Crewe (1921)

1921 Crewe Report (text)

The Crewe Report (1921)
The position of the Classics in the Educational System of the United Kingdom
Report of the Committee appointed by the Prime Minister

London: HM Stationery Office

Background notes

Historical context

In November 1919 Prime Minister David Lloyd-George appointed a committee of inquiry to look into the position of classics in the UK education system. The committee's twenty members, chaired by Robert Crewe-Milnes, included WH Hadow, Cyril Norwood and AN Whitehead. Their remit was:

To inquire into the position to be assigned to the Classics (i.e. to the language, literature and history of Ancient Greece and Rome) in the Educational System of the United Kingdom, and to advise as to the means by which the proper study of these subjects may be maintained and improved (page 1).
The committee sat on 85 days and interviewed 140 witnesses. It submitted its report in June 1921.

Robert Crewe-Milnes

Robert Crewe-Milnes (1858-1945) (pictured) was a Liberal politician who held a wide range of senior posts. In the 1890s he had been Lord Lieutenant of Ireland; from 1905 to 1908 he was Lord President of the Council and then Secretary of State for the Colonies and Leader of the House of Lords. He also served as Secretary of State for India from 1910 to 1915. He became Marquess of Crewe in 1911.

He was Chair of the Governing Body of Imperial College London (1907-22), President of the Board of Education (1916) and Chancellor of Sheffield University. He was also Chair of London County Council in 1917.

As Ambassador to France (1922-28), he established a fund to create a British Institute in Paris: this is now the University of London Institute in Paris. (Information from Wikipedia.)

The Committee's recommendations

The Committee's recommendations are set out in full on pages 269-282.

The overall aims are summed up on page 269:

(1) To secure for the Classics (Greek or Latin or both) at a sufficiently early stage a substantial position in the general education of pupils in Public and Secondary Schools.

(2) To provide full opportunity for all pupils with the requisite tastes and aptitudes to carry the study of both languages to the highest point which they are qualified to attain.

(3) To bring those (including adults) who are and must for good reason or of necessity remain ignorant of the classical languages into some contact with the classical spirit.

The report online

The complete report and its appendices are presented in a single web page. The report did not include an alphabetical subject index.

I have corrected the positioning of some speech marks, removed some unnecessary hyphens and replaced the archaic l with the pound sign (). Otherwise, the text presented here is as printed in the report.

Most of the tables are shown here as images.

There are five places in the text where Greek words are used. I have done my best to render these in HTML.

See also

1957 Suggestions for the Teaching of Classics: Ministry of Education Pamphlet No. 37

1977 Classics in Comprehensive Schools HMI Series: Matters for Discussion No. 2

1988 Classics from 5 to 16 HMI Series: Curriculum Matters No. 12

The above notes were prepared by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 10 November 2014.