Library Services


Primary Teaching

An introduction to our archive collections about primary education.

Collage of three black and white images from the Institute of Education archives


This guide provides an introduction to the IOE's archive collections on primary teaching throughout the 20th century.


For guidance on how to use our dedicated online catalogue to browse and search archives, manuscripts and records see the archives home page.

Archive collections

Photographic archive of the Architects and Buildings Branch

While this collection is not strictly about primary teaching, it does contain hundreds of photographs of primary schools, and activity in primary schools across the UK, from the 1950s-1980s. It might be useful for those interested in the trend for progressive education in primary schools which expanded in popularity after the second world war. (RefNo: ABB)

George and Judith Baines

George and Judith Baines were both primary school teachers who pioneered new teaching methods in an open-plan environment in the 1960s-1980s. The majority of the collection relates to their work at Eynsham County Primary School. (RefNo: BA)

Child Development Society

The Society (1949-2002) was established by Dorothy Gardner. It provided a forum for the dissemination and discussion of research and educational thinking, particularly in relation to the young child. (RefNo: CDS)

Dorothy Gardner

Gardner was a nursery and primary school teacher, lecturer and researcher in education and child development. She was a close friend and contemporary of Susan Isaacs and suceeded Isaacs as the Head of the Child Development Department at the University of London, IOE. (RefNo: DG)

Eileen Molony

Molony was a BBC television producer who produced the series 'The Expanding Classroom' (1969) which provided an insight into schools implementing recommendations of Children and Their Primary Schools (the Plowden Report). (RefNo: EM)

Gene Adams

Adams was an art teacher who worked at the Geffreye Museum and then for the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) as the Art and Museum Education Advisory Teacher and the Museum Education Advisor from 1970-1990. Her work involved primary school groups. (RefNo: GA)

Marina Foster

Marina Foster was born and educated in South Africa and came to the UK as a refugee in the 1960's. She worked as a teacher and advisory teacher for ILEA and played an important role in the development of ILEA's policy on multiethnic education. She was also an activist and campaigner for children's rights and against racial discrimination. Some of her work involved primary school teachers, and resources for primary school lessons. (RefNo: MF)

Robin Tanner

Tanner was a teacher and HMI (Her Majesty's Inspector of Schools) for Primary Education. After his retirement he participated in training courses and conferences where he influenced the progressive teacher Christian Schiller. Tanner believed the study of natural things and the exploration of arts and crafts, music and poetry were essential for the development of teachers and children. (RefNo: BTA)

Susan Isaacs

Isaacs was a teacher and trained psychoanalyst. From 1924-1927 she was Head of Malting House School, an experimental school which fostered the individual development of children. In 1933 she became the first Head of the Child Development Department at the University of London, IOE where she established an advanced course in child development for teachers of young children. (RefNo: SI)

Institute of Education, University of London

The Archive comprises the historical records of the Institute from its foundation in 1902 as the London Day Training College to the present day. It contains various records on the running of the Institute, including its history of primary teacher training. Contact the archives regarding access to this collection. (RefNo: IE)