EDUCATION - IS IT EFFICIENT?

INTRODUCTION

In this modern world in which we live, technology is playing an increasingly important part in directing the course of the nation, and the responsibility for this task will and can only lie with those who have been educated for careers in science and administration. Therein lies the charge on teachers to prepare the younger generation for the years ahead, and in the exposť which follows we will give a complete analysis of recent educational statistics.

TABLE 1. Shows the achievements of school leavers in the G.C.E. in the year 1961/1962.

Leavers
 
 
All leavers in thousands
% Att. "0" Level
Obt. 3 or more
Obt. 5 er more
Maintained
Grammar
Schools
111.05
90.7
72.8
56.0
Maintained
Sec. Modern
& All-age
78.87
5.7
2.1
0.7
Other
Maintained
Sec. Schools
94.15
33.2
17.6
10.3
D.G.
 
 
14.21
93.3
80.8
67.0

TABLE 2. We hear a good deal about the lengthening span, of school life. The following table shows trends and also differences among varying groups of school. The numbers refer to thousands of pupils and concern the year 1961/62.

Year during which
pupil left school
4th year or earlier
5th year
6th year
7th year or later
Sec. Modern
& All-age
425.73
48.27
4.33
0.54
Grammar
 
6.94
44.07
18.75
41.26
Technical
 
3.30
10.38
2.83
2.08
Compr.
 
20.38
8.59
2.15
1.76
Other
Sec. Schools
29.6
10.18
1.80
-

TABLE 3. Shows the number of candidates from various types of school taking the G.C.E. examination.

Type "O" Level only "A" Level only
 
Sec. Modern
Sec. Grammar
Sec. Tech.
Bilat./Multi.
Comprehens.
Other Sec.
Boys
20143
82793
12107
2204
7624
5000
Girls
15959
75028
6521
2334
6395
5115
Total
36102
157821
18628
4538
14019
10418
Boys
295
22710
1041
264
845
299
Girls
185
14210
305
182
539
185
Total
480
36920
1346
446
1384
484

TABLE 4. Shows the number and percentage of passes at "O" Level. The national figure for boys is shown against those of the school.

Subject
 
Boys
National Figures
 
School Figures
 
R.I.
Eng. Lang.
Eng. Liter.
History
Geography
French
Maths.
Physics
Chemistry
Gen. Scien.
Biology
Tech. Draw.
Art
Entries
21218
196688
90827
76976
87807
92738
157425
77890
59998
17253
30186
37842
31713
Passes
10280
93954
46398
41583
47897
48644
90130
42483
33422
9181
16581
23009
19365
%
48.4
47.8
51.1
54.0
54.5
52.5
57.3
54.5
55.9
53.2
54.7
60.8
60.9
Entries
48
52
38
19
14
17
47
18
25
10
-
16
13
Passes
26
40
29
14
7
8
45
18
22
3
-
6
11
%
41.7
76.0
76.5
76.5
50.0
47.0
96.0
100.0
88.0
33.3
-
37.5
84.5

TABLE 5. This table shows the percentage of boys leaving school who had certain specified qualifications. A comparison is made with the figures for our own school.

G.C.E. Achievements All Leavers Including passes in
 
General Boys with
5 or more "0" Levels
School Boys with
5 or more "0" Level
 
 
14.8
 
30.0
Eng. Lang.
 
13.6
 
29.3
Eng. Lang. plus Maths.
 
12.4
 
26.0

THE EXPANSION OF EDUCATION

Schools

The number of Secondary Schools in England and Wales in 1963 was 5,981 which were divided as follows:

    
    
    
    
Secondary Modern
Secondary Grammar
Secondary Technical
Comprehensive
... ... ... ...
... ... ... ...
... ... ... ...
... ... ... ...
3906
1295
204
175

Division as to sexes gives us this table:-

1372 schools were for boys only.
1360 schools were for girls only.
3159 schools were co-educational.

Primary schools in the same period numbered 23,083 of which more than 604 were very old-fashioned and dated. 13,803 had less than 200 pupils.

Size of Classes

The average size of classes in the various systems are listed in Column A; the number of pupils allotted to each teacher are listed in Column B.

Type of School
Primary
Secondary Modern
Secondary Grammar
Secondary Technical
Comprehensive
Column A
32.6
28.6
28.4
27.2
28.2
Column B
28.7
20.1
17.9
17.7
18.6

Numbers: Of the 5891 Secondary Schools only 22 schools had in excess of 1500 pupils; 4601 did not exceed 300 pupils.

TABLE 6. Shows the number of children of school-leaving age who stayed on at school beyond their sixteenth birthday between the years 1952-1960.

Year
1952
1953
1954
1955
1956
1957
1958
1959
1960
Modern
0.9
1.1
1.3
1.2
1.6
2.0
2.6
3.3
5.1
Grammar
54.1
56.0
57.5
60.4
65.6
69.0
68.6
69.5
72.7

Note: Slightly more boys than girls stayed on at school after 16.

Cost of Education

For the overall picture, the educational bill in the year 1962/63 totalled £1,198,700 which was 4.8% of the national product, which was gross, before tax - £23,974,000,000. In 1952/53 the bill was very much smaller even having regard to the value of the pound - £436,700; while it also represented a smaller percentage of the gross national product.

The 1962/63 bill includes, of course, all building and teachers' salaries, but excludes meals and milk provisions, pensions and H.M. Inspectorate. Meals and milk accounted for £77,700,000; the cost of school milk alone was £11,949,000 and although many think that this sum should not be spent, the Government which abolished free school milk would incur the wrath of Britain's mothers! The sum of £26,673,000 was spent in the same year on pensions and lump sums on retirement totalled £6,205,000; H.M. Inspectorate, which many boys might consider a luxury in the educational framework in which we are at present interested, cost £3,456,000!!!

The size of classes and of schools bear a direct relation to the money expended on Education and the problem in the future lies in the growing size of schools to house the ever-increasing population. This, together with the place of the pupil in an educational society, is the subject matter of the next section.

The Right Size

A major topic when education is discussed is the optimum size of schools and classes. This is especially true of the policy of our present Government which favours the Comprehensive School system. But in theory, whatever the size of the school, a workable class number should be created. The "jackpot" question is, of course, what is this number? The most significant psychological consideration is one that allows a free choice in the matter - a pupil must be in conditions which will allow him or her to feel that he or she (we do not want to be considered biased in this) is an accepted or acceptable member of society. The pupil must experience a sense of security and support and, conversely, must have opportunities for some service to the school, for developing and expressing feelings of loyalty.

These conditions can be created in a school of any size. It is arguable, of course, that it is easier to obtain this in a relatively small school - the principal argument put forward by those who object to large schools - but past experience has shown that whatever the size of a school, an atmosphere can be created, indeed should be created, which is conducive to the full and healthy emotional development of the pupils concerned.

Perhaps second in the list of priorities is the schools obligation to satisfy as completely as possible each pupilís intellectual and academic needs - interpreting these needs as broadly as possible. There must, therefore, be a wide range of subjects; this requires a large staff and if they are to be employed as effectively and economically as possible, they must be teaching a sizeable body of pupils. In this modern day and age, it is becoming increasingly recognisable that a Grammar School of fewer than 750 pupils is no longer a viable concern. A school smaller than this can no longer satisfy the varied needs of its pupils and may be employing an uneconomic number of staff.

In summarising this article one must say, in all fairness, that the argument put forward is one that looks into the future, though not the distant future. It would seem that if a suitable forward-looking education policy is put into effect, a school of a thousand or more pupils will, before long, be the norm.

Conclusion

We, the authors of the above work (with the assistance of Robbins, Newsome and others) hope that you have found our article useful and informative and that it does not bear too many characteristics of the unprofessional journalist. We feel that it is a change from the usual cavalcade of sports reports, unfunny jokes, etc., which generally make up a school magazine. We hope that you have also noticed that our school statistics compare favourably with the national average - often exceed them - an achievement of which we are proud. Nor are we making these comments under a veil of anonymity. We sign ourselves - N. Cowie, M. Heath, W. Stone, P. Linkie.


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