadequate. 
It is an impossibility. There are only too many districts 
to which the statement of the West Ham education 



88 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

scheme is applicable. "Experience has shown that the 
average income in the districts is so low that without 
some financial assistance boys and girls oould not usually 
be sent to, or kept at, the secondary and higher elemen- 
tary schools.'" "Shall I let my child accept the scholar- 
ship he has won at the secondary school ? If I don't it 
is unfair on him. If I do, it is unfair on his younger 
brothers and sisters, who will go short of food" — such a 
dilemma is one which is within the experience of all who 
have practical contact with the working of the educa- 
tional system to-day. It can only be overcome by a 
really adequate system of maintenance allowances. 

Maintenance allowances, in one form or another, are 
as old as scholarships. But they do not appear in recent 
years to have kept pace with the developments of a 
system of free places. In the year 1911-12 the 
total expenditure of Local Education Authorities upon 
maintenance allowances was estimated to be £150,000. 
In 1918-19 it was £244,679'" in England on account of 
children in grant-aided secondary schools and £8,470 in 
Wales. The total number of children holding them was 
26,912 in England and 2,882 in Wales. In other words 
in England 37.2 per cent, of the children with free places 
and 10.9 per cent, of all the children in grant-aided 
secondary schools held maintenance allowances awarded 
by Local Education Authorities. In Wales the corres- 
ponding figures were 29 and 11.2 per cent. 

It should be observed that there appears to be a 
remarkable discrepancy between the provision made in 
this respect by the county and that made by the county 
boroughs. In England the counties accounted in 1919 
for 154,248 children, out of 254,720, in grant-aided 
secondary schools and the county boroughs for 100,472. 
The former, however, provided maintenance allowance 



» Proposed West Ham Education Scheme (1920), pp. 13-14. 

1" In addition £17,442 was spent in England on maintenance 
allowances in junior technical and similar schools, and £23 in Wales. 
Of the sum of £244.,07n mentioned above, £9,998 came, not from 
local education authorities, but from school foundations. Tlic 
corresponding figure in Wales was £731. 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 89 

for 20,428 out of the 26,912 children in receipt of them, 
and spent £185,913 in doing so; the latter provided for 
only 6,484 children at a cost of £58,766. 

The practice of Local Education Authorities in pro- 
viding maintenance allowances varies. There are areas 
in which both the remission of tuition fees and the 
provision of some sum towards maintenance is covered 
by the word "scholarship," and other areas in which the 
maintenance allowance is given separately. Some 
authorities, for example, Durham, "deal with necessitous 
cases as they arise." Others, like West Ham, hold that 
it is "difficult and undesirable to discriminate by 
inquiries between individual cases," and therefore 
provide a uniform maintenance allowance to all scholar- 
ship holders — in West Ham £15 for the years following 
the fourteenth birthday. Others, like London, have a 
scale of maintenance allowances varying according to the 
income and size of the family. In London, the further 
condition is proposed (if not actually at present in force) 
that "a higher intellectual standard (or other condition) 
should be required for the payments of maintenance 
beyond 'capacity to profit' by the education given." 
Hence from thirteen onwards maintenance allowances 
are, it is proposed, to be given only to "(i) those who 
reach a certain standard in the examinations higher than 
that required for free places, (ii) those who reach the 
standard for free places and undertake to become 
teachers." How prominent, indeed, the latter motive — 
the desire to recruit future teachers — has been in the 
development of a system of maintenance allowances is 
shown by the fact that in England actually nearly a third 
of the children in receipt of them in 1910 — 8,668 out of 
26,912 — were intending teachers. ^^ 

The recent regulations ^- as to the conditions upon 



11 Report of Departmental Committee on Scholarships and Free 
Places, App. I, Tables E i and E ii. Proposed Scheme for the County 
of Durham, p. .33. Proposed West Ham Education Scheme, pp. 13-14. 
Scheme of the London County Council, p. 38. 

12 Cmd. 425, The Higher Education (Maintenance Allowance Grant) 
Regulations, 1919. 



90 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

which grants in aid of maintenance allowances will be 
available show that the importance of developing them is 
appreciated by the Board, and, if secondary education is 
to be made freely accessible to all children capable of 
naakmg good use of it, it is clear that maintenance 
allowances must be extended on a scale far beyond any 
yet introduced, even by the most enlightened Education 
Authorities. They must be regarded neither as a 
charitable concession to exceptional misfortune, nor 
merely as a bounty paid on the manufacture of 
teachers, but as an essential element in the creation of a 
system of higher education which shall be accessible to all 
members of the community. 

The scheme of the London County Council supplies an 
instructive example of precisely the kind of restrictions 
by which they should not be accompanied. It proposes 
in fact a double barrier ; first, because the child admitted 
to a free place must reach a higher standard than that 
demanded of the fee-paying child, second, because the 
child granted a maintenance allowance must reach a 
higher standard than the child awarded a free place. 
But as, by the Council's own declaration, the test of 
admission to a free place is "capacity to profit," it 
inevitably follows that maintenance allowances are to 
be refused to some children "capable of profiting" by 
secondary education, and that as a result such children 
will be deprived of it. The truth is that conditions of 
this kind are derived ultimately from the view that while 
the well-to-do child has a right to secondary education, 
whatever its capacity, the child of poor parents 
is to receive it only as a special favour and in virtue 
of displaying a degree of intellectual ability 
which no one dreams of demanding from his richer 
neighbour. Clearly, both on educational and on social 
grounds, such a view is indefensible. We arc not pre- 
pared to say that the policy advocated by West Ham ot 
paying maintenance allowances to all children holding 
free places should be universally adopted. But, if it is 
not, maintenance allowances must be based on the needs 
of the family, and no higher intellectual standard must 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 91 

be demanded from children whose parents require them 
than from those whose parents do not. 

But it is not enough merely to ensure that the grant 
of maintenance allowances is not accompanied by 
arbitraiy restrictions such as those proposed in this 
scheme of the London County Council. It is necessary 
also greatly to increase their number, to make sure that 
they cover the expenses — books, travelling, stationery, 
and other items — incidental to secondary education, and 
to grade them in such a way that they may increase with 
age. It has been pointed out above that in 1918-19 over 
8,000 children were unable to enter secondary schools 
because free places were not available for them. No 
similar statistics exist showing the number of children 
who, while qualifying for a free place, were unable to 
accept it through lack of maintenance allowances 
sufficient in number and amount. But it is within the 
knowledge of most persons of experience that a con- 
siderable number of parents are compelled to refuse free 
places because the earnings of the child are necessary to 
the family. Even at the present time it can hardly be 
supposed that the county boroughs of England, in pro- 
viding maintenance allowances for 6,484 children, as they 
did in 1918, are smoothing difficulties from the path of all 
the children qualified and willing, if economic circum- 
stances allowed, to take advantage of secondary 
education, or that a sum of £58,766 represents all that 
they could with advantage, and without imposing a 
crushing burden on the ratepayer, spend in doing so. In 
the future, at any rate, if the secondary schools are to 
be made freely accessible to all classes, it is essential 
that the sum should be substantially increased. 

It is essential also that maintenance allowances 
should be graduated in such a way as to advance with 
the age of the children receiving them. Weak as public 
secondary education in England is throughout, it is 
weakest, as has often been pointed out, in its upper ranges. 
By general consent, one of the capital reforms needed is 
to retain at school a substantial proportion of the 
deplorably large number of children who at present leave 



92 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

before the age of sixteen, and to do so without discourag- 
ing the child of poor parents from entering a secondary 
school in the first instance. But to retain them at school 
it is necessary to remove the cause which takes them 
away from it, and the cause which takes them away is, in 
a large proportion of cases, economic pressure. The 
simplest way of lightening that pressure is by an 
intelligent use of the maintenance allowance. The sum 
of £8 19s. Id., which is the average value of a main- 
tenance allowance in the county boroughs of England, 
may be adequate for a child of eleven. But it is scarcely 
adequate even then, and it is obviously quite dispro- 
portionate to the cost of keeping a child of fifteen or 
sixteen. The proper policyj, already pursued by some 
authorities, but not, apparently, by the majority, is to 
increase the value of the maintenance allowance year by 
year up to eighteen. ^^ 

IV 
TEACHERS AND ACCOMMODATION 

In proposing as the goal a system of universal 
secondary education, we do not forget the difficulties 
arising from the shortage of accommodation and of 
teachers. Merely to provide increased free places, with- 
out increasing the school accommodation available, would 
result in excluding fee-paying pupils without adding to 
the total number of children receiving a secondary 
education. Nor is it necessary to emphasise that the 
quality and number of the tesichers are the most vital 
element in education^ and that the process of secondary, 
as of other kinds of education, is obviously limited by 
them. 



^'A practicalexample is given by the Proposed Scheme of Education 
for the County of Durham, p. 44 : " Maintenance grants to pupils 
engaged upon advanced work in secondary schools, intended to 
enable secondary school pupils to prolong their school life. . . . 
They are awarded to such pupils as, being over sixteen, are classified 
and' taught in advanced classes, and are payable at the following 
rates : Boys, first year £15, second year £20 ; girls, first year £10, 
second year £15." 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 93 

These difficulties are serious, but they must be seen in 
the right perspective. It must be remembered, in the 
first place, that they are not in any way peculiar to the 
programme urged in these pages. The continuation 
schools to be established under Section 10 of the Act of 
1918 would, it is estimated, require 16,000 teachers 
within two years of their creation and ultimately 32,000. 
In the years following 1870 School Boards were engaged 
in building up a service and finding accommodation for a 
generation after the provision of elementary education 
had become a statutory obligation. The development 
of a universal system of secondary education is a larger 
problem than the first, but a smaller problem than the 
second. It will proceed gradually, and the personnel 
and equipment which it requires will be created as it 
develops. Nor, in fact, can they be created in any other 
way. If the lack of teachers were an insuperable barrier 
to any new departure in education, no new departure 
would ever have taken place; for not only in England, 
but in all other countries, the State has not created a 
supply of potential teachers and then used them to do the 
work it wants. It has created work for them to do and 
then taken steps to find the necessary teachers. Indeed, 
so long as secondary education is confined to so small a 
fraction of the population as is the case to-day, no other 
course is open to it. If it will not "grow" teachers, it is 
inevitably driven to "force" them. 

While, therefore, it is true that the shortage of teachers 
and of accommodation makes inevitable the lapse of a 
period of years before our full programme can be realised, 
that is no reason for not moving towards its realisation 
with such speed as is practicable. For, in the second 
place, as the Act of 1918 requires, and as the schemes of 
Local Education Authorities make clear, there will, in any 
case, be a large addition to the number of teachers and to 
the school buildings in the near future. The question is 
not tvhether we shall provide more accommodation and 
recruit additional teachers, but for xvhat purpose both 
are to be employed, and rvhat standard of quality is as a 
consequence to be created. It is submitted that it would 



94 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

be the height of unwisdom to mortgage the resources 
available for education to provision of a kind which, 
because it is in the nature of a makeshift, is likely in ten 
or fifteen years to be superseded. Instead, for example, 
of providing fifty-nine additional central schools with 
twenty-three thousand more school places, it would be 
wiser, it may be suggested, for the London County 
Council to spend the same sum on developing secondary 
education. The foraier have their merits, but it 
would probably not be unfair to say that they 
are often regarded both by educationalists and by 
the workers of the country as a cheap substitute, to 
be tolerated only so long as nothing better can 
be provided. The latter would be a step towards 
meeting the demands for secondary education which must 
be met sooner or later, and which will be met most 
economically if^ in the interval, money has not been 
diverted to inferior institutions which satisfy no one. 
Instead of providing part-time continued education, Local 
Authorities had much better begin to face in earnest the 
question of full-time secondary education. The former 
is preferable to the economic and moral chaos in which 
boys and girls who leave the primary schools are 
plunged at present. But few informed observers regard 
them as other than a transition stage on the road to 
secondary education for all. To invest heavily in a 
depreciating, if widely advertised, stock of the kind is, 
both from an educational and from an economic point of 
view, an error of judgment. 

In the meantime, even with the existing resources, 
something can be done to move in the right direction. 
The preparatory departments of grant-aided secondary 
schools, containing some 26,944 children, of whom the 
greater number are under the age of ten, have certain 
advantages for the children— all children of fee-paying 
parents- admitted to them. But in view of the grave 
shortage of school places, it can hardly be doubted that 
the Departmental Committee was right in stating that the 
accommodation which they represent would be better 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 95 

employed in providing for children entering at eleven. 
Central schools, whenever possible, should be converted 
as soon as practicable into secondary schools. In urban 
areas there are probably a certain number of primary 
schools which might similarly be scheduled for conversion, 
and, more rarely, it will be possible to acquire suitable 
buildings which are now used for other than educational 
purposes. Is it even too revolutionary to suggest that a 
small step towards a S'olution of the problem of school 
accommodation might be taken by a change in the pre- 
vailing fashion of school architecture ? "It is not bricks 
and mortar," to adapt a famous saying, "which make a 
school, but children and teachers." In Wales, we under- 
stand, the earlier public secondary schools were housed in 
temporary buildings. It is conceivable, at least, that in 
England school buildings might be erected both more 
cheaply and more expyeditiously if they were designed to 
follow somewhat more closely the plan of the "open-air" 
school, and somewhat less closely that of a fortress 
designed to resist both the ravages and the improvements 
of time. 

It has been suggested to us, indeed, that a still more 
radical departure might usefully be contemplated. If the 
object aimed at is to make primary and secondary educa- 
tion continuous, one way of doing so would be to group 
them as two divisions within a single school. After all, 
it is urged, whether education is "secondary" or not 
does not depend upon the particular building in which it 
is carried on. Why not frankly recognise that what is 
now the public elementary school, if it is educating 
children of eleven4- to fourteen effectively, must neces- 
sarily be doing a good deal of "secondary" work? 
Why not take account of that fact in the organisation of 
future schools, and, wherever it is possible, reorganise 
existing schools on that basis ? The practical difficulties 
of such a proposal — the fact that the whole standard of 
staffing, air-space, playing fields, amenities in general is 
lower in existing primary schools than is required by the 
Board in secondary schools — are obvious. The existence 
of that dual standard is indeed one of the evils arising 

o 



96 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

from the division between them. Nor, of course, 
would the suggestion solve by itself the problem of 
accommodation, since the primary schools themselves 
are already overcrowded. The practical advantages, 
however, would also be considerable. In so far as the 
proposal could be carried out, there would be an addition, 
at least, to secondary school accommodation. The diffi- 
culty caused in many areas by the distance of the 
secondary school from the homes of the children would 
disappear. The thoroughly vicious idea that primary 
and secondary education form two systems of education 
would be destroyed in the most effective possible manner 
— by making it obvious that they were parts of a single 
whole. 

Which, if any, of these practical measures is to be 
adopted must be decided in the Hght of the varying 
circumstances of different localities. The point of 
principle to be insisted upon is that the objective — 
universal secondary education — should be kept steadily 
in view, and that the educational effort of the next 
fifteen years should be concentrated on attaining it, not 
dissipated on plans which, even if laudable in them- 
selves, are of inferior importance. 



CHAPTER V 

THE PROPOSED SUBSTITUTES FOR 
SECONDARY EDUCATION 

WE have urged in our preceding chapters 
that the main educational effort of the 
nation should be directed to building up a 
system of secondary education for all 
children from eleven to sixteen, and that our immediate 
measures of reform should be inspired by that object 
and should be designed to bring nearer its realisation. 
But the policy for which we have pleaded is not the only 
possible one. It is confronted not merely by a blank 
opposition to educational improvements of any kind, but 
by proposals for improvement which are advanced as 
alternatives to it. It has, in short, to face competitors. 
In the present chapter we proceed to consider shortly 
these rival policies and to state why, after considering 
them, we still insist that the main energies of all good 
citizens, and of organised labour in particular, must be 
devoted to giving effect, doubtless with improvements in 
detail, and with due allowance for the varying circum- 
stances of different localities, to the general principles 
which are stated above. 

I 

THE MAIN ALTERNATIVES 

It is the more necessary to examine these alternative 
schemes because "public secondary education" is a 
phrase which is not free from ambiguity. In its strictest 
sense it might be confined to education given in in- 
stitutions complying with the Board's regulations for 

97 



98 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

secondary schools and receiving grants from it. In its 
broadest sense, it might be extended to cover almost any 
kind of post-primary education lasting over the period of 
adolescence, including part-time continuation schools 
and evening schools. In the past it has been very far 
from true that all education given in secondary schools 
could property be described as "secondary." In the 
future, it might be asked, may not a good deal of what is 
really secondary education be given in institutions other 
than secondary schools ? It was the realisation of that 
possibility which underlay, we think, the welcome given 
by many persons to Section 10 of the Act of 1918. They 
hoped that the continuation schools might in time 
become, in all but name, a system of part-time secondary 
education. 

There would appear, in fact, to be two alternative 
lines of development towards a more adequate system of 
higher education. On the one hand, it may take 
place by the extension of these other types of post- 
primary education, without any attempt being made 
either largely to increase the provision of secondary 
education or to merge them in it. On the other hand, it 
may proceed by taking the secondary school, in the 
stricter sense of the word "secondary," as the standard 
at which adolescent education must aim, by increasing 
the provision of varying types of secondary schools as 
rapidly as possible, and by seeking so to raise the 
standard of the other and less adequate forms of post- 
primary education as ultimately to make them, not an 
alternative to secondary education, but an integral part 

of it. 

Which of these alternative channels educational pro- 
gress is to follow is obviously a matter of the gravest 
practical moment. In the latter case the line between 
primary and secondary education will be re-drawn, and 
the great majority of children will ultimately pass to 
some kind, though neither necessarily nor probably the 
same kind, of full-time secondary education about 
eleven -f-. In the former case the secondary schools, while 
recruiting an increased number of pupils, will remain 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 99 

the schools of a small minority, and primary education 
will not be an avenue to secondary education, but will 
overlap it. In so far as post-primary education is 
developed at all, the rank and file of children in the 
elementary schools will either remain in them till fourteen 
and then enter a secondary school, or will pass between 
eleven and fourteen to some other institution, designed 
to give, like, for example, some "central" schools, a more 
or less specialised preparation for commerce or industry. 

The attempt to organise some kind of advanced instruc- 
tion for the older or brighter pupils in the primary 
schools without transferring them to secondary schools 
is almost as old as a public system of primary education. 
It is significant, indeed, of the instability of any 
arrangement which attempts to grade education without 
close reference to the natural facts of child development, 
that, almost in spite of themselves, by a strained con- 
struction of the Education Acts, and sometimes, as 
finally appeared, in defiance of them, authorities charged 
with the provision of primary education had hardly come 
into existence before they found themselves committed by 
the mere practical necessities of the situation to the 
organisation of education other than primary. The 
expedients adopted were numerous and have continued, 
in one shape or another, up to the present day. At one 
time they took the form of higher grade schools, at 
another of higher elementary schools, at k third of 
"higher tops," while side by side with the outgrowths 
of the primary school went on the development of a 
system of evening classes. The problem raised in this 
pamphlet is not, in short, an artificial one. It has 
haunted public education ever since its commencement. 

These attempts to provide some kind of "advanced" 
or "continued" instruction for primary school children 
who would not pass to a secondary school had their 
origin long before the recent great development of public 
secondary education. In their inception they repre- 
sented the only type of higher education available for 
them. At the present time they represent one type, full 
secondary education being the other. But educational 



100 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

traditions, once established, die hard. In the days before 
a public system of secondary schools existed, the primary 
schools pushed out their own tentacles into the upper air 
of advanced education, because, while an extension of 
some form of post-primary education was obviously 
necessary, it was less troublesome to effect it by attach- 
ing certain forms of higher education as a kind of appen- 
dix to primary education than to undertake the effort of 
imagination and organisation involved in reconsidering 
the whole scheme of primary and secondary education 
from its foundations. Now that the nucleus, at least, of 
a public secondary system has been created, the earlier 
policy still proceeds by its already acquired momentum. 
Hence it is only rarely, it would seem, that Local Educa- 
tion Authorities have asked themselves, with Gloucester- 
shire, Darlington, and West Ham, whether, if secondary 
education develops in the next generation as rapidly as 
in the last, it will not result in making these alternative 
types of post-primary education superfluous. In many 
cases, at least, it would not be fair to criticise them for 
that attitude. They may reasonably urge that hitherto 
the great majority of children have left school alto- 
gether at, or below, fourteen, and that, in such circum- 
stances, the immediately urgent problem is to improve 
the quality of the higher ranges of primary education. 
Such improvement, it need hardly be said, is much to be 
welcomed, whatever the particular organisation used to 
effect it. At the same time, it ought to be possible to 
combine it with a policy which looks beyond the immedi- 
ate exigencies of the next five years. What is needed, 
in short, is both to secure the more effective education 
of children who will leave school at fourteen, and also 
to develop secondary education on a scale adequate to 
the demand for it, which, as has been shown above, 
already exists, and which is likely, if experience may be 
trusted, to increase largely in the near future. 

At the present time the most important of the alterna- 
tives to secondary education consists of (i) junior techni- 
cal schools and central schools ; (ii) part-time continued 
education, in the forms either, as in the past, of evening 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 101 

classes, or, as under Section 10 of the Education Act, 
1918, of day continuation schools. Neither of these has 
as yet developed on any very large scale. The junior 
technical schools numbered in 1918-19 only sixty-nine, 
and included some 9,422 children. The number of 
children in central schools was probably even smaller. 
The total number of persons under instruction in evening 
classes during some part of the year 1918-19 was in 
England 465,119. The intention of the Education Act, 
1918, was, of course, both to develop advanced full-time 
instruction and to create a new system of part-time con- 
tinued education, which was to be compulsory and 
universal. Section 2 (i) of the Act provides that "it 
shall be the duty of a Local Education Authority so to 
exercise their powers ... as to make, or otherwise to 
secure, adequate and suitable provision, by means of 
central schools, central or special classes, or otherwise 
. . . for organising in public elementary schools courses 
of advanced instruction for the older or more intelligent 
children in attendance at such schools, including children 
who stay at such schools beyond the age of fourteen." 
Section 10 provides for the establishment of a system 
of part-time continuation schools for all young persons, 
not otherwise being educated, between fourteen and 
sixteen, and (after seven years) between fourteen and 
eighteen. 

II 

PART-TIME CONTINUED EDUCATION 

On part-time continuation schools as an alternative to 
the development of full-time secondary education it is 
unnecessary for us to speak at length. The Labour 
Movement warmly welcomed the Education Act of 1918, 
and it has since made every effort to avert the suspension 
of it in deference to the pressure of industrial interests, 
which had opposed it when first introduced and which 
used the financial panic as a cloak for resisting any inter- 
ference with cheap juvenile labour. Though the demand 
of Labour was for free and universal secondary education, 



102 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

not for continuation schools, it recognised gladly that 
the latter would do something, at least, to protect 
and develop boys and girls during the critical period of 
adolescence. In 1919 the Education Advisory Com- 
mittee of the Labour Party issued a pamphlet explaining 
how Section 10 of the Act might be administered to the 
best advantage, and local Labour Parties up and down 
the country were zealous to secure its operation. 

It is not, therefore, in any spirit of carping criticism or 
impracticable idealism that we assert that part-time con- 
tinuation schools cannot be accepted by the Labour 
Movement as a substitute for the programme of secondary 
educatioii set out in this pamphlet. The advantages 
of even eight hours a week continued education between 
fourteen and sixteen are obvious. But so, except as a 
transitional measure, are its weaknesses. The physical 
strain of combining forty hours' work in the factory 
with eight hours in school may not be too severe at 
sixteen or seventeen. At fourteen, except for the very 
strongest children and in the very lightest employment, 
it is likely to be excessive. The intellectual work of boys 
and girls must inevitably suffer from the distraction of 
interests involved in the attempt to serve two masters. 
The continuation schools will, it is to be hoped, be real 
schools, with a corporate life and in time a corporate 
tradition ; but, at best, their influence must be weak com- 
pared with that of a good secondary school which children 
attend full-time for a period of four to five years. Nor 
must it be forgotten that the question of the quality of the 
educational system is at least as important as that of its 
quantity, and that the quality depends largely upon the 
relating of primary to post-primary education in such 
a way as to correspond more exactly with the natural 
facts of child development. "For the normal boy,** 
states an official, "elementary education stops at about 
eleven. It is a mistake to continue after this stage the 
educational methods that are suitable for the preceding 
stage." Merely to tack eight hours continued education 
on to a primary school system that continues up to 
fourteen does not solve the fundamental problem of 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 108 

scientifically connecting preparatory and adolescent 
education. It gives it up. 

For these reasons we cannot regard a system of part- 
time continued education between fourteen and sixteen 
as anything but a temporary arrangement. As a mere 
matter of history, it was advocated prior to 1918 more 
often on social and moral grounds, as a check on the 
exploitation of juvenile labour or as an alternative to the 
life of the streets, than because it was thought to possess 
any very great educational merits. The real function of 
the continuation school seems to us to be somewhat 
different from that usually suggested. It ought to be a 
continuation, not of primary, but of secondary, educa- 
tion, and it will find its proper place in the years between 
sixteen and eighteen, when the majority of boys and girls 
will have entered some branch of industry but ought still 
to be in touch with education. It is significant that 
certain administrators appear to prefer to part-time con- 
tinuation schools the development of full-time secondary 
education up to fifteen or sixteen. "If an intermediate 
school system be established," writes the Director of 
Education for Darlington, "we shall have solved almost 
all our compulsory continued education problems.'" 

While, therefore, the reasons given for suspending the 
operations of Section 10 of the Act are sufficient in them- 
selves to make any person of moderate humanity and 
public spirit determined to secure its immediate applica- 
tion, part-time education between fourteen and sixteen 
must be regarded, at best, as no more than a temporary 
arrangement. What is to be hoped is that Local Educa- 
tion Authorities will concentrate their energy on 
developing full-time secondary education for all children 
up to sixteen, and that part-time education will succeed 
it in the years between sixteen and eighteen. At the later 
age, when boys and girls are physically stronger and when 
the foundations of specialised training have been laid by 
five years in a secondary school, it should be of the 
utmost value. But it cannot take the place of a good 

1 Memorandum on " A School Scheme " and questions arising out 
of the Education Act, 1918 (Darlington, May, 1919). 



104 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

general education, and to attempt to use it as a substitute 
for the secondary school is only to prepare the way for 
another disillusionment. Cheap substitutes, which have 
to be abandoned in ten or fifteen years, are apt to be 
more expensive than a plan of development which, even 
if it costs more at the beginning, can be relied upon to 
supply the framework of a permanent system. In the 
long run the bolder policy is likely to prove to be, not 
merely the only policy which will meet the demands of 
Labour and of educationalists, but also the most 
economical. 

Ill 

THE FUTURE OF CENTRAL SCHOOLS AND 

SIMILAR INSTITUTIONS 

Part-time continuation schools are not the only alterna- 
tive to secondary education. There are also central 
schools and junior technical schools. The junior 
technical school has hitherto usually differed from the 
secondary school in purpose, leaving age, and curriculum. 
It is designed to offer practical instruction for boys and 
girls who will leave school for industry at a younger age 
than the majority of secondary school pupils. The age at 
which it is entered appears to be usually between twelve 
and fourteen, and is thus somewhat higher than that of 
entering secondary schools. The curriculum is more highly 
specialised, and the elements of "general" education in 
it are much reduced. The characteristics of the "central" 
schools vary. But their general tendency appears to 
be somewhat similar, and the description of them in the 
scheme of the London County Council, the pioneer of the 
central school system, which established fifty-one such 
schools between 1911 and 1919, and which has proposed 
to increase them to 100, with accommodation for 40,000 
children, is probably fairly typical. "Central schools 
have been established with a view to providing for certain 
specially selected boys and girls from the age of eleven 
upwards a four years' general course of instruction with 
a definite commercial or industrial bias."^ They are 

^ Scheme of London County Council, pp. 15-16. 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 105 

definitely part of the primary school system, and, in 
London, at any rate, are distinguished from the 
secondary schools by several well defined differences. 
Thus, (i) they are probably somewhat inferior to them m 
respect of buildings, equipment, and ratio of staff to 
pupils ; (ii) the curriculum is semi-vocational ; (iii) the 
teachers are not paid on a secondary scale or required to 
have secondary qualifications ; (iv) the normal leaving age 
is lower than that of the secondary school ; (v) no main- 
tenance allowances, except in a few cases, are paid ; (vi) 
• — a point which is possibly their principal attraction from 
the point of view of the Education Authority — they are, 
compared with secondary education, cheap. They are, in 
fact, an annex to the primary school, distinguished from 
it by the fact that they are designed for "selected" chil- 
dren, that they are somewhat better staffed and equipped, 
and that they are intended to include in the curriculum 
specialised instruction to prepare the pupils for entry into 
commerce and industry, an entry which, it is con- 
templated, will normally take place not later than fifteen. 
It is evident from the schemes of Local Education 
Authorities that, when the present financial panic has 
abated, there is likely to be a movement to develop 
central schools and similar institutions. The point upon 
which the Labour Movement must make up its mind is 
how far it will accept that policy as a substitute for a 
wide extension of secondary education. The answer to 
that question must largely depend upon the lines upon 
which it is proposed to treat them. There appear, in 
fact, to be two ways of envisaging the functions of what 
are now called central schools. On the one hand, they 
may be regarded as giving a somewhat more advanced 
type of primary education. On the other hand, they 
may be regarded as simply one kind of secondary 
school. However secondary education may be organ- 
ised, it is necessary to recognise that some boys and girls 
will continue it to seventeen or eighteen, while others, 
and a larger number, will end it at sixteen, if not before. 
It is reasonable that the organisation and curriculum of 
secondary schools should take account of this difference, 



106 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

and also, of course, that it should make provision for the 
needs of those children who progress most rapidly when 
the curriculum contains a liberal allowance of "practical'* 
work. The central schools might conceivably be regarded, 
as they appear to be, for instance, in Bradford, as an 
addition to the supply of junior secondary schools, taking 
the lower form work, and thus leaving existing secondary 
school accommodation for the more advanced work, 
while acting as "feeders" to secondary schools proper. 
In the breadth of their curriculum and in the quality of 
their staff and equipment they would, in fact, be 
secondary education. But they would be secondary 
education designed for children who will normally remain 
in them for not more than five years and who will leave 
about their sixteenth birthday. 

It is towards some such transformation of the central 
school and junior technical school that some progressive 
Education Authorities seem to be feeling their 
way. Thus the scheme of the Kent Education 
Committee proposes that "the present junior techni- 
cal schools and commercial schools shall be absorbed into 
secondary or intermediate schools," and that a system 
of intermediate schools shall be established providing 
"a course of advanced instruction from three to four 
years, capable of extension to a fifth year for 
pupils who will remain in full-time attendance at school 
until the age of sixteen." A touch of realism is to be 
given to the curriculum by relating it to the life of the 
neighbourhood. But "in all cases the basis of the curri- 
culum will consist of English, history, geography, mathe- 
matics, science, handicrafts (for girls domestic subjects), 
and physical education."^ Except in the absence from 
the curriculum of one foreign language, which is, as a 
general rule, required by the regulations of the Board 
for secondary schools, such a curriculum is in all essential 
respects a secondary curriculum, and, if the highly 
important matters of staffing, equipment, and grants are 

• Draft Scheme of Education for Kent under the Education Act, 
1918, pp. 62-8 and 108. 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 107 

for the moment put on one side, su'^h intermediate schools 
are secondary schools in all but name. The suggestions 
made by the Direction of Education for Darlington are 
much the same. His proposals are that intermediate 
schools should be established to take the place of the 
existing central and junior technical schools, that they 
should contain sufficient school places to accommodate 
all children over twelve, and that the age-period should 
be twelve to sixteen. Such "intermediate schools," he 
remarks, emphasising the alternative lines of develop- 
ment to which we have called attention above, **may be 
of the type now represented by our central commercial 
and junior technical schools, or preferably follow the same 
lines of general education as secondary schools, from 
which I believe they xvill be indistinguishable when they 
are in full xvorking order. I think they should be voca- 
tional only to the extent needed to convince pupils that 
much of their learning is capable of practical application. 
... To turn these into 'vocational' schools of a type 
favoured in certain areas would only result in separating 
scholars into groups according to probable occupations, 
which would be little, if any, better than grouping accord- 
ing to capacity to pay fees. . . . A good general educa- 
tion is the first essential whatever calling a boy or girl 
proposes to follow.*'* 

One line of advance, therefore, is to work for a trans- 
formation of central and junior technical schools into 
intermediate schools of the type suggested by the 
Directors of Education whose views we have quoted. In 
so far as that were done, the whole educational system 
would be simplified by the merging in the secondary 
system of what, with all their merits, are at present 
really educational hybrids, the central schools and junior 
technical schools. A necessary corollary of the change 
would be, of course, that such intermediate schools 
should become eligible for secondary school grants and 
be made amenable to the Board's regulations for second- 
ary schools. In the past, no doubt with wisdom, the 



* Memorandum (Darlington), pp. 35-36. 



108 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

Board has been more anxious tx) maintain the quality of 
secondary education than to increase its quantity. The 
recognition of such intermediate schools would not, how- 
ever, involve any "lowering of the standard." The 
need for what may be called junior secondary education 
has to be met, and the whole level of the institutions by 
which it is partially met at present would be raised if 
they were pushed upwards out of the rather ambiguous 
position which they occupy to-day into the second- 
ary system. There is reason to believe that such 
a development would commend itself to many practical 
educationalists. "It would be a great gain," writes an 
experienced official, "if it were definitely recognised that 
elementary education ends at eleven-f . Beyond the age 
of eleven 4- we have at present central, secondary, and 
junior technical schools. At present only the secondary 
school is supposed to belong to higher education. But 
are not all three types secondary in the wider acceptance 
of the term ? . . . Has 7iot the time come jor recognis- 
ing as secondary all schools that provide a course of jiill- 
time instruction between eleven and sixteen years of age ? 
All such schools should have every encouragement to 
develop. There should be no preferential treatment in 
respect of grant and expenses of upkeep, //, for example, 
classes of twenty-five, highly qualified staff, and spacious 
playgrounds are the proper standard for the secondary 
school, they are clearly the proper standard for a central 
or junior technical school. Just as existing secondary 
schools are encouraged to develop, and to retain their 
pupils up to eighteen or nineteen years of age, so should 
central schools be allowed to develop in the same way 
if they are able to do so." 

Disputes about words are unprofitable. There is no 
mysterious virtue attaching to the mere phrase 
"secondary education." What is required is that, 
within the elastic frame-work of a national system, each 
locality should develop the type of higher education 
which best suits its own conditions, and it is quite 
possible that in some areas the establishment of a general 
system of secondary education up to sixteen can best be 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 109 

reached through the further development of central and 
junior technical schools on the lines indicated by the 
official quoted above. The more secondary education 
develops, the greater the need for variety among 
secondary schools. And with an intermediate 
education thus conceived, lasting from twelve to 
sixteen, cultural while appealing to practical interests, 
with "a highly qualified staff and spacious playgrounds," 
no reformer need quarrel. It should be the aim of the 
Labour Movement to hasten the transformation of 
central schools and junior technical schools in the direc- 
tion suggested by these authorities. 

It should be equally its aim, however, to resist their 
extension when they are designed, not as part of the 
secondary system, but as an alternative to it. For it 
must be pointed out that, as they exist to-day, most 
central schools and junior technical schools cannot by 
any stretch of imagination be described as giving second- 
ary education, and that there is a considerable section of 
opinion which would be strongly opposed to their develop- 
ment on the lines indicated above. Central schools such 
as many, if not most, of those hitherto established 
neither are, nor are meant to be, a genuine part 
of the secondary system. On the contrary, they are 
simply an annex to elementary education : in the 
words of the scheme of the London County Council, they 
are "intended to replace the former higher grade and 
higher elementary schools." Their curriculum is framed 
"with a view to enabling the pupils to pass direct into 
commercial and industrial pursuits." At the age of 
twelve or thirteen a child is to plunge, apparently, into 
the abstruse sciences of "book-keeping, shorthand, and 
typewriting." The buildings and staffing are somewhat 
better than those of the ordinary elementary schools. 
But they appear sometimes (though not always) to be of a 
kind which the Board would not tolerate in a secondary 
school. 

If central schools of this type are offered as a sub- 
stitute for secondary education. Labour can define its 
attitude towards them in a sentence. To put the matter 



no SECONDARY EDUCATION 

bluntly, it "is not having any." It is, of course, of 
urgent importance to improve the higher ranges of 
primary education. But the danger of central schools 
of this kind — a danger which does not seem to have been 
wholly avoided — is that they may induce public 
opinion to acquiesce in the provision of secondary 
school places on a quite inadequate scale, on the ground 
that, for all but a small minority of children, secondary 
education is neither practicable nor desirable. 

That is a position which the Labour Movement cannot 
for a moment accept. The objection to central schools 
thus conceived is not due, as is sometimes suggested, to 
any lack of appreciation of the part which can be played 
by "practical" work in the school curriculum. Practical 
work in the sense, not of specialised training for a 
particular occupation, but of work which is closely 
related to the living interests of the children, is 
eminently desirable on strictly educational ground. 
Wisely used, it is a stimulus, not an impediment, to 
intellectual development, and experience shows that it 
reacts favourably upon the other subjects studied. It 
already has a place in the secondary schools, and will 
have a more important place in the future. Nor is the 
ground of our criticism merely the commercial and in- 
dustrial "bias" which is supposed to colour the work of 
the central schools. It is true, indeed, that it appears co 
rest upon the mistaken idea that specialisation can use- 
fully begin at twelve or thirteen and precede, instead of 
following, a good general education. The proper comment 
upon that fallacy is that of Mr. Boyde, the Director of 
Education for Darlington : "We have not yet gone so far 
as to establish 'vocational' schools for intending doctors, 
lawyers, or those who intend to take the higher branches 
of engineering. A good general education is the first 
essential whatever calling a boy or girl proposes to 
follow." But, though the conception which regards type- 
writing and shorthand as suitable subjects for children 
of thirteen is erroneous, the practice may be better than 
the theory, and a sensible headmaster will usually be able 
to secure that these fantasies are not allowed senously 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 111 

to interfere with the general education of the chil- 
dren. The real defect of the central schools, as some- 
times conceived hitherto, is that they propose to offer 
what is in essence a cheap and mutilated alternative to 
secondary education, and to do so partly for the sake of 
economy, partly because of the fundamentally vicious 
doctrine that the education of children during the period 
of adolescence should be determined by the requirements 
of the employment which they will eventually enter. 

With the parsimony which offers a sham, because it 
grudges, except for a selected minority of children, 
expenditure on the reality, Labour can make truce as little 
as with the vulgar commercialism which conceives of the 
manufacture of efficient typists and mechanics as the 
primary object of adolescent education. In this matter, 
at least, it can claim with some confidence that educa- 
tional theory is on its side. All educationalists are agreed 
that classifications of children made at eleven and twelve 
should be, at most, provisional, because the younger 
the children, the more likely are they to be mistaken. If 
the central school system, as it appears to be con- 
ceived by some authorities, becomes general, it will 
be decided on the strength of an examination held 
between eleven and twelve that a child is not "capable 
of profiting" by secondary education. Clearly, children 
should not be segregated in different institutions at eleven 
or twelve merely because at sixteen or seventeen they 
may enter different occupations. On the central school 
system the future clerk or artisan is detected in the child 
of eleven, and he is drafted to a school designed to make 
him one. Clearly, if the requirements laid down in the 
Regulations of the Board as to organised games and 
physical exercises, as to numbers, salaries, and qualifica- 
tion of teachers, as to size of classes and school accom- 
modation are good for any children, then they are good 
for all children. 

There was a certain simple, if callous and 
fallacious, logic in the policy of providing no higher 
education at all for children from the primary schools on 
the ground that it was useless or dangerous for them to 

H 



112 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

have it. But to admit children to advanced education 
on the ground that they ought to have it, and then to 
offer it them under conditions which are admittedly not 
good enough for other children of precisely the same age, 
the same physical requirements, and, often, the same 
intellectual ability, and which in fact the State does not 
allow in the schools attended by them, has a good deal of 
the callousness and none of the logic. The fact that the 
children in central schools are likely to enter trade or 
industry (if it is true) is very largely irrelevant to the 
question of the curriculum suitable for them, and entirely 
irrelevant to the question of staffing, equipment, and 
accommodation. A boy does not need less opportunity 
for games because he is going to be a blacksmith and not 
a business man ; nor has Providence provided the future 
clerk with smaller lungs than the future director ; nor 
should teachers be paid less for teaching boys and girls 
in central schools than for teaching their brothers and 
sisters in secondary schools. 

The truth is that, as often conceived hitherto, the 
central schools are, what The Times has called them, "a 
product of the 1870 conception of education."^ They 
rest on the assumption that the divorce between primary 
and secondary education is to be maintained, and then, 
since that divorce creates the insoluble problem 
of how to organise advanced insti-uction for the children 
excluded from secondary schools, the central school is 
introduced as a makeshift partially to fill the gap, as the 
higher elementary and higher grade schools were intro- 
duced in the past. It is, in short, an inferior substitute 
for secondary education. But, as the Director of Educa- 
tion for Gloucestershire remarks, *'The worker will not 
put up with inferior substitutes. Why should he ? It is 
not to the interests of the country at large that he 
should. What is good for the children of other people is 
good for his. What is necessary for theirs is necessary for 
his. He will want the secondary school."* 

* The Times Edueational Supplement, May 1, 1919. 

• Gloucestershire Interim Scheme in Respect of Secondary 
Education, p. 3. 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 113 

The course of wisdom is to recognise that fact, 
not **to waste half a dozen generations of school 
children in the process" of making the central 
school a transition stage towards the secondary 
school, but to cease building central schools, and 
to turn such of the existing central schools as are 
suitable into secondary schools at the earliest possible 
date. If the Board will let it be known that its policy 
is, in the words of the distinguished official quoted above, 
*'to recognise as secondary schools all schools that pro- 
vide a course of full-time instruction between eleven and 
sixteen years of age" ; to require that they shall comply, 
in the matter of staffing and equipment, class rooms and 
playing fields, with the regulations for secondary schools, 
and to pay them grants on the secondary scale, Local 
Education Authorities will be led, it may be prophesied, 
to consider the wisdom of concentrating their energies, 
not on the creation of more "inferior substitutes," like 
many central schools and junior technical schools of 
to-day, but on the development of a really adequate 
system of secondary education. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE POSITION OF THE SECONDARY 
SCHOOL TEACHERS 

IT has already been made clear that the necessary 
facilities for a large extension of secondary educa- 
tion can be made available only if the requisite 
number of teachers is forthcoming. It goes with- 
out saying that these teachers must have had a University 
education and training. In other days it was perhaps the 
principal task of the Universities to educate those who 
were afterwards to lead the mass of the population. 
Although nowadays the functions of the University are 
far wider than this — and with free secondary education 
for all the demand for University education will become 
still more widespread — yet the education and training 
of teachers will always be a very important part 
of their work, more especially when it comes to 
be recognised that the primary schools must be 
levelled up to the secondary schools in respect of 
buildings, equipment, and status and qualifications of 
teachers. It is obvious that the great development of 
secondary education which the nation requires will 
in years to come give us a very much larger reserve from 
which our supply of teachers may be obtained; indeed, 
the only way by which the acute problem arising from 
the present shortage of teachers can be solved is to break 
the vicious circle which causes the extension of secondary 
education to be hampered by the scarcity of teachers, 
and teachers to be scarce because there are too few boys 
and girls in the secondary schools. When a Government is 
prepared to undertake in earnest such an extension as 
we contemplate, it will no doubt offer special facilities 
and inducements to University graduates to undertake 

114 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 115 

the necessary training. Within one year a considerable 
number of them could be equipped to take up work 
in the new schools, and every succeeding year would 
add to their number. Nor must it be forgotten that 
there are in the primary schools a large number of 
teachers who are specialists in certain subjects, many 
of whom would probably be well gratified to teach those 
subjects in secondary schools. 

This contemplated influx into the profession will only 
take place, however, if salaries and conditions of work 
are satisfactory. It is, therefore, relevant to inquire 
how far existing secondary teachers are satisfied with 
their position and prospects, and to what extent recruits 
are being attracted into the secondary branch of the 
profession. 

The lot of the teacher in a secondary school has never 
been an enviable one. It is true that the better-paid 
posts in the great public schools are normally comfort- 
able enough, and that men of little ambition and with 
no desire to marry jog along contentedly in preparatory 
schools and in a certain number of efficient privately- 
owned schools. But in secondary schools aided or main- 
tained by Local Education Authorities there has been 
during recent years a remarkable manifestation of revolt 
against conditions of service that were fast becoming 
intolerable. Inadequately paid, and therefore filled with 
constant anxiety as to his present position and future 
prospects, the teacher in these schools has struggled on, 
counting himself fortunate indeed if he has been able to 
save enough to provide himself with a small pittance for 
his declining years. As there is a very general impres- 
sion that recent improvements in salary have given him 
substantial benefits, and have even placed him in a 
highly-favoured position, it may be worth while to give 
the facts of the situation. 

The report of the Bumham Committee on Salaries in 
Secondary Schools states that the commencing salary of 
an assistant master who is a University graduate shall 
be £240, rising by increments of £15 per annum to a 
maximum of £500. If he has taken a good honours 



116 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

degree — which means a first class, or, in certain cases, 
a second class — he receives an addition of £25 to the 
minimum and £50 to the maximum. If he has spent a 
year after graduating in being trained for his profession, 
he obtains an extra allowance of £20 on the minimum, 
but nothing is added to the maximum. Should he be 
appointed to a post of special responsibility, his maxi- 
mum may be as much as £50 greater. For assistant 
mistresses the scale is £225-15-400, with similar extra 
allowances. Head masters and head mistresses have no 
special scale, but it is recommended that no head master 
shall receive less than £600 as a minimum, and no head 
mistress less than £500. These scales apply to the whole 
country with the exception of London, where men assist- 
ants receive an additional £50 and women £40. Neigh- 
bouring counties which are partly within the Metropoli- 
tan Police district may adopt the London scale, but so 
far only Middlesex has done so. There is a "carry- 
over" arrangement by which existing teachers will not 
reach their proper position on the scale until September, 
1922. 

The report has been very generally adopted through- 
out the country, though some twelve or fifteen authori- 
ties have made modifications which unfavourably affect 
the teachers working in their area, while a few authori- 
ties have not adopted it at all. 

It is an open secret that the representatives of the 
teachers were only induced to accept these scales in the 
hope that a considerable fall in the cost of living would 
eventually render them more adequate. It is, therefore, 
with considerable apprehension that teachers have seen 
the contention being put forward that the present slight 
fall in the cost of living justifies a modification of the 
Bumham award. It cannot be too widely known that 
the scales were agreed upon by Local Authorities and 
teachers as a national settlement which would not come 
up for revision until 1925, unless, indeed, the cost of 
living rises above the index figure 170, in which case the 
position will be reconsidered. Thus there is specific 
provision for an upward modification of the scale, but in 
no case is there to be a reduction. 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 117 

While, then, teachers have agreed loyally to adhere 
to the terms of the report, and while they look forward 
to reaching in September, 1922, a position, not indeed 
of affluence, but of reasonable satisfaction, they will 
resist by every means in their power any attempt to 
destroy the report. Such an attempt will revive all the 
old unrest, and will have a most disastrous effect. In 
various parts of the country those who have always 
opposed educational expenditure, reinforced by so-called 
"economists" and "anti-wasters," are crying out for 
a repudiation of the Burnham scales. But the teachers 
have an unanswerable case against reduction. When 
the cost of living rose during the war, they were among 
the last to receive any relief in the way of bonus — a relief 
which was always inadequate. Moreover, their repre- 
sentatives have agreed to a national settlement which is 
to operate until 1925. Thus if, even before they are 
receiving full benefit from the new scales, they are told 
that they must submit to reductions, they will justly 
complain that they are the victims of a gross breach of 
faith. 

It remains to be seen whether the new scale will attract 
the right type of man and woman into the secondary 
schools. A salary of £240 at the age of twenty-two or 
twenty-three is not excessive for a man who has had to 
spend a large amount of money on University training. 
It is urged, of course, that a pension scheme is now in 
operation, whereby a teacher can retire at the age of 
sixty on as much as half his average salary for his last 
five years of service. But, in the case of existing teachers, 
much of the value of this is taken away because of the 
distinction between qualifying and recognised service. 
Put shortly, qualifying service is time but not money. 
Service in certain schools may count towards the time 
one must serve to secure a pension at all, but it has no 
monetary value. Moreover, the value of the Act is 
being lessened by certain irritating rulings of the Board 
of Education. In the case of broken service, for instance, 
they insist on regarding a year's service as 365 days, 
whereas everyone knows that a year's service is less than 



118 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

this period. Again, if a school changes hands (even if 
it retains the same head master and staff) it may be 
regarded as an entirely new school, and thus the pension 
rights of the whole of the staff may be jeopardised. 
There is a great need for a short amending Act which 
would put right these and other defects. One result of 
the establishment of the Burnham scales, to which atten- 
tion is now being drawn, is that it is becoming increas- 
ingly difficult for any but young teachers to change their 
posts. For instance, a man aged thirty-two, with, say, 
ten years' experience, will have reached the point £390 
(at least) on the Burnham scale. Many Local Authori- 
ties will look askance at such a man, however well 
qualified by experience and attainments he may be for 
a given position, because he is expensive compared with 
a young and untried teacher. The result is that the 
profession is becoming much less mobile, and conse- 
quently educational efficiency is undoubtedly being 
impaired. One remedy that is being suggested is a 
redistribution of educational expenditure between the 
Board and the Local Authorities. There seems to be no 
reason why there should not be a uniform local rate for 
education throughout the country, the difference being 
made up by the Board by means of a deficiency grant. 
At any rate, it ought not to be to the financial advantage 
of the Local Authority to employ teachers who are for 
the most part on the lower rungs of the salary ladder. 

From the point of view of the Labour Party the 
Secondary Burnham Scale is certainly not too generous. 
Moreover, the minimum of the scale ought to be raised, 
not only for the purpose of attracting the type of teacher 
required, but also because it is inadvisable to perpetuate 
such differences in salary as now exist between men doing 
essentially the same work. It is true, of course, that 
experience does add to a teacher's value, but ten years 
should be a period sufficiently long to enable a teacher to 
reach the maximum of efficiency and hence to be worthy 
of the maximum salary. Further, the Labour Party is 
in complete accord with the feeling of teachers that train- 
ing for the profession, as distinct from general education, 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 119 

is essential. This constitutes an additional argument for 
raising the minimum salary, for it involves a year of post- 
graduate work. All teachers know that training is not a 
substitute for experience, for it is only when a teacher 
comes to deal unaided with refractory human material 
that his real capacity becomes tested. At the same 
time, proper training enables him to avoid many pitfalls, 
and to become an efficient teacher in a much shorter time 
than would otherwise be the case. Even now the 
Teachers' Registration Council will not admit an 
untrained teacher to its register. 

The question of tenure is one that has for a long time 
exercised the minds of secondary teachers, for it is not 
too much to say that tenure is far less secure in secondary 
schools than in primary schools. It is no longer possible 
for a head master to inform the staff of a school to which 
he has been newly appointed that he proposes to begin 
work with an entirely new staff ; nor is it usual to dismiss 
a teacher who is nearing the maximum of the scale and at 
the same time intimate to him that he is eligible to apply 
for the vacancy at the minimum of the scale — cases which 
are not imaginary but have both occurred in actual 
practice. But what is wanted at the present time is 
some method of securing that when a teacher has 
accepted a post, and has passed successfully through a 
probationary period, he shall be able to feel sure that his 
position, so long as his work is efficiently done, shall be 
permanent in character. Of course everyone knows that 
it is sometimes necessary to reorganise the work of a 
school, and perhaps to dispense with the services of a par- 
ticular teacher ; but normally it would be easy to arrange 
that this teacher should be transferred to another school 
imder the same Authority, without loss of salary or 
status. This matter of tenure is becoming increasingly 
important because of the immobility already spoken of in 
the case of teachers of long service. The plain fact is 
that, if a teacher over thirty-five is forced to give up his 
position, the result may be a tragedy. 

In this connection it is necessary to consider the ques- 
tion of secret reports. A teacher is sometimes told that 



120 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

he must leave a school because his work has received 
unfavourable comment from an inspector. The report 
in question may be six months old, and this may be the 
first intimation a teacher has received that his work was 
regarded as anything but successful. It is urgently 
necessary that every report should be shown at once to 
the teacher concerned, and that he should have an oppor- 
tunity of replying to any unfavourable criticism. More- 
over, it is noteworthy that teachers in conference have for 
some time past been claiming a full partnership in educa- 
tional administration. This demand arises primarily 
from the desire to see the profession become a body of 
free men and women bringing enthusiasm and expert 
knowledge to bear upon the numerous problems, 
administrative as well as purely educational, that still 
remain to be solved. In this matter the mind of the 
teaching profession is evidently moving in the same direc- 
tion as that of other organised workers, who are demand- 
ing some share of control over the conditions which 
govern their working lives. 

Developments of this nature are not the immediate 
concern of the Labour Party. It ought, however, to watch 
them sympathetically, and to lend its good offices when 
the teachers are ready to put forward specific proposals. 
It is to be hoped that when this happens many of the 
difficulties to which we have referred will become easier 
of solution. It may become the function of the profes- 
sional body as a whole to set up a standard of 
qualifications to which every teacher must attain, and 
to decide whether the individual teacher succeeds or falls 
short in professional competence. An advance so fraught 
with the possibility of good to the children of the country 
must proceed from the determined will and intelligent 
planning of the teachers themselves. 

It will be useful at this point to give some account of 
the way in which secondary teachers are organised in 
their several Associations. There are four main 

Associations of Secondary Teachers, representing respec- 
tively the head masters, head mistresses, assistant 
masters, and assistant mistresses. All these bodies possess 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 121 

a charter of incorporation. The National Union of 
Teachers also provides for the inclusion of secondary 
teachers within its ranks. In addition, there is the 
Head Masters' Conference, a body rather more loosely 
organised than the Incorporated Association of Head 
Masters, and representing in the main the schools 
independent of local control. A good many head masters 
are members of both bodies. A Joint Committee of the 
Four Associations has existed for some years, and has 
done very useful work in co-ordinating the interests of 
secondary teachers, and in taking joint action on many 
matters of common interest. With representatives 
sitting side by side on the Secondary Burnham Com- 
mittee, this co-operation has tended to become much 
closer, and the recent coming together of the head- 
quarters of all four Associations under one roof has 
distinctly enhanced the possibility of securing authori- 
tative pronouncements on the policy of the secondary 
branch of the profession as a whole. A similar 
co-ordination of secondary interests is also taking place 
in the provinces. Local "Joint Four Committees" on 
the lines of the main committee have been set up in a 
great many districts, and have in many cases taken their 
full share in local educational politics, especially in the 
matter of securing representation on the Advisory 
Committees which have been established by some Local 
Authorities. 

This particular form of public work, useful as it is in 
its way, does not, however, satisfy the legitimate 
ambition of secondary teachers to serve not only on 
Advisory Committees, but also on the Education 
Committees themselves and on other public bodies. It is 
a matter for regret that comparatively few Local 
Authorities have made much use of that part of the Act 
of 1902 which allows them to co-opt teachers. In a 
good many cases there is some representation of primary 
teachers. But that of secondary teachers, where it 
exists, is haphazard in the sense that it is often effected 
without consultation with the Secondary Associations 



122 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

concerned. It is perhaps hardly necessary to urge that 
adequate representation of teachers on Local Education 
Authorities is necessary if the administrative machine is 
to work smoothly. There is no part of the public service 
in which unchecked bureaucracy may have a more 
disastrous effect than in the domain of education. It is 
fatally easy to burden the schools with innumerable 
regulations involving an enormous amount of clerical 
work, or to check that initiative and sense of freedom 
which every real teacher ought to possess. The presence 
of teachers on Education Committees does go some way 
towards keeping educational administration in touch with 
realities, and it is to be hoped that in the future the 
claims of secondary teachers in this connection will be 
more widely recognised than they have been in the past. 

While the secondary teachers have been working 
towards a closer federation of interests, they have not 
been unmindful of the great impetus given to the idea of 
a united profession by the establishment of the Teachers* 
Registration Council. Since the setting up of that body, 
on which Primary, Secondary, Specialist, and University 
teachers are equally represented, the minds of many 
teachers have been moving towards finding a method of 
enabling all teachers to meet on common ground. Many 
of the old prejudices are dying away, and the secondary 
teachers for their part would certainly welcome some 
plan which, while enabling them to retain their separate 
entity, would emphasise the fact that they are members 
of a united profession. Signs are not wanting that the 
great organisation which represents in the main primary 
education — the National Union of Teachers — is also con- 
sidering the best means by which the mind of the teaching 
profession as a whole can express itself. There are here 
great possibilities, not only for united action against the 
common enemy, but for considered and constructive 
criticism of our educational system. 

Once the profession is united, the old anti-social 
distinction between primary and secondary teachers will 
tend to disappear. The qualifications required from 
both kinds of teachers will be similar, and it will therefore 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 128 

be possible for teachers to pass easily from primary into 
secondary schools and vice versa. The aim should be 
to make our educational system an organic unity, alive 
in every part, served by teachers united, self-governing, 
and free. 



CHAPTER VII • 

THE LION IN THE PATH 

I 

THE COST OF OUR PROPOSALS 

THE exponents of an educational policy may 
reasonably be asked to offer some indication of 
the expenditure which it will entail. If it is 
agreed that a large increase should be made, 
both in the provision of secondary education and in the 
facilities for rendering it easily accessible to families of 
small means, what is the financial cost of such develop- 
ments likely to be ? 

The answer to that question must depend upon the 
degree of rapidity with which the change is introduced. 
For the reasons stated above, we agree with those 
educationalists who look forward to the time when the 
majority of children will spend the years from eleven 
to sixteen in one kind or another of secondary school. 
But, even if that policy is adopted as the goal at which 
to aim, it is obvious that practical considerations, in 
particular the shortage of accommodation and teachers, 
will prevent it being carried out except by gradual 
stages. What we anticipate, in fact, is not any sudden 
large addition to the expenditure on secondary 
education, but a steady advance. Fees at grant-aided 
secondary schools (which, at the moment, with lament- 
able shortsightedness, are being raised) will be abolished 
and maintenance allowances increased. Local Education 
Authorities will meet the present unsatisfied demand for 
secondary education by adding to their provision of 
secondary school places, as many have already planned 

124 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 125 

to do. Increased facilities for obtaining it will in turn 
stimulate a new demand, as it has been stimulated by the 
development of secondary education since 1902, and to 
meet that demand a further increase in the provision 
will be necessary. The end will be envisaged, it is to be 
hoped, with comparative clearness. But progress 
towards it will be experimental. And just as to-day in 
some areas ten per cent, of the children pass from primary 
to secondary schools, while in others the proportion is 
five or less, so in the future one authority will take fifty 
per cent, of them into the secondary schools while 
another takes only twenty-five. Expenditure will 
increase, but the increase will necessarily be gradual, 
and the additional cost at any moment will depend upon 
the additional provision which has been made. 

With this caution, and with the omission of compli- 
cations arising from future changes in the value of money, 
it is possible to offer an approximate estimate of the 
annual financial expenditure which our policy would 
involve. The additions to expenditure needed to carry 
it out will fall under three main heads : (i) the abolition 
of fees at grant-aided secondary schools ; (ii) the develop- 
ment of an enlarged system of maintenance allowances ; 
(iii) the provision of additional secondary school places, 
the main item in which will consist of the salaries of 
teachers. In the following paragraphs we deal with the 
annual cost of maintenance under each of these three 
heads. The estimate is necessarily very rough. But 
we have endeavoured to err, if anything, on the side of 
over-statement, and have not taken into account the 
economies which can be effected by a better co-ordina- 
tion of primary and secondary education, though we 
believe them to be considerable. 

The cost of abolishing fees can be stated with some 
accuracy. The income from fees was £1,100,245 in 
1912-13, and was estimated by the Departmental Com- 
mittee on Scholarships and Free Places as approximately 
£2,000,000 in 1920.' This figure, therefore, or slightly 
more, is the sum which it would cost the nation to free 

^ Op. cit., p. 16. 



126 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 



existing secondary schools without increasing the present 
school population. 

The cost of establishing an adequate system of main- 
tenance allowances cannot be stated with equal precision, 
since it will vary with changes in the cost of living and the 
level of earnings. In 1918-19 £253,149 was spent in 
England and Wales in providing maintenance allowances 
for 29,796 children in secondary schools, who formed 
10.6 per cent, of all children in attendance. If, however, 
the secondary school population increases, a larger pro- 
portion of it, and not merely a larger absolute number, 
will require to be assisted by maintenance allowances. 
To show the probable cost under this heading, we put 
that proportion at an arbitrary figure of thirty per cent, 
of the pupils in attendance, which is approximately three 
times the present proportion. To provide maintenance 
allowances of the same average value (£8 9s.) for thirty 
per cent, of the children would cost the following sums 
for secondary school populations of different sizes : — 



England and Wales 

(excluding preparatory 

departments) 


No. of 
children 


Cost of providing 

maintenance 

allowance for 

30 per cent, of 

children in 

attendance 


Children in secondary schools in 
England, 1919-20' 


280,336 

360,000 

720,000 

2,250,000 


£710,649 
£912,600 


Children in secondary schools in 
England on scale of 10 per 
1.000 of noDulation 


Children in secondary schools on 
scale of 20 per 1,000 of 
population 


£1,810,200 
£5,703,750 


Children in secondary schools on 
scale of 75 per cent, of those 
leaving elementary schools . . . 



Assuming therefore that (i) the proportion of children 
receiving maintenance allowances is trebled ; (ii) that the 
children in secondary schools are increased from 8.7 per 
1,000 to twenty per 1,000, the total cost of maintenance 
allowances would be £1,810,200. 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 



127 



So far, we have not been dealing with very large 
figures. To free secondary education and to establish 
maintenance allowances on the largest scale given in the 
above table would cost a good deal less than half one 
battleship. The provision of additional school accommo- 
dation for a greatly enlarged secondary school population 
is, of course, a much more serious matter. The annual 
maintenance cost of a secondary school place is, at 
present, £28 to £30. The total number of boys and 
girls between eleven and sixteen is approximately 
3,000,000. Of these the children between eleven and 
fourteen would be attending primary schools if they 
were not attending secondary schools. In order, 
therefore, to ascertain the net addition to the national 
expenditure involved in providing secondary education 
for them, the cost of educating them in a primary school 
must, of course, be deducted. To that point we return 
later. In the following table we give the gross annual 
expenditure on secondary education on each of three 
assumptions : — 

(a) That secondary school places are provided on the 
scale of ten per 1,000 of the population (instead 
of, as now, on that of 8.7 per 1,000) ; 

(6) That they are provided on the scale of twenty per 
1,000; 

(c) That they are provided for seventy-five per cent, 
of the children leaving the primary schools. 



Gross Cost of Secondary Education at the Rate of 
£30 PER School Place 









Total gross 




Number of 


Cost per 


cost per 




children 


child 


annum 


On scale of 10 per 1,000 . . 


380,000 


£.30 


£10,800,000 


On scale of 20 per 1,000 . . 


720,000 


£30 


£21,600,000 


On scale of 75 per cent, of 








children leaving the 








elementary schools . . . 


2,250,000 


£30 


£67,500,000 



128 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 



In order to arrive at the net cost of secondary school 
places, it is necessary, as stated above, to deduct from the 
gross cost the cost of providing primary school places for 
children between the years eleven and fourteen. The 
annual maintenance cost of a primary school place is 
at present £8 15s. 9d.^ According to the last report 
of the Board (October, 1920) out of 308,372 chil- 
dren in the secondary schools on the Grant List there 
were 60,505 children between ten and twelve, and 194,665 
between twelve and sixteen. It is probable that about 
half the former and nearly three-quarters of the latter, 
had they not been attending secondary schools, would 
have been attending primary schools, approximately 
150,000 children in all, or forty-eight per cent, of the 
total secondary school population. If it is assumed 
that, at any one time fifty per cent, of the children 
receiving secondary education would otherwise have been 
in primary schools, then the net cost will be shown by the 
following table : — 



On scale of 10 per 
1,000 

On scale of 20 per 
1,000 

On scale of 75 jjer 
cent, of children 
leaving the ele- 
mentary schools . . 



No. of 
children 



360,000 
720,000 

2,250,000 



Total 

gross 

cost of 

secondary 

education 



£10,800,000 
£21,500,000 

£67,500,000 



Deduct cost 

of primary 

education 

(S.8 16s. per 

head) for 

50% of 

children 



£1,575,000 
£3,150,000 

£9,843,750 



Total net 
cost per 
annum of 
secondary 
education 



£9,225,000 
£18,350,000 

£57,6.57,000 



These figures considerably underestimate the deduc- 
tions to be made, and therefore overestimate the net cost 
of providing additional secondary school places, because 
(i) a growing number of children, if not attending 

'^ Seventh Report of Select Committee on National Expenditure 
(Dec. 1920). The Geddes Report (p. 109) puts it at £12 4s. 4d. 
(1921-2). If its figures are right the deduction to be made is, of 
course, greater and the net cost of our proposals correspondingly less. 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 129 

secondary schools, will be, not in primary schools, but in 
the more expensive central and intermediate schools, 
(ii) as the secondary school population grows, the per- 
centage of it drawn from primary schools will increase 
more than in proportion. Obviously, when seventy-five 
per cent, of the children in primary schools pass to 
secondary schools between the ages of eleven and twelve, 
the saving on account of primary education will be larger 
than that suggested above. The nearest estimate we 
can give would be to say that to provide secondary 
education on a scale of twenty per thousand of the 
population would probably cost something over 
£15,000,000 and under £18,000,000 a year, and that to 
provide it for seventy-five per cent, of the children 
leaving the primary schools would probably cost some- 
thing over £50,000,000 and under £55,000,000 a year. 
For the reasons stated above, any such development can 
take place only gradually, as teachers are found and 
accommodation provided. If the former were effected in 
a period of five years, the addition to the annual 
expenditure made in each year would be approximately 
£3,000,000. If the latter were carried out over a period 
of ten years, the corresponding figure would be 
£5,000,000. 

The total net cost of (a) a minimum programme, (h) 
a larger programme, based on our policy may, therefore, 
be set out in the following estimate : — 

(A) Cost of Minimum Programme at end of Five Years 

Cost per annum 
£ 
Abolition of fees at grant-aided secondary schools . 2,000,000 
Provision of school places on scale of twenty per 

1,000 of population 18,350,000 

Provision of maintenance allowances for 30 per cent, 
of above number of children in grant-aided 
secondary schools 1,810,200 

Total 22,160,200 

Deduct present cost of secondary education (1921-22) 13,468,731 ' 

Additional cost £8,691,469 



' This includes some items which are not strictly " secondary " 
education. 



130 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

(B) Cost of Larger Programme at end of Ten Years 

Cost per annum 
£ 
Abolition of fees at grant-aided secondary schools . 2,000,000 
Provision of school places on scale of 75 per cent, of 

children leaving the elementary schools 57,657,000 

Provision of maintenance allowances for 30 per cent, 
of above number of children in grant-aided 
secondary schools 5,703,750 

Total £65,360,750 

Deduct present cost of secondary education (1921-22) 13,468,731 * 

Additional cost £51,891,919 



The additional cost of our minimum programme, 
therefore, would be less than that of one battleship. If 
the nation "ruined itself" by carrying out the larger 
programme, it would ultimately be spending on all kinds 
of education (higher and elementary together) about 
£50,000,000 less than it now spends (1921-22) on the 
army, navy, and air force. 

II 
CAN THE NATION "AFFORD" EDUCATION? 

The comment of the reader who turns from his Daily 
Mail to glance for the first time at these figures will be 
simple : "Very nice, but the nation cannot afford it." 
At a meeting of the Federation of British Industries 
a little more than a year ago, held (for the sake 
of economy) in the Victoria Room of the Hotel 
Cecil, a certain Mr. Lincoln Chandler — apparently 
a waggon-builder — is reported, as became one of his 
profession, to have driven straight to the point, and like 
Jehu, the son of Nimshi, to have driven furiously. "It 
was time," he is stated to have said in a series of striking 
aphorisms quoted by The Times of December, 1920, 
"they came to plain speaking ... we had embarked on 
schemes without which we had got on very well. There 
was the Education Act, the Health Bill, . . . and various 

* See note ' on previous page. 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 131 

other schemes. He should like to send a strong message 
to Mr. Lloyd George that the whole of these schemes 
should be dropped and dropped at once." Few will 
question this sage's statement that he had *'got on very 
well" without education. It is even possible that, were 
education more widely diffused, he and his kind might 
"get on" somewhat less well in the future. But the 
enlightenment even of the reluctant is a meritorious act ; 
and, at the risk of boring our readers with common- 
places, we propose to set out shortly, without demanding 
fees or even engaging the Hotel Cecil, the relevant facts 
as to educational finance and expenditure, for the benefit 
of those who do not think that a nation is likely to "get 
on very well" without education, but who, nevertheless, 
are apprehensive that educational progress can be 
secured only at a cost which is beyond its financial 
resources. 

It may be observed, in the first place, that no conclu- 
sion can be drawn as to the reasonableness or otherwise of 
educational expenditure until that expenditure is brought 
into relation with other items in the budgets both of the 
State and of private individuals. All magnitudes are 
relative — a fact which is common (if it is not profane to 
say so) to the cost both of education and of waggons. 
Whether a community can or cannot "afford" to arrange 
that its children shall grow up under conditions 
calculated to promote their physical and mental develop- 
ment depends not merely — to use the somewhat absurd 
phraseology favoured by a certain school of politicians — 
upon the "burden" which such an arrangement will 
entail, but upon the nature of the other objects to which 
expenditure is directed. Expenditure is neither more 
nor less onerous because the money is raised by rates and 
taxes, and spent by publicly chosen agents consisting of 
Local Education Authorities, than it is when it is incurred 
by private individuals upon their own account. V/hether 
it is or is not a "burden" depends upon the relative 
importance of the objects to which it is assigned. Some 
things are desirable in themselves, but must be forgone 
because other things are more urgent. Other things are 



132 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

futile in themselves, but are acquired because some 
people have a taste for futilities. 

In this matter the only difference between the 
conduct of the individual citizen and that of a 
nation is that an individual who indulged his 
passion for futilities to the point of neglecting his 
primary social obligations — who turned his house into a 
fortress armed to the teeth in which he swilled alcohol 
in the drawing-room and kept his children on short rations 
in the coal hole — would become amenable to the law, 
while a whole community by doing the same may earn an 
agreeablv^ reputation for being practical, high-spirited, 
and generally an imperial people entitled to sing "Take 
up the white man's burden, and dump it on the child" 
to the glory of God and to the exhilaration of all but a few 
anaemic sentimentalists. But patriotic tunes butter no 
parsnips. A writer who was at one time thought to 
know something about business remarked that "what is 
prudence in the conduct of every private family can 
hardly be folly in that of a great kingdom." And, if a 
parent who neglects his children is liable to criminal pro- 
ceedings, the burden of proving that the same action is 
highly meritorious when done by several million parents, 
in the name of economy, appears to rest on those who 
support that paradox. 

The innocent gentlemen like Sir Eric Geddes, I>ord 
Inchcape, and the rest, who suppose that the "tax- 
able capacity" of a nation is a fixed quantity, 
and that, if more than a certain proportion of 
the annual product is taken by the State, disaster must 
follow, irrespective of the objects to ivhich the State 
applies the vioney raised, may be invited to console them- 
selves by reading the Report on Credit, Currency, Fin- 
ance, and Foreign Exchanges prepared by Section F of the 
British Association. To the question whether the "tax- 
able capacity" of Great Britain has been "reached and 
passed" the answer given by the majority of economists 
appears to be that of Sir Josiah Stamp : "There can be 
no absolute answer, because it depends upon the reasons 
for, or subjects ^(pon, which the money is to be spent/* 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 133 

It is, in short, quite idle to discuss expenditure 
on education except in connection voith expenditure on 
other subjects. Whether a nation can "afford" it or 
not, depends upon whether it is or is not more 
important than other purposes on which it is spend- 
ing money. When, therefore, the Select Committee 
on National Expenditure deplored^ the "alarming 
increase" in the cost of education, it was not merely 
mistaken (though, of course, it was mistaken) as to the 
financial facts, it showed a complete ignorance as to 
elementary financial principles. It relapsed, in fact, 
from the mendacious into the meaningless. To do it 
justice, it appears to have been equally at home in both. 

The facts as to educational expenditure appear to be 
widely misunderstood, and the misunderstanding is not 
altogether the fault of the public. It is not merely that, 
in the nature of things, no complete estimate of the total 
educational expenditure of the country can be given, 
since there is no way of ascertaining the expenditure of 
private individuals. There is the further, and more sur- 
prising fact, that there appears to be no one official 
document in which all the facts as to public expenditure 
on education are brought together. The figures in 
Tables I. -III. below are reprinted, by kind permis- 
sion of its authors, from the excellent Bulletin* on Educa- 
tion issued by Cambridge House. For an account of 
the sources used and for further information on several 
points of importance, the reader is referred to the 
Bulletin in question. For the use made of the figures, 
and for the conclusions drawn from them, we alone, of 
course, are responsible. 



» Seventh Report from the Select Committee on National 
Expenditure (December 21, 1920), p. xiv. 

• Cambridge House Bulletins, Education I, to be obtained from 
Cambridge House, 131 Camberwell Road, London, S.E. 



134 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 



TABLE I' 

Total Public Expenditure (Central and Local) on Education 
IN England and Wales 



Year 


Amount 


Percentage 

increase 
year to year 


Percentage 

increase 
on 1913-14 


1913-14 


£ 
33,000,000 
45,500,000 
78,500,000 
84,500,000 


38 

73 

8 




1918-19 


38 


1920-21 (estimated) 
1921-22 (estimated) 


138 
156 



This increase is divided between elementary and 
higher education as follows : — 



' The corresponding figures in the First Interim Report of the 
Committee on National Expenditure (p. 107) — the so-called 
*' Geddes Report " — are as follows : — 





Percentage increase 


Percentage increase 




£ from year to year 


on 1913-14 


1918-14 


31,510,000 — 


— 


1918-19 


42,110,000 83-6 


88-6 


1920-21 


77,000,000 880 


1446 


1921-22 


84,580,000 9-7 


168 



The discrepancy between the figures given above and those of the 
Geddes Committee is small. According to the former, the increase 
in educational expenditure since 1913-14 is 156 per cent. ; according 
to the latter, 168 per cent. But it is sulficient to give point to 
what is said above on the urgent need that a complete and reliable 
report on the cost of education should be published annually by the 
Board, instead of this vital question being left to private investigators 
or to a committee of business men who are without practical 
knowledge of the subject matter. The explanation of the discrepancy 
is to be found in the fact that Table I above includes certain small 
receipts by Local Education Authorities from fees, the sale of 
books, &c., which the Geddes Report excludes, and in certain 
minor ambiguities in the educational statistics contained in the 
statistical abstract. It may be further observed that the figures 
published by the Geddes Committee disagree with those published 
in the Seventh Report of the Committee on National Expenditure 
(December, 1920). 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 



135 



TABLE II 



Year 


Expenditure on 

elementary 

education 

(nearest 1,000) 


Percentage 
increase 

on 
1913-14 


Expenditure 

on 

higher 

education* 


Percentage 
increase 

on 
1913-14 


1913-14 
1921-22 


£ 
26,314,000 
63,649,000 


142 


£ 
5,248,000 
13,469,000 


157 



It is important to know the main items on which the 
increase has been incurred. Light is thrown upon that 
point by the following figures, which, however, relate 
only to elementary (not to higher) education. 



TABLE III 





1918-14 


Per- 
centage 
of total 
expendi- 
ture 


1921-22 


Per- 

centage 
of total 
expendi- 
ture 


(1) Loan charges .... 

(2) Other expenses of 

maintenance . . . 

(3) Administration . . 

(4) Salaries of teachers 


£ 
3,049,359 

4,173,311 

1,293,042 

16,415,827 


110 

15-8 

4-9 

62-4 


£ 
3,115,149 

10,443,768 

2,974,541 

43,296,355 


4-9 

16-4 

4-8 
68-0 



Finally, it is perhaps worth setting out the proportion 
of the national expenditure devoted to education at 
different dates (similar figures for local expenditure are 
not available) : — 



The corresponding figures in the Geddes Report are : 

Percentage increase 
£ on 1918-14 

1918-14 4,402,000 — 

1921-22 13,500,000 206-7 



186 




SECONDARY EDUCATION 

TABLE IV 




All national services 
in the United Kingdom 


Proportion of 
expenditure devoted 

to education in 
England and Wales 


1913-14 


£ 
197,492,969 
1,195,428,000 
1,039,728,000 


Per cent. 
7-28 


1920-21 


40 


1921-22 


4-90 






From 


the 


abo\ 


e tables the foil 


owing conclusions 



appear to emerge : — 

(i) The vioney expenditure on public education 

(elementary and higher) is 156 per cent, (or, on 

Geddes' figures, 168 per cent.) higher in 1921-22 

than it was in 1913-14. 

(ii) The main cause of the increase of £51,000,000 

(or, on Geddes' figures, £53,070,000) between 

those dates is the increase in the salaries 

of teachers, those of elementary teachers having 

increased by £26,880,528 ; those of secondary and 

other teachers by an uncertain, but substantial, 

figure. Minor causes of the increase are that 

repairs and building, postponed during the war, 

have been executed since the Armistice at high 

prices, and that the salaries of officials have risen. 

It must also be remembered — a fact sometimes 

apparently forgotten — that the child population 

has been growing since 1913-14 ! 

(iii) The proportion of the national expenditure 
devoted to education fell from 7.28 per cent, in 
1913-14 to 4.9 per cent, in 1921-22. 

These figures relate only to the money cost of educa- 
tion. Before, therefore, any precise significance can be 
attached to them, it is necessary to set them in relation to 
(1) expenditure on other objects, public and private ; (2) 
changes in the general price level, and, in particular, in 
the cost of living. This we attempt to do in the follow- 
ing table : — 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 



187 





d a 


<OrH 
rH o 


1470 
4240 

1780 
2910 


1 


o 

CO 

00 


166-0 

1750 

107-0 
114-6 






rH 
© 


£ 
84,500,000 


190,669,467 
460,900,585 

67,165,000 

Figures not 
vet 


available 
" Well over 
2d." (estd.) 


o 
a 


available 




rH 
rH 


^ 1 


1 1 1 1 


1 


1 


2,500,000,000 
6,925,005 




rH 


£ 
78,500,000 


292,228,000 
609,181,953 

11,735,840 




o" 

8 

o* 


1 III 




rH 

o 

rH 


t^ 1 


1 1 1 1 


1 


1 


314,060,000 


>■ 




t^ 1 


3,001,268 


1 


1 


1 III 




-< 


1— ( 


^ 1 


87,913,000 


1 


1 


1 III 






CO 
1-H 

Oi 

rH 


£ 
33,000,000 


77,164,000 
14,179,000 


0-88d. 
(estd.) 

166,600,000 




CO 
I— t 
O 

rH 


^ 1 


1 1 1 1 


1 


1 


907,151,813 
3,354,476 




rH » 
rH a 


t^ 1 


1 1 1 1 


1 


1 


118,000,000 






2 ■- 

-S : 
S : 
"a : 

1= 

"d o 
.St) 
?§ 


Army, navy, & air force 

Civil service and revenue 
department* 

Total net expenditure 
on posts, telephones, 
and telegraphs 

Receipts from entertain- 
ments duty" 


a; 
P< 

r1 


I 

a 

02 

1- 
|.= 


Pithead value of coal" 

Income liable to income 
tax before deduction 
of allowances <fe relief 8 " 

Imperial Tobacco Com- 
pany's profits 

Cnst of livino" 






2 
2 



a 

s 

a 



a 



a 

tS 

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<o 

13 



o 



o 

> 

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ki o 

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Ph «) 



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aj« S art p 



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- ° a ^ Eh g 

v; rf O <U ^ 



138 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

The first fact which these figures show is that the talk 
of the "alarming increase" in the cost of education is 
misleading. When account is taken of the devaluation 
of money, the increase in educational expenditure since 
1913-14, though real, is hardly "alarming," especially 
when compared with the increased expenditure 
upon other objects. The degree of reliance to 
be based upon the widely advertised seventh 
report of the Select Committee on National 
Expenditure may be judged from the fact that 
this elementary point, which lies at the very thres- 
hold of the subject, was either unknown to, or deliber- 
ately suppressed by, that body of financial experts ! The 
truth is that, measured in goods and services, which, of 
course, alone matter, the nation was actually applying 
a smaller sum to education in December, 1920 — the time 
when the committee reported — than it did seven years 
ago. It is actually the case, though the reader will 
hardly believe it, that the same suppressio veri was 
repeated, without a word of caution or explanation, by 
the so-called Geddes Committee. Between 1913 and 
1921 the income liable to income tax increased from 
£907,151,813 to £2,500,000,000. Would Sir Eric Geddes 
and Lord Inchcape hold that there had been an "enor- 
mous increase" in the real incomes of the wealthier 
classes since 1913? If not, why do they suggest that 
there has been an "enormous increase" in the real cost 
of education ? 

It will be observed, in the second place, that the nation 
spent in 1920-21 more than five times as much on drink as 
it spent on education — the drink bill, indeed, is enormous 
partly because the education bill is too small — and that 
the expenditure on armaments three years after 
the termination of hostilities is considerably more than 
twice that on education. The disproportion is so 
immense that it would still remain large even if the pro- 
posals made in this pamphlet were carried out. In the 
event of effect being given to the "minimum programme" 
set out above, and of no other changes in expenditure 
taking place, the nation would still be spending almost 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 139 

twice as much on the armed forces as on education. If 
the larger programme were realised, its expenditure on 
the former would still exceed its expenditure on the 
latter by over £50,000,000 a year, or considerably more 
than the total sum spent on the army in 1913-14 ! 

In face of facts of this order it is quite idle for Select 
Committees, "business men," or any one else to 
deplore "the alarming increase in the cost of 
education," because, in reality, when account is 
taken of the devaluation of money, no very great 
increase has taken place, and, if it had, it would 
not be alarming, since (as the figures show) the nation 
can meet it by cutting down some of the extravagances 
both of its government and of its individual members. 
Like the revolutionary Tribunal which told Lavoisier 
that "the Republic has no need of chemists," Lord 
Inchcape may see in education nothing but economically 
unproductive expenditure. It is time, however, that 
the business classes and their servants in the Cabinet 
and in Parliament stopped mistaking their personal 
prejudices for economic facts. By far the largest 
item in the increase in the money expenditure 
upon education consists of the advance in teachers' 
salaries. If a man's heart leaps up at the thought of 
employing soldiers, sailors, and publicans, and sinks 
to his boots at the thought of employing teachers, 
he is entitled to his opinion. One cannot argue with the 
choice of a soul, and if he likes that kind of thing then 
that is the kind of thing he likes. But his private senti- 
ments, even when he sits on a Select Committee or in the 
Cabinet, have no more relevance to economic realities 
than have those of any other old gentleman who thinks 
that the world is coming to an end because he has to pay 
more for his cigars. A certain section — happily for the 
nation, not the most representative section — of the Eng- 
lish governing classes have always thought that the most 
desirable way of saving money was to reduce the height, 
weight, vitality, and intelligence of the children of people 
poorer than themselves, on the groimd, presumably, that 
such canaille can hardly be expected to take the same 



140 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

interest in life as their own. But not every one is an 
economist who choosesi to make speeches or issue reports 
about "economy," and when these respectable cannibals 
propose to "economise" on education, they provoke the 
retort that it would be considerably more economical for 
the nation to economise on them. 

We do not, therefore, ask whether there is not a 
certain absurdity in applying the rigours of the economic 
calculus to boys and girls of fourteen, whether the policy 
of "making the children pay for the war" is quite the most 
appropriate tribute to the fathers who fell in it, whether, 
if the ship is reaUy sinking, "women and children last" 
is the motto by which the British Empire desires to be 
remembered. The paladins who are leading the attack 
on the schools appeal to economic facts, and to 
economic facts they shall go. The total sum spent on 
higher education in 1913-14 was slightly less than the sum 
paid to rather less than 4,000 owners of mineral royalties, 
which (in other connections) we are informed is a 
bagatelle, and in 1921-2 is almost exactly equal to the 
average annual profits of the ooal industry for the five 
years 1909-13. The salaries of 16,000 teachers for con- 
tinuation schools under the Act of 1918, at an average of 
£300 a year, would have been £4,800,000, or slightly less 
than the profits (before deductions for income tax and 
excess profits duty) made in a single year — 1919 — 
by a single firm — Coats' Combine — more than £2,000,000 
less than the profits — £6,925,005— made in 1921 
by the Imperial Tobacco Company, and approxi- 
mately £2,000,000 less than the expenditure of the 
Government on its farcical military preparations for 
cowing the miners last summer, when the cutting down 
of education, because "the nation could not afford it," 
had already begun. If the Education Act of 1918 had 
been brought into operation with the greatest possible 
speed, the total additional expenditure on education by 
1924 would probably have been something approaching 
£10,000,000, or rather more than the cost of one battle- 
ship. If the larger of the two programmes outlined 
above were to be developed steadily for the next decade. 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 141 

the additional annual expenditure at the end of it would 
be something less than half what has been spent since the 
Armistice in financing and arming military adventurers 
against Russia, not to mention Mesopotamia and Ireland. 

Ill 
THE CONCLUSION OF THE MATTER 

So far, then, as the facts of the financial situation 
are concerned, the attack on educational expenditure 
breaks down in the very court to which it appeals. 
The nation is not "crushed by educational expendi- 
ture." It has not "reached the limit of what 
it can afford." It is not true that "no money is 
available for educational improvements." On the 
contrary, money which ought to be spent on educa- 
tion is being thrown away with both hands on extrava- 
gances, both private and public. The critics of education 
may be admirable, if somewhat austere, moralists. 
But as financiers they do not know the elements of their 
subject. If the community is induced, with the object 
of effecting what are called (though not by economists) 
"economies," to make another raid on the health and 
intelligence of its children, it must not lay the flattering 
unction to its soul that it does so under the stress of 
financial necessity. Whatever the causes of the finan- 
cial burden which it bears, they are certainly not to be 
found in excessive expenditure on education. 

In reality, of course, neither is it a mere objection to 
increased expenditure on education which is the impel- 
ling cause behind the attack upon it, nor is it a mere 
exposure of the hollowness of that objection which will 
enable the attack to be defeated. The interests which 
are resisting educational progress to-day, on the ground 
that "we cannot afford it after the war," are precisely 
the same as those which resisted it before the war began. 
Their motives are various : partly a fear that more educa- 
tion will mean less cheap juvenile labour, partly the idea 
that, if they are better educated, working-class children 
will forget their place and be less fitted, in the elegant 



142 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

words of the Federation of British Industries, for "the 
employments which they eventually enter," partly a 
dislike of any movement which is likely to diminish 
economic and social inequalities, partly mere ignorance, 
which is not altogether their own fault, of what educa- 
tion is and means, and a doubt whether, after all, it is 
not a useless luxury invented by faddists for the advan- 
tage of teachers and administrators. 

With those who are attacking education because it 
threatens their personal profit or social position it is 
not necessary to argue. The larger number who are 
doubtful whether it is "worth it" may be invited to con- 
sider both the practice of other countries and the experi- 
ence of their own. It is improbable, to put it mildly, 
that the whole civilised world is out of step except them- 
selves. Thanks to the war and the peace, comparisons 
based on money expenditure are almost meaningless. But 
if the ingenuous journalists who denounce education as a 
"fad" will look at our Allies, they will find that the 
expenditure of France on education has increased 
since 1913 to a considerably greater extent than has 
that of this country. *'In America," stated the 
United States Commissioner of Education in 1920, 
**it is now generally held that expenditure for education 
must be doubled at least before the opportunities for 
education can in any adequate measure meet the needs 
of the people and the demands of public opinion. "^^ 
The appropriations in 1920 were approximately 
1,000,000,000 dollars or, roughly £200,000,000 to 
£250,000,000. If these were doubled, the expenditure 
would be between £400,000,000 and £500,000,000; and 
it must be remembered that even in 1913 the public 
secondary schools in America were almost universally 
free, that the education given in the State Universities 
was often virtually free, and that the proportion of 
children passing from the primary schools to both was 
far higher than in England. What precisely is happen- 
ing in Germany cannot be stated in figures. But it is 

"The Teachers' World, October 20, 1921. 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 143 

known that since the war there has been in many parts 
of the country an educational revival, and that, amid 
economic difficulties far exceeding those of this country, 
a determined effort is being made to rebuild by means of 
education the resources of the nation. ^^ 

Such facts should remind us that talk about the cost 
of education, which ignores the effect of it on character 
and intelligence and physical well-being, on the output 
of industry and the amenity of social life, is as rational as 
a discussion of one side of a balance sheet without refer- 
ence to the ether. When it is stated that "taxation s 
crushing industry" what actually is supposed to occur? 
The phrase appears to be used in several different senses. 
But the principal suggestions which it is intended to 
convey seem to be two. The first is that taxation 
diminishes the incentive to effort, by diminishing the 
reward which effort receives. The second is that the 
State collects in taxes and spends on current account 
wealth which, if left in the hands of the taxpayer, would 
have been saved and used as capital, with the result 
either that the material equipment of industry is not 
improved as quickly as is desirable, or that, in extreme 
cases, it actually runs down. "The capital," to quote 
Mr. McKenna,'** "which the keen, active, enterprising 
man could use to the utmost advantage in developing 
trade, is taken from him, and spent unproductively on 
one of the manifold activities of the State." 

Now, it is true, of course, that both these results are 
possibilities, and that both have actually occurred in the 
past, though probably not (except in so far as the war is 
concerned) in the recent past. But it is evident also that 
the appearance of these disastrous consequences depends 
on the presence of a factor which most of the popular 
complaints of "taxation crushing industry" overlook or 
do not mention. It is conditional on the money raised 

^' See The O&seruer, January 29, 1922: "Far from wishing to 
economise on education, all political parties are encouraging it to 
the utmost." 

" The Times, January 28, 1922, 



144 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

by taxation being spent, as Mr. McKenna says, "unpro- 
ductively" — on its being used by the State in such a way 
as not to increase the resources of the nation or to add 
to its capacity for economic effort. Whether taxation 
is "crushing" or not cannot, therefore, be decided 
merely by pointing to the sums which are raised. It is 
equally essential to consider the way in which, when 
raised, they are spent. No serious financier has ever 
supposed that the effect on industry of spending 
£100,000,000 on armaments is the same as that of 
spending £100,000,000 in paying off part of the national 
debt. No one ought to suppose that it is the same as 
that of spending £100,000,000 on education or public 
health. In the first case the capacity to produce goods 
and services (other than armaments) is diminished : in 
the second case that capacity is increased. The truth is 
that ill-health and ignorance are an economic burden 
which no society can afford to carry once it has learned 
how to lighten it. Every one of the 1,000,000 children 
in the primary schools suffering from physical ailments 
whose health is impaired through failure to provide suit- 
able and early treatment for it, or whose mental develop- 
ment is arrested because it is prematurely snatched 
from school, or whose morale is lowered during the 
critical years of adolescence by alternate overwork and 
unemployment, represents not an "economy" but the 
most unintelligent, as well as the most cruel, of 
extravagances. It is possible for the personnel as well 
as the material equipment of industry to be under- 
capitalised, and a nation which has the courage to invest 
generously in its children "saves," in the strictest 
economic sense, more "capital" than the most parsi- 
monious community which ever lived with its eyes on 
the Stock Exchange. 

"Never will I believe," said Macaulay in 1846, "that 
what makes a population stronger and healthier and 
wiser and better can ultimately make it poorer. . . . 
If ever we are forced to yield the foremost place among 
commercial nations, we shall yield it to some nation pre- 
eminently vigorous in body and mind." His words were 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 145 

spoken in defence of factory legislation, which was 
opposed by industrial interests on somewhat the same 
grounds as education is opposed to-day. But they are 
equally applicable to the questions of educational policy 
which are the subject of this memorandum. A 
nation can no more impoverish itself by cultivat- 
ing the intelligence of its children than by develop- 
ing any other of the resources with which nature 
has endowed it. From a purely economic 
standpoint the most important part of the capital 
of a country consists of human beings. Wealth 
applied to improving their physical and intellectual 
attainments is the most remunerative of all investments, 
since it adds to that particular type of productive power 
on which the ability to use all other natural advantages, 
and to overcome natural disadvantages, ultimately 
depends. In the partnership "between those who are 
living, those who are dead, and those who are to be 
born," which forms the life of society, almost the most 
vital link is the provision which each generation makes 
for posterity by means of education. 

For Great Britain, even on purely economic grounds, 
the issue is peculiarly crucial. Fifty years ago, in warn- 
ing his fellow countrymen of the future exhaustion of 
the coal resources on which for a century and a half the 
wealth of this country has rested, Jevons pleaded for "a 
general system of education which may effect for the 
future generation what is hopeless for this present 
generation. ... At present it may almost be said to 
be profitable to breed little slaves.'"^ Since Jevons wrote, 
there have been three great Education Acts and a host 
of minor measures. But the nation is still far from 
having made provision for the full development of the 
most important of its national resources — the health and 
the intelligence of its children. Yet the effect of invest- 
ing money in them will endure when other sources of 
wealth have begun to fail. 

^' Jevons, " The Coal Question," preface to second edition. See 
also Money, " The Nation's Wealth." 



146 SECONDARY EDUCATION 

It is one of the tragedies of English social history that 
in the period of swiftly increasing returns between 1850 
and 1890, when wealth was growing by leaps and bounds 
and taxation was hardly felt, the opportunity of creating 
a really effective educational system was missed, because 
riches came so easily that education seemed unimportant. 
What then could have been done without any consider- 
able economic effort requires to-day a larger measure of 
foresight and self-discipline. But the need for it is even 
more urgent. The course of wisdom for Great Britain, 
which owes its modem economic development largely 
to a single, and a wasting, asset, and which, even before 
the war, had lost some of the adventitious facilities for 
industrial leadership which it possessed almost up to 
the end of the nineteenth century, woiild be to use a large 
part of the wealth of a coal age which will one day draw 
to a close to establish the most comprehensive system 
of education that educational science can suggest. On 
this matter, at any rate, the economists speak with no 
uncertain voice. Professor Bowley, who will not be 
suspected of under-estimating the importance of economic 
considerations, pleads for "better education" as one way 
of increasing the output of wealth, by securing "a much 
fuller use of the latent abilities of the race than hitherto 
has been possible."*" Professor Marshall, in an oft 
quoted passage, after stating that "perhaps £100,000,000 
annually are spent even by the working class, and 
£400,000,000 by the rest of the population of England in 
ways that do little or nothing towards making life nobler 
or truly happier," urges that "it is the young whose 
faculties are of the highest importance both to the 
moralist and the economist. The most imperative duty 
of this generation is to provide for the young the best 
education for the work they have to do as producers and 
as men and u'omen, together tcith long continued free- 
dom from mechanical toil and abundant leisure for 
school.'^-^ 



*« Bowley, " The Division of the Product of Industry," p. 57. 
21 " Principles," pp. 786-7. 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 147 

Let the reader reflect on the present life of hundreds of 
thousands of boys and girls, on the prevalence of physical 
ailments among them, on their premature overwork, on 
their hurried and truncated schooling, on the waste of 
capacity caused by the failure to make smooth the way 
to higher education — let him consider that it is on these 
boys and girls, on their energy and foresight, their indivi- 
dual ability and their capacity for social co-operation, 
that the prosperity of the nation in fifteen years will 
depend — and he will not think it extravagant to suggest 
that they should be educated up to sixteen under the 
most favourable conditions that the progress of educa- 
tional science can offer. The generation which is now 
mature has not left a pleasant world to its successors. 
It can at least put into their hands the tools with which 
to rebuild the ruins that surround them. 



Appendices 



150 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 



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154 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 



APPENDIX— TABLE III 

In the following table an attempt is made to show the varying 
relation between the elementary and secondary school populations 
(a) in certain counties and county boroughs of England, (b) in the 
United States. The source used for (a) is the schemes of the local 
authorities concerned, for (b) Sandiford, " Comparative Education," 
page 61. 

The figures relating to England are not satisfactory, and we 
present them only with great hesitation. They are not always 
strictly comparable ; some authorities, for example, give figures of 
the children on the registers of public elementary schools, others of 
average attendance ; some include in the secondary school 
population schools recognised, but not aided, by the local authority, 
others include only schools aided or maintained ; some appear to 
have excluded from their totals children resident outside the area 
in which they attend school, others do not. For these and other 
reasons they must be regarded as, at best, an approximation. 
They may be of some small service pending the publication of more 
exact comparative statistics. 

(a) 
Figures indicating the relation between the elementary and secondary 
school population in certain counties and county 
boroughs of England and Wales 





(i) 


(ii) 


(iii) 




Number 


Number 


No. of children in 




of children 


of 


secondary' schools 


— 


in public 


children in 


per 1,000 of 




elementary 


secondary 


children in public 




schools 


schools 


elenientarj'schools 


Counties— 








Cornwall 


41,000 


2,661 


64-9 


Devon 


49,387 


2,764 


55-9 


Durham 


150,6.58 


5,580 


37-3 


Essex 


63,478 


7.186 


112-4 


Hunts 


8,379 


514 


60-6 


Kent 








Staffordshire . . 


82,177 


4,132 


40-2 


County 








Boroughs — 








Birmingham . . 


148,676 


6,055 


•40-7 


Bradford 


34,838 


3,500 


100-5 


Croydon 


25,819 


2,904 


112-4 


Leeds 


73,269 


5,605 


76-4 


Liverpool 


188,823 


7,039 


60-7 


Rochdale 


13,550 


870 


27-3 


Stockport .... 


18,283 


1.050 


55-6 


Stoke-on-Trent. 


44,326 


1,257 


28-8 



SECONDARY EDUCATION 



LOO 



Pupils in high schools 

N.H 118 

Cal 114 

Mass 110 

Wash 101 

Ore 95 

Ind 95 

Maine 93 

Vt 90 

Utah 90 

Iowa 89 

R.I 84 

Colo 84 

Nevada 84 

Neb 82 

New York 82 

Ohio 81 



(b) 
United States 

in various States in 
elementary schools 

Kansas 79 

Mich 77 

Conn 76 

Minn 74 

Wis 73 

111 69 

N.J 62 

Pa 58 

Mo 58 

S.D 58 

Del 56 

Mont 51 

Md 47 

Texas 46 

Idaho 45 

N.D 44 



1910 for each 1,000 in 

Va 44 

Tenn 40 

Wyo 86 

N.Mex 35 

Fla 31 

Ga 80 

Ky 30 

N.C 29 

Ala 26 

La 26 

Okia 25 

Ariz 25 

S.C 24 

Miss 24 

Ark 23 

W.Va 22 



Printed by the Caledonian Press Limitf.d, 74 Swinton Street, 
Gray's Inn Road, London, W.C. 1 — W2227 



373. 42 
T234S 
Tawney 
Secondary education for a 



Date Due 






APR 


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1 











































































373.42 T234SC.1 

Tawney # Secondary 



education 



LU 

o 



for al 



3 0005 0700479 



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