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Education in the UK: Pages of History

Prior to 1944 the British secondary education system was rather haphazard. Schools were created by local governments, private charities, and religious foundations. Schools varied greatly by region. 1)_____ was not available to all, and secondary schools were mainly for the upper and middle classes.

In 1944, secondary education was 2)_____ as a right for all children, and universal, free education was introduced. From 1944 to 1976 state-funded secondary education 3)_____ of three types of schools (the Tripartite System): Grammar School, Secondary Technical School and Secondary Modern School. The basic assumption of the Tripartite System was that all should be entitled to an education appropriate to their needs and abilities. It also assumed that students with different abilities should have a different 4)_____ . Pupils were assigned to one of the three types of school according to their performance in an examination taken at age eleven, the Eleven Plus examination.

Grammar Schools were intended to 5)_____ a highly academic curriculum. There was a strong focus on intellectual subjects, such as literature, classics and complex mathematics, aimed 6)_____ developing students' ability to deal with abstract concepts. Secondary Technical Schools were designed to train children with ability in mechanical and scientific subjects. The focus of the schools was on providing scientists, engineers and technicians. Secondary Modern Schools would train pupils in practical skills, equipping them for less skilled jobs and home management.

Due to the expense of building facilities for three types of schools, very few Technical Schools were built, and education in the UK retained its class character: the upper class children attended Grammar School which received the lion's share of funding, lower class children attended Modern Schools which were largely neglected. Only children who 7)_____ to Grammar Schools had a real chance of getting into a university.