A moving staircase : a study of the provision of education in the country borough of Bath, 1870-1974

Simpson, Norman Paul

March 1980

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© 1980 Norman Paul Simpson. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

Financial frugality inhibited the development of a maintained system of education for much of the period 1870-1974. The Bath School Board of eleven always had six Anglican members« and during the Board's thirty years only four schools were built, the majority of children attended instead the many Church of England Schools. The Technical Education Committee with the Council's encouragement did much of the School Board's work and provided many classes during the last decade of the twentieth century. However the Bath Council after 1902 were suspicious of the wide brief of the Education Committee and would not allow sufficient finance to run an efficient educational system nor to establish secondary schools until the 1930s. Technical schools however were favoured by the Council because of their vocational aspect and the Education Committee promoted technical education in place of secondary schools. Also an effective school medical service was developed during the interwar years. In essence only a small number wanted education for its own sake, the majority of Councillors saw maintained schools as a charitable provision creating a literate« numerate and healthy work force. After 1945 attitudes changed in Bath and all children's potential was to be developed. Consequently a successful tripartite system was established« successful that is when judged by academic criteria. However when the comprehensive debate began and more social criteria were used to judge a school's efficacy dissension split the Council and ten years elapsed before comprehensive schools were established. The provision of education in Bath between 1870-1974 was hampered by the existence of a large independent sector. Not only did these schools have more money and better facilities than maintained schools, but they also attracted the children of the articulate middle class, thus depriving the maintained schools of vigorous advocates.

Department of Educational Studies, The University of Hull
Lawson, John, 1913-
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