As this essay will argue, the reforms during this period took radical and comprehensive changes characterised with optimism and progressivism, which despite revolutionising the educational system in Britain, failed to achieve the more important goals of democratising education.
The Education Act 1944, also known as the Butler Act, is landmark legislation in education reform, such that according to Giles, it was meant to provide a "drastic recasting of our educational system" (cited in Jones, 2002, p.15). Aside from the establishment of the Ministry of Education, creating in England and Wales the first government department dedicated to education, it also seeks to establish a free nationwide system of compulsory education through the introduction of a tripartite system of secondary education (Gillard, 2004). Hence, according to Williamson (1979), "[it] laid the basis for a system of free [education] for all and held out the promise of equality of opportunity in education irrespective of a child's social background" (cited in Megahed, 2004, online), where focus is placed on secondary education and creating a citizenry who can contribute to the nation's development.
Among its salient features include: expanding the schooling age of children ...Show more