Clarke (1947)

Clarke Report 1947 (text)

The Clarke Report (1947)
School and Life

Report of the Central Advisory Council for Education (England)

London: His Majesty's Stationery Office 1947
Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.

Background notes

Historical context

The 1944 Education Act provided for two Central Advisory Councils for Education (one for England, one for Wales) 'to advise the Minister upon such matters connected with educational theory and practice as they think fit, and upon any questions referred to them by him' (1944 Act, Section 4(1)). These Councils replaced the Consultative Committee which had existed since the beginning of the century.

The 1947 Clarke Report, the first by the newly-established CACE, is full of post-war enthusiasm and humanity.

CACE produced its second report Out of School a year later.

Sir Fred Clarke (1880-1952) was Director of the London Institute of Education from 1936 until his retirement in 1945. His professional career was very wide-ranging, including periods of teaching at universities in Canada and South Africa. He also undertook numerous advisory and committee roles with, for example, the National Union of Teachers, the British Council and the National Foundation for Educational Research.

Summary of the report's main recommendations

  • the pupil-teacher ratio must be reduced to a point which makes modern methods of education possible in all schools;
  • unhealthy and unsuitable school buildings must be replaced, and the improvement of unsatisfactory school buildings should not wait for the completion of long-term projects;
  • more attention should be paid to primary schools: the practice of allowing larger classes for infants and juniors than for seniors should be discontinued, and schools for young children should be kept small;
  • good secondary schools should be available for all;
  • in technical education there should be a close relationship with industrial managers and workers, and a willingness to spend much more on premises, plant, and on adequate provision for women and girls;
  • new secondary schools require heavy capital expenditure which would command more support if vigorous efforts were made to stimulate a widespread interest in education;
  • close cooperation between school and home is vital;
  • a nursery school should be within reach of every parent who desires it, wherever practicable;
  • school camps, visits and journeys abroad should be promoted;
  • for normal children whose home circumstances are difficult or unhappy, generous residential facilities should be provided during the school term;
  • much more should be done to provide activities for children under fourteen out of school hours;
  • the part schools now have to play as social agents in the community should be recognised: this will mean more staff;
  • every school should take account of its environment: teachers need training to organise local studies and schools should be free to arrange for work to take place off school premises;
  • as regards education for employment, educational aims must come first - schools should not attempt to prepare their pupils for particular types of employment;
  • the educational system can serve the needs of industry by promoting the general education of all pupils as far as practicable;
  • in the development of compulsory further education, experiment should be encouraged, courses at county colleges should not be devoted to training for specific employment, and works schools should not be regarded as substitutes for county colleges;
  • in attempting to meet the needs of young workers through the Youth Service, education authorities and voluntary organisations have evolved a new form of partnership for providing a social service: this needs to be developed further;
  • the School Health Service has resulted in a significant improvement in children's health. Its aim should now be 'positive health' rather than absence of disease. The Service needs more doctors and nurses, better provision of medical accommodation in schools, and a better system of health records;
  • health education - including sex education - should be part of the school curriculum;
  • the provisions of the 1944 Education Act concerning handicapped children should be implemented as soon as possible;
  • in a rapidly changing social climate, the task of education is to develop the sense of personal responsibility, and to strengthen the individual's instinct for freedom against influences that tend to stifle it.

The report online

The complete text of the report is presented in a single web page.

The four tables (shown as images) are embedded in the text where they were in the original. There are also eight photographic plates (between pages 32 and 33 and between pages 48 and 49) - these are shown as links: clicking on one opens a new window displaying the relevant picture.

I have corrected a handful of printing errors.

The above notes were prepared by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 7 May 2012.