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"Experimental" secondary modern education in Britain, 1948-1958

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-41
Number of pages19
JournalCultural and Social History
E-pub ahead of print23 Feb 2016

King's Authors


Studies of mid-twentieth century education in England and Wales have conventionally hinged on the 1944 Education Act, foregrounding policy over practice. This article considers the significance of the inter-war progressive educational movement for postwar educational developments. It presents a case study of one teacher who was active in the early ‘experimental’ years of secondary modern education, suggesting that this period was important in the making of ‘modern’ education. It seeks to complicate both negative and positive readings of ‘meritocracy’ in postwar educational history. This article also highlights the paucity of available source material for the study of the secondary modern school, arguing that attention should be paid to well-documented cases, placed in context.

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