Education and Its Role in the Development of Children Essay

Education and Its Role in the Development of Children Essay

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Education in Britain as changed greatly since World War II, mainly due to the 1944 Education Act, which made secondary education free and compulsory until the age of 15 years. The views taken of education and its importance in national, economic and political terms have varied a great deal since then with each new government: there have been many good intentions but too few initiatives taken to achieve the ideal system. Unfortunately this means that, unless you are white, male, middle class and non-handicapped, the institution of the school may not be very helpful to your development, and your days at school may be remembered as a time of prejudice, frustration and lost opportunities.

The immediate post-war period in Britain constituted a new way of thinking about public and private life. There were many promises heralding a better life for everyone, including the provision of free, compulsory secondary education: public education came to be seen as a 'bastion of national recovery' (T.E.S., Gosden, 1983). Pupils were regarded as having different types of skills, and comprehensivisation was not yet a goal; instead three types of school were suggested: grammar, technical and secondary modern (Finch, 1984), with grammar schools continuing to be seen as superior and biased towards middle-class boys. The 1959 Crowther Report recommended raising the school leaving age to 16 years, the introduction of comprehensive school and a new exam below GCE level; however, these moves towards equal opportunities were not completed until the 1970s. Similarly, the 1983 Newsom Report argued that pupils of below average ability should receive a greater share of resources, and recommended improved teacher training. These two reports suggested that no...


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...? Local financial management (1988 Reform Act) means that many authorities will not have the money to spend on Eps, so many children with such needs will go undetected and unprovided for. In order for special needs pupils to develop fully, it will be necessary to improve professional training, and alter perceptions of SEN children, so that their abilities, rather than their disabilities, form the basis of their education.

The function of British schooling has evidently changed quite considerably since 1945, and in many ways this has been an improvement for the majority of pupils. However, there is a significant group covering ethnic minorities, girls and SEN pupils who have largely missed out so far. If Britain is to make the most of its resources, it is essential that attitudes change so that the potential which is presently ignored, may be tapped and fulfilled.

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