Hadow (1928)

1928 Hadow Report (complete)

The Hadow Report (1928)
Books in Public Elementary Schools

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. It was replaced following the 1944 Education Act by the Central Advisory Council for Education (CACE).

Sir Henry Hadow was an educationist (Vice Chancellor of the University of Sheffield from 1919 to 1930), a well-known music critic and a prodigious writer. He chaired the Consultative Committee for six reports between 1923 and 1933:

1923 Differentiation of the Curriculum for Boys and Girls
1924 Psychological Tests of Educable Capacity
1926 The Education of the Adolescent
1928 Books in Public Elementary Schools
1931 The Primary School
1933 Infant and Nursery Schools

For more about Hadow and other Committee members and summaries of the reports, see my article The Hadow Reports: an introduction.

The report online

The full text of the report (including the Appendices) is online in a single web page.

I have modernised some of the punctuation (so that, for example, " secondary " is shown as 'secondary' and Mr. W.H. Webbe C.B.E. appears as Mr WH Webbe CBE); and I've updated one or two spellings (timetable instead of time-table, today instead of to-day etc).

The formatting of the text (bold, italics, centred etc) is a reasonably accurate representation of the printed version, but the pages presented here are not exact facsimiles of the original: the font (Times, Arial etc) and size of print - and therefore the number of words to a line and lines to a page - are determined by the settings you have chosen for your web browser. However, the page breaks are correct. In other words, if something is shown here as being on, say, page 103, you can be sure it appeared on page 103 in the original.

The page headers (chapter title on both left and right hand pages) have been omitted.

There is much in this report about expenditure on books. The figures quoted are, of course, in pre-decimal currency, so I've added the decimal equivalents. (Until 1971 the UK's currency consisted of pounds, shillings (20 to the pound, represented by 's') and pence (12 to the shilling, represented by 'd'). In February 1971 the currency was decimalised, with 100 new pence (p) to the pound. Each new penny was thus worth 2.4d.)

Anything added by way of explanation is shown [in square brackets].

Summary of the report's main recommendations

The report lists 43 recommendations including:

  • there should be greater expenditure on books for schools, especially in areas where it is 'seriously insufficient';
  • every school should have a library with 'adequate accommodation' and there should be cooperation between public elementary schools and urban and county libraries;
  • the books used in elementary schools should be excellent in quality as well as adequate in numbers;
  • every pupil should be allowed to keep books which are in constant use;
  • from the age of 11 pupils should be encouraged to take books home;
  • on leaving school, pupils might be allowed to keep books on subjects in which they have shown special aptitude or interest;
  • teachers should receive training and advice in the matter of book selection;
  • the Board of Education should convene a Central Advisory Conference to deal with questions relating to the supply, quality and content of books for Public Elementary Schools.

The 1928 Hadow Report and the above notes were prepared for the web by Derek Gillard. The report was uploaded on 24 July 2006; the revised notes on 4 November 2012.

1928 Hadow Report (complete)