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Description - The English Higher Grade Schools by Meriel Vlaeminke

This study focuses on the English higher grade schools, a short-lived group of institutions that flourished at the end of the 19th century. They were a natural development of the successful board schools, which by the 1890s had educated a generation of children and awakened educational aspirations in a class of the population previously excluded from all but the most basic instruction. The higher grade schools formed a key part of a dynamically expanding ad hoc system of education favoured by England's ruling elite and fully expected to occupy an undisputed place in the network of institutions that would constitute secondary education in the 20th century. However, the higher grade schools threatened the powerful vested interest of those who believed that secondary education was an essential part of the socialization process that promoted civilized, gentlemanly behaviour and preserved the anti-industrial liberal-romantic tradition. In the hands of a Conservative government that was of a High-Church, anti-democratic persuasion extreme even for the time, the 20th century English education system was shaped in a way that deflected any chance of a social and cultural revolution from below and enabled the social class that the government represented to retain both its privileged position and its most important means of self-perpetuation. By their very existence, higher grade schools emphasized the notion that extending one's education was a normal thing for children to do. The abolition of the higher grade schools, as well as stunting the school life of the majority of children, conveyed a very clear message about the role they were expected to play in society. The 1902 Education Act, widely applauded by most historians, emerges from this analysis as a profoundly retrogressive move, by which much was lost and from which many of the 20th century's educational problems stemmed.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780713002201
ISBN-10: 0713002204
Format: Hardback
(234mm x 156mm x 15mm)
Pages: 272
Imprint: Routledge Falmer
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
Publish Date: 28-Feb-2000
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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