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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…)

Balancing honesty with hope: new centre will help teachers build-in climate change education

Blog Editor, IOE Digital16 June 2022

Alison Kitson.

Few can doubt that the climate emergency is the defining issue of our time.  The most recent IPCC report confirms that without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, limiting global warming to 1.5°C is beyond reach with potentially profound implications for life on our planet.

In this context it is no surprise to read in research commissioned by UCL’s new Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability Education (CCCSE) that climate change – and education about climate change – is an important issue to parents, teachers, school leaders and young people. What is more surprising is how many of the students and teachers participating in the research feel that schools are not always doing enough to educate young people about all aspects of climate change and the possibilities of more sustainable lifestyles.

Public First, who carried out this research, polled more than 1,000 parents, the first time we believe parents have been asked (more…)

IOE at 120: the Second World War and the educative society, 1942-1952

Blog Editor, IOE Digital18 May 2022

THE NEW BOY Mr RA Butler: “It may not seem very easy at first but you’ll soon settle down.”

This blog is the fifth 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.

Gary McCulloch.

The decade from 1942 to 1952 went from some of the most difficult and dangerous days of the Second World War, to the stirring of hopes that an educative society could be created in which educational values underpinned the reconstruction of society.

For the IOE it might be called Fred Clarke’s decade. When he died in January 1952, 70 years ago, Professor A.V. Judges at King’s College London, could recall him as ‘the doyen of pedagogic leaders in his own country… a reformer through and through’. To former students like the historian Brian Simon, he was ‘the leading educational statesman in Britain’.

It was Clarke who presided over the early development of the Institute of Education under its new title at the University of London as its director from 1936 to 1945, through the challenges of the war years when the IOE had to be evacuated from London to a temporary home in Nottingham.

Clarke was acutely aware of the social class inequalities on which English education had been based.  He was also concerned to help to promote a new social philosophy that would be ‘in harmony with that which inspires a generous education’. He (more…)

ITT Market Review: excellent science teaching needs skills in overcoming misconceptions

Blog Editor, IOE Digital5 April 2022

Marian Mulcahy.

The National Curriculum states that the purpose of science education is to provide a foundation ‘for understanding the world’ and that it is essential for ‘the world’s future prosperity’. It can safely be argued that these aims, whatever is thought of them, cannot be met within the confines of a school classroom or lab, but they do highlight the importance that is placed on students experiencing a really high-quality science education.  This in turn can only be achieved through exceptional teaching.

We have a very clear vision of what that teaching should look like, from the crucial point of view of the pupils.  Exceptional science teachers are those: (more…)

IOE at 120: Seeking the best way to educate the ‘whole child’, 1922-1932

Blog Editor, IOE Digital30 March 2022

Nazlin Bhimani.

This blog is the third 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.

By 1922, Prime Minister Lloyd George’s declaration that the men would be coming home to a ‘land fit for heroes’ rang hollow. The initial euphoria that gripped the nation in the aftermath of the First World War quickly dissipated as the enormity of the destructive capacity of the war in human and economic terms was realised. Some 750,000 British men were killed or wounded, the number of widows rose to c1.6 million, and just over 730,000 children lost their fathers. Families suffered extreme poverty as unemployment averaged 64 percent.

Britain’s relatively undereducated citizenry, in comparison with her European and International competitors, was seen as a growing liability in terms of the nation’s financial health and the future of the empire. With the passing of the People’s Representation Act in 1918 (and later the Reform Act in 1928), which extended franchise, the need for an educated citizenry became more imperative. To meet the demands of a new, modern world, the 1918 Education (Fisher) Act embodied the notion of creating a responsible and informed citizen. Though raising the school leaving age to 14 was achieved, the Act failed to meet its other targets when the Geddes ‘axe’ drastically reduced the (more…)

IOE at 120: war and peace, 1912-1922

Blog Editor, IOE Digital24 February 2022

Georgina Brewis.

This blog is the second 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.

Following its foundation in 1902, the London Day Training College’s second decade was profoundly shaped by the First World War (1914-1918) and its aftermath. The numbers of students on the roll dropped sharply as men enrolled in the armed forces after the British government’s declaration of war with Germany in August 1914. Women students also left for war work, including in munitions factories or in clerical work in government departments. By the middle of the war in September 1916 there were just 211 students, nearly all of them women. The 16 men left were those deemed medically unfit for service.

With London schools facing severe staffing shortages, the LDTC’s student teachers stepped up to new responsibilities that included increased teaching practice, students assuming full control of classrooms, and women being placed in boys’ secondary schools for (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…)

What does it mean to teach a subject? Not what the ITT Market Review suggests

Blog Editor, IOE Digital9 September 2021

Mark Hardman.

Why do we learn all those different subjects at school? Perhaps it is because I’m a teacher educator and I have school-aged children myself, that I get asked this at parties more than most. Thankfully, I am able to maintain polite conversation on this topic because I have spent time in scholarly discussions with colleagues, both as part of the Subject Specialism Research Group at the IOE, as well as within a network with colleagues in Finland and Sweden concerned with subject-specific teacher education.

One of the most compelling arguments for learning about subjects in schools is that it enables people to understand different ways of thinking – how science, history, geography, religious education or any other subject gives a knowledge base from which to learn and understand the world. For example, I would say that my own specialism, physics, is about developing models which help explain and predict phenomena in the world. It has less to say about human relations or ethics, which draw on other forms of knowledge that might be (more…)

The right support at the right time for new teachers

Blog Editor, IOE Digital26 March 2021

Hilary Adli, Qing Gu, Mark Quinn, UCL Centre for Educational Leadership.

Workshop participants in a session

Photo: Jason Ilagan for UCL Institute of Education

Two years ago, when the Department for Education published their Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy, this ‘unflinching’ look into the problems faced by the teaching profession was dedicated to ensuring that ‘a career in teaching continues to be attractive, sustainable and rewarding.’ However, it couldn’t have anticipated a future pandemic and the requirement to teach remotely as among the problems faced by the profession. (more…)

A new Institute of Teaching? ‘Flagship’ teacher education is already here

Blog Editor, IOE Digital3 February 2021

Caroline Daly.

The Department for Education announcement on 2 January of a new Institute of Teaching (IoT) is a watershed moment for initial teacher education (ITE) in England. On 4 January the IoT was put out to tender as ‘an independent body’, to be run by a supplier or suppliers. It is intended to be ‘a national role model’ to ‘exemplify how to deliver ITT’ and teacher development, which ‘will support other organisations to understand and implement best practice in the delivery of teacher development’.

Presumably, university partnerships might apply. After all, a number of providers amongst the HE sector in England would qualify as world leaders in enacting research-informed teacher education and have been judged to be consistently ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

Many questions about teacher education are raised by this development (for example, see John White’s blog on whether the IoT can support what teachers need to learn). One that is worth serious scrutiny is a core claim in the Secretary of State’s announcement. Gavin Williamson asserted that the IoT will be the ‘flagship’ provider of teacher education for this country. That gives some pause for thought. It appears we are in need of a flagship? I want to argue that many candidates for that accolade exist, and that a world-leading role in teacher education should go far beyond the proposed remit for the IoT.

The issues are serious regarding what is valued in teacher education and what it takes to be truly outstanding in (more…)