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In response to growing tension and technological advances in war, the British government set up the Evacuation Sub-Committee, part of the Imperial Defense Committee in 1931.

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Introduction

Introduction In response to growing tension and technological advances in war, the British government set up the Evacuation Sub-Committee, part of the Imperial Defense Committee in 1931. (Jackson,8) The threat of war, and also the fear of bombing and gas attacks on Britain's major cities led the Government to plan the evacuation of four groups of people, comprised of 11-13 million citizens; (A) children from five to eighteen, (B) children under five, (C) expectant mothers and (D) handicapped citizens. (Jackson,10) The government divided the United Kingdom into evacuable, neutral, and receptor areas, and on the weekend of the 30th September 1939 after the outbreak of war on the 3rd of September after the German invasion of Poland, evacuation began. This was to be the first of many relocations from the urban to rural areas, and children were evacuated either individually, or with their parents, or with their schools. Many children ended their journey in the wrong county, because of poor organization from the sub-committee and also in part due to war hysteria and xenophobia, which gripped the nation and caused the removal of all road and rail signs, making it even more difficult for the children to reach their destinations. (Gosden,15). This sudden evacuation caused an influx of city children into country areas from towns, putting a great strain on educational services. Furthermore, those children left behind had no education at all for approximately six months because the government closed all urban schools as an incentive for parents to relocate their children. (Gosden,19) The mass evacuation of school children from cities to country areas disrupted the British school system. As a result of this, how did the evacuation of children aged 5-18 from British cities effect the education of all children in the United Kingdom between 1939 and 1945, and what impact did the evacuation have on the British school system after the war? ...read more.

Middle

In October 1944 there were three thousand eight hundred and twenty three classes with over fifty students, compared with two thousand one hundred in 1938. (Titmuss,406) A study in 1940 estimated that there remained only three hundred teachers in London, while over one thousand teachers were teaching in the country.(Titmuss,405) This overcrowding caused a decrease in effectiveness of teaching, a smaller class being easier to control and also easier to create teacher-student relationships. The increase in class sizes was not due to an increase in the number of children from five to eighteen, as the population of schoolchildren decreased by 366,000 between March of 1938 and January 1946, (see appendix 1) due in part to civilian casualties, but mainly due to the military's legal conscription age of sixteen, with the army often accepting young men of fourteen for service. The Chief Inspector for elementary schools stated in 1943 that he believed the most serious problem affecting the education was the shortage of teachers.(Gosden,102)x The use of public broadcasts met, in part, the problems caused by a lack of specialist teachers, and by the end of 1941, between eleven thousand and twelve thousand schools listened to the radio as part of their school day, twice as many as had listened a year previously. (Gosden,79) There was also a severe lack of non teaching staff in schools.(Gosden,104) The government foresaw this problem in part, and the Board of Education issued advice to teachers in 1939 to remain with their schools. The Board advised women not to apply to any army force, and only male teachers under the age of twenty five were told to consider volunteering for the army. Due to the dire need for soldiers, the government amended this, and allowed those under thirty to volunteer in May 1940, and eventually all male teachers were allowed to volunteer, unless they were otherwise entailed with the evacuation of their schools.(Gosden,105) ...read more.

Conclusion

Parents witnessed no outright attacks on Britain, and thinking the country safe, called their children back. Unfortunately many of the children called back to urban areas were killed in the following "Blitz" or strategic bombing of British cities. viii Following an incident in 1941 in which a school was hit in a daylight raid across London. There were virtually no survivors, and a public outcry ensued over the safety of children in schools. ix However, the War Damage Compensation Act of 1941 made it slightly easier for owners of private schools with financial difficulties to repair their buildings to a state at which they could be used as schools again. x Subjects particularly affected by a lack of teachers were Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Engineering (because, it seemed, teachers in these services were more likely to be conscripted into the army), though this shortage affected only those schools catering to children in secondary school.(Gosden,104) xi The chief inspector for the London Community Council stated in 1943 "There is no doubt whatever that all subjects have suffered- judged by their pre-war standards."(Gosden,73) For the government to evaluate what subjects had been affected, three thousand children over thirteen sat examinations in arithmetic, history, geography, geography and English. Compared with similar tests taken with children of the same age in 1924, a retardation, or set back, of approximately one year was apparent, as well as a chief loss in the proficiency of reading and writing. There was a general setback, but not an exceptional decrease in the subjects of mathematics, history, and geography.(Gosden,74) xii The improvement of the evacuees was attributed at the time to a decrease in distractions, leading to an increase of reading for pleasure, lack of facilities in the reception areas led to more time spent for personal reading within the classes, and that class sizes in the country had not risen as steeply as they had in the cities.(Gosden,75) xiii The Chief Inspector for education said, of the children of the war "Nearly half of their school life, in fact, has been spent in improvised and often unsatisfactory conditions".(Titmuss,408) Karwatowska, D0436020, 2 ...read more.

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