Nursery schooling

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Please forward this error screen to sharedip-1071804029. Derek Gillard provides notes on the historical context and membership of the Consultative Committees chaired by Sir William Henry Hadow, summarises each of the six reports produced between 1923 and 1933, and assesses the extent to which their recommendations informed the development of education in England. Hadow Reports can be found on Derek Gillard’s website. As England began to develop its state system of schools towards the end of the nineteenth century, education became a matter for serious enquiry and debate and government-appointed consultative committees were set up to report on many aspects of the project. In 1896, for example, a committee was asked to look into the question of the registration of teachers. Ten years later another committee reported ‘upon questions affecting higher elementary schools’.

From then on, reports came thick and fast. After that, the First World War forced the suspension of the consultative committee until July 1920. Its report on The differentiation of the curriculum for boys and girls, published in 1923, was to be the first of six reports produced under the chairmanship of Sir William Henry Hadow. These reports – totalling 1,500 pages, around 650,000 words – covered all stages of schooling from the nursery to the school leaving age.

Membership of the Hadow committees Sir W. Henry Hadow was educated at Malvern School and Worcester College Oxford. Proctor in 1898, and an examiner in 1900. In 1909 he was appointed Principal of Armstrong College Newcastle, and in 1919 he became Vice Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, where he remained until 1930. Royal Commission on University Education in Wales, and chaired the Archbishops’ Commission on Religious Education. He was awarded a knighthood in 1918 and the CBE in 1920.

He also wrote widely on music and was awarded honorary DMus degrees by the universities of Oxford, Durham and Wales. Forty-two people served on the six Hadow committees, including Hadow himself and R. Young, who was secretary for all the reports. About half this number served on any one committee. 1888 when he exposed himself to rabies and published an account of his treatment at the Pasteur Institute’s vaccination clinic. After working in Canada for twenty-five years, he returned to England and was Vice Chancellor of Liverpool University from 1919 until his death.

London School of Economics, becoming Professor of Economic History in 1931. 1924 Report on Psychological tests of educable capacity. Professor of Psychology at University College London from 1931 to 1950. Summaries of the Hadow reports For historians, the Hadow reports are invaluable documents. They not only paint a vivid picture of schools and the society in which they operated in the early twentieth century, but as each one begins with a historical chapter, they also provide a wealth of information about life and schooling in the nineteenth century. There are clear pre-echoes of Plowden here – many of the views expressed are surprisingly progressive.

The 1931 report, for example, suggests that a good school ‘is not a place of compulsory instruction, but a community of old and young, engaged in learning by cooperative experiment’. 1923: Differentiation of the curriculum for boys and girls This ‘Hadow report’ begins with a history of the curriculum, comparing that offered to boys with that in girls’ schools. It notes that ‘the girls’ curriculum in its existing form is only about sixty years old, whereas the boys’ curriculum represents the outcome of centuries of development’. The existing curriculum is seen as too academic, over-burdened and rigid. Differences between boys and girls in terms of anatomy, physiology, social environment and function are explored.