Moray House School of Education

Part 6: Establishment of Moray House College of Education in 1959

Establishment of Moray House College of Education in 1959

The establishment of Moray House College of Education was a result of the increased autonomy given to the colleges post 1959 and as they took control of their own educational organisation.

Historical Context

The burgeoning birth rate after the Second World War, coupled with an increasing wastage rate among trained women teachers, led to an acute shortage of teachers. It was forecast in 1957 that the shortage could rise to some 3000 teachers within four years.

There was also an increasing gendre imbalance, with men making up only 17% of the total intake in 1962. Whilst Emergency and Special recruitment schemes were established, to attract returning service personnel, these failed to address the underlying problem.

The Colleges of Education

In 1959 a new structure for Teacher Training was introduced with the National Committee and the four Provincial Committees being swept away. Whilst the Secretary of State retained overall control of the sector, the individual colleges were given much greater autonomy.

Each college of education had its own Board of Governors widely representative of educational interests. Governors were responsible for awarding successful students their Certificates and Diplomas, and formal Graduation Ceremonies were introduced. Each College appointed a Principal as the senior manager with Dr William Inglis Moray House College of Education’s first such appointee.

At Moray House the Governors delegated to the Board of Studies responsibility for the organisation of the college’s courses, the development of appropriate syllabuses, and the assessment of students. With the loss of the post covering both the role of Professor of Education and Director of Studies in 1951 the links with Edinburgh University became less close, although there was still joint teaching on the University’s Diploma in Education course.

With their new autonomy the Colleges of Education became an integral part of the developing Scottish Higher Education system.

Finding space for the increasing numbers of trainee teachers demanded a radical review of teaching accommodation. At Moray House Dr Inglis argued that the college required additional classroom accommodation, enhanced PE facilities, a swimming pool and better student common rooms. At least some of these needs were met when Dalhousie Land was opened in 1963 providing a swimming pool, a large lecture theatre and new Art rooms.

At the national level the Scottish Council for the Training of Teachers proposed a number of major initiatives. In the SCTT’s 1960 Report the establishment of a number of new residential colleges to meet the teacher shortage was recommended:

  • Hamilton College of Education: planned for 900 women students and opened in 1966
  • Craigie College of Education in Ayr: for 600 women students and opened in 1964
  • Callendar Park College of Education in Falkirk: for 600 women students and opened in 1964
  • Dunfermline College of Physical Education: a new building for the college that was then in its wartime home in Aberdeen, with new facilities opened at Cramond in 1966
  • Notre Dame Roman Catholic College of Education: rebuilding the college on a new site at Bearsden, opened in 1967
  • Dundee College of Education was expanded
  • Jordanhill, Aberdeen, and Craiglockhart (RC) colleges: major new facilities were created

The development of new courses

The 1960s saw two major changes to the courses of the Colleges of Education.

The1965 Regulations swept away the complex system of ‘Chapters’ established back in 1906. In future students would study for a Teaching Certificate appropriate for the Primary School or for the Secondary School. From 1965/6 graduates at Moray House could take a one year full time course leading to a Primary PGCE or a Secondary PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education).

The colleges of education sought to diversify their work introducing training for other professions. Dr Inglis was a founder member of the Scottish Youth Leadership Association established in 1941. He supported the development of Youth Leaders training courses and in 1960 Moray House ran the first one year professional training course for youth leaders in Scotland. To support the development of this strand of professional work Dr Inglis set up a Youth Leadership department in 1961/2 and appointed Brian Ashley as sole lecturer.

Expansion of this area saw the setting up of a Sociological Studies Department in 1968/9, which became the School of Community Studies in 1972/3 embracing both Community Education and the developing field of Social Work training. The College’s first certificate course in Social Work was offered in 1964. Moray House developed into the largest training centre for students in these fields in Scotland.

A long-term aim of the colleges had been the creation of joint professional degrees with the universities. In 1963 this received support from the Robbins Committee, which recommended the establishment of such partnership degrees. In the early 1960s complex negotiations were undertaken between Moray House, led by Dr Inglis, and Edinburgh University.

These led to the successful launch of a new four year BEd (Batchelor of Education) degree in 1966. This was modelled on the Scottish Ordinary degree, with the core of the curriculum comprising seven graduating courses. The degree programme consisted of three elements: professional studies, such as Education; academic subjects such as Biology or History; and Methods associated with placements in schools.

Depending on the academic subjects followed, students could obtain a teaching certificate for primary and/or secondary schools. Successful students were awarded their degrees by the Senate of the University and their teaching certificates by the Governors of Moray House. Over fifty members of staff were recognised by the University to lecture on this course. However, the degree was considered to lack sufficient coherence between the traditional academic studies and its professional components. In 1982 the SED withdrew its support for this type of programme and it was replaced by a new professionally orientated BEd degree.

The Moray House/Edinburgh University Joint BEd (Batchelor of Education)

The first intake to this four year joint degree was in October 1966. Individual courses were approved firstly by the Joint Academic Board for the degree and then by the Senate of the University. Students took at least 8 courses which had to include Education I, Psychology of Education I and II, and Sociology of Education I. Subject studies (two of which had to be taken to second level) were selected from: Biology, Chemistry, Economics, English, French, Geography, German, History, Mathematics, Music, Physics and Religious studies.

Data collected by Bernard Thomson, Vice Principal, for the period 1970 - 1977 showed the award of the following Teaching Qualifications:

  • Primary only: 81 students
  • Secondary only: 67
  • Primary and Secondary: 320

For those students with a secondary or primary/secondary qualification, the subjects most frequently taken were: Geography (94), English (90), History (68), French (44) and Mathematics (26).

The development of specialist centres

The late 1960s and early 1970s saw the completion of the college’s major building programme: the Charteris Land teaching block was opened in 1969; St Leonard’s, the specialist PE building, in 1971; Chessel’s Land in 1974, for art and drama; andSt Mary’s Land, housing specialist science and technical facilities, was opened in 1977.

The then Principal, Dr McIntosh, oversaw both this major programme and the linked increase in student numbers, which rose to almost 3000 at Moray House.

The increased range and complexity of the college’s work was reflected in the development of its specialist centres including the greatly enlarged Scottish Centre for Education Overseas, whose first course had started in 1955; the Scottish Centre for the Education of the Deaf (1971); a Centre for Computer Education; the Scottish Centre for Studies in School Administration (1972); and a growing In-service programme.

There were also increased opportunities for staff to undertake research and development work, building on the legacy established during Godfrey Thomson’s principalship.