Making a significant contribution to the development of research and scholarship on the history of education, broadly defined.
Head of Centre: Professor Gary McCulloch
The International Centre for Historical Research in Education (ICHRE) at IOE, is a leading centre for historical research into education.
ICHRE provides support for students and staff in the history of education, including conference grants, seminars, conferences and other related activities. Our centre welcomes visiting staff and students in the history of education from around the UK and internationally.
We work in close partnership with colleagues across UCL, including UCL History Department, UCL Special Collections and UCL Culture, the Centre for Holocaust Education and the Centre for Higher Education.
We also have close links to external associations including the UK History of Education Society, the International Standing Conference for the History of Education (ISCHE), the British Educational Research Association (BERA) and its History special interest group, the Society for Educational Studies, and the Social History Society.
- Our staff
Director of Centre
- Professor Gary McCulloch, Brian Simon Professor of History of Education
Executive Committee Members
- Dr Sam Blaxland, Lecturer in Education
- Dr Jennifer Bond, Lecturer
- Professor Georgina Brewis, Professor of Social History
- Dr Vincent Carpentier, Reader in the History of Education
- Professor Mark Freeman, Professor of Social History and Education
- Professor Tom Woodin, Professor of the Social History of Education
- Our research
Our members research a range of topics in the history of education, including formal education (such as schooling and the student experience), youth and social movements, voluntary organisations and philanthropy, popular and community history.
Current and recent research projects are funded by the ESRC, AHRC, British Academy, Leverhulme Trust, Society for Educational Studies, and Swedish Research Council.
List of projects
- The School Meals Service (SMS): Past, Present – and Future? (ESRC, 2023-2026)
- Generation UCL: 200 Years of Student Life in London (Provost’s Award, 2022-2026)
- Archiving the mixed economy of welfare in Britain (British Academy, 2023-2028)
- Discourses of Voluntary Action at two “Transformational Moments” of the Welfare State, the 1940s and 2010
- Reading Aloud in Britain Today (RABiT) (AHRC, 2017-2019)
- Archiving the mixed economy of welfare in Britain (British Academy, 2014-2024)
- The Redress of the Past: Historical Pageants in Britain 1905-2016 (AHRC, 2013-2016)
- The Moral Economy of Global Civil Society: A History of Voluntary Food Aid (Swedish Research Council, 2013-2016)
- The Social Organisation of Educational Studies: Past, Present and Future
- Social Change and English, 1945-1965
- UCL Research Portal, IRIS to find more about our researchers, publications, activities, groups and themes.
TV and radio
ICHRE staff provided advice and support for BBC programmes on the history of education:
- Free Thinking, What we cherish and what we give away, BBC Radio 3
- Back in time for school, BBC 2 series
- The secret history of a school, BBC Radio 4 series
- Generation UCL: 200 Years of Student Life in London | UCL Culture
As part of the Redress of the Past project, ICHRE staged exhibitions with partners at Bury St Edmunds, Scarborough and Carlisle
Professor Gary McCulloch delivered a series of lectures in China about the recent reforms in UK education, teacher education policies, and past and present perspectives on the school curriculum.
The British Academy research project Archiving Digitising the Mixed Economy of Welfare in Britain is a collaborative, interdisciplinary project that promotes the preservation of voluntary sector archives through research and knowledge exchange.
Histories of IOE and UCL
Members of ICHRE lead historical research into our own institutions. In 2018, Georgina Brewis revised and updated UCL’s official history for UCL Press, available open access here: The World of UCL. In the run up to UCL’s bicentenary in 2026, Georgina Brewis is leading Generation UCL: Two hundred years of student life in London.
In summer 2021, Tom Woodin published an update to IOE’s official history.
Study with us
All courses are taught by research-active specialists in social and educational history. Centre members offer research supervision in history of education and more widely in the social and cultural history of modern Britain and beyond.
We offer world-class teaching in the history of education through a number of modules on the Education Studies BA.
A History of Education route can be taken on the Education MA.
Staff are available to receive applications for MPhil/PhD/EdD projects from suitably qualified applicants on a range of topics related to the history of learning and education in the broadest sense.
Recent and current projects supervised by ICHRE staff include a wide range of topics relating to 19th and 20th century history of education in the UK, history of universities, and history of education in other countries e.g. China, Greece, Denmark, USA.
Doctoral students may be co-supervised with other UCL departments (e.g. History, Geography) or other London institutions as part of the AHRC or ESRC doctoral training partnerships. Further info:
- Race, solidarity and campus life: A study of three Bloomsbury colleges 1956-1982 - The Bloomsbury Colleges
The Centre supports visiting research students through special research courses.