How did the changing role of women and our view of children affect the development of syllabuses in schools? As history progressed peoples attitude towards women and children changed for the better. As a result of the two world wars, women and children were able to prove their importance, enabling them to increase their value within the community. As these changes in our perception of women and children occurred, syllabuses in schools were altered. The 1902 model course was developed, as people believed that it was up to children to do physical training at school to prepare them for war.
Although it was grown men that had previously been defeated in the Boer war, the loss was blamed on the lack of physical training provided in schools. This is an example of children being considered important for the future of Britain. The model course, however, soon came under attack as it had children doing exercises designed for adults. As a result of this a new syllabus was introduced in 1904 and was more child-friendly. The 1909 syllabus was developed as more concern was being taken over the welfare of children of working-class families and this syllabus ensured a slightly more therapeutic angle.
Organised games were introduced in this syllabus; this shows the first tentative move away from military-style Physical Training teaching. The years 1914-1918 saw the tragedy of the First World War. A generation of young men was almost totally wiped out. Consequently this had an effect on the education system, as it was recognised that a more child centred approach was needed. The First World War also improved the social status of women. This was because they had worked in munitions factories and on the land whilst the men were busy fighting.
Women proved that they could cope with demanding physical work and this afforded them more equality. Despite this development in the way in which they were viewed, women generally continued to have only limited access to sport. In 1919, after the war a new syllabus was introduced. This syllabus was more child orientated than the previous ones It allowed more freedom and individual interpretation. For the older pupils therapeutic exercises were still the main emphasis. The 1933 syllabus is perhaps one of the most significant syllabuses developed as a result of the way in which children were viewed.
It was developed after the economic depression, which started in the late 1920s. During this time there were very poor living conditions for the less well off as they suffered even more than they had done previously. In this syllabus we see a move from a teacher-centred approach to one where more choice is available and decisions can be made by pupils. This is signif8icant as it shows that adults were beginning to view children as being independent and therefore able to make there own decisions.
Everyone was touched by the Second World War. Due to the development of aircraft bombers and long-range missiles, the lives of everyone in Britain, including children were affected. People now looked to their children for hope and we now see a further step towards child-centred learning. The training that had been used to create ‘thinking’ soldiers during the war was now adapted to suit schools. Assault course type equipment was put up in schools. Pupils were required to use their initiative and take responsibility for each other.