Schools 1950-2000

Schools 1950-2000

In the mid-20th century free schooling was available for everyone: at a grammar school, a secondary modern or a technical college. However, many educational experts opposed the idea of selection and exams for children aged 11, and believed that secondary modern schools were providing a second-class education.

In the 1950s, some Local Education Authorities experimented with the idea of creating schools that could educate children of all abilities. The first of these comprehensive schools was Kidbrooke, Greenwich, which opened in 1954. The Labour government gradually accepted this idea, and comprehensive schools were officially introduced into the education system in 1964.

Comprehensive schools take all pupils regardless of ability, and cater for children from a variety of social backgrounds. There is no examination or other selection process for entry. Within comprehensive schools, classes are often grouped according to learning ability.

In England, 86.8% of children attend a comprehensive school. At the age of 16, pupils take at least four General Certificate of Secondary Education (G.C.S.E) examinations.

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