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Liberal education in York since 1815, with special reference to provision for non-vocational adult education.

Ashurst T. B, (1972) Liberal education in York since 1815, with special reference to provision for non-vocational adult education. Masters thesis, Durham University.



A study of the development of non-vocational education in York during the last century and a half reveals several interesting ventures in liberal adult education. In York as elsewhere, initially most of the experiments in adult education were, perforce, remedial and usually conducted by philanthropic organisations of individuals from a social class higher that that of the students who attended the school and institutes. Gradually all the early institutions deviated from their original aims – and in doing often became successful. The York Mechanics’ Institute became a Literary and Scientific Society; the Adult Schools became Temperance Organisations or what amounted to Recreational Clubs; the York Settlement, created to provide a basic education for working men, became a kind of middle class finishing school. Voluntary organisations remained the sole provider of adult education in York almost until the end of the 19th century. After 1902 the Local Education Authority was legally empowered to provide non-vocational adult education, but what it provided was sparse, drab and uninteresting and the position of the voluntary organisations went unchallenged. There was little alteration in the situation until after the Second World War when, in 1950, a start was made to improve local authority provision for adult education. In 1964, belatedly, York Education Authority created three new Evening Centres to provide a comprehensive system of attractively titled classes and courses. The immediate result was a dramatic increase in enrolments. The traditional providers of liberal adult education, the voluntary organisations, remain to complement the Education Authority’s provision but they are undergoing a process of reorientation as they seek a new role for themselves. The present provision for non-vocational adult education in York is probably as good as that in any city of comparable size and resources and there now exists a sound basis for future development.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Education
Thesis Date:1972
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:17

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