SECONDARY EDUCATION. The word secondary is used in contradistinction to primary or elementary both in Eng land and America to describe a system above that of elementary standard.
------- – - ---- The term secondary was first used by Matthew Arnold, who adopted it from French education, to indicate that grade of gen eral education which lies between the elementary or preparatory school and the university. His famous cry, "organize your se condary education," marks the beginning of a movement which led to the appointment of the Bryce Commission on secondary education and eventually to the acts of 1902 and 1918. Before 1902 this kind of education had been carried on by the public schools (q.v.), by little local grammar schools or schools of non conformist foundation, together with a certain number of recently founded schools, due to private initiative or public spirited so cieties like the Girls' Public Day School Company, supplemented to some extent by more or less efficient private ventures. The most that local authorities could do was to make grants to exist ing schools. It was not till after 1902 that they were able to build schools of their own. Henceforth the move has been one of steady progress, aided by the liberal scholarship schemes estab fished by local authorities, and further stimulated from 1907 on wards by the provision, as a condition of receiving grants from the Board of Education, of free places for pupils from elementary schools (normally 25% of the entrants, but since 1926 often higher). In the ten years ending 1914-15 the number of schools on the grant list in England and Wales rose from 575 to 1,047, and the number of pupils per i,000 of the population from 2.9 to 5.5 ; moreover the average size of the schools has shown a remark able increase. In 1908-09, 64 out of 912 schools had less than 5o pupils; at the present time not more than 7% of the total have less than I00. The free place system greatly helped the effici ency of the schools; it was largely responsible, especially through the establishment of intermediate scholarships at 15-16, for raising the standard of work up to and beyond the matriculation stage, and through the fixing of age limits for scholarships and free places it helped to bring about a general standardization of the age of entry ; and this affected both the leaving age and the length of school life.
The number of schools in which a considerable amount of sixth form work is done has increased steadily, and though the eco nomic conditions which tend to the premature withdrawal of boys and girls from school are slow to change, there has been a steady improvement in this respect; the average school life of boys rose from two years and seven months in 19o8–o9 to three years and nine months in 1926-27, and that of girls in the same period from two years and seven months to three years and ten months, while the average leaving age rose in the case of boys from 15.5 to 16.3, and in the case of girls from 15.11 to Most of this development, however, belongs to the period be ginning in 1914. Within a few months after the beginning of the World War, it became evident that there was an astonishing in crease in the demand for secondary education. This demand per sisted all through the war and shows no sign of general diminu tion; it has shown itself not merely in the increase in the numbers applying for admission to secondary schools but even more in the support given to important educational measures.
As to the schools, the numbers on the grant list for England and Wales in 1926-27 were 1,319 (487 boys', 467 girls' and 365 mixed schools), containing 196,289 boys and 175,204 girls; the number of pupils per i,000 of population, which in 1904-05 had been no more than 2.9 (1.9 boys, i.o girls), was now 9.5 (5.o boys, 4.5 girls) ; between 1908 and 1926 the number of boys pro ceeding to universities increased from 695 to 2,057, and t}ie num ber of girls from 361 to 1,312. Besides the schools on the grant list, the Board of Education has now recognized as efficient after inspection 326 public and private secondary schools and 1o8 pri vate preparatory schools. The number of free place pupils rose from 57,933 of the total numbers) in 1914-15 to 131,309 (37.6 of the total numbers) in 1927-28.