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IOE at 120: the parallel lives of the Institute and the ILEA, 1982-1992

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 30 September 2022

Newsam Library. Credit: Matt Clayton.

This blog is the ninth 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. 

Peter Mortimore.

During the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher’s Government sought to wean education away from anything tinged with progressivism to something more in tune with the Conservative Party’s traditions. In London, this meant mounting an attack on the two dominant and interactive players: the University of London’s Institute of Education (as it was known then) and the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA). By the end of the decade only one would have survived.

IOE, founded in 1902, had increased in size and reputation, as readers of the earlier blogs will know, and, by the beginning of the decade, was the largest university establishment dedicated to education in the country. In 1983 Denis Lawton was appointed Director. An ILEA teacher, he had come to the Institute in 1963 as a research officer for Basil Bernstein and his Institute career had developed over the years. He became a professor in 1974 and the deputy director in 1978.

Like all universities, IOE had suffered cutbacks in funding due to the oil price shocks of the 1970s. Several London University institutions had merged in order to (more…)