University of Leicester
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Teacher training: The church colleges, 1890-1944.

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posted on 2015-11-19, 09:15 authored by Mark Thomas. Lofthouse
This thesis examines the development of teacher training in England and Wales from 1890 to 1944, with an emphasis upon the evolution of the denominational colleges during this period. The major hypothesis proposed is that attempts by staff working in church-related institutions to achieve academic autonomy, status and recognition failed as a result of the increasing bureaucratization and secularization of English society during the twentieth century. It is argued that in striving for greater instrumental efficiency the denominations bureaucratized their colleges, and in so doing, hastened their secularization. The cumulative effect of these processes upon the denominational colleges undermined their autonomy, thereby preparing the way for their extensive closure and reorganization in 1977 by a government intent on achieving a centralized and accountable system of higher education. The foregoing represents the theoretical framework of the study. Within this context, chapter one provides a contextual review of the forces promoting the secularization and bureaucratization of English society at the end of the nineteenth century. The study then moves towards a consideration of how both processes were dramatically extended by the revolution in government brought about by the First World War. The second part of the thesis deals with the inter-war period, examining the decline and academic isolation of the denominational colleges during a time of almost continuous economic recession. The final chapter analyses how the denominational colleges, recovering during the Second World War, were then crippled by the rapid secularization, bureaucratization and laicization of English society during the 1960s, The thesis concludes by examining contemporary difficulties facing denominational authorities, particularly the problem of defining a role and purpose for denominational teacher training institutions within, within, what is claimed to be, a secular, pluralistic society.


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University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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