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Past TimesEd

75 years ago October 13 1928

Day by day we hear of juvenile champions in all departments of sport, and the ages of these champions seem to grow steadily lower and lower.

Throughout this country (and elsewhere) a practice of exploiting the prowess of youthful athletes seems to be growing with alarming rapidity.

Here, there, and everywhere one is met with accounts of prodigious athletic feats on the part of children and young people, and so one seems seriously to be considering the effect of this exploitation and publicity upon the health and nerves of the perfomers.

The practice can only be regarded by those who have the true welfare of children at heart as sinister.

50 years ago October 9 1953

Replying to the education debate at Margate, Miss Alice Bacon said resoundingly that now was the time, in Labour's view, "to undertake a complete review of the system". In fact, as every person of common sense must know, it is the worst possible time. The whole system is groaning under the burden of the 1944 reform. There are neither the buildings nor the teachers to make the simplest promises come true. The primary schools are congested, the secondary schools are unready for what is coming to them. For years one practical call should take precedence over all theories: "Reduce the size of classes." This is the difficult and expensive task to which all others should give way.

25 years ago October 13 1978

"If boys are to be turned into fairies and girls into butch young maids, it should be for parents to decide and not the education authority or schools," Mr Ted Pinney (head of Devon's education committee) told reporters. "If parents want to bring up boys as boys and girls as girls, this would seem to be highly desirable and fundamental to family life."

Girls should have equal opportuntities, but nothing could alter the difference between the sexes. "They are equal but different." (He was commenting on a row over a boy who had to do needlework and cookery allegedly because of the Sex Discrimination Act.)

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