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Title: Policy making in secondary education : evidence from two local authorities 1944-1972
Author: Makin, Dorothy
ISNI:       0000 0004 6346 7257
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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The 1944 Butler Act laid the legal foundations for a new secondary education system in England, one which would see all children entitled to free and compulsory schooling up to the age of 15. The Act therefore represented a bold step forward in the pursuit of a fairer society: expanding access to training and qualifications, while promoting a more equal distribution of educational opportunities. This thesis explores the process of constructing and delivering secondary education policy in England following the 1944 Butler Education Act. It offers a close examination of two Local Education Authorities- Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire- exploring how they interpreted and implemented 'secondary education for all' after the Second World War. The dissertation is composed of two parts: Part One looks at how selective secondary schooling was developed and operated in the respective areas between 1945 and 1962; Part Two explores the response of both authorities to the prospect of reforming secondary education after 1962. By exploring the process of policy implementation after 1944, Part One of this thesis highlights the problems of delivering secondary education for all in an era of resource constraint. It is demonstrated in this thesis that Local Authority capacity to build new schools was firmly tethered to Ministerial control. The relatively low priority accorded to education created a decade-long delay between the announcement of policy change and its eventual delivery. The implications of this delay at the Local Authority and school level are explored in chapters three and six. Chapters four and seven question how resources were distributed between selective and non-selective school sectors, while chapters five and eight evaluate the treatment of selective education within each authority, asking how policy makers conceived of, and operated, the grammar school and secondary modern sectors. Part Two of this thesis turns to the question of secondary organisation. Debates surrounding the question of comprehensive rather than selective systems of secondary schooling dominated discussions about secondary education policy in the later twentieth century. When it came to comprehensive re-organisation, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire opted for different paths: Oxfordshire adopted comprehensive schooling relatively early with a remarkable degree of county-wide consensus, while Buckinghamshire fiercely resisted external and internal pressure to reform. Chapter ten of this thesis is devoted to identifying the drivers of comprehensive reform in Oxfordshire. Chapters eleven and twelve explore the Buckinghamshire story establishing how and then why this county successfully held-out against wholesale policy change.
Supervisor: Carter, Harold ; Oxley, Deborah Sponsor: Arts & Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Education and state--Great Britain--History--20th century ; Education ; Secondary--Great Britain--History--20th century ; Local government--Great Britain--History--20th century