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William Temple’s work on voluntary schools

31 October 2014


From Dr G. F. Chorley
Sir, - I greatly appreciated the article by the Revd Dr Stephen Spencer (Comment, 24 October) on the life and work of Archbishop William Temple. May I add some comments on Dr Spencer's treatment of education?

The 1918 Education Act raised the school-leaving age to 14 for all pupils, but many children still received all their education in one school. Some large urban centres had begun to provide separate central schools for pupils over the age of 11 before the First World War, but R. H. Tawney's pamphlet Secondary Education for All in 1922 and the 1926 Hadow report, The Education of the Adolescent, argued for the creation of separate primary and secondary schools for all children. This, however, presented financial difficulties for the Anglican Church.

Temple's contribution to the 1944 Education Act was not the construction for the first time of a national system of education encompassing church and state schools. Rather, he successfully convinced a majority of Anglicans to support the proposals of R. A. Butler in the wartime coalition government for a financial solution for church schools. Thus the Anglican Church could continue its significant contribution to a national education system of church and non-denominational schools which had been evolving since 1870.

Hon. Research Fellow,
Department of Theology,
Philosophy and Religious Studies,
Liverpool Hope University; and sometime Additional Inspector,
Office of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools, England
10 Helvellyn Drive, Ightenhill
Burnley, Lancs BB12 0TA

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