Junior Technical Schools (JTS)

Background and Scene Setting.
The Junior Technical School (JTS) movement began in the early 20th century. During the 19th century there had been previous attempts to establish similar institutions of technical and commercial education and instruction. For example the Privy Council Committee on Education as early as 1840 had advocated the creation of industrial schools and even provided grant funding for their establishment and operation. In 1860 these schools were transferred to the Home Office to provide manual and technical instruction (I deliberately use instruction as opposed to education as it was the widely accepted expression at the time) for young offenders. This unfortunately created the perception that such subjects were closely associated with crime and were intended for correction and the instilling of discipline. As mentioned in the history of technical education on the website ordinary elementary schools were not encouraged to offer practical subjects following the Revised Code of 1862. But the concerns about the parlous state of scientific and technical instruction following the Great Exhibition and the growing awareness that Britain was performing badly compared with other countries on the continent and America brought about a few positive developments.
The Science and Art Department (SAD) was created in 1853, and after this date the development of examinations for schools and the introduction of the payment by results regime helped to raise the profile of technical instruction. Gradually these developments helped to establish a state system of education. However the government continued to be reluctant to impose strict requirements on the school boards and the 1889 Technical Instruction Act again avoided any compulsion on county councils in regard to technical and manual instruction. Again the Act was permissive in nature and not mandatory.

The addresses and writings of such people as Henry Armstrong, Thomas Huxley and Philip Magnus on scientific and technical instruction also contributed in raising the importance of these subjects (see biographies on the website). In 1870 approximately 800 schools were receiving funding, offering courses and examinations to over 34,000 pupils. Gradually manual training and domestic economy subjects were introduced in elementary schools. The City and Guilds of London institute (CGLI) and the School Board for London supported by the Drapers Company brought about a change in the Code and that then allowed the introduction of manual training and instruction in elementary day schools. As a result the grant aid paid by the Science and Art Department was allowed for such instruction and towards which School Board rates could be spent. In 1891, 3,568 pupils in 68 schools were receiving manual training and by 1897 this had increased to 112,000 pupils. The grant aid accordingly increased from £600 in 1891 to £19,530 in 1896. In spite of the deterrent effects of various Education Acts and Regulations two types of technical schools were established namely the junior technical schools and trade schools.

Junior Technical Schools (JTS)
These schools were developed from the early technical classes which grow up between 1904 and 1912, and became a separate entity in 1913. Junior Technical Schools (JTS) was the generic term for these institutions but within the movement were Junior Commercial Schools and Junior Housewifery Schools as will be described later. (Titles are a bit confusing on this topic).

The consequence of the publication in 1905 of the Regulations for Technical Schools brought about the establishment of Junior Technical Schools representing the full-time provision for ex-elementary schools pupils. Their development was particularly rapid in London because of the large population, the large range of industries and the limited opportunities at the time for training opportunities for young people wanting to enter employment. By the end of 1913/14 there were 37 schools comprising 27 for boys and 10 for girls; by 1920 there were 80 schools comprising 67 schools for boys and 13 for girls and by 1930/31 there were 144 schools comprising 110 schools for boys and 34 for girls. There were also 33 co-educational schools in 1930/31. The Board of Education (BoE) in 1913 issued the Regulations for Junior Technical Schools under which they were to be managed and grants were increased from £5 per pupil to £7 per pupil in exceptional circumstances. Remember there was still a widely held belief backed up by an administrative requirement that technical education should not available to youngsters under 13 year olds. When the first schools were established under the Regulations for ‘Day Technical Classes’ the minimum age of entrance was set at 13. In 1913 when the Junior Technical Schools were recognised under their own regulations the age of admission would remain the same although an exception was made to allow entry at 12 but only in very few special cases. This requirement certainly had a negative impact on the development of technical and commercial education below the age of 13 and was only rescinded following the 1944 Education Act!

The Board of Education in a report on the Regulations for Secondary Schools for 1912-13 had expressed a view that there was sufficient flexibility in the regulations to allow considerable specialisation in the curriculum where local needs demanded. However secondary schools became more homogenous in character mainly because of the requirements of external examinations. On the plus side progress, albeit slow, was made with the gradual emergence of junior technical schools and trade schools, even some grammar schools began introducing specialised non-academic courses.

It might be helpful to describe how the Board of Education and Local Education Authorities grouped and defined, for administrative convenience, the two essentially different types of schools.

The Pre-apprenticeship school
This was a full-time school enrolling pupils aged between 13 and 14 who had decided that they wanted to enter a particular kind of industrial work e.g. engineering or construction, but not a specific occupation within an industry. The course lasted two or three years, the leaver entering an apprenticeship at around 16. The curriculum provided a preparation for industrial and commercial employment along with a continued general education. This was the normal model outside London and was basically the only provision of this kind in the provinces and these schools became known as Junior Technical Schools.

The Trade School
Unlike the Junior Technical School the Trade School prepared its pupils for specific occupations e.g. book-binding, building trades, cabinet-making, needle trades and silversmithing etc. The trade school substituted training in the school for apprenticeships in the workshop. Most of the trade schools were in London and rarely in the provinces.

A few general points need to be made at this stage about Junior Technical Schools namely their number was small – only about 1% of children attended them (see figures below in the final point), individual schools were relatively small- average on roll less than 200 because since the output was influenced by the needs of local industries. In addition they were expensive to operate, due to the generous standard of staffing, their size and costly equipment required to instruct the pupils. However they were popular from the pupils view because the leavers were placed in good employment, they were not bound by many of the academic restrictions e.g. many did not have to enter formal external examinations and the schools overall created an atmosphere conducive to hard and cheerful work and studies for the pupils.

In spite of the relatively slow progress in their development too often hindered by administrative regulations, jealousies and rivalry, the junior technical schools along with art and commercial schools achieved a great deal. Various constraints were placed on them such as they could not teach foreign languages; parents had to guarantee that their children would enter the occupation for which they had studied for at the school. The accommodation was often poor and mainly housed in technical colleges or similar institutions and as a result often under the authority and control of the college principal. In fact in 1946 85% of Junior Technical Schools were located in technical colleges. However even with these constraints they survived and sustained sturdy growth. By 1926 a number of junior commercial schools and a couple of nautical training schools and junior housewifery schools became categorised the existing junior technical schools and trade schools. In 1929 the number of recognised technical and commercial schools had reached 108 with an enrolment of 18,000 pupils including 4,600 girls.

The Board of Education Pamphlet 111 issued in 1937 listed four kinds of junior technical schools namely those: (i) preparing pupils to enter specific industries or groups of industries: (ii) preparing boys and girls for specific occupations; (iii) Preparing girls for home management and (iv) preparing boys and girls for entry into commerce. In 1935/36 the pamphlet recorded 194 JTSs with 23,844 pupils. The 194 schools consisted of 97 junior technical schools with 13,972 on roll; 37 junior technical (trade) schools with 3,278 on roll; 10 junior housewifery schools with 495 on roll and 50 junior commercial schools with 6,099 on roll. London designated three types of junior technical schools namely: Trade Schools for Girls examples include dressing making at Woolwich Polytechnic, upholstery at Shoreditch Technical Institute; Technical Day Schools for Boys examples being at Paddington and Poplar Engineering Schools and Preparatory Trade Schools for Boys with examples at the Stanley Trade School and those at Shoreditch and the Borough Polytechnic Institute. Other models of Junior Technical Schools developed outside London and partly reflected the flexibility granted to secondary education at the time. And often under different titles.

The list of available courses offered was truly amazing as given by a report in 1938. This is the full list: book production, boot and shoe manufacture, building and building trades, cabinet making, carriage building, chefs and waiting, commercial studies, constructive industries, cooks, corset making, domestic service, dress making, embroidery, engineering, general industrial studies, hairdressing, home management, laundry work, lingerie, meat trades, millinery, motor and aero-metal work, music trades, nautical, nursemaids, photo-engraving and photography, rubber trades, silversmithing and jewellery, tailoring, upholstery and vest making. On 31st March 1938 the number of junior technical and commercial schools, excluding art schools, had risen to 248 with 30,457 pupils on roll.

The junior technical and commercial schools provided offered, in the majority of cases, two year courses with two or three bias subjects see timetables below.

Typical Timetables for Junior Technical Schools (JTS)

Subjects
Guidelines laid down by Ministry
Spens report recommendations
The average in reality
English subjects including history and geography
5hr
6hr
6 or 7hr
Mathematics and geometry
5hr
8 hr across maths/geometry/science and technology
5 or 6hr
Science and technology
5hr
6hr
Technical drawing
5hr
3hr
4hr
Workshop practice
6hr
4.5hr
6hr
PE
1hr
3hr
2hr
Pool including foreign languages
3hr
Totals:
27hr
27.5hr
30hr
Source: M. Sanderson
Specimen curricula and typical examples of timetables for JTS in the 1920s/30s.
Borough Road Polytechnic JTS 1925.
Subjects
1 st year
2nd year
3rd year
English, geography and history
5hr
5hr
5hr
Mathematics
6hr 40m
5hr 50m
6hr 40m
Mechanical drawing
4hr 10m
4hr 10m
4hr 10m
Applied mechanics
2hr 30m
2hr 30m
Physics
3hr 20m
3hr 20m
Chemistry
3hr 20m
Art
1hr 40m
50m
Metalwork
5hr 10m
5hr
5hr
Woodwork
1hr 40m
1hr 40m
PE
1hr 40m
1hr 40m
1hr 40m
Workshop materials
50m
Totals:
29hr 20m
30hr
28hr 10m
Source: M. Sanderson
A Typical London JTS 1934
Subjects
1st year
2nd year
3rd year
English, geography and history
5hr
5hr
5hr
Mathematics
6hr 40m
5hr 50m
6hr 40m
Mechanical drawing
4hr 10m
4hr 10m
4hr 10m
Applied mechanics
2hr 30m
2hr 30m
Physics
3hr 20m
3hr 20m
Chemistry
3hr 20m
Metalwork
5hr 10m
5hr
5hr
Woodwork
1hr 40m
1hr 40m
PE
1hr 40m
1hr 40m
1hr 40m
Workshop practice
50m
Art
1hr 40m
50m
Totals
29hr 20m
30hr
28hr 10m
Source: Sanderson
Wandsworth Junior Commercial School 1934
Subjects
1st year
2nd year
3rd year
Arithmetic
4hr 30m
3hr
2hr 15m
Bookkeeping
1hr 30m
3hr
3hr
Commerce
1hr 30m
1hr 30m
2hr 15m
English
3hr
2hr 15m
2hr 15m
French
3hr 45m
3hr 45m
4hr 30m
Geography
1hr 30m
1hr 30m
1hr 30m
History
1hr 30m
45m
Science
2hr 15m
2hr 15m
Shorthand
3hr
3hr 45m
5hr 15m
Typing
2hr 15m
3hr
3hr 45m
PE
1hr 15m
1hr 30m
1hr 30m
Assembly
2hr 30m
2hr 15m
2hr 30m
Totals
28hr 45
28hr 45m
28hr 45m
Source: M. Sanderson
The Junior Technical Schools made their mark and the Spens Committee in 1938 concluded in the light of that success ‘We are convinced that it is of great importance to establish a type of higher school of technical character quite distinct from the traditional academic Grammar School.’
Whilst the 1943 White Paper Educational Reform stated ‘Junior Technical Schools came into being in 1905, and their success has been remarkable. Planned to give a general education associated with preparation for entry to one or other of the main branches of industry and commerce, they have grown up in relation to local needs and opportunities of employment. But their progress in numbers has been comparatively slow, and their chances of attracting the most able children vis-a-vis the grammar schools have been adversely affected by the fact that they normally recruit at 13. With altered conditions, and with more rapid development in the future, they hold out great opportunities for pupils with a practical bent.’
Interestingly in 1951 after this worthy statement was made there were still many education authorities, including some of the largest provincial ones, where the entry to secondary technical schools took place at the age of 13 by ‘creaming’ off pupils in the local secondary modern schools – the 13+ examination. I still remember taking it and failing!
The development of the Junior Technical Schools, (including the commercial, housewifery, and nautical schools), represents a fascinating part in the history of technical and commercial education and training.
Final Point.
To assist the reader make greater sense of the Junior Technical Schools, the various titles and their relationship within the technical education landscape in 1935 I provide a brief list of the types of technical schools at the time.
Almost all the important institutions for technical education were composite in character, comprising work assignable to two or more of the official categories of recognition, namely:
·         Junior Technical Schools
·         Technical Day Schools
·         Day Continuation Schools
·         Institutions offering evening instruction
·         Senior full-time courses in Further Education Colleges.
The schools can be designated with in the following structure and I include the numbers of pupils in England and Wales in 1934/5:
Junior – under 16
Full-time courses:
·         Junior Technical Schools – 22,158
·         Technical Day Classes – see Senior over 16 given below – 1,223
Part-time courses:
·         Day Continuation and Works Schools – 15,638
·         Evening Continuation Schools (junior Evening Classes) – 205,648
·         Juvenile Instruction Centres – 23,543
·         Technical Day Classes – 2,077.
And
Senior-over 16
Full-time courses:
·         Senior Courses in FE Colleges – 8,799
·         Technical day Classes – 1,366
Part-time courses:
·         Evening Classes in FE Colleges and Institutions – 636,677
·         Technical day Classes – 23,350.
It might help if I provide more statistics on JTSs:

More facts on Secondary Schools and Junior Technical Schools (JTSs) between 1913 and 1938.

Numbers of Secondary Schools and Junior Technical Schools between 1913/14 and 1937/38:

Year Number of Secondary Schools Number of Pupils Number of Junior Technical Schools Number of Pupils
1913/14 1.027 187,647 37
1918/19 1081 269,887 69
1919/20 1,141 307,862 78 9,811
1920/21 1,205 336,836 84 11,235
1921/22 1,249 354,956 89 12,235
1922/23 1,264 354,165 89 12,206
1923/24 1,270 349,141 87 11,988
1924/25 1,284 352,605 89 11,954
1925/26 1,301 360,503 92 12,704
1926/27 1,319 371,493 104 19,333
1927/28 1,329 377,540 107 20,200
1928/29 1,341 386,993 112 18,877
1929/30 1,354 394,105 120 20,217
1930/31 1,367 411,309 189 21,998
1931/32 1,379 432,061 194 21,945
1932/33 1,378 441,883 203 22,470
1933/34 1,381 448,421 213 24,130
1934/35 1,380 456,783 223 25,609
1935/36 1,389 463,906 232 27,354
1936/37 1,393 466,245 243 28,747
1937/38 1,398 470,003 248 30,457

Source BoE Statistics of Public Education, England and Wales.  Annual Reports.

Number of JTSs in England and Wales 1926/27 to 1937/38:

Year Schools (England) Pupils (England) Schools (Wales) Pupils (Wales)
1926/27 101 18,704 3 629
1927/28 104 19,541 3 659
1928/29 108 18,243 4 634
1929/30 115 19,537 5 680
1930/31 177 21,066 12 932
1931/32 182 21,003 12 942
1932/33 191 21,445 12 1,025
1933/34 200 23,090 13 1,040
1934/35* 208 24,532 15 1,077
1935/36 216 26,071 16 1,283
1936/37 226 27,395 17 1,352
1937/38 230 29,036 18 1.421

Source BoE  Annual Reports.

*Schools of Nautical Training included for the first time which were then administered by the FE Regulations.

Junior Technical Schools Titles and Pupil Numbers for 1935/36 in England:

Titles Number of Schools Boys Girls Totals
Junior Technical Schools 97 13,972 13,972
Junior Technical (Trade) Schools 37 859 2,419 3,278
Junior Housewifery Schools 10 495 495
Junior Commercial Schools 50 2,184 3,915 6,099
Total 194 17,015 6,829 23,844

Source: BoE Educational Pamphlet No. 111. ‘A Review of Junior Technical Schools in England. 1937.

Multitude of institutional titles can be very confusing – sorry!
I intend to describe some of these other institutions in future biographies.
 
References:
‘The Junior Technical School.’ Educational pamphlet no. 83. BoE. 1930.
Abbott. A. ‘Education for Industry and Commerce in England.’ OUP. 1933.
Sanderson. M. ‘The Missing Stratum. Technical Education in England 1900-1990.’ Athlone Press. ISBN 0 485 11442 9. 1994.
Millis. C. T. ‘Technical Education. Its Development and Aims.’ Edward Arnold. 1925.
Edwards. R. ‘The Secondary Technical School.’ ULP. 1960.
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  • Patricia Derrett

    My late Father, Harry Peter Bromley attended the Wandsworth Junior School in 1932…..I have a large Panorama photo of the Students, you may be interested in seeing.

    • Many thanks for your comment. Sorry for delay but the positive comments are sadly buried with hundreds of junk/spam comments. I would be very interested it seeing and using ,if you agree, the photo.
      Again with thanks
      Richard

  • Thank you for background information supplied about JTS. I found the statistics and general historical data very interest.
    I attended Newton Le Willows Junior Technical College from 1959 – 1961, commencing here at age 15.
    The curriculum was really good for me, with a leaning towards Maths and Sciences, plus a good sound practical emphasis in Drawing, Woodwork / Metalwork – a brilliant two years that set me for life.
    Why therefore was the system abandoned in the early 1960’s? My old college was reassigned for other use and has just now been demolished.
    What Educational folly dealt the death blow to the JTS system?
    I would love to know.
    Best wishes – Keith Griffiths R’trd.

  • Jaybee

    My late father, Frederick Gordon Bradford, attended Peterborough JTS commencing when he was 16.
    I would welcome any information people may have about this establishment.

    • Hi

      Sorry for delay in replying to your message. Have tried to get info on Peterborough JTS but without success. The LEA and city have no record – so sorry I will try to contact my contacts in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

      Will get back to you if successful

      Thanks for your interest

      Kindest regards

      Richard