Past TimesEd

24th October 2003 at 01:00
75 years ago

* October 27, 1928

At the recent "Save the Countryside" conference held in Leicester, when delegates from numerous societies devoted to the preservation of rural amenities gathered to discuss ways of checking the wholesale and ruthless spoilation of rural England, Professor GM Trevelyan and other speakers spoke of the great part which the schools might play in defending the natural and historical beauties of England...The schools have yet to realise their power as a socialising influence in the life of this country...They can effect an almost immediate reduction of the litter nuisance. Cleanliness, like charity, begins at home, and schools have to be kept clean and tidy.

50 years ago

* October 23, 1953

In its march towards comprehensive schools the London County Council has just come upon a sizeable roadblock. Teachers in its grammar schools are alarmed at the rapid development of the council's plan. They have asked that there should be time to judge the first comprehensive schools before more start; and, presumably so that the alternative to comprehensive schools may be fairly compared, they have asked, too, that the amenities of the modern schools should be brought to the levels of their own...The teachers as a whole are careful not to prejudge a system of which they have no experience; but they want the LCC to be sure that it is making no mistake.

25 years ago

* October 27, 1978

Mrs Williams's White Paper on the single system of examining at 16-plus could have hardly apppeared at a worse time: an election campaign which already seems to have been running for months looks like going on for four or five more. Led by Mr Norman St John-Stevas, the popular press has immediately interpreted the proposals as a recipe for falling standards.

Only the Guardian and the Financial Times could be said to be favourable.

The Times believes the practical difficulties in the way of executing the change will outweigh its desirablity in practice. The press reaction is important because credibility depends not on research validation or statistical magic, but on the unsophisticated reliance placed on the examination by the world at large.

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