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Past TimesEd

75 years ago

* November 24, 1928 Sir, Mr Maurice Schofield suggests compromise as the solution of the question of internal or external examinations. His compromise is that the teachers should be backed up by some "external assessors of some standing".

I could not help recalling the fact that some time ago I spent half an hour in my doctor's surgery, after which he signed a certificate, and a set of stern businessmen, without any demur, risked thousands of pounds on an assurance effected on the strength of that certificate. I wonder what the doctor would have said had they asked for some external assessors of some standing.

Is Mr Schofield suggesting that the teacher has no standing, and will members of the profession accept his estimate? I can give a better estimate of the work of my students than any external assessor, whatever his standing may be. When I feel that I can't do that, I will hand in my resignation and take up poultry farming.

WFF Shearcroft.

50 years ago

* November 20, 1953

The ancient world was drubbed at London University Institute of Education when Professor CH Dobinson blamed our failure to develop the secondary technical school on the long survival of the Greek prejudice against the rude mechanicals....He was right to deplore our neglect of technical education. His lecture prompted many reflections. Not the least of them was that there is urgent need for some definition of terms. Inevitably Professor Dobinson had to range from craftsmen to technicians and technologists. But current views on the orbit of each are far from being precise. Progressive thought in the secondary technical schools want little truck with grease and machines; the curriculum is to be broad and liberal, quite divorced from the shackles of the trade school... The task is to work out a curriculum that is liberal and exacting and yet sufficiently relevant to vocation.

25 years ago

* November 24, 1978

The Education Bill shows that Mrs Williams has salvaged a small scheme for educational maintenance allowances from the shambles of earlier promises and disappointments. Instead of the nationwide, means-tested scheme, there will be an experiment in some selected areas of high unemployment and low staying on rates.

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