A Century of Education

A Century of Education

A Century of Education

A Century of Education


Education is "a country's biggest business" and the most important shared experience of those who live in it. A Century of Education provides an accessible, authoritative and fascinating overview of the role and nature of education in the twentieth century. Eminent historian of education, Professor Richard Aldrich has assembled a team of contributors, all noted experts in their respective fields, to review the successes and failures of education in the last century and to look forward to the next. A succinct overview of twentieth century social, economic, political and intellectual developments in the first chapter is followed by chapters on ten key topics. Each chapter has four sections: a review of the educational situation in 2000; a similar assessment in 1900; changes and continuities throughout the century; and a conclusion reviewing the lessons for today and tomorrow. This is a work of information, interpretation and reference, which demonstrates the strengths and weaknesses of education during the twentieth century and identifies educational priorities for the twenty first. For anyone interested in what has become the most important Issue of our time, this unique book is set to become a classic text.



The purpose of this book is to provide an account and interpretation of education in England during the twentieth century. This is a large undertaking, for one hundred years of educational history are not easily contained within a single volume. Nevertheless the ten topics considered here - primary, secondary, further and higher education, together with central and local government, teachers, pupils and students, special educational needs, curriculum, qualifications and assessment - provide a substantial coverage of the formal dimensions of the subject. They encompass both major educational themes and categories that might have been identified at any point in the century, and other topics and terminology that may be seen as reflecting current issues. This combination is the stuff of history. Many of the questions we ask of the past are a reflection of contemporary concerns.

History may be defined as a record of human and other events with particular reference to the dimension of time: past, present and future. Historical study has two main purposes. The first is to furnish an account of past events. The second is to provide an interpretation of those events and by so doing to locate ourselves, both as individuals and as members of society, within historical time. Such location is particularly appropriate in the early years of a new century and a new millennium.

There are books by single authors and there are edited collections. A Century of Education has been planned to combine the best of both worlds. It is one entity in terms of overall subject matter and design, and draws upon a methodology employed by the editor in previous works; nevertheless, each of its ten chapters is written by an expert in that particular field. A single format is employed for the overall structure of chapters, but within that format each contributor has been free to provide evidence and interpretation in a style most appropriate to her or his analysis of the particular theme. Each chapter begins with a brief review of the situation in the year 2000, followed by a similar appraisal of that at the beginning

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