Ball, Nancy (1970) Voluntary effort in English elementary schools, 1846 to 1870: a study of the contribution of school managers to educational developments. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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Abstract

Before 1070, the decision as to whether to establish a public elementary school and whether to accept or reject government aid rested with private individuals, the 'promoters of schools' who are the concern of this study. Some schools, both denominational and undenominational, owed their security to influential patrons. Tho majority depended on middle-class managers, most frequently upon the clergy. These promoters were motivated by the desire to civilise and socialise the lower classes, a process in most cases identified with their Christianisation. Some desired to promote social mobility; the clergy to develop the school as an important parochial institution. The Education Department accepted the necessity of working with and through school managers. The difficulties of this partnership arose largely from the dilemma posed by an official policy based upon the often conflicting principles of encouraging effort and enforoing standards; many of the voluntary schools never entered the government system. The schools also received aid from voluntary societies and committees established by the denominations to promote a religious education; supplemented for Anglicans by diocesan organisations.
Supervision of schools, pupils and teachers by managers was an essential feature of tho period. In many cases attempts were made to provide education for the lower middle class and to develop secondary education. Managers involved themselves in teaching and conducted experiments in curriculum and methods.
Expenditure increased as more was expected of the schools, and was inadequately mot by subscriptions and grants from public funds. There was increasing reliance on fees, but an excessive financial burden fell upon promoters, especially upon the clergy. Religious zeal, which manifested itself through the denominations, contributed largely to educational progress, but produced the 'religious difficulty' which, though felt more strongly by managers and politicians than by the parents of elementary school pupils, became an obstacle to development in the 1860s.
Although the voluntary system was inadequate to secure sufficient school provision for the child population, the greatest educational problem was than of attendance, the
number of places provided being greatly in excess of average attendance. Since compulsion was unacceptable, solutions were attempted through pressures exercised by interested members of the propertied classes, the extension of half-time, official and unofficial, and experiments designed to associate education with economic advantage. Their failure illustrated the need for compulsion, not, however,adequately recognised by 1870.
The success of the voluntary system was greatest with the lower middle and upper working classes. This factor in itself tended to discourage the attendance of the lowest social class. The ethos of tho elementary school as created in this period was uncongenial to the very poor; and, with individual exceptions, attempts to meat this problem in the 1860s failed. Here also, the ultimate solution was compulsion.
Given tho conditions of mid-Victorian England and the
absence of legal sanctions available later in the century, school managers may be told to have made a significant contribution to educational developments.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: L Education > LA History of education
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2019 16:50
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2019 16:53
URI: http://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/5791

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