Comprehensive Education

The 1944 Education Act provided universal free schooling in three different types of schools; grammar, secondary modern and technical. Rab Butler hoped that these schools would cater for the different academic levels of children. Entry to these schools was based on the 11+ examination.

Many educational experts were opposed to the idea of selection at eleven and argued that secondary modern schools were providing a second-class education. Some Local Education Authorities experimented with the idea of creating comprehensive schools designed to provide an education for children of all abilities. Although initially hostile to these schools, by the 1960s the Labour Party supported plans to phase out grammar schools.

Following the 1964 General Election, the new Labour Government instructed all local authorities to prepare plans for the creation of comprehensive schools, either by amalgamation or the building of new schools. This policy was also accepted by Conservative governments and by 1990 the majority of grammar schools had been turned into comprehensives or had become independent.