College of Teachers

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The College of Teachers was an examining body and learned society of teachers, professors and associated professionals who worked in education in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. In 2010 HRH The Duke of Edinburgh was appointed Patron. In 2016 the College was succeeded by the new Chartered College of Teaching and so ceased operating.

The college was founded as the Society of Teachers in 1846 and incorporated by royal charter as the College of Preceptors in 1849. It changed its name to the College of Teachers in 1998. The royal charter is now held by the Chartered College of Teaching.

The college used to award qualifications for secondary school teachers and pupils. Until its closure the college provided qualifications for teachers or trainers and professionals working in education including teaching assistants, governors and anyone else who is operating in a support capacity to teachers or trainers.[1] It was a registered charity under the Charity Commission.

The college published The Educational Times from 1847 to 1923. The College publishesd the quarterly academic journal Education Today up until its closure and this publication is being continued by the Chartered College of Teaching.

It was based in the Institute of Education of the University of London.


The college was founded in 1846 by a group of private schoolmasters from Brighton who were concerned about standards within their profession. A provisional committee was set up in early 1846 under the chairmanship of Henry Stein Turrell (1815-1863), principal of the Montpelier House School in Brighton. After meetings in London and Brighton a general meeting was called for 20 June 1846 at the Freemason's Tavern in Great Queen Street. Some 300 schoolmasters attended, some 60 members enrolled and founding resolutions passed, including:

That in the opinion of this meeting, it is desirable for the protection of the interests of both the scholastic profession and the public, that some proof of qualification, both as to the amount of knowledge and the art of conveying it to others, should be required, from and after a certain time to be hereinafter specified, of all persons who may be desirous of entering the profession; and that the test, in the first instance, should be applied to Assistant Masters only.
That in the opinion of this meeting, the test of qualification should be referred to a legally authorized or corporate body, or college, consisting of persons engaged in tuition.
That for the purpose of effecting this object - viz., the formation of a corporate body -- the members of the profession who enrol their names at this meeting, do resolve themselves, and are hereby resolved, into the College of Preceptors; and that those persons now enrolled, shall incur no liability beyond the amount of their respective annual subscriptions.
That a Council, consisting of the members of the Provisional Committee, with power to add to their number, be now appointed for the purpose of conducting the business of the institution, and that Mr Turrell be appointed President of the Council.[2]

[3] [4]

The college created a system for the formal examination and qualification of secondary school teachers. It was also one of the first bodies to examine and provide certificates for secondary school pupils of both sexes, from all over England and Wales, in a wide variety of subjects.[5]

During the 1870s, the college helped to establish education as a subject worthy of study at university level, resulting in the appointment of Joseph Payne as the first Professor of Education. Frances Buss (1827–1894) and Sir John Adams (1857–1934) were also connected to the College. During the 1950s the college pioneered management training schemes for teachers (at the time these were known as school administration courses).

Membership designations[edit]

The college had various membership designations or post-nominals. These included:

Membership and subscription-based post-nominals before 1999;

  • MCollP - Member of the College of Preceptors
  • FCollP - Fellow of the College of Preceptors

In 1999, this membership structure changed to the following post-nominals:

  • AMCollT - Associate Member of the College of Teachers
  • MCollT - Member of the College of Teachers
  • FCollT - Fellowship of the College of Teachers

Full Fellowship in the college was based on the following criteria:

  • Must hold high academic and educational oriented qualifications;
  • Must have made a significant contribution to educational literature; or
  • Must serve in educational management at a senior level.

Fellows also had to be promoted by two other fellows of the college. Fellows were allowed to retain their more historical FCollP designation or change to the newer post-nominal.

Qualifications and accreditation[edit]

The college was instrumental in the recognition of many noted national and international educators. These people were inducted into the school's Honorary Fellow Charter (Hon FCP). There were over 150 charter fellows including: G.H. Read, William G. Carr, John M. Rhoads, The Baroness Platt of Writtle, Sir Brynmor Jones and Zoya Malkova, Dr Antony Miller, Ulrich-Johannes Kledzik, John Simpson, Christine Gilbert, Robin Alexander and George Browne Rego (Lindgren, 1993).

The college provided an examining facility and an educational membership society. According to its original charter of 1849, the College of Preceptors (later the College of Teachers) was empowered to award qualifications in various areas of teacher training. The college's qualifications [1] included the Associateship (ACP), degree level Licentiateship (LCP) and the Fellowship (FCP) (Lindgren, 1991). The Fellowship was awarded for a 25,000 - 50,000 word dissertation.

In 1999, the college renamed many of its diploma post-nominals, redesigning the award system as follows:

  • ACoT - Associateship of the College of Teachers
  • LCoT - Licenciateship of the College of Teachers
  • FCoT - Fellowship of the College of Teachers

The FCoT, like the earlier FCP (research equivalent to a MPhil in education), was awarded for original research. The new qualification was also awarded for a series of published articles or an original work in the field of educational studies.

Two foundation qualifications also existed which carry no post-nominal designations:

  • Certificate of Educational Studies
  • Diploma of Educational Studies

The college also offered qualifications in TESOL at the following levels:

  • Preliminary Level - Certificate of Educational Studies in TESOL
  • Level 1 - Associateship in TESOL (does not include a practicum)
  • Level 1 - Advanced Certificate in TESOL (includes a practicum)
  • Level 2 - Diploma in TESOL (does not include a practicum)
  • Level 2 - Advanced Diploma in TESOL (includes a practicum)

TESOL courses were offered through centres [2] which gained accreditation from the College.

Lady Plowden Memorial Medal[edit]

In 2009 the College of Teachers created a medal which could be awarded to key figures within education. It was named after Lady Bridget Plowden, who was a previous President of the College of Preceptors. Plowden was the first female president of the college. She was proposed for the dedication and her contribution to primary education through the Plowden report of 1967.



  • The Educational Times published 1847-1923
  • Education Today published from 1950.


  • College of Preceptors. Metropolitan Executive. (1977). Children under stress. London: College of Preceptors. 
  • College of Preceptors (1967). The movement for registration in the teaching profession 1861-1966. London: College of Preceptors. 
  • College of Preceptors (1896). Fifty years of progress in education : a review of the work of the College of Preceptors from its foundation in 1846 to its jubilee in 1896. London: College of Preceptors. 

Primary sources[edit]

The archives of the College of Preceptors/College of Teachers are held in the archives of the Institute of Education, University of London and the full catalogue can be found online here.

Notable members and staff[edit]

Other sources[edit]

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science. 1887. The London College of Preceptors. Moses King, v.9:471.
  • Balfour, Graham. 1903. The Educational Systems of Great Britain and Ireland. Clarendon Press, 185.
  • Eve. H.W. 1899. Secondary Education and the Primary Examinations. British Medical Journal. Published by British Medical Association. vol.1:123.
  • Chapman, J. Vincent. 1985, Professional Roots: The College of Preceptors in British Society. Theydon Bois Epping.
  • College of Preceptors. 1847. The Mechanics' Magazine. Original from Oxford University, 443-46, 485-90.
  • College of Preceptors. 1908. Journal of the Royal Society of Arts. Royal Society of Arts (Great Britain), published for the Society by George Bell, v.57 1908-09, 432.
  • College of Preceptors. 1895. Report of the Commissioners ... Great Britain Royal Commission on Secondary Education. Great Britain:H.M. Stationery Off., by Eyre and Spottiswoode, 58.
  • College of Teachers. 2003. British Qualifications: A Complete Guide to Educational, Technical, Professional and Academic Qualifications in Britain. Kogan Page Ltd, 878.
  • Lindgren, C. E. (March, 1990), A Haven for the Professional Educator, Vol. XCVI, No. 3, 53-55
  • Lindgren, C. E. (Winter, 1991), Academic Awards for Educators, Record (Kappa Delta Pi), Vol. 27, No. 1, 57
  • Lindgren, C. E. & Emerson, Peggy (September/October, 1993), British In-service for American Educators, The Clearing House, 48-50
  • Lindgren, C. E. (Spring 1993) A Vignette, An International College of Teacher Training, International Education, Vol. 22, No. 2:40-45.
  • Lindgren, Carl Edwin. (Sept., 2012). “Educationists Who Assisted the College of Preceptors in becoming an Early “Learning Organization,” International Review (Serbia: Faculty of Business Economics and Entrepreneurship, 1(1):5-22.
  • Montgomery, Robert John. 1967. College of Preceptors. Examinations: An Account of Their Evolution as Administrative Devices in England. University of Pittsburgh Press, 303.
  • Monroe, Paul. 1913. Preceptors, The College of. A Cyclopedia of Education. Gale Research Co., v.5:26.
  • The Teacher's Registration Bill. 1891. Hansard's Parliamentary Debates. Great Britain Parliament, Thomas Curson Hansard. v.350 1891 Feb-Mar, 1003.
  • Winnipeg Science Fiction Society, Royal Society of Arts (Great Britain). 1873. The College of Preceptors. Winnipeg, v. 21:893.


  1. ^ College of Teachers (2007). "Overview of Qualifications". Archived from the original on 2008-03-10. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  2. ^ Aldrich, Richard (16 May 2012). School and Society in Victorian Britain: Joseph Payne and the New World of Education. Routledge. pp. 96–98. ISBN 978-0415686532. 
  3. ^ "College of Preceptors". UCL Bloomsbury Project. UCL. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  4. ^ Ashton, Rosemary (2012). Victorian Bloomsbury. Yale University Press. pp. 454–46. ISBN 978-0300154474. 
  5. ^ "Institute of Education Archives: DC/COP Records of the College of Preceptors.". Institute of Education. Retrieved 2009-04-01. 

External links[edit]