1945 – 1965: The Long Road to Circular 10/65

Claudia Sumner


Current debates around diversity of provision and schooling often overlook the extensive and persuasive criticisms levelled at the system of academic selection that prevailed following the Second World War; by the 1960s the eleven plus was variously accused of being inaccurate; emotionally destructive; unfair and detrimental to democracy. The individual’s emotional and intellectual engagement with their own schooling, and the attitudes towards education it effects, are at the heart of this paper; which explores the ideas around selective versus comprehensive education in the period between 1945 and 1965, through the biographies of three Secretaries of State for Education. It examines the interaction between the (increasingly strong) evidence against academic selection, the growing political will to introduce comprehensive schools, and the prevailing educational and political discourse which was fiercely protective of the grammar schools.

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Editor-in-Chief: Prof Norbert Pachler
UCL Institute of Education, University College London
ISSN 1746-9082

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