Education in 1960s Britain

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  • Britain had increased its spending on education throughout the 1950s and 1960s, but there was a lot of criticism about the system. The 1960s saw big and significant changes in schools and universities.

The creation of the comprehensive school

  • Secondary schools in the early 1960s were either grammar schools or secondary modern schools.
  • To get a place in a grammar school, children had to pass a test called the 11-plus. Once at grammar school, most pupils went on to university and well paid jobs.
  • Those who failed the 11-plus went to a secondary modern school, left school at fourteen or fifteen, and entered a lower paid job.

Supporters of grammar schools claimed they helped open up opportunities for the brightest children, whatever their social background.

Critics of the system claimed that virtually all children at grammar schools were from middle class  families, since their parents…


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