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Archives of the Department of Education, its predecessor, successor and allied bodies, 1870 - 2003

Reference Code: GBR/0265/UA/EDUC

Scope and Contents

The archives document the full range of operations of i) the Day Training College, and its subsequent incarnations as Training College for School Masters, Department, Faculty and School of Education and ii) the Cambridge Institute of Education. They include records of the teaching and examining process in Cambridge and at establishments across the country; internal and external oversight and funding; student and staff records; buildings records, photographs and extensive bodies of administrative correspondence.


  • Creation: 1870 - 2003


Conditions Governing Access

Within the archives of the Departtment of Education, predecessor, successor and allied bodies, personal records are closed to scholars for 80 years from the date of creation under data protection legislation. Restrictions are clearly indicated in catalogue entries.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests to publish text should be addressed to the Keeper of University Archives, photographs to the Head of Digital Content Unit; both at Cambridge University Library, West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DR.

Biographical / Historical

A Teachers' Training Syndicate was established in 1878 to arrange lectures, organise examinations and award certificates of competence for would-be school teachers. It was also able to advise and inspect training establishments outside Cambridge and test the practical competence of their trainee teachers. Oscar Browning (1837-1923), Fellow of King's College, was its first Secretary. In 1891, the University set up a Day Training College in Cambridge, under the supervision of the Syndicate. Oscar Browning was its first Principal. Its name changed in 1911 to the Cambridge University Training College for School Masters. Until the First World War, students reading for degrees in the usual way might concurrently take professional courses and the government teacher's certificate at the College. Thereafter, certification shifted to a graduate programme for the award, the Certificate in Education. This was reconstituted as the Post Graduate Certificate in Education or PGCE in 1977. The study of Education did not return to the undergraduate syllabus until 1971, in the guise of the Examination in Education. The Education Tripos was inaugurated in 1979. An M.Phil. in Education was established in 1981. The M.Ed., formerly offered by the Cambridge Institute of Education, was taken on by the University on amalgamation with the Institute in 1992. The Training College for School Masters became the Department of Education in 1939. In 1968, it was reconstituted as the Faculty of Education, in 1997 as the School of Education and in 2001 as the Faculty of Education once again on covergence with the teaching and research in education of Homerton College. The Syndicate was renamed the Education Syndicate on 1939. It became the Faculty Board in 1968. Having existed as a separate body since 1949, charged with oversight of teacher training courses at colleges in the region and the provision of in-service professional development, the Cambridge Institute of Education was incorporated into the Faculty in 1992. At first the College had no separate accommodation. In 1904, it moved into Warkworth House. In 1936, it moved to Brookside. In 1939, it moved to 17-19 Trumpington Street. In the following decades, premises were also simultaneously occupied at 15-16 Trumpington Street, 4-5 Bene't Place, 17 Panton Street, 5 Salisbury Villas and 4 Parson's Court. In 2004, after many years of discussing the best location for housing the entire operation under one roof, all properties in the centre of Cambridge were vacated on the opening of a new building for the School on a site next to Homerton College, Hills Road. For further background information, see Peter Searby, The training of teachers in Cambridge University: the first sixty years, 1879-1939 (Cambridge University Department of Education, 1982); Pam Hirsch, Mark McBeth, Teacher training at Cambridge : the initiatives of Oscar Browning and Elizabeth Hughes (Woburn: London, 2004) .


65 linear metre(s) : paper; photograph

Language of Materials



EDUC 28, 31: numbers not used.

Other Finding Aids

The original hard copy catalogue was completed in 1988. The catalogue was converted to digital form, considerably restructured to bring record series together, including a limited amount of reclassification, chiefly in sections 13, 19 and 21 and emended to take account of the Data Protection Act, 1998, in 2001. Further additions and alterations, particularly to EDUC 1, 19 and 22, were made in the course of cataloguing the 2004 transfers in February-April 2006. A hard copy catalogue is available for consultation in the reading room of the Department of Manuscripts and University Archives (ref.: UA In.25).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The records have been transferred from the Department in three main tranches; on 27 May 1983, 14 Dec. 2005 and 18 Apr. 2006. On 17 Dec. 2004, 26 Feb. and 7 Apr 2009, records relating to the operations of the Cambridge Institute of Education were also transferred. EDUC 36/1 (1 addnl vol) and 38 were transferred by Dr Peter Cunningham, Education Faculty and Homerton College, on 4 Feb. 2019. These records are a permanent transfer to the University Archives.

Related Materials

For related material among the University Archives, see also CUR 58; VC Corr.V.5/4.

Related Materials

The papers of the Cambridge Training College for Women are held at Hughes Hall, Cambridge CB1 2EW.


The online catalogue was completed in 2002 and emended on multiple occasions thereafter.


Department of Education

Finding aid date

2001-09-14 15:04:11+00:00

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
West Road
Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom