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Muriel Pyrah: sources and myths from a West Riding of Yorkshire school, 1967–1972

Muriel Pyrah: sources and myths from a West Riding of Yorkshire school, 1967–1972 The purpose of this paper is to juxtapose different sources concerning educational experiments embarked on by an English primary school teacher, Muriel Pyrah. Pyrah taught at Airedale School, Castleford, Yorkshire, UK, from the 1950s until 1972. Her approach was celebrated in the fields of oracy and arts education in the final years of her working life. Airedale was a Local Education Authority (LEA) school within the West Riding of Yorkshire, an LEA led by Alec Clegg, from 1945 to 1974.Design/methodology/approachUsing film footage, sound recordings, artwork and topic books produced by her pupils, the paper entangles these archival sources with recent interviews from Pyrah’s former pupils and a former school inspector (HMI). Pyrah’s actual name has been used, as has that of the HMI. The names of pupils who contributed insights are anonymised.FindingsThe former pupils provide accounts that encourage a move away from a revisiting of progressivism that is predominantly anchored in studying the intentions and hopes of high profile educationalists postwar.Research limitations/implicationsThe number of former pupils willing to discuss their memories was small, so no claims are made that their perspectives represent the dominant views of former pupils. However, these interviews reveal details that are absent in the other surviving archival sources.Originality/valueThe paper lays the foundation for further research on the voices of former pupils, inviting a focus on the way those participants reflect on the long-term impact of being involved in an educational experiment. Thus far, the representation of Pyrah’s pedagogy has been choreographed in print to build the legacy of the LEA. The pupils’ stories resonate differently. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png History of Education Review Emerald Publishing

Muriel Pyrah: sources and myths from a West Riding of Yorkshire school, 1967–1972

History of Education Review , Volume 48 (1): 13 – Jun 10, 2019

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
0819-8691
DOI
10.1108/her-09-2018-0023
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to juxtapose different sources concerning educational experiments embarked on by an English primary school teacher, Muriel Pyrah. Pyrah taught at Airedale School, Castleford, Yorkshire, UK, from the 1950s until 1972. Her approach was celebrated in the fields of oracy and arts education in the final years of her working life. Airedale was a Local Education Authority (LEA) school within the West Riding of Yorkshire, an LEA led by Alec Clegg, from 1945 to 1974.Design/methodology/approachUsing film footage, sound recordings, artwork and topic books produced by her pupils, the paper entangles these archival sources with recent interviews from Pyrah’s former pupils and a former school inspector (HMI). Pyrah’s actual name has been used, as has that of the HMI. The names of pupils who contributed insights are anonymised.FindingsThe former pupils provide accounts that encourage a move away from a revisiting of progressivism that is predominantly anchored in studying the intentions and hopes of high profile educationalists postwar.Research limitations/implicationsThe number of former pupils willing to discuss their memories was small, so no claims are made that their perspectives represent the dominant views of former pupils. However, these interviews reveal details that are absent in the other surviving archival sources.Originality/valueThe paper lays the foundation for further research on the voices of former pupils, inviting a focus on the way those participants reflect on the long-term impact of being involved in an educational experiment. Thus far, the representation of Pyrah’s pedagogy has been choreographed in print to build the legacy of the LEA. The pupils’ stories resonate differently.

Journal

History of Education ReviewEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 10, 2019

Keywords: Oracy; Arts education; Film evidence; Oral history interviews; Postwar education; Pupil voice

References