Introduction to the History of Education Review Special IssueEducation for all? Access, equity and exclusivity in the history of education

Keith Moore (Faculty of Education, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia)

History of Education Review

ISSN: 0819-8691

Article publication date: 1 June 2015




Moore, K. (2015), "Introduction to the History of Education Review Special IssueEducation for all? Access, equity and exclusivity in the history of education", History of Education Review, Vol. 44 No. 1.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Introduction to the History of Education Review Special Issue: Education for all? Access, equity and exclusivity in the history of education

Article Type: Guest editorial From: History of Education Review, Volume 44, Issue 1

This Special Issue of the History of Education Review draws from papers presented at the Australian and New Zealand History of Education Society conference held at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in December 2013. Dr Keith Moore, assisted by QUT colleague, Dr Tony Brady, convened the conference. As part of the broad theme “Education for all? Access, Equity and Exclusivity in the History of Education”, sub-themes included historiography; the inclusive and exclusive practices of systems of education; inclusive and exclusive practices of educational institutions; faith-based educational institutions and the problem of access; gendering institutions and systems; the problem of advantaging access for members of groups; historically under-represented populations in educational institutions; intelligence, giftedness, and talents and the problem of access; technologies of inclusion and exclusion (including streaming, setting, testing, etc.); curricula, texts and textbooks for all or some with a focus on special interests and democratic discourse; policies that determine access: institutional and systemic, national and international; useful methodologies: researching the voices of the included and excluded; and finally another “useful methodologies”: researching the voices of the includers and excluders.

This Special Issue features eight papers from the Brisbane conference.

In the first paper, Sianan Healy investigates the implementation of the State government of Victoria’s assimilation policy in its schools via the text and pictures in the School Paper. Healy explains that the monthly paper, utilised as a reader in schools, failed to portray Aboriginal children in modern school settings. This contrasted with the depiction of non-Indigenous Australians. Healy argues that between 1945 and 1968, the Victorian Government indoctrinated both Indigenous and non-Indigenous children with understandings that Aboriginal culture was primitive and non-Aboriginal culture, superior.

The second paper, “Prophet or fool?” looks inward, to the conditions of employment for historians of education. Sherman Dorn examines the “professional dilemmas” of history of education academics in the USA, the marginalisation of the history of education within teacher education and the absence of permanent academic employment for many who are qualified in the area. He discusses the employment circumstances of numbers of well-known history of education academics. Although emphasising that there was no “golden age” for historians of education in American universities, the writer addresses the current dearth of tenured positions. He advises that history of education academics “cross borders” and seek employment in aligned fields.

The third paper, by Kay Whitehead, titled “Teaching ‘other people’s children’” utilises Lisa Delpit’s work on the mismatch of white middle class teachers and their black and minority group students in the USA to examine the relationship between south Australian teachers and their working class students. Whitehead argues that “Other people’s children” historically and in the present remain on the margins of Australian education, while the children of society’s more “well to do” receive greater benefits. The paper shows how teachers and educational administrators have historically fostered privilege, discriminating against the disadvantaged. Whitehead also discusses the Karmel report of the 1970s, and its approach to bring disadvantaged children from the margins to the centre of the policy agenda.

Craig Campbell’s paper is the fourth in this special conference edition. It investigates a hitherto neglected, but no doubt emerging area of educational history: exploring the social theory and historiography of the Australian middle class and its relationship with schooling. He argues that schools play an important role in the formation and maintenance of the middle class. Campbell explains that parents from middle class backgrounds are often vitally concerned about school funding, choice between schools, the status of schools and the developing association of these concerns with developing models of good citizenship and responsible parenthood. These parents often ensure that their children receive advantages in schooling by demanding that governments direct their funding towards schools that most successfully meet middle-class expectations. Campbell argues that with the decline in the working class, the middle class have unprecedented political strength.

Thesis supervisors and students are aware of a paucity of scholarly articles that address the methodology of research and writing in the history of education. In the fifth paper, Janice Garaty, Lesley Hughes and Megan Brock address this issue, based on their experience of investigating the educational work of Catholic Religious sisters in Australia. The authors outline the methodological strategies that they implemented. Other researchers will find their insights useful. Their projects included historical investigations of an Irish teaching order, a history of a girls’ school, a narrative history of Sisters teaching in remote areas and Sisters’ social welfare work.

The impact of the curriculum and the ethos of privileged schooling for the life of an Australian literary identity, Arthur Wesley Wheen, the translator of Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, is a focus of John Ramsland’s paper. Largely employing a biographical method, Ramsland examines how the influences of war and theology influenced Wheen and how education shaped his scholarly endeavours and imaginative, sensitive, writing style. Ramsland investigates the influences of various teachers and headmasters. Being the centenary of Australia’s involvement in the Great War, it is a timely contribution as Ramsland has interwoven Wheen’s First World War experiences with the development of his scholarly interests.

In the sixth paper, John Pardy and Lesley Preston examine the restructuring of the Victorian Education Department towards the end of the twentieth century. They focus on the abolition of the dual system of secondary schooling and argue that the closure of technical schools limited access and equity to children best suited to receiving such an education. They also point to the failures of Labour politicians who ignored the lessons of their more insightful predecessors. Pardy and Preston emphasise that “ministerialization”, whereby power is passed from the professional bureaucracy to the minister, played a pivotal role in the destruction of Victoria’s technical schools. They argue that the loss was a tragedy.

The final paper by John Hughes examines the workings of progressive education in a particular school in the 1930s. He finds that the Enmore Activity School in New South Wales offered a “hybrid” progressive curriculum consisting of a conventional curriculum “leavened with a little of the progressive yeast”. Among the objectives was the prevention of boys from the poorer industrial inner western Sydney suburbs from becoming “educational misfits”. Hughes discusses theories that advocated that schools prepare students for futures as reliable employees and law-abiding citizens. The research for the paper includes an evaluation of Harold Wyndham’s central role in the initial operation of this school. The author explains: “in Australia, we remain largely ignorant as to how the progressive education curriculum was understood, accepted, or rejected at the local level”.

These papers offer valuable insights into aspects of the ANZHES Brisbane conference/HER special edition theme and/or subthemes. The papers by Dorn, Whitehead and Campbell were keynote addresses at the conference, and they retain some of the characteristics of this form of presentation. All of the papers published here have been peer-reviewed. Additional papers from the conference are likely to appear in future issues of the History of Education Review.

About the Guest Editor

Dr Keith Moore is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education at Queensland, University of Technology. He co-ordinates the History Discipline and lectures in Modern European and Australian History. He is a former ANZHES President. Dr Keith Moore can be contacted at: