Harry Roberts

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Name: Harry Roberts

Epoch: Late 20th Century

Grouping Field: Humanities (Ideas Formatted as Ideas) and Social Science (Models)

Location Grouping: Individual's Work Location

Map Coordinates: 27°28'50.2"S 153°03'06.8"E

Years At Location: 1947-1969

One Historical Setting: Mr. Henry Emmanuel (Harry) Roberts, Church of England Grammar School, Oaklands Parade, East Brisbane (1947)

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Information

Harry Roberts succeeded Canon W. P. F. Morris (founder) as headmaster of Church of England Grammar School (‘Churchie’) in Brisbane, from 1947. His appointment was unusual as a Presbyterian.

Impact On Brisbane Society

Peter Hempenstall sums up the impact, by saying:

“Roberts did not consider himself a ‘genuine originator’ when it came to educational experiment. But he was an innovator in the positive treatment of teachers and made it his mission to raise their stature in the eyes of the community…Roberts’s administrative style, as he admitted, was generally minimalist.”

Roberts took a leading role for better status of teachers as inaugural chairman of a committee advocating the registration of teachers in Queensland. Roberts worked to secure school council approval for above-award salaries for senior teachers, culminating in the decision in 1968 to pay them the equivalent of university lecturers; he also persuaded the council to appoint his successor at a professorial salary. Roberts’s improvements to the teachers’ superannuation system provided a model for other schools. It would benefit the institution as Churchie grew in the late 1950s into one of Queensland’s largest independent church schools. However, one has to ask whether the lifting up of teacher status did not neglect innovation in learning? It is a difficult question.

As a member of the Board of Senior Secondary School Studies, in 1968, Roberts convened a meeting to lobby the minister for education for changes that would construct a separate curriculum for senior pupils who were not going on to university. It would lead to the review the system of public examinations for Queensland secondary schools, resulting in significant education reforms in the 1970s. It is a difficult question as the reforms was meant to widen career opportunities based on education, but it had merely continued the widening gap of streaming the population between technical and higher education.

Citations

Peter Hempenstall, ‘Roberts, Henry Emmanuel (Harry) (1900–1984)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/roberts-henry-emmanuel-harry-15870/text27071, published first in hardcopy 2012, accessed online 21 June 2019. This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 18, (MUP), 2012

Image Citation

Harry Roberts. From Herald Weekly Times. (1967). Henry E. (Harry) Roberts. [http://search.slv.vic.gov.au/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=SLV_VOYAGER1781216&context=L&vid=MAIN&lang=en_US]

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