Putman-Weir Survey

On 5 July 1924, the government appointed Dr. J. Harold Putman (Senior Inspector of Schools, Ottawa) and Dr. George M. Weir (a professor of education at the University of British Columbia and later Minister of Education) to carry out a survey of the provincial public school system [Order-in-Council no.747/24].

The Putman and Weir's Survey of the School System, published the following year, was the most searching and comprehensive educational survey ever undertaken in Canada. The commissioners strongly endorsed "progressivism" and recommended that more time be spent on health, physical education, home economics, manual training, fine arts, Canadian history and music. Several of their recommendations were incorporated into the school syllabus in the late 1920s. More substantial revisions were made to the curriculum in the mid-1930s, when Weir became Minister of Education.

Putman and Weir also promoted the concept of an "intermediate" or "middle" school with a syllabus that was "broad and elastic" for "children of the early adolescent period." They outlined the concept in a succinct, point-form summary entitled Programme of the Intermediate School. Acting on their recommendations, the Department of Education instituted a 6-3-3 grade structure, with grades 1 to 6 in elementary schools, grades 7 to 9 in newly-organized "junior high schools," and grades 10 to 12 in high school. British Columbia's first junior high school was opened in Penticton in 1926; a second junior high school, Kitsilano, was opened in Vancouver in 1927. A newly-devised Programme of Studies for Junior High Schools, reflecting Putman and Weir progressive viewpoints, was published in 1927.