Papers of the Board of Education and predecessors recording the procedure of inspection, recognition and approval of all schools and institutions (including some not subject to the jurisdiction of the Board of Education) providing secondary education.
The series contains papers concerning the administration of endowments attached to such institutions (from 1903 to 1921); the drafting of schemes regulating endowments attached to endowed schools; the administration of both these endowments and those not confined to particular institutions; and endowments providing exhibitions at universities. The papers also portray the affects of the economic and political climate outlined above.
The first part of the series (piece numbers 1-3455) consists mainly of files, created in 1902, containing proposals by authorities to provide municipal secondary schools or to assume responsibility, with the agreement of the trustees, for certain endowed schools.
Early files also contain Science and Art Department papers concerning the establishment of Science Schools (and science or art classes within schools); and records relating to Pupil Teacher Centres including teacher training provision in departments of existing schools. Schools previously administered by the Charity Commissioners are also found in this series.
The second part of this series (piece numbers 3456-7149) consists of a series of subject files created in 1922 for each school (Welsh files in 1924) necessitated by the growth of secondary school provision after the halt imposed by the First World War. The same official school number was continued and some overlap of dates occurs in respect of material filed with the pre-1922 papers and the post-1921 subheads. Similarly where, for example, an institution closed shortly after 1944, the post-1944 papers have nevertheless been retained in the second part of this series.
The series includes files for schools in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, individual institutions such as the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, public schools, orphanages and cathedral choir schools. There are also papers relating to free places, length of school life, the inclusion of more playing fields and gymnasia in many new schools and of school swimming baths in schedules of accommodation and finance. In a few cases there are statistics of the social classes from which pupils were drawn.
There is much less material on the Welsh files relating to property and domestic matters than on the English files, whilst the fact that both the Board of Education and the Central Welsh Board reported on Welsh schools greatly increased the number of inspection reports.
Papers peculiar to Welsh files are those dealing with the private lodgings of children during term time because of difficulty of travel, and with the teaching of the Welsh language. The school files are inter-related with the County Intermediate and Technical Education Fund files, which contain endowment papers of schools previously administered under the Endowed Schools Acts, 1869-1894. This part also includes the two general Central Welsh Board and Intermediate and Technical Education Treasury Grant files, containing, among other matters, the annual reports submitted to the Charity Commission (and later to the Board of Education) for transmission to the Treasury; domestic matters concerning the Central Welsh Board; and discussions on Welsh educational policy.
Individual school files for Wales reflect the paucity of new school building during this period owing to the tremendous drop in the school population as a result of the migration from the Principality in search of work during the years of the depression. is seen against a background of difficulties and misunderstandings between the Board of Education and the Central Welsh Board regarding the latter's administration. The few Central Welsh Intermediate Education Fund general files which remain contain various proposals for a solution to these problems, such as a unified Inspectorate, changes in the financial structure of the Central Welsh Board, the establishment of a National Council of Education for Wales, and the transfer of the functions of the Central Welsh Board to the University Court of Wales.
New material appeared on the files during the war, including applications from secondary institutions for approval, by the General Nursing Council, of pre-nursing courses organised for the schools' senior girls; the building of new or extended school canteens to meet wartime emergency feeding demands; and in records relating to special problems arising from evacuation.
The impact of the Second World War upon the progress of secondary education in both England and Wales is reflected in the diminution of material during the period 1939-1944.