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NEWSAM, Sir Peter Anthony (b 1928)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 LMA/4436
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Full title: NEWSAM, Sir Peter Anthony (b 1928)
Date(s): 1969-2002
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 0.99 linear metres.
Name of creator(s): Newsam | Sir | Peter (Anthony) | b 1928 | Knight | educationalist


Administrative/Biographical history:

Sir Peter Anthony Newsam (knighted in 1987) was born in November 1928. He was educated at Clifton College and then Queen's College, Oxford. In his early career he held the following positions: Assistant Principal, Board of Trade (1952-1956); Teacher (1956-1963); Assistant Education Officer for North Riding of Yorkshire (1963-1966); Assistant Director of Education for Cumberland (1966-1970); Deputy Education Officer at West Riding of Yorkshire (1970-1972).

In 1972 he became Deputy Education Officer, and then succeeded Eric Briault as the Education Officer (Controller of Education) in 1975, for the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA). The authority, based at County Hall, had been established in 1965 and had taken over the responsibilty from the London County Council for education in the inner London boroughs.

Newsam's duties as head of the authority, were to:
1. be 'the principal adviser to the Education Committee and sub-committees on matters of professional, administrative or managerial education policy with responsibility for securing co-ordinated advice to enable members of the authority to a) decide the authority's objectives, policies and priorities and b) to monitor and control the implementation of policy and the use of resources and ensure consistency of the department's proposals with the authority's policy';
2. 'advise the Education Committee and sub-committees on all major questions of organisation and on questions of staff management including the distribution of functions across the authority's service';
3. 'be responsible for securing the professional administrative managerial effectiveness of the authority's teaching and non-teaching staff';
4. 'have the right to intervene in and report separately to the Education Committee and sub-committees on any matters relating to the management of and services provided by the authority'.

A major development made by the ILEA during Newsam's period of office was a shift in policy regarding ethnic minorities, from a non-discriminatory approach, which did not deal with the needs and interests of ethnic minority children, to an approach which intended to achieve integration by paying attention to their needs and interests. In Newsam's report to the Schools Sub-Committee on 'Multi-ethnic education' in October 1977, he announced that the ILEA was going to undertake a 'radical reappraisal' of previous policies, stating 'that disproportionate numbers of people from ethnic minority groups have low expectations and aspirations and lack of confidence in the education system which itself appears not fully to take advantage of the vitality and richness to be derived from a multi-cultural society'. The ILEA became the first Local Education Authority in Britain to introduce policies on multi-ethnic education in schools.

Other significant contributions made by Newsam included the introduction of large structural changes in the Schools Inspectorate following the blame raised by inquiries into the management of Risinghill and William Tyndale Schools; and the progress he made in reforming the management structure in the ILEA according to his vision of providing a more local, parent-friendly administrative base to London's education authority. He replicated the management functions at the divisional level, which operated at his central office at County Hall. He also helped challenge traditional thinking in education provision by organising the ILEA's response to the Scarman Report on the Brixton riots.

The Leader of the ILEA during Newsam's period of office was Sir Ernest Ashley Bramall, 1916-1999, politician and educationalist. Bramall had been Labour MP for Bexley (1946-1950) and Westminster Councillor (1959-1968) before he became Leader in 1970. Bramall was knighted in 1975 and ceased to be the Leader of the ILEA in 1981.

Newsam left the ILEA in August 1982, remarking that 'ten years' service in the ILEA was equivalent to working twenty elsewhere'. He was succeeded by William Stubbs. Newsam continued his interest in furthering equal opportunities across racial groups, and became chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality (1982-1987), Secretary of the Association of County Councils from 1987 to 1989, Director of the Institute of Education (1989-1994), and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of University of London (1992-1994). He became Chief Adjudicator of School Organisation and Admissions in 1999 and was a member of the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain.

Newsam married twice and had six children.


Scope and content/abstract:

This collection contains outgoing correspondence, diaries, reports, and speeches made by Sir Peter Newsam as the Education Officer of the ILEA. The material makes special reference to the development of policies in the ILEA aimed at improving education provision for ethnic minorities, reponses to the Brixton riots, and the effects of falling school rolls and secondary school reorganisations in inner London.

The records also include policy files kept by Sir Ashley Bramall, Leader of the ILEA, on teachers' pay and the William Tyndale School Inquiry.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The collection is arranged into three series:
Correspondence LMA/4436/01,
Policy files, reports and appointment diaries LMA/4436/02,
Speeches LMA/4436/03.

Conditions governing access:

These records are open to public inspection, although records containing personal information may be subject to closure periods.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to this collection rests with the City of London.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Gifted to the Archive in July 2002 and January 2003.

Allied Materials

Related material:

See reference ILEA for the records of ILEA, and LMA/4053 for a photograph of Newsam.

Publication note:

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:
Records prepared May to September 2011.

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