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Circular 10/65 was a document issued by the Department of Education and Science requesting Local Education Authorities (LEAs) in England and Wales to begin converting their secondary schools to the Comprehensive System. For most of England and Wales, it marked the abolition of the old grammar schools and secondary moderns, and the Eleven Plus examination. Circular 10/65 was the initiative of recently appointed Education Secretary Anthony Crosland; it is sometimes called the Crosland Circular. It reflected the Labour government's view that the existing Tripartite System of education was flawed, and had to be replaced with comprehensive schools, which had been increasing in number over the previous sixteen years.

Drafting

During the Circular's drafting, there was a debate in Whitehall over how strongly worded the Circular ought to be. Secondary education was not under the direct control of the DES, and all changes had to be implemented by the local authorities. Those firmly in favour of the comprehensive system believed that the Circular should convert all schools into comprehensives. Those preferring to preserve the balance of power between the DES and LEAs thought that the word should be "request".

Release

Upon release in July 1965 , the Circular used the word "request". In practice, the DES used its financial muscle to make opposition to the change harder. Local authorities relied on the central government to pay for the large number of new schools made necessary by the post-war baby boom. The DES refused to pay for any new secondary school which was not a comprehensive. As a result, a number of LEAs otherwise supporting the tripartite system, such as Bromleymarker and Surreymarker, found it necessary to go comprehensive.

Withdrawal

Within days of the election of a Conservative government in June 1970, the new education minister Margaret Thatcher withdrew the Circular. The replacement, Circular 10/70, allowed each authority to decide its own policy.

Sources

1 Copy of the final Circular, accessed 6 July 2006.


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