PastTimesEd

7th May 2004 at 01:00
75 years ago

* MAY 4, 1929

The subject of subnormal children is one of great importance and, among other reasons, for this dominant one, that many children who are very late-developing and possibly of great potential ability are too often regarded as mentally defective. It would be quite easy to go through the Dictionary of National Biography and pick out men and women of outstanding attainments who beyond doubt would, under our modern system of education, have been classed as mental defectives and sent to a special school. There are children who are wholly incapable of acquiring a second language, at any rate as it is taught in our schools. That fact is not regarded as evidence of mental deficiency. But if the same incapacity is shown in respect of arithmetic that is often, at any rate in rural schools, regarded as evidence of mental deficiency.

50 years ago

* MAY 7, 1954

An article this week records how girls in Essex who were well below the border line for grammar school selection went on after a secondary modern course to a technical school and achieved striking successes in the GCE.

The article reinforces a growing body of experience elsewhere. Not long ago there was a note in the Supplement about how some secondary modern pupils in Wigan were given a chance to take courses after their normal leaving age. If some fell by the wayside, for one or two the chance was well worthwhile. What is becoming increasingly realised is that much besides any measurable intelligence influences academic success. There is the disposition of the pupil and ability of the teacher. There is the influence of the home.

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