Reported in the News Letter on October 3, 1957: Pupils ‘need a little drudgery from time to time’


A plea for the happiness of the modern child at school to be tempered with “a little drudgery” was made by Mr R Ebbitt, newly-elected president of the Association of Northern Ireland Education Committees, at its annual meeting in Newcastle yesterday.

Mr R Ebbitt said in his presidential address that the less gifted child of today left school with neither the background of knowledge nor the discipline which the leaver of 30 or 40 years ago possessed, and one wondered whether the new educational philosophy did not go too far.

He questioned whether this tendency to procure, before all else, the child’s happiness at school would not give them eventually a people who wanted always to be amused; who had little or no sense of discipline; and were unable to face up to the drudgery which was an inescapable part of all their lives.

Nowadays their schools were happier places than ever before and he would be the last to want to change that; but he felt it would be wise to temper this happiness with a little grind, or even drudgery, from time to time.