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School, Colleges and Universities Histories Collection


Education Institutional Histories.


Ca. 2,500 items.

Scope and content

The Schools, Colleges and Universities Histories Collection tells the stories of individual schools and their communities across Britain.The collection includes around 2,500 books and pamphlets, dating from the early twentieth century up to the present day. (Older materials, mainly from the nineteenth century, are held in the History of Education Collection.) Schools range from local village schools, to secondary modern, grammar, comprehensive and public schools. In some cases the schools are traced from medieval or Elizabethan days to modern times; other institutional histories give more detail of recent changes and developments.

Written by current and former pupils, parents, local researchers, architects, educationalists and academics, these books provide a wealth of information about all aspects of school life. This could include:

  • Local management of education.
  • Social background of pupils and their families.
  • Impact of World Wars on schools.
  • School life: uniforms, dinners, rules, discipline.
  • Histories of girls'/boys' education.
  • School buildings.
  • Changes in the curriculum and sometimes pedagogical practices.


Many of these histories were written during the 1970s and 1980s following the publication of the James Report in 1972 which recommended closing and/or merging teacher training colleges with higher education institutions. They were written to ensure their historical memories of these institutions would be kept alive. However, there are other histories in the collection that are much older – from the late 19th century. These include histories of teacher training for specialist subjects such as nautical and domestic sciences as well as psychology and physical education. Related to this institutional histories collection are the training college prospectuses including a large collection from the 1930s.


This collection is catalogued and is searchable on Explore. The majority of the collection can be viewed in the IOE Library. Rare books can only be viewed in the IOE Reading Room.