Acland (1911)

1911 Acland Report (text)

Appendices (image-only pdf file)

Index (image-only pdf file)

The Acland Report (1911)
Report of the Consultative Committee on Examinations in Secondary Schools

London: HM Stationery Office

Notes on the text


The 1899 Board of Education Act established a Board of Education 'charged with the superintendence of matters relating to education in England and Wales' (section 1). It provided for the establishment of a Consultative Committee to keep a register of teachers and to advise the Board 'on any matter referred to the committee by the Board' (section 4).

The Consultative Committee produced many reports - including this one - during its lifetime, including the six Hadow Reports of the 1920s and 30s and the 1938 Spens Report. It was replaced following the 1944 Education Act by the Central Advisory Council for Education (CACE).

The Chair of the Committee for this report, the Right Hon. Arthur Herbert Dyke Acland (1847-1926), had been MP for Rotherham between 1885 and 1889 and Vice-President of the Committee of the Council on Education from 1892 to 1895.

The report online

Pages 1-309 of Volume I, containing the Report itself, three Notes, and Detailed Memoranda on external examinations taken by candidates of secondary school age, are presented here as text in a single web page.

The Appendices and Index are presented as image-only pdf files.

Volume II (pages 362-596) is not online. It contained summaries of the evidence given to the Committee by witnesses (see page v of Volume I for details).

The page headers (report title on the left hand pages, chapter title on the right) have been omitted.

I have simplified some of the punctuation, corrected twenty or so printing errors and the positioning of some speech marks, and replaced l with .

The Table of Contents (on page v) contained errors in the order of the items and the page numbers - I have corrected these. In the Analysis of the Report (pages vii-xviii) the numbering of sections differs from that used in the report itself, but I have not corrected this.

The tables are presented as images and are embedded in the text where they were in the printed version, except for the table on page 268 which is shown as a link - clicking on it opens a new window displaying the table.

Anything added by way of explanation is shown [in square brackets]. Blank pages have been omitted.

Summary of the report's main recommendations

  • examinations conducted by external examining bodies - the primary object of which is educational - should be linked with the system of inspection, which needs to be modified and developed so as to meet the new needs;
  • the existing multiplicity of external examinations (including those of universities and professional and other bodies), should be reduced urgently;
  • all external examinations should emphasise the principle that every Secondary School should provide a sound basis of liberal education for pupils up to the age of 16;
  • the first external examination - to be called the Examination for the Secondary School Certificate - should be a suitable test of the general attainments of an average pupil of 16;
  • pupils who are not able to remain at school long enough to obtain the Secondary School Certificate should be eligible for a certificate which might be known as the Secondary School Testamur;
  • all the schools taking the Secondary School Certificate Examination should be placed under a local group of inspectors, who should have access to some of the work produced by candidates during the year leading up to the examination;
  • the examination would be mainly written, but would include practical and oral elements, and it would be taken by whole classes, not just by selected pupils;
  • the record of a pupil's school career should include more than just exam results;
  • the Secondary School Certificate should not be issued to any pupils under 16 without the special approval of the Board of Education;
  • a Secondary School Higher Certificate Examination should be established for pupils who stay on after the age of 16.

The 1911 Acland Report and the above notes were prepared for the web by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 24 September 2012.