As parents look for ways of helping their children towards the eleven plus their minds, at times, may be drawn to the Newcastle Report of 1861. The terms of reference were to enquire into the state of popular education in England. The report was to comment on what was required for cheap but sound elementary education.
The report ended up with some far reaching recommendations. Like so many good ideas few of the recommendations were adopted at the time. There was one, however, that was accepted and acted upon: schools should be financed partly through rates and partly from direct grants. The rates part was to be determined by children’s attainments which were tested by examiners from the county boards of education.
There was a recommendation that `peasant’ boys should not be educated after they reached around ten years old.
It was also felt that trained teachers were better than the untrained. The trained teachers, however, felt that they were not being paid enough!
Did these ideas have much to do with the emergence of the present eleven plus?