Moray House School of Education and Sport

Part 8: Moray House and the CNAA in the 1980s

Moray House and the CNAA in the 1980s

Towards the end of the 1970s there was a debate in the college about the validation of its courses, leading to the validation of Moray House programmes by the CNAA.

In 1979 a seminar was held called ‘A Degree of Change’, at which Professor Ruthven argued for a ‘mixed economy’ model with some courses validated by Edinburgh University and others by the Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA). Sister Margaret, Principal of Notre Dame College of Education, had also been invited to speak about her institution’s experiences with the CNAA. She argued that there were positive benefits to be had from the partnership model of validation being developed by the CNAA.

Validation by the CNAA

When he arrived as Principal in 1981 Gordon Kirk brought with him extensive experience of working with the Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA). Following consultations, the college embarked on a major programme of course validations through the CNAA with the first two courses, both in-service, validated in1982: the DPSE in Educational Computing and the DPSE in Learning Difficulties Secondary. Previously the CNAA had validated Dunfermline College of Physical Education’s four year BEd in Physical Education in 1973.

The CNAA’s course approval process was accompanied by its institutional review arrangements. These involved an examination by a group of independent peers of an institution’s whole way of working. The first such review of Moray House was held in 1982, followed by others in 1985 and 1991. For nearly ten years all of Moray House’s undergraduate and postgraduate courses were successfully validated by CNAA. Follow the link below to see a list of courses validated by CNAA.

The new Bachelor of Education degree

A long-term aim of the teaching profession in Scotland, supported by the General Teaching Council of Scotland, had been for an all-graduate profession. The case was eventually accepted by the government when the Secretary of State for Scotland announced that the last intake into the 3-year Diploma course would be in October 1983, this course being replaced by a new 4-year BEd degree for primary teachers.

Moray House’s response was to plan for a BEd Primary course that was both academically rigorous as well as ensuring a high level of professional performance. The course was validated by the CNAA, with the first students admitted in October 1984. The development of the BEd degree for Technical Education in 1986 meant that from then on all the students successfully completing the College’s initial teacher training courses, including the existing PGCE Primary and Secondary courses, would be graduates.

By 1989, with the work of CNAA under review, Moray House had to once again address the question of which institution should replace CNAA as its validating body.