chapter  3
20 Pages

Sir Robert Morant and Secondary School Curricula

The very ease with which grants could be obtained for technical and scientific work, and the total absence of any aid for secondary education as such, ensured the rapid spread of technical and scientific subjects not only in the higher grade schools, but also in the grammar schools, in spite of the preference of their heads for a classical or literary education. As the Association of Assistant Masters pointed out in 1900, 'numbers of the small grammar schools are at present confronted with a choice between ruin and a transformation into schools of science or technology'.l

This sudden transformation of all but the larger and wealthier grammar schools was received with alarm by a very large sector of educational opinion. It was believed, not only that there had been too great an emphasis on science, but that due to the popular interest in technology, the literary subjects were in actual danger of neglect. As was natural, the Incorporated Association of Head Masters, and their fellow association of Assistant Masters, frequently called, attention to this neglect of the literary aspect of secondary education. 'Those who preach the necessity of a sound literary groundwork are still as voices crying in the wilderness,' complained the Assistant Masters in 1900. They wanted the secondary department of the Board of Education made 'unassailably strong, seeing that the technical can take care of itself'.2