University of Tasmania
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Perth Modern School : the first ten years

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posted on 2023-05-26, 23:04 authored by Douglass, Angela
This study examines the first ten years of Perth Modern School, from 1911 - 1921, and its role in the establishment of state secondary education in Western Australia. The struggle of Cecil Andrews, the Director of Education, to gain support for the notion of free and secular secondary education is documented, together with the influence of the first two headmasters, F.G. Brown and Joseph Parsons, who were both responsible in their own ways for establishing the ethos of the school which became the model for future state high schools in Western Australia. Broad questions of the aims and functions of Perth Modern School and the increasingly academic elitism which developed during the first decade as a selective state high school are addressed in the light of economic, political and social conditions of the period. A narrower and more specific examination is made of the composition of students and staff in the first ten years, entry qualifications to the school and the curriculum in the lower and upper schools. Archival research was undertaken over several years at the Battye Library, the Rooney Library, the Education Department, the Perth Modern School archives and in the Perth Modern School's Principal's office. It is disappointing that very little new material has come to light in response to the extensive search, but some small satisfaction was gained by the discovery of certain uncatalogued documents in the Principal's office filing cabinet which have added to the body of knowledge on the subject. Oral history was employed extensively and is considered to be a valuable contribution to the subject. Originally this study was to have covered the period 1911-1958: unfortunately when the decision was made to limit it to the first decade much of the information obtained by the oral history research method could not then be quoted within the narrow confines of the dissertation. It did however serve as useful background material and could be employed in a future study with a broader framework of reference. The writer was a teacher at the school and while on the staff became concerned at the number of past students from the first decade whose deaths were reported without any documentation of their early recollections of school life. An attempt was made to reach as many from the period 1911 - 1921 that could be interviewed and every care has been taken to verify personal statements. No educational history has been written of Perth Modern School. This study seeks to raise certain questions and fill part of the gap on this subject in the history of education in Western Australia.


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Copyright 1987 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (M.Ed.Stud.)--University of Tasmania, 1988. Bibliography: leaves 72-74

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