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Reclaiming Education is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the introduction of comprehensive education to England and Wales.

On 21 January 1965 the House of Commons passed a motion saying:

'That this House, conscious of the need to raise educational standards at all levels, and regretting that the realisation of this objective is impeded by the separation of children into different types of secondary schools, notes with approval the efforts of local authorities to reorganise secondary education on comprehensive lines which will preserve all that is valuable in grammar school education for those children who now receive it and make it available to more children; recognises that the method and timing of such reorganisation should vary to meet local needs; and believes that the time is now ripe for a declaration of national policy.'


The previous year, the step had already been taken to raise the school leaving age (“RoSLA”) and so every local authority would need to provide significantly more school places by 1972.

In July 1965, the Department of Education and Science (DES) issued Circular 10/65 which encouraged local authorities to bring forward plans for comprehensive education in their area. The following year, in Circular 10/66, Ministers made clear that reorganisation plans that were not aimed at bringing forward comprehensive arrangements would be unwelcome.

Circular 10_65 (DES 1965).pdf Circular 10_66 (DES 1966).pdf