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Corporate Life and the Training of Character The full Committee has sat 35 days between November and Novemberand has examined 89 witnesses see Appendix IA. In Julythe Committee appointed a Drafting Sub-Committee consisting of six of its members, with Mr WA Brockington as Chairman and with power, subject to the approval of the President of the Board of Education, to co-opt members from outside.
The Drafting Sub-committee met on 32 occasions between September and November We take this opportunity of thanking our witnesses for the valuable evidence which they put before us, and also all those other organisations and persons whose names will be found in Appendix IB who were good enough to furnish us with memoranda, specimen syllabuses of work, statistics and other data bearing on our inquiry.
We desire to thank Professor HA Harris and Professor Cyril Burt, who furnished us with valuable memoranda on the physical and mental development of children between the ages of seven and eleven which we have printed as Appendices II and III, respectively, to this Report.
Mr Young's work in the preparation of the Historical Chapter has been especially valuable. We cannot end without recording our sense of the loss which the Committee has sustained by the death of Sir Graham Balfour in October He has been a member since He had won the affection as well as the respect of his fellow members, and he contributed generously both to their deliberations and to the shaping of their conclusions.
The boys and girls concerned have left the infant school; in a few years they will be entering one type or another of secondary school. In the meantime, to the number of approximately 2,, they are attending for a period of four years, almost one half the whole period of compulsory education, the educational institution appropriate to children of their age, which is most conveniently described as the primary school.
The problems are numerous and urgent. A school is at once a physical environment, a training ground of the mind, and a spiritual society. Are we satisfied that in each of these respects the primary schools of today are all that, with the knowledge and resources at our command, we have the power to make them?
Are their buildings and physical surroundings as conducive to health and vitality as may reasonably be demanded? Is their curriculum humane and realistic, unencumbered by the dead wood of a formal tradition, 1 See the Note on page iii relating to the nomenclature used in this Report.
Are their methods of organisation and the character of their equipment, the scale on which they are staffed, and the lines on which their education is planned, of a kind best calculated to encourage individual work and persistent practical activity among pupils, initiative and originality among teachers, and to foster in both the spirit which leaves the beaten path and strikes fearlessly into new fields, which is the soul of education?
What are the deficiencies, if any, which most hamper their work, and by what measures may it be hoped such deficiencies will be removed? Like other parts of the educational system, the education of children between seven and eleven is in a state of more than ordinarily rapid growth.
What is true today will be irrelevant tomorrow, and to attempt a summary answer to these questions would be unprofitable. We discuss some of them in greater detail in the body of our report.
It may be serviceable, however, to emphasise at this stage certain of the larger issues which call for consideration, and to indicate briefly the most fundamental of the conditions on which, as we believe, the further progress of primary education will depend. The first condition is that the special function of the primary school should be clearly conceived, and that the vital importance of that function should be recognised as it deserves.
It should be easier to recognise it today than in the past, for the effect of the reorganisation of the later stage of education, which is now taking place, is to throw into sharper relief the significance of the earlier.
In our Report on The Education of the Adolescent we urged that the time had now come when the system of public education should be regraded, and that, with a view to bringing names into closer accordance with facts, the older terminology, inherited from the quite different conditions of the nineteenth century, which described all public education up to and even beyond the age of fourteen as elementary, should be replaced by a simple and intelligible classification of schools into primary and secondary.
We have had evidence, we are glad to say, that the introduction of a break at eleven, which will shortly be general, is of benefit not only to the children over eleven, with whom in that inquiry we were principally concerned, but also to those between seven and eleven, whose education is the subject of our present [page xv] report.
Its corollary is a heightened definiteness and precision in the interpretation, not only of secondary, but of primary education. Such a clarification of the purpose of the primary school is the necessary prerequisite of an improvement in its quality. It becomes possible to concentrate attention on the task of making provision for a relatively homogeneous group.
If the successful development of secondary education depends on treating the years after eleven as a definite phase in child-life, with distinctive educational requirements and with problems of its own, the necessity for a similar realisation of the special province and role of primary education is not less imperative.
The primary school is not a mere interlude between the infant school and the later stages of education, nor is its quality to be judged by its success in preparing children to proceed to the latter.
It is continuous with both, because life is continuous, and it must be careful, accordingly, to preserve close contact with both.
But just as each phase of life has its special characteristics, so the primary school has its special opportunities, problems, and difficulties; and these it must encounter by developing its own methods, perfecting its own technique and establishing more firmly its own standards of achievement and excellence.Great Words and Phrases to Use During the College Admissions Process I ask parents to identify nouns, adjectives, phrases, and short stories that will help me know something about their.
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