University of Leicester celebrates School of Education’s 75th anniversary

University of Leicester’s School of Education has hit a landmark anniversary, celebrating its 75th year.

 The School was founded in 1946, welcoming its first group of 19 students, most of whom were ex-military personnel.

University of Leicester’s teacher training programmes has established a reputation for progressivism and innovation.

The School of Education was one of the first to rule out formal examinations for student teachers, opting to assess performance by course assignments and portfolios of evidence.

This practice has only been universally adopted in the UK in the last few decades.

Since the University began offering teacher education, the School of Education estimates that it has contributed 20,000 teachers to the UK education system.

Professor Chris Wilkins, Head of School for the School of Education at University of Leicester said: “The School of Education at the University of Leicester is a very special place to work and to study.  Throughout its 75-year history, it has been remarkably influential in so many aspects of educational research and practice given its relatively small size. 

“Today is an opportunity to mark this anniversary with colleagues, past and present and friends of the School as we look forward to a future in which we will continue to generate new thinking about education and nurture the development of further generations of outstanding teachers and scholars. 

“As someone who both studied and spent the majority of their academic career in the School, it is an honour and a privilege to be part of this stimulating community, and I am delighted to have this opportunity to celebrate past successes whilst looking forward to a long future of inspiration and innovation at Leicester.”

At a conference celebrating the milestone, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester said: “Despite its relatively small size, the School has been hugely influential in leading new thinking about education practice and educational research.

“We have consistently been ahead of the curve, leading innovations in schools partnership, systematic classroom observation, the assessment of student teachers and the use of technology in the classroom.

“With Leicestershire County Council in the vanguard of the move towards comprehensive education, we really were at the heart of the progressive educational movement throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.”

Notable figures to have spent time in University of Leicester’s School of Education include Mary Swainson, a pioneer of student counselling; Robin Pedley, whose research laid the foundations of comprehensive education in the United Kingdom and Brian Simon, the renowned historian of education and comprehensive education advocate.

Today, University of Leicester’s School of Education continues to focus on innovative research and practice, and maintaining its influence locally, nationally and internationally.