Moray House School of Education and Sport

Part 5: The Four Provincial Committees: 1907 onwards

The Four Provincial Committees: 1907 onwards

Following the hand over of teacher training responsibility in Scotland from the churches to the government, four Provincial Committees were established to oversee its provision.

For nearly eighty years the Free Church and Church of Scotland had been largely responsible for teacher training in Scotland. However, the church training colleges found it increasingly difficult to respond to the rapid changes taking place in the education service.

Towards the end of the 19th century secondary schools were developing as an identifiable sector and in 1901 the school leaving age was raised to 14. Students could leave schools with a variety of qualifications, including an Intermediate Certificate for those taking courses in industrial, commercial, rural and household subjects, and a Leaving Certificate for those intending to take up a profession.

The training colleges were unable to increase the number of trainee teachers particularly those requiring specialist training in secondary subjects. In 1905 there were only 700 student teachers in training whereas the SED forecast was for some 1,100 additional teachers. The churches were also unable to respond to the need to upgrade the accommodation of their training colleges.

The Provincial Committees

To overcome these problems teacher training became a responsibility of the government (SED Minute of 30 January 1905). It was no longer considered reasonable for the churches to cope with the complexity and increasing costs involved. Consequently four representative Provincial Committees were established in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and St Andrews/Dundee.

By 1907 the legal transfer of the church colleges had been completed: the United Free Churches were reimbursed £10,000 for their three colleges and the Church of Scotland £15,000 for theirs.

The Edinburgh Provincial Committee (EPC) became responsible (1/5/1907) for the Free Church’s facilities at the Moray House site, and the Church of Scotland’s buildings in Chambers Street and Johnston Terrace. The principal condition of the churches in agreeing to this major change was that religious instruction should be maintained in the curriculum of the colleges.

Two other colleges were also responsible to the EPC: St George’s Training College and the Episcopal Church’s Training College.

St George's Training College

The College was founded in 1886 as a voluntary institution. For nineteen years it was the only institution in Scotland where women wishing to teach in other than Elementary Schools could obtain training. Its students followed Chapter V courses enabling them to teach in secondary and higher schools. These courses included work undertaken at Edinburgh University classes.

In 1913 the College was amalgamated with St George’s High School for Girls, Edinburgh. It afforded women students an alternative teacher training facility in Edinburgh. The early development of the College was the work of the first Principal, Miss M R Walker (1886 - 1910) who was supported by Professor Simon Laurie amongst others. In 1921 the College had 40 students training either for the Froebel qualification or for a Chapter V certificate in subjects such as English, History or the Classics. It closed in 1939.

Teacher Training and the Episcopal Church

The Church’s first Training College was opened in 1850 and based in Croft - an - Righ. The College was later transferred to St Andrews Hall, Leith Wynd, when it included a Normal School. From 1860 only women students were trained.

In May 1866 it moved to Lochrin/Minto House. A further move was made in 1877 to Dalry House where a Practising School was also opened in the grounds, in May 1881. All the women students were residential which aided the community life of the college and its religious discipline. The College was transferred to the Edinburgh Provincial Centre in 1920.

1907 onwards

Dr Maurice Paterson, Rector at Moray House since 1864, retired in 1907 after 43 of service to teacher training at the college. The EPC appointed to the Directors of Studies post the Head teacher of Boroughmuir Higher Grade Public School, John King. Alexander Morgan, who was Rector of the Church of Scotland Training College in Edinburgh, became the Edinburgh Teaching Centre's first Principal.

In 1908 the Edinburgh Centre (Moray House) had already increased its number of students to 770. Women students from the Church of Scotland centre were transferred to Moray House whilst the men were initially based at Johnston Terrace. With such large numbers lectures were the predominant method of teaching. To accommodate the students a new building was planned and opened in 1913 (now Paterson’s Land). Johnston Terrace was sold to the Town Council and Chambers Street to Edinburgh University.

The Regulations issued at this time revised the former pattern of teacher training. Junior Students replaced Pupil Teachers, although these were not recruited after 1924. School students aged 15-18 and who intended to join the teaching profession would take a specially designed secondary education in designated secondary schools with their work being supplemented by additional classes in subjects appropriate for primary school teaching. Students passing their examinations progressed to the Senior Studentship course at a training centre. William B Inglis (Director of Studies/Principal of Moray House from 1951 to 1966) followed this route through Paisley Grammar School. At the training centre students came to be categorised into ‘Chapters’ according to their entry qualifications and whether they intended to teach in a primary or secondary school.

Training 'chapters'

Students entering from a Junior Studentship followed the Chapter III course leading to a qualification to teach in primary schools. The course was of 2, 3 or later 4 years duration. There was also the opportunity to take courses at Edinburgh University. The professional curriculum was laid down by the SED. The Training Centre components emphasised education and teaching - related subjects: psychology, ethics, logic and principles, educational thinkers and reformers. This emphasis on primary school pedagogy and the art of teaching was widely welcomed. Ordinary graduates followed a one year Chapter III professional course. From 1924 the Teacher’s General Certificate was the award enabling students to teach in primary schools.

All students intending to become secondary school teachers had to have a good Honours degree. They followed a one year Chapter V professional training course at a Training Centre. Chapter V students went on to teach higher subjects in secondary schools such as English, Mathematics and Science. From 1924 students were awarded the Teacher’s Special Certificate for the specific subject in which they were qualified.

Chapter VI students were admitted with a Diploma from a Central Institution to undertake a ‘special subject’ course in a subject such as Art, Technical or Agriculture. From 1924 these students were awarded a Teacher’s Technical Certificate in their specialist subject.

Further developments

It was at this time that teaching practice opportunities became more widely available in local schools. The Moray House School became more of a Demonstration and experimental school. On the successful completion of their training students would undertake a two year probationary period in approved schools, after which they would be awarded their Teaching Certificate (or ‘parchment’).

By 1915 all teachers in Scotland’s state schools were required to possess a Teaching Certificate. Uncertificated teachers had to undergo a training programme by December 1914 or lose their provisional recognition. The 1906 Regulations et seq resulted in Scotland having a fully trained and certificated teaching profession and one which was proving to be attractive to university graduates.

The 1918 Education (Scotland) Act rationalised the management of the state school system by replacing the then 1000 School Boards with County or City Education Authorities. Once again no reference was made to the training colleges. However, an SED Minute of 1920 established a National Committee for the Training of Teachers (NCTT). In the light of the establishment of the Education Authorities and their responsibility for the costs of teacher training their representatives comprised a majority of the membership of the NCTT. The four Provincial Committees continued with EPC responsible for Moray House.

The inter war years saw a number of curricular and social changes. Reformers such as Montessori, who were advocates of a child centred approach to children’s education, became more influential. Experimental psychology developed into a core component of the training centre curriculum. From an initial emphasis on psychoanalytic approaches the emphasis moved to the testing of children’s abilities.

Alexander Darroch was Bell Professor of Education at Edinburgh University, but following his death in 1924, and the retirement of Alexander Morgan, it was agreed that the two roles of Bell Chair of Education and Director of Studies at Moray House should be combined. Godfrey Thomson was appointed to these two roles in 1925. He was a key figure in the development of the testing of children’s abilities. By 1948 Moray House Tests were being given to two out of three British children and were used and recognised throughout the world.

Room 70 in the then Main Building (now Paterson’s Land) became famous as the research and development centre for such tests. Whilst Godfrey Thomson himself was in favour of comprehensive secondary schools, his work on testing provided the basis for the system of 11+ selection introduced in England in the 1940s.

On the student residencies side, additional purpose built hostels were constructed at East Suffolk Road (Newington Campus) and the first Student Representative Councils were established at this time.

Teacher training was not immune from the economic problems of the 1930s and the period of expansion of the first years of the twentieth century was followed by a period of reduced student numbers. Not only was there teacher unemployment but those remaining in employment were faced with a 10% cut in their salary in1931.