The 1944 Education Act gave a vision of education according to age, aptitude, and ability. A major advance for further education was to be the idea of keeping young people in touch with education on a part-time basis until the age of 18. County colleges were to be established and attendance would be compulsory. The research attempts to trace development in further education since 1944, particularly regarding these young persons who would have attended the proposed county colleges. The period following the passing of the Act saw a critical stretching of existing resources. There seemed little possibility of expansion to meet statutory obligations, mainly because of economic difficulties arising both from the war and from post war international developments. In the 1950's there was a considerable expansion of technical education largely caused by the fear of falling behind other countries in trade and commerce. There was also a drive to increase the number of full-time students in the 16 - 19 age group, and new plans were advanced to increase the number of young people attending day release courses. As economic conditions eased in the 1960's so it became possible to move towards the ideals of the 1944 Education Act. Increasing numbers of young persons were kept in contact with education either on full or part-time courses. Much of the work was vocationally oriented and the earlier insistence upon education and character development became overshadowed. Following the introduction of comprehensive secondary education, provision for the 16 - 19 age group included various types of 6th. Form Colleges as well as more vocationally oriented courses in the Technical Colleges. The world trade recession in the 1970's, following the oil crisis, brought long term unemployment to considerable numbers of young people, and a rapid development of industrial training type courses occurred in the Technical Colleges. The Government took a strong lead in developing a unified approach to education and training and vocationally relevant educational courses are increasingly becoming available for young persons. It is currently intended to offer all school leavers without employment an opportunity to participate in this form of education/training, and later it is hoped to extend the scheme to other young persons in the 16 - 19 age group. The further education developments occurring in one town, Basingstoke, are followed from 1944 to the present time. It is concluded that the country is moving slowly towards the ideals of the 1944 Act and that major advances have been made. It is regrettable that county colleges were not established. Some form of provision is required for all 16 - 19 year old persons who are not full-time students and those who are developing the content of this provision, such as the Further Education Curriculum Review Unit, deserve the fullest possible support. Imaginative teaching methods should be encouraged. Considering the economic difficulties of the period education generally has not been too badly treated in relation to other public services, and further education in particular has made considerable progress.
|Date of Award||1983|