Barlow (1946)

1946 Barlow Report (text)

The Barlow Report (1946)
Scientific Man-Power

Report of a Committee appointed by the Lord President of the Council

London: His Majesty's Stationery Office 1946
Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.

Background notes

Historical context

During the Second World War, the coalition government made plans for an ambitious programme of post-war 'social reconstruction' in which education would play an important part. The 1943 White Paper Educational Reconstruction and the 1944 Education Act set out the framework of the new state system of education.

To inform policy-making, various reports were commissioned. In relation to schools, these were Norwood (1943) Curriculum and Examinations in Secondary Schools, McNair (1944) Teachers and Youth Leaders, and Fleming (1944) The Public Schools and the General Educational System.

But there were concerns, too, about higher education - particularly science and technology - and two committees were appointed to report on what should be done in these areas.

The first was the committee on Higher Technological Education, chaired by Lord Eustace Percy, which submitted its report in July 1945.

In December 1945 Herbert Morrison, Lord President of the Council in Clement Attlee's Labour government, appointed a second committee

to consider the policies which should govern the use and development of our scientific man-power and resources during the next ten years and to submit a report on very broad lines at an early date so as to facilitate forward planning in those fields which are dependent upon the use of scientific man-power (Barlow 1946:3).
The seven-member Committee, chaired by Sir James Barlow (1881-1968) (pictured), who was Under-secretary at the Treasury, submitted its report to Morrison on 13 April 1946.

Barlow had been Private Secretary to Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald in 1933, and for much of his career he had been involved with the financing of education and culture.

He was a collector of Islamic and Chinese art and left his collection to the University of Sussex.

The report's conclusions

The Committee summarised their conclusions in Section IV of the report (page 22). They recommended:

  • expediting the return of scientists to civil life following the war;
  • providing emergency accommodation for universities;
  • doubling the output of scientists to 5,000 a year as soon as possible;
  • the creation of full-time technological courses of university degree standard;
  • Exchequer funding for university expansion;
  • continuing provision for foreign students; and
  • making academic careers more attractive.

The report online

The full text of the report is online in a single web page. There was no alphabetical subject index.

The above notes were prepared by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 11 February 2017.