In 1901, the curriculum in
elementary schools was governed by a Code of Regulations for
Day Schools, issued every year by the Board of Education.
This Code defined the core curriculum at various levels. For
infant schools, it was to be 'suitable instruction in Reading,
Writing and Numbers; simple lessons on common things; appropriate
and varied occupations; Needlework; Drawing; Singing and Physical
For older pupils the core consisted of 'English, by which is
to be understood Reading, Recitation, Writing, Composition,
and Grammar insofar as it bears upon the correct use of language;
Arithmetic; Drawing (for boys); Needlework (for girls); lessons,
including object lessons on Geography, History and common things;
Singing, which should as a rule be by rote and Physical Training'.
To this core could be added one or more additional subjects
from a list that included Algebra, Mechanics, Chemistry, Physics,
Animal Physiology, Botany, Welsh (in Welsh schools), German,
French, Book-keeping and Domestic Science. There was a third
list of options for girls: Cookery, Laundry Work, Dairy Work
and Household Management, and for boys: Cottage Gardening,
Manual Instruction and Cookery 'for boys in seaport towns'.
Follow this link to East
Tuddenham and Honingham school.
A revision to the Code, issued in July 1901, encouraged
greater flexibility and urged schools to aim to prepare their
pupils 'for their future callings in life, or to enable those
who may continue their education further to take advantage
of the instruction afforded in schools of a more advanced
character'. Basic reading skills and rote learning were not
enough: 'children may be taught less and learn more, i.e.
the teacher should endeavour to make the children observe
and infer for themselves, and should be less anxious to convey
to their minds ready-made information'.
Formal examinations would no longer be held by school inspectors,
who would rely instead on pupils' coursework and their behaviour
in lessons to assess schools. Corporal punishment should be
discouraged and 'no punishment which excites the emotion of
terror in a child should ever be employed'.