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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): LCC/EO/PS
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1871-1969
Level of description: Collection
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Extent: 49.85 linear metres
Name of creator(s): LCC | London County Council x London County Council


Administrative/Biographical history:

The London County Council was required, as a local education authority, to make provision for nursery schools and nursery classes. In 1939 the Council maintained 5 nursery schools and gave assistance to 18 others maintained by voluntary organisations. By 1963 there were 25 LCC nurseries and 5 voluntary nurseries. The first nursery class in an infants' school was opened in 1936, by 1963 there were 183 nursery classes in infant and primary schools.

Fluctuations in the number of primary school age children in London have caused the Council administrative difficulties over time. In 1946 the number was 205,337, in 1954 283,064 and in 1963 227,849. The LCC development plan for new schools tried to take into account where schools would be needed. The size of classes was a subject of continual concern. An acute shortage of teachers made it difficult to reduce class sizes and in 1963 10.5 percent of classes were oversized according to Ministry of Education guidelines. The Council developed an education programme which expanded on the basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic to include developing social activity and the desire for creative achievement. In 1963 the Council approved the provision of a new experimental primary school which would admit pupils from 3 years to 9 years of age, in order to experiment with reducing the anxiety of transition and transfer between three phases of education - nursery, infant and primary.

The Education Act, 1944, introduced secondary education for all children from the age of 11. A scheme became necessary for the transfer of pupils from primary to secondary schools. For the previous 40 years the Council had awarded scholarships tenable at secondary schools. From 1945 every child had to be considered individually for transfer to a secondary school appropriate to his ability and aptitude. The scheme adopted was based on three factors - parental choice, reports from primary school heads, and an examination known as the common entrance test. To assist heads in making their reports a standard record card was introduced in 1949 for recording each pupil's progress, ability and interests. In 1955 a new scheme for transfer was adopted. A test, now known as the Junior Leaving Examination, continued to be used, but more importance was placed on the advice given to parents by the head teacher. Each parent was asked to express an order of choice for 2 schools. Local advisory committees exercised supervision over the scheme and handled appeals from parents. The Junior Leaving Examination was abolished in 1964, replaced by a primary school profile for each pupil recording interests, abilities, attainments and characteristics.

The Council decided that comprehensive schools were the best means of providing secondary education for all, as they were open to children without need for an examination, offered a wide range of studies and promoted social unity among adolescents of all degrees of ability. The London School Plan provided for 64 comprehensive schools, although it was not possible to construct so many new buildings and many schools were opened in adapted older buildings. By 1964 there were 69 comprehensive schools in London. To supplement its secondary school provision the Council continued to reserve a number of places at independent and direct-grant grammar schools, and from 1946 onwards gave assistance towards boarding school educations.

For many years the Council directed its efforts towards the development and provision of a broad and liberal curriculum. A variety of courses to suit individual abilities, aptitudes and interests was introduced. Most schools offered at least one foreign language, some made a special feature of arts and crafts, music, or offering classes to prepare for technical education. Organised games were an essential part of the curriculum, leading the Council to purchase large tracts of land to provide playing fields. Activities outside school were also important, including school trips to places of interest and longer visits outside of London. Centres for rural studies were formed in Surrey, containing full classroom facilities. Cultural trips were also undertaken to the theatre, concert hall or museum.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the London County Council Education Officer's Department relating to pre-primary, primary and secondary education, 1871-1969. General files on a variety of topics including: the government of maintained secondary schools; establishment of system for central schools; report on Senior Elementary Schools by LCC Inspectors; children under school age; nursery schools; Roman Catholic schools; psychological and sociological investigations on London schoolchildren; attendance bye-laws; the raising of school-leaving age; school journeys, trips and exchange visits; educational visits to cultural institutions; educational films; secondary technical education; the organisation of post-primary education; development of comprehensive schools; organisation and grading of maintained schools; Hadow Report on the Education of the Adolescent; Fleming Committee on the Public Schools; examinations; Schools Council for the Curriculum and Examinations; playgrounds; television in schools and audio-visual and other teaching aids; use of calculators; drug taking by schoolchildren; Rural Centres for schools and major out-county playing fields.

Personal papers of Alderman Martin Parr concerning (a) comprehensive education and (b) management of Shoreditch School (of which he was a governor); personal papers of Mr P.E Postgate (School Governor).

Papers relating to the development of the curriculum and school subjects, including arithmetic, citizenship and civics, commercial subjects, technical subjects, Esperanto, French, history, hygiene, health and temperance, modern languages, nature study, needlework, physical education, religious education, science, sex education, speech training, spelling, drama and music.

Papers relating to scholarship awards for entry to secondary schools (before the introduction of compulsory secondary education), including enquiry into the quality of county scholars, eligibility for scholarships, scholarship statistics, Junior County Scholarships, Secondary School Examinations Council, grant regulations, intelligence tests, Charity Schemes, scholarships awarded under Education Officer's wartime delegated powers, papers relating to individual grammar schools with charitable endowed foundations (please see catalogue for full list of the schools).

Minutes and papers of various individual school management bodies, including the governors and local advisory committees of secondary schools supported by the LCC before compulsory secondary education in 1944; Managers of Central Schools; Divisional Committees of the School Board for London; Managers of Elementary Schools; Managers of Elementary Schools after 1904; Managers of Non-Provided Schools and Managers of Nursery Schools (please see catalogue for full list of individual schools).

Sample case files including winners of Junior County Scholarships, Special Place Awards, Junior Technical and Junior Art Scholarships for Boys and Girls and Junior County Scholarships; confidential reports on secondary modern school leavers; boarding school pupils assisted financially by the Council; applications from schools for Supplementary Assistance from Trust Funds. Sample examination papers for Common Entrance Examinations and Junior Leaving Examinations, including mathematics, English and verbal tests.

Specimens of reward cards and certificates awarded for good attendance, punctuality or conduct, completion of courses or exams, good academic performance and specific achievements. Specimens of school work, registers, notebooks, photographs, press cuttings, event programmes, accounts of school trips, drawings, school magazines, textbooks and primers, pupil record books, prospectuses and booklets, exhibition guides, Board of Education handbooks and script of "To Live and Learn", information film for parents explaining the secondary school system.

Inspector's Reports for provided schools, non provided schools, voluntary aided schools, industrial schools and special schools. Also Inspectors' general files relating to: survey of work in commercial subjects, continuation classes, the provision of engineering education in London, survey of music lessons, physical training in evening institutes, educational work in prisons, rural centres, the school meals service and out of county sports centres.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

LCC/EO/PS/01: General files; LCC/EO/PS/02: Curriculum; LCC/EO/PS/03: Scholarships; LCC/EO/PS/04-09: Minutes; LCC/EO/PS/10: Examination scripts; LCC/EO/PS/11: Reward cards; LCC/EO/PS/12: Inspection Reports; LCC/EO/PS/13: Charitable foundations.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright: City of London.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Acquired with the records of its parent body, the London County Council. Further accession received in 1955 (AC/55/011).

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

For further information on the history of the LCC please see Achievement: A Short History of the London County Council by W Eric Jackson (1965), LMA Library reference 18.0 1965, The London County Council 1938, LMA Library reference 18.7 SER 4, and The Youngest County: A description of London as a county and its public services, 1951, LMA Library reference 18.0 1951.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
April to June 2009

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