Parents' National Educational Union

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The Parents' National Educational Union (abbreviated PNEU), founded in Bradford, Yorkshire in 1887 as the Parent's Educational Union, was an organisation providing resources and support for teachers and homeschoolers in the United Kingdom in accordance with the educational ideas of Charlotte Mason.[1] Mason was co-founder of PNEU together with Emeline Petrie Steinthal.[2] The word "National" was adopted as part of the name in 1890.[3]

The PNEU national and international exposure is credited to Henrietta Franklin. She had met Mason in 1890 and by 1892 she had opened the first school in London based on these principles. In 1894 Franklin became the secretary of the PNEU and went on speaking tours to major cities in America, Europe and South Africa. She devoted her own money to the cause and wrote on its behalf. Franklin's biography cites the PNEU's continued existence to her.[4]

In 1978, the World-Wide Education Service (WES) was created as a separate division of the PNEU, encompassing an overseas educational service for company schools and home-schooling.[5]

The last PNEU branch in Birmingham closed in 1984, with the organisation itself closing five years later. The responsibility for the overseas service was given to Bell Educational Trust in Cambridge. Mason's Ambleside-based House of Education (renamed Charlotte Mason College in 1938), founded in 1892 to train governesses, eventually merged with St Martin's College and other institutions to form the University of Cumbria. The teacher training program at the site was ended in 2010.[5]


  1. ^ Christina de Bellaigue, "Charlotte Mason, Home Education and the Parents’ National Educational Union in the Late Nineteenth Century", Oxford Review of Education, 41/4 (2015), pp. 501-517.
  2. ^ Margaret A. Coombs, Charlotte Mason: Hidden Heritage and Educational Influence (Lutterworth Press, 2015), pp. 152-153.
  3. ^ Margaret A. Coombs (24 September 2015). Charlotte Mason: Hidden Heritage and Educational Influence. The Lutterworth Press. p. 156. ISBN 978-0-7188-9402-3.
  4. ^ Sybil Oldfield, ‘Franklin , Henrietta [Netta] (1866–1964)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2015 accessed 22 Nov 2017
  5. ^ a b Power, Marlene. "Guides: Charlotte Mason Digital Collection (CMDC): Charlotte Mason Timeline". Retrieved 14 December 2022.