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1900-1944 Taking shape

1902 Education Act: established a system of secondary education integrating higher grade elementary schools and fee-paying secondary schools; abolished school boards and established local education authorities (LEAs).

1904 Secondary Regulations: introduced a subject-based curriculum.

1906 Education (Provision of Meals) Act 1906: allowed LEAs to provide meals for undernourished elementary school children.

1907 Elementary Code: improved quality and aims of elementary education.

1908 Royal Commission on the Care and Control of the Feeble-Minded

1910 Education (Choice of Employment) Act: foundation of careers service

1917 Secondary Schools Examination Council: established to administer the new School Certificate and Higher School Certificate

1918 Education Act: school leaving age of 14 with no exemptions, followed by attendance for at least 8 hours a week or 320 hours a year at day continuation classes up to age 18

1923 Secondary education for all became Labour Party policy

1936 Education Act: raised school leaving age to 15 and authorised building grants of up to 75 per cent for new denominational 'Special Agreement' senior schools

1937 Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act: wide-ranging Act covering child protection, employment, criminal proceedings and children in care.

1937 Physical Training and Recreation Act provided for National Advisory Councils and a National College of Physical Training.

1937 Factories Act wide-ranging Act including limitations on the employment of young people in hazardous environments.

1944-1951 Post-war reconstruction

1944 Education Act 1944 (pdf file 1.8mb) the 'Butler Act' set the structure of the post-war system of state education

1945 The Nation's Schools: government publication explaining tripartite system of secondary schools

1946 Free milk provided for all pupils

1947 School leaving age raised to 15

1951 General Certificate of Education (GCE) introduced

1951-1970 The wind of change

1956 Colleges of Advanced Technology: selected technical and FE colleges were upgraded to this status. In the mid-1960s most of these became the 'new universities'

1960 Teacher training course: extended from two years to three

1962 Education Act: required LEAs to provide students with grants for living costs and tuition fees; placed legal obligation on parents to ensure that children received a suitable education at school or otherwise; made LEAs legally responsible for ensuring that pupils attended school

1963 Children and Young Persons Act 1963 extended LEAs' responsibilities for the welfare of children

1964 Labour manifesto promised to abolish selection

1964 Education Act 1964 (pdf file 64kb) the 'Boyle Act' allowed the creation of middle schools

1965 Certificate of Secondary Education (CSE) introduced in England and Wales

1966 Polytechnics established

1968 Education Act: laid down rules about changing the character of a school (e.g. to comprehensive).

1970-1979 Recession and disenchantment

1971 Education (Milk) Act: limited the provision of free milk in schools (and led to the jibe 'Thatcher, Thatcher, milk snatcher)

1972 Local Government Act: reduced the number of LEAs from 146 to 104 (implemented in 1974).

1972 Children Act the minimum age at which children could be employed was not to be affected by changes in the school leaving age

1973 Education (Work Experience) Act: allowed LEAs to organise work experience for final year school students.

1973 Employment and Training Act: required LEAs to set up careers services

1973 School leaving age raised to 16

1973 Circular 7/73: halved the number of places for student teachers

1974 Circular 4/74 reaffirmed the Labour government's intention to proceed with comprehensivisation

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