The shadow of the lion; The Dilemma of the Eleven Plus
That little shadow of the law. Emerging from a memorable task of defining. Is Ours. Mrs.. Temple transmission. Heard in London's Commons in
company and. Rhythm on revolution in Britain. Programme 8. The dilemma of the year love and plus. Indiana University Radio documented essay about contemporary Britain. We present the shadow of the lion with William Kinzer as your net writer. I think you're quite right to be surprised or astonished at the British educational system I mean
particularly the the abominable 11 plus examination which is. The chief issue in going over to. A system which is more like the American system. Of England's era of preeminence and pride emerged a system of education considered by many to be superior. No doubt it did for the majesty of the moment filled the front ranks of Britain with the gentleman geniuses required to learn and hire. But times and circumstance are different today. Into the education has been the main instrument to change the English now wonder if education itself should not change. In particular they're concerned about their system of separating children into different types of secondary schools. A division that is accomplished by an examination called the 11 plus.
Now after some time now there's been a growing feeling that the system was wrong. And that really we ought to be thinking of two kinds of children at home many different types of children and we know what it will it is not a big thing to divide children into two broad groups of the. Original to practice the then minister of state for the department of education in science. Expressing an official view also that even if we can divide them into two groups really only at the age of 11 or very often into the age of 10 and a half. It's not effective in making a real choice. You can pick out the very bright here you can pick up the flow it could be the average children in the middle it's rather a gamble and unhappily the choice is made they can determine the right to not enter the school life but what they do afterward that it all began with the Education Act of 1944 and it began in good faith for the purpose of the revised that was to provide secondary education for all children to the
age of 14. It was a tripartite system of three kinds of schools for three kinds of children grammar schools for the bright so-called secondary modern schools for the less bright along with technical schools for those clever with her hands. Of course the proportion of technical schools remained tiny so it actually was a selection and the separation of the intelligent from the mediocre. They were unavoidable sure but it was rare that you have some form of examination. The easiest form of examination. Is an examination of the type of attainment test how well can they do and how I'm going to do it in certain forms of English. I think probably will agree with me that as soon as you establishments moment pass. There's grave danger that you limit the correction of your school. And if you're not careful the main purpose of your primary school becomes simply that of training children to pass this particular
examination. And this is undoubtedly been one of the worst features of the 11 class Ronald Bradbury is the headmaster of Claremont junior school in Blackpool England. He has seen the tension imposed by this all important 11 plus examination on pupils and parents alike. The whole tension is the fears and anxieties of this. Confounded him. Plans do affect our children and on whether the day should come around the atmosphere of my life or changes the children became aware of it. They may put on an appearance of bravado I don't care whether I pass an ounce of lead which I'm always trying to serve and not to yours. And there's no question that during the period of those wakes my whole thought is like a community quite separate from the rest of us. Mini schoolmasters Bradbury among them have tried to soften the severity of the 11 plus by giving intelligence tests rather than examinations of
attainment. Even so the results still carry and the evitable social stigma for a large percentage of the children. If you have a selection you cannot avoid rejection. The education of three quarters of England's children therefore is dependent on this momentous decision and examination at the age of 11 which some 75 percent will fail they will fail not necessarily because they have not reached a standard of achievement but too often because there are a limited number of places in the local grammar school. And because the number to be passed depends on available openings. This makes the 11 plus tragically unfair for this varies in different parts of the country. HEADMASTER Bradbury explains. If you live in Sunderland. And may undergo a hand in every hundred children will go to grammar school. If you're fortunate enough to live in North Wales in
the Flint area or demolition area it may well be as many as 40 children in every hundred who go to grammar school. Now this percentage is altering in every part of the country. And I mentor and as most of us do that you can't have equality of opportunity while you have a situation that each authority is providing places either. According to its financial limitations or what it thinks fetish should have and this is varying from one of the orator to the other so that you improve the chances of your child's grammar school education simply by moving house in a simple as that. Many would argue that the 11 plus is not so dogmatic or. Detrimental as it seems. That theoretically an opportunity is provided for late developers. Many feel that streaming permits peoples to make better progress at a speed more conducive to their ability. And there are those who fear any alternative made to race the.
Proud. Tradition of the brown. Visited one of the best to see for yourselves the training of England's elite. Yes well this is one of the old grammar schools of Britain I think it goes back to the 16th century the actual charter granted in the 17th century. You're visiting Bradford grammar school. You're talking to Jim Hunter an assistant English master who pauses a moment in his busy day to tell you something about his institution and his routine. Our courses are almost entirely. What is more strictly called academic courses there are book learning. The training of skills the training of mental skills and. There is less simple and persistent Ahmed like up on vocal communication and I have two a day. School is small enough the school is a large school reasonably large school by British standards about a thousand but it is small enough to meet as one thing in the morning.
Actually every English school is required by law to have a short religious service first thing in the morning then. A series of lessons very much as a school anywhere in the world with a mid morning break lunch break. A good deal of things tend to be done extracurricular activities tend to be done in the lunch hour. These are things which I find often catered for in the timetable of American high school Bradford grammar school it is a busy place. It's an exacting well disciplined place also and the loud laughter and talk feel the long wide corridors when classes changed. Everyone is in his place when the master arrives as the teacher enters every pupil stands by his desk and remains so until the class is recognized. Indeed there is a certain element of ceremony around the place here as in many English grammar schools. Academic gowns I want all the time by the master's teaching and we say it helps to keep the chalk off. Jim Hunter will tell you. Much is expected of these boys. They take
seven lessons a day with few breaks in-between. Homework is heavy. Standards are high. These are the cream of the cream. It has not been a first place to have a squirt of cream. Second is it desirable to work as hard as we do because we do work and we don't mind a lot of homework from not one of their work and school and hurdler it desirable to have extreme and so special I think that we have. We start specializing real especially in a field a person becomes either a classics student or a modern student. That's modern language you know history or English. Or. A science student at the age of 13. Yes there are reservations but there is tradition too measured in records of excellence over the years. For the best grammar schools. Bradford among them rival Britain's well publicized public schools such as rugby eat to Harrow and the rest.
The public school in England which is really a private school by American definition remains a unique and perplexing feature of British education. It's exclusive fee paying concept caters to the wealthy and the influential a dramatization of class distinction that hardly complements the needs and demeanor of modern Britain. As Malcolm Muggeridge would describe the products of a public school training that they get. How can that make them feel that they are a sort of elite lords of creation and nowhere is this attitude more evident than at Eton. No doubt the best to know one of England's several famous public schools. For one thing Etonian seems somehow to breed Etonians a family continuity and a close exclusive camaraderie that makes it more and more a tribal school. For another it's 19th century academic dress the picture books scholars and big white collars
or the tall boys in mourning coats and white ties seem to accent an air of genteel superiority and of course Eaton's influence created over wealthy society backgrounds is well known in the upper echelon of British life. Most useful in the days of the empire says Malcolm Muggeridge. But now it becomes increasingly absurd and I'm rather hoping myself that the Labor government is broken or it promises so far better what a promise it might keep which would be to abolish the public school feelings of dissatisfaction with public schools have been brooding for some time beginning perhaps during the war when a common ordeal tended to amalgamate the classes and an impatience with Everest a Cretic attitude seemed to grow. The Fleming committee of one thousand forty four blame to the public schools for perpetuating social discrimination and issued several recommendations intended
to broaden consideration of backgrounds of the students. Of course it was thought that the expense of public schools would certainly wither away from a lack of funds since the more clever boys would have an opportunity to attend university by way of grammar school. This provision was created by the Education Act of 1944. Yet in truth the public schools emerged stronger than ever with 20 percent more pupils even as middle class parents save to send their offspring was due these much vaunted institutions and industrialists began to subsidise laboratories and scholarships. But there is still concern even oficial concern as expressed by a member of parliament and minister of state for the department of education in science. Reginald Prentice those schools are still to some extent a power in the land. Partly because the old school tie mentality still exists.
Partly of course because they can offer considerable advantages to the children who go there in terms of. Much more like classes much better facilities of all kinds. And this is something that worries us because we feel that. This is in some ways an unhealthy influence in society that still too many people. Go through those schools into the better universities and then have a headstart on other people and getting top jobs from this is not a good thing for the whole democratic nature of our society today. The talk goes on talk of change of abolishment of emphasis but tradition runs deep and there are too many public school people in high places to permit much tampering with a time honored system. Besides these are still institutions of the moneyed class. And money talks.
Picture them the problem. Less than 4 percent of England's youth are able to enter and complete university training and realize the full potential of an educational journey that began at the age of five. Our standards of education at the college or university level are high and always have been high. But relative to other countries we've always had a much smaller proportion of young people in college. Sociologist Norman McKenzie at the University of Sussex. He tells you that schooling for most youngsters in Britain normally does have the official school leaving age 15. In America you have in some states as many as 50 percent of the age group going on to some form of college or education. The total number going into education of all kinds whether it's teacher training or technological training or university training in this country is only about 15 percent. And at the moment universities are only
taking about run in 20 of the age group into a university training. The Victorians never really regarded universities as a national necessity. Now in Britain there is a different feeling. We now have 44 universities in this country. Some of them near Earth some of them the enlargement and upgrading of existing institutions. Five years ago we had 28 whatever war we had 14 expansion did not come easily for England prided herself in her few traditional top quality universities. Some feared that physical expansion might deign to the excellence of these institutions. Still as the robin's report pointed out more places had to be provided for England's expanding 4 percent. How best to accommodate this academic increase. Geoffrey Marshall at Oxford University ponders the alternatives. There is quite a problem about physical change actually I mean in the British university
system as a whole. That's to say whether you should allow existing universities to grow in size or whether you should set up new universities all over the place and on the whole we've gone for the second solution of setting up these eight or nine or ten new universities in places like Brighton and York and Canterbury and so on rather than choosing to enlarge Oxford and Cambridge Manchester Birmingham and the. Traditional existing universities and perhaps that was the wrong thing to do it's obviously very. Tricky in terms of Library and scientific facilities to distribute your new. Resources around in penny packets. Even so all the coming of new universities introduced something fresh and new and vital to higher education in Great Britain. And none proved more innovative than the University of Sussex. Norman McKinsey explains what we've done above all was to make the idea of a
new university a respectable English people are very slow to accept new institutions and I think if it's new it must be something wrong with it. And I think what we did do remarkably well. I think my colleagues deserve a great deal of credit for this was to make an impact on public opinion that it was a good thing to go to this new university it wasn't just a hole in the corner way out in nowhere. But this was a first class university and the first class universities could be. Starting from scratch the pro vice chancellor Professor is a Briggs called it a new map of learning as Sussex said about two I'm at. And independence rare to the British scene they retained a bit of the old the traditional tutorial system for instance but dared to provide also an opportunity to mix disciplines in less than three years the University of Sussex became after Oxbridge of course one of the most sought after universities in the country.
Ask anyone. They will speak first of England's great universities which because tradition has made them so much alike are spoken of as one Oxbridge Oxford of course is older more worldly more philosophical classical and theological. Kingery and she is more isolated and more theatrical more scientific. Both are great stone cities with quadrangles and cloisters and a continuing air of importance and influence. After all top men in British government and Congress will likely have taken the first step to either Oxford or Cambridge. And. Those serene self-centered as Oxbridge me seem. The meek effect of these institutions is felt in faraway places and like the country it represents Oxbridge is changing too with pressures from schools on one side industry on the other colleges
within these universities are judging themselves increasingly by intellectual and worldly standards and less by the social standards of pre-war Oxbridge according to Geoffrey Marshall. Changes come slowly to these institutions but I think the changes are in this direction of an increasing emphasis on. The postgraduate side. And a significant change I think in the undergraduate intake in the number of. Grammar schools. Let's say a state school entrance into Oxford and Cambridge. As compared with entrants from private schools. It can be send that no where has the growth of British education been more unfortunate than in the field of technology. And yet. We are moving in the direction of creating. Technical
universities colleges of advanced technology which are really you know technical writing. As England's economic predicament grew the people became conscious of a Duquesne and what it might do to cope with the problems of their contemporary world. Many attitudes were outdated it seemed. Potential member was being lost. Modern needs were not being met. Acknowledging education is the long term answer to Britain's current and continuing crisis. The government began investigations into every quarter of teaching and learning. One item of immediate concern the 11 plus in the summer of 1965 recommendations for the reorganization of secondary education along comprehensive lines were initiated. Now this government is committed to this policy and we set out in July to all the local educational
authorities saying that we this was now a policy and we expect them to alter their system so as to get rid of 11 class testing and introduce some kind of comprehensive scheme within the next few years. As Reginald Prentice tells you this schools throughout the country carefully consider six suggested ways to go comprehensive. They must decide and report which plan best suits their particular area and means some headmasters take the proposition to the parents. Direct such a much nicer as headmaster Ronald Brett talks to the parents of your school. Martin. I have. Got. A lot. Of the issue which in turn. Means a lot. We want.
To or. Won't step it. Just happened. When I'm on. Somebody's land soft or something when. You are. Saying they do it what to do. Because of its importance he chose to do so. But Bradbury did not have to take this issue to the parents. Normally the parent is never involved in anything more than a few special events and a new key conference with the headmaster. English schools zealously guard their autonomy and the parent is carefully kept on the perimeter of school activity as Jeffrey Marshall put it by impression of a very indirect impression of.
Primary and secondary education in Britain America or is. That in the field of the headmaster's control and the teacher's control of what goes on in a school both as against the. As they were governing authorities and against the parent storm perhaps particular against the parents the teachers are autonomous and. The whole horrid notion of parent teacher associations is hardly ever got onto its feet here and the ability of schoolmasters to say to both the parents and to administrators go to hell I'll conduct my school as I want and it's nothing to do with you is to relatively unimpaired I think there's that sort of time. But in the sense of deciding what sort of schools to run I mean the Minister of Education keeps a fairly tight control over them and has the whip hand in that they can't carry on without the money. I changed to comprehensive education however is of concern to
everyone. And while parents object to the equity of the 11 plus mini series the unknown's of a new and untried system. Thank you and I. I think. Better to stay as we are. I don't think the current grand. I don't think there is a country where they can get an education and prove. It. And I can't hear what they're going to gain from the comprehensive. I can't say. That the child is going to benefit from many like this mother. I wonder about the realities of comprehensive education. And while comprehensives do exist in Britain in Leicester and in London a lot of English look to the United States for comparisons revealing. Therefore is the study conducted by an American professor Robert Gibbs
formerly of the University of Toledo and now Indiana University. He sampled similar schools in England and the United States and found that significant learning could be achieved even at the age of four that the early start of English school children put them ahead. But he discovered too that American children tended to catch up in the sixth grade the year of the 11 plus in England. It was the opinion of our staff that kind of this may be due to the fact that the year of the 11 your own area and many British girl of the year you and I I think were Poles in England show the pendulum of public opinion swinging in favor of the switch to comprehensive education already of one hundred and sixty two local education authorities one hundred and thirty five have submitted plans for reorganization as of late 1967. Only four had declined to comply with the government's
request for a revolution in education is a reality. And so it seemed the dilemma of the 11 plus would soon dissolve in an apparition of change that is to be Britain's destiny. The. Probably Indiana University Radio we have presented the dilemma of the U Lebanon plus program 8 a special series of documented essays about contemporary Britain entitled The shadow of the law and as written then produced by liberal about it and the narrator was William Kinzer production assistants were John Hopkins and Tom Gray the engineer Jack Tracy. This is John Dimmock speaking. In. The shadow of the lion that has been a series made possible by an Indiana University
- The shadow of the lion
- The Dilemma of the Eleven Plus
- Producing Organization
- Indiana University
- WFIU (Radio station : Bloomington, Ind.)
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- Other Description
- For series info, see Item 3300. This prog.: The Dilemma of the Eleven Plus. A long look at England's educational system; proposals for comprehensive instruction, concerns over Eton and the public school influence, Oxbridge and higher education.
- Social Issues
- Media type
Producing Organization: Indiana University
Producing Organization: WFIU (Radio station : Bloomington, Ind.)
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-14-8 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
- Chicago: “The shadow of the lion; The Dilemma of the Eleven Plus,” 1968-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 2, 2021, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-4t6f5n4z.
- MLA: “The shadow of the lion; The Dilemma of the Eleven Plus.” 1968-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 2, 2021. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-4t6f5n4z>.
- APA: The shadow of the lion; The Dilemma of the Eleven Plus. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-4t6f5n4z