Friday, 20 November 2015

Linslade Debates the Value of Early Education

Saint Barnabas church and former National School Jun 2008

Former National School, Linslade (now St. Barnabas Church Hall)
[CR/PH, 2008]

Saturday 20th November 1915: A resolution passed by the Elementary Education Sub-Committee excluding under fives from public elementary schools with effect from 31st January 1916 has been the subject of discussion at a meeting of the Linslade School Managers. From this date no separate class for under fives will be funded by the Education Committee, and they may only be accepted at a school if it can be shown that their presence would cause no extra expense for teaching staff and would not interfere with the efficiency with which older infants can be taught. In this way it is hoped to release teachers for older children and alleviate the shortage caused by the loss of men who have enlisted.

Although one member of the committee thought the provision was rather drastic and four would be a more reasonable cut off age, the Chairman thought education did not count for much before the age of five. Miss Greenway, the headmistress of Linslade Infants’ School stated that the school currently has 34 children aged under five on its roll; in her opinion early education counted in improving discipline. Other members argued that where children came from good homes it was better for them to stay at home until they were five, and another knew instances where a boy who was sent to school at the age of ten knew just as much as those sent at the age of four.

Rigid economies have now been put in place by the Education Authority. In addition to the reduced allowance for stationery already introduced, no allowance is to be made in future for prizes, no school furniture is to be purchased except in very special circumstances, and schools have been instructed to economise in both fuel and light.

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 23rd November 1915

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