23rd April 2004 at 01:00
75 years ago * april 20, 1929

Centennial and multicentennial observances serve their purpose if only by leading to a renewed interest in biography, which for a long time has not been given much consideration in our schools.

Stories of famous men once formed the greater part of the history syllabus, and lives of the English poets were known far better than English poetry.

All this has changed, and movements, not men, have become the subjects of history and English lessons.

The old method of dealing with biography in school was to reduce a heroic character to a paste-board figure of convenient dimensions for the classroom, and the inadequacy of such teaching led to its failure.

50 years ago * April 23, 1954

It is pay and conditions of service that are the staples of debate at National Union of Teachers conferences. For all the diversity of the motions it is primarily these two important things that the delegates assemble to confer on.

This year superannuation stole the thunder. Both the president and the secretary of the union addressed themselves to this. The speeches of both were ominous. Mr FJ Evans said:"I should be failing in my duty to the education service did I not warn the minister of the intense bitterness she is arousing in the minds of teachers."

Mr Ronald Gould described the teaching profession as frustrated, dissatisfied and restive.

The impression given is that the extra one per cent of salary which the minister is demanding in pensions contributions is the last straw for a disgruntled profession.

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