Lewis (1917)

1917 Lewis Report (text)

The Lewis Report (1917)
Departmental Committee on juvenile education in relation to employment after the war

London: HM Stationery Office

Background notes

John Herbert Lewis

Sir John Herbert Lewis (1858-1933) (pictured) was a Welsh Liberal politician. In 1894 he resigned the Liberal Whip, joining David Lloyd George and others in the so-called 'Welsh Revolt'.

He was an enthusiastic supporter of Cymru Fydd, a nationalist movement within Welsh Liberalism, and opposed the Boer War at the 1900 General Election. He was Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education between 1915 and 1922.

The Lewis Report

The Departmental Committee on juvenile education in relation to employment after the war was appointed by President of the Board of Education HAL Fisher.

Their brief was:

To consider what steps should be taken to make provision for the education and instruction of children and young persons after the war, regard being had particularly to the interests or those

(i) who have been abnormally employed during the war;
(ii) who cannot immediately find advantageous employment;
(iii) who require special training for employment (page ii).
They submitted their report to Fisher in March 1917. It was published in two volumes: Volume I (presented here) contained the report; Volume II contained summaries of evidence and the appendices.

Summary of the report's main recommendations

The Committee criticised the continuation of half-time schooling resulting from the exemption clauses of previous Acts of Parliament, the chaotic organisation of apprenticeships, and the conditions of child labour. What was needed, they said, was a complete change of attitude: the conception of the juvenile as 'primarily a little wage-earner' must give place to the conception of him as 'primarily the workman and the citizen in training' (page 5).

They proposed a school leaving age of 14 with no exemptions, followed by attendance for at least 8 hours a week or 320 hours a year at 'day continuation' classes up to age 18.

We do not think it necessary to detail once more the arguments in favour of bringing to an end at the earliest possible date the present detestable system of half-time exemptions below the age of 14 (page 8).
The Committee listed 23 recommendations which can be found on pages 27-28 of the report.

The report online

The complete report (Volume I) is presented in a single web page.

I have modernised some of the punctuation and replaced the archaic l with . Otherwise, the text presented here is as printed in the report. Anything added by way of explanation is shown [in square brackets].

The two tables are presented as images and are embedded in the text where they were in the printed version.

There was no alphabetical subject index.

For more on the employment of children and young people at this time, see also:

the 1909 Acland Report Attendance, Compulsory or Otherwise, at Continuation Schools; and

the 1909 Trevelyan Report Partial Exemption from School Attendance.

The above notes were prepared by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 16 January 2017.