chapter  6
20 Pages

Growth and change

In 'L'Explosion Scolaire', Cros argues that educational institutions are everywhere breaking up under the pressure of numbers and new needs. 'Physical phenomena often change their nature when they change their scale; human phenomena do the same.' Analogies with the physical world are rarely helpful, but it may well be that the English sixth form, so deeply rooted in the past, has now gone beyond mere adaptation to change. Some drastic reconstruction may be needed. In 1912 there were 9,500 sixth formers in grant-aided schools. The increase to almost 40,000 in 1938 involved no great changes in organization or curriculum. In 1958 there were 70,000, and in 1966, over 170,000. Even within grammar schools, the implications of growth on this scale are far reaching. But a far greater challenge to tradition has come from the development of advanced work outside them.