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IOE at 120: Empire, decolonisation, modernisation and dislocation – 1952-1962

Blog Editor, IOE Digital24 June 2022

Beryl Gilroy with her pupils; she was given an honorary fellowship in 2000

Beryl Gilroy at Beckford primary school in north London in 1971. Photograph: Beryl Gilroy Estate

This blog is the sixth in a series of 12 exploring each decade in IOE’s history in the context of the education and society of the times. Find out more about our 120th anniversary celebrations on our website, and follow us on TwitterInstagramFacebook and LinkedIn to keep up with everything that’s happening.

Elaine Unterhalter.

Many historical strands weave through the 1950s, but the end of Empire and grappling with what colonial education and decolonisation entailed were key themes at IOE.

Understanding the 1950s at IOE requires trying to bring together two threads: inclusive education for modernising societies and the relationships of colonialism, built on economic and political dispossession associated with slavery, land seizure, economic exploitation, racial discrimination and cultural hierarchy.

The involvement of IOE with Britain’s colonial projects stretches back to the 1920s. A Colonial Department was formally established in 1927, aiming to train teachers and support education policy work for the Colonial Office. In 1952, as part of a series of lectures organised to mark the Golden Jubilee anniversary of IOE, Sir Christopher Cox, educational adviser to the Colonial Office, delivered a lecture celebrating the ‘increasing importance’ of (more…)

IOE at 120 – an expansive vision for teaching and learning

Blog Editor, IOE Digital19 January 2022

John Adams, the first principal (centre), with Margaret Punnett and Percy NunnThis blog is the first in a series of 12 exploring each decade in IOE’s history in the context of the education and society of the times. Find out more about our 120th anniversary celebrations on our website, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn to keep up with everything that’s happening. 

Tom Woodin.

At the turn of the Twentieth Century, a sense of historical change was palpable. London was viewed as a ‘great’ city at the heart of the largest empire in history. It was a financial hub; the centre of trade and a place where key political, cultural, economic and educational institutions coalesced.

It was also ravaged by inequality and poverty, which imperial adventures such as the Boer Wars had made a topic of public debate as had Charles Booth’s maps of London which provided a striking cartographic representation of poverty. Just a year after the death of Queen Victoria, the 1902 Education Act helped to foster the notion of an ‘educational ladder’ based upon scholarships for the lucky few who were able to progress from elementary schools to secondary education. The ‘scholarship boy’, and occasional girl, became an iconic figure in British life although in reality the ladder was thin and rickety and far from the proposed ‘educational highway’ for all that was favoured by the Workers Educational Association.

It was at this time that new ideas about teaching and teacher training came into their own. The London Day Training College – (more…)

The First World War prompted an expansion of HE after devastating destruction. Can we draw lessons 100 years on?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital24 July 2020

Georgina Brewis.

Students coming to UK universities in September 2020 are facing a unique year: virtual freshers’ fairs, online lectures, social distancing and compulsory face coverings on campuses. Yet as lockdown eases, there is a renewed enthusiasm for continuing higher education – UCAS applications from UK school leavers are at an all time high.

A hundred years ago, there was a similar rush to the universities and colleges after the devastating disruption and loss of the First World War. A new open access article in the journal History, co-written with Sarah Hellawell and Daniel Laqua, is the first to examine an innovative government scholarship scheme for ex-service students. Between 1918 and 1923, the ‘Scheme for the Higher Education of Ex-Service Students’ broadened the social class base of UK universities and colleges, and marked a significant development in the provision of state funding for students’ higher education.

UCL Cloisters in the early 1920s showing photographs of the fallen and the roll of honour. Source: UCL Special Collections.

Immediately after the Armistice in November 1918, young people began planning their return to the universities and colleges they had left for military or civilian service. Many institutions, including University College London, ran an emergency year from January to August 1919, teaching through the vacation to enable students to complete their studies. A pressing shortage of school teachers drove a surge in demand for teacher training. At the London Day Training College (more…)

Why les deux sacred cows of the curriculum don't add up

Blog Editor, IOE Digital16 March 2016

John White
I loved the algebra I did for my School Certificate in 1949 – and have never used it since. Ditto for a lot of the geometry. I agree with Simon Jenkins’s Guardian piece on March 10 that we make a fetish of mathematics in the secondary school. Like Kevin Williams,  I’d say the same about foreign languages (MFL) – for most people another non-usable subject. Post-basic maths and foreign languages make up nearly half of the five EBacc subjects which nearly all students will take GCSEs from 2020
But why use so much of their valuable school time on two subjects which only future specialists among them are likely to use? Some post-basic maths, agreed, is essential, not least basic statistics for civic education, plus the limited amount necessary to understand elementary science. This apart, we are in totem territory.
There is no good argument why more advanced mathematics or MFL should be compulsory for all up to 16. That said, there is a case for compulsory short taster courses in both (more…)