1. Pupil-teacher training
Before the Education Act 1902 the training of teachers was largely carried out under a pupil-teacher system, first established in 1846. It had received various modifications throughout its existence, but by the turn of the century elementary school children were selected as pupil-teachers and received three years concurrent training and education. They were prepared for the Queen's/King's Scholarship Examination (later the Preliminary Examination for the Certificate) at 18. Originally, both their training and education took place at their elementary schools under the supervision of the headmaster, but after the Elementary Education Act 1870 their instruction was undertaken at separate establishments called pupil-teacher centres, run by local school boards, with teaching practice at their elementary schools. Surviving pupil-teacher centre files are in ED 57.
Successful Queen's (King's) scholars had the opportunity of attending training colleges for 2 or 3 years. These were residential colleges, mostly Church of England, run by voluntary societies with some government subsidy and modelled on Battersea Normal School. Building grants for training colleges were authorised by Privy Council Minutes of 1843 and 1844 (ED 17/1); a volume of training college building grant application papers survives (ED 103/140), with endowment files in ED 40.
2. Local Education Authority training
In 1902 the training of teachers became established as a form of higher education, enabling the new local education authorities (LEAs) to make secondary schools available for the training of pupil-teachers. It was simultaneously recognised that intending teachers should receive a complete course of education in secondary schools. The pupil-teacher system was, therefore, supplemented in 1907 and gradually replaced by the bursar system, under which an intending teacher attended school until 17 or 18 and then either proceeded to a training college or became a student teacher at a public elementary school. Many pupil-teacher centres became secondary schools. The LEA files on the supply of teachers (ED 67) reflect the approval by LEAs of their arrangements for the preliminary education and training of intending teachers and, in particular, indicate the peculiar problems of rural pupil-teachers and the continued recognition of their centres. Other LEA schemes for teacher training under the 1902 Act are in ED 53. Files concerning the LEA provision of short courses for teachers at further education colleges, art schools and evening institutes are in ED 61; material prior to 1935 has not survived.
In 1904 municipal training colleges were recognised and the following year building grants were made available to LEAs. The training college building grant files (ED 87) are the only extant series of training college general files. General policy files on grant aid for training colleges are in ED 86. Files on training colleges maintained by voluntary bodies, colleges established by LEAs under the provisions of the 1902 Act and a few university colleges providing similar courses are in ED 78; few papers prior to 1932 survive. HM Inspectors' reports on training colleges are in ED 115. Papers on the Ministry of Education scheme for the emergency recruitment and training of teachers to meet post Second World War needs are in ED 143 (see 5 below).
3. University training
Universities first became involved in teacher training in 1890 when, as one of the recommendations of the Royal Commission on the Working of the Elementary Education Acts (Cross), 'day training colleges' attached to universities began to be established. Look for the following papers in the Parliamentary Papers website (institutional subscription required) for more details: HC 1886 xxv; 1887 xxix; 1887 xxx; 1888 xxxv, xxxvi; 1888 xxxvii. Look for related correspondence and working papers in ED 10/42.
By the following year 17 such departments had been set up. Initially the degree and teacher training courses ran concurrently, but after 1911 a four-year course was introduced, the final year for teacher training. Files on university teacher-training departments are in ED 81, but no material survives before 1932. The university and university college files (ED 119) include information on the distribution of grants for special purposes, such as teacher-training, prior to the establishment of the University Grants Committee in 1919. These files also contain post-1944 proposals for the formation of Area Training Organisations (ATOs).
4. Co-operation on teacher training
The recommendations of the McNair Report (ED 86/94-109) on the supply, recruitment and training of teachers and youth leaders included the formation of ATOs to develop a closer relationship between the universities and teacher-training colleges and led to the establishment of institutes of education at certain universities. The ATO files are in ED 159.
Greater co-operation between the training colleges and universities was looked for in the establishment of Joint Examination Boards (JEBs), based on the recommendations of a departmental committee on the Training of Teachers for Public Elementary Schools 1925 (HC 1924-5 xii; ED 24/1193-1201, ED 24/1814, ED 24/1818). Until 1926 the teaching certificate was awarded to teachers successfully completing a Board of Education examination. Thereafter the JEBs, consisting of representatives from universities, training colleges and LEAs, with HMIs in attendance, devised and conducted the Final Examination for students in academic subjects. The Board of Education continued to be responsible for testing the capacity of students for practical teaching. Joint Examination Board files are in ED 105.
5. Post war training and supply of teachers
The Fleming Committee was set up in 1943 to consider how to meet post war requirements for teachers. Papers relating to the work of the committee are in ED 136/687-688 and ED 143/1-5. The scheme drawn up by the committee was piloted at Goldsmiths' College in September 1944 and the first emergency training college opened in 1945. By December 1947 55 such colleges were in operation. Policy papers relating to the scheme and its administration are in ED 143 . Representative emergency college files have been kept for Alnwick in Northumberland (ED 143/33-34) and Borthwick Training College for Women in London (ED 143/35-36).
The National Advisory Council on Training and Supply of Teachers (NACTST) was set up in 1948 to review national policy on the training, qualifications and distribution of teachers (ED 86/270). It was wound up in 1965 without a clear successor body. The early minutes and papers of the council are in ED 86/275, with additional information in ED 86/271-285, ED 86/448-459, ED 192/24-26 and ED 192/71-73. ED 234 contains the minutes and papers of the council and its sub committees from 1953-1965. The minutes, papers and report of the James Committee of Inquiry into Teacher Training 1971-2 are in ED 145.
The Teacher Training Agency was established in September 1994 to fund the provision of teacher training, to improve the quality and efficiency of all routes into the teaching profession, to contribute to raising the standards of teaching and to provide information and advice on teaching as a career. Copies of its annual reports and corporate plans are available in PB 1, with Board minutes and papers, 1994-2000, in PB 2 and electronic minutes and papers, 2001-2002, in PB 3.
The interest of central government in teachers has largely been confined to matters of supply, although it has necessarily been much concerned with qualification, payment, pensions and conduct. The suspension or cancellation of a teacher's certificate renders the individual unable to teach; Teachers' Misconduct Files are in ED 104 (closed for up to 75 years). Files on teachers' superannuation are in ED 131, with Burnham Committee papers on salaries in ED 108.
6. Teachers' Registration Council
The Education Act 1899 made provision for the establishment of a register of teachers, following one of the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Secondary Education (Bryce) (HC 1895 xlii; see ED 12/11 and ED 12/12 for bound copies of minutes). The Teachers' Registration Council was set up in 1902. The form in which the register was kept led to protests by the National Union of Teachers, resulting in its withdrawal in 1907; the Council was not reconstituted until 1912. The Council was independent of the Board of Education; it issued lists of teachers in alphabetical order; registration was voluntary. Neither the Board nor the LEAs used it in selecting candidates for promotion and, consequently, its success remained limited.
In 1929 the Royal Society of Teachers was formed, with the Council as its executive committee. Registration was abandoned in 1948 and the Council was dissolved the following year. Its minute books, together with copies of its reports for the years 1902 to 1906, are in ED 44; further papers relating to its work are among the General Education, General Files (ED 10). It was superseded by the National Advisory Council on the Training and Supply of Teachers (see section 5, above).
The original registration records for the period up to 1947 are available on the Findmypast website. Although registration began in 1914, people who were already teaching registered, and the records cover teachers who started their careers from the 1870s onwards. The records provide the following information:
- teacher's name (and for married women teachers often their maiden name as well)
- date of registration
- register number
- (professional) address
- training in teaching
7. Further reading
Ann Morton, Education and the State, from 1833, Public Record Office Readers' Guide No 18 (PRO 1997)