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TES, formerly known as the Times Educational Supplement, is a weekly UK publication aimed primarily at school teachers in the UK. It was first published in 1910 as a pull-out supplement in The Times newspaper. Such was its popularity that in 1914, the supplement became a separate publication selling for one penny.
TES focuses on school-related news and features. It covered higher education until the Times Higher Education Supplement (now Times Higher Education) was launched as a sister publication in 1971. Today its editor is Ann Mroz. Since 1964, an alternative version of the publication, TESS, has been produced for Scotland. An edition for Wales, TES Cymru, was also published between 2004 and 2011. All are produced by London-based company TES Global, which has been owned by US investment firm TPG Capital LLP since 2013.
TES is published weekly on Fridays, at a cover price of £2.90. Data from the National Readership Survey Jan–Dec 2012 suggested that the average yearly readership was around 362,000, of which around 90 per cent of the readership were in the ABC1 category.
The publication has developed a popular website featuring teaching jobs, forums, and classroom resources that are uploaded by teachers.
The idea for a regular section on education in The Times was first proposed in 1905 by J E G de Montmorency, a barrister and writer who later composed leader articles for The TES. The first issue of the monthly educational supplement appeared on September 6, 1910, opening with a witty weather forecast for the UK’s school systems. King George V had recently begun his reign, and the paper noted that “some great resettlement of the English school system seems likely to take place”.
Over its first decade, The TES established itself as a paper for teachers, though it was primarily aimed at those in private and grammar schools. However, it pressed for education reform from its early years, calling in 1913 for “Secondary Education for All”.
In 1914, The TES became a stand-alone publication, noting on the outbreak of the First World War that “every great war in the modern world has been followed by changes in education”. Two years afterwards, while the war still raged, the paper began to be published weekly. The TES later explained that “the decision to change into a weekly periodical was taken in order to lend the support of The Times more effectively to the movement for reform in education which culminated in the Fisher Reform Act of 1918”.
Notable editors of The TES included George Sydney Freeman, who was editor for its first 28 years and Harold Dent, a progressive former schoolteacher who became acting editor in 1940. He put the newspaper together practically single-handedly during the Blitz. His editorials pressed for “total reform” of the education system, “based on a new conception of the place, status and function of education in a democratic State, not a patching and padding of the present system”. This attitude chimed with the radical thinking then going on within the Board of Education. Mr. Dent had regular meetings with its president, Rab Butler, in the years building up to the 1944 Education Act.
The readership of The TES, once primarily private and grammar school teachers, broadened during the 20th century. During the 1970s, the paper became more supportive of Comprehensive schools, when it had once defended grammars.
In the 1980s, it became increasingly concerned that political reforms might overload or restrict teachers, particularly the launch of the national curriculum and league tables with the Education Reform Act 1988. Its then editor, Stuart Maclure, noted in 1985 that “the irony of the last 10 years, in which the politicians and industrialists have clamoured for reform and accused the educationists of blocking it, was not lost on anyone who cares to look back”.
When the newspaper reached its centenary in 2010, its former editor Gerard Kelly, wrote: “If there is one phenomenal, outstanding, amazing development of the past century in this country, it has to be that education has liberated women in a way that was never anticipated by the most liberal of reformers, even by those far-sighted individuals on The TES in 1910”.
At its start, TES was owned, like its parent paper, by Lord Northcliffe. After his death in 1922, the newspapers were sold to the Astor family, and it was sold on again in 1966 to the Canadian newspaper tycoon Roy Thomson.
Rupert Murdoch took ownership of the newspaper in 1979. Murdoch’s News International restructured its newspapers to set up 'Times Supplements Limited' and by 1999, this became 'TSL Education Ltd', which also published THE and Nursery World. In October 2005, the group was sold to Exponent, a private equity group, who in turn sold it to Charterhouse in May 2007.
TES online is run by the London-based 'TES Global', which claims to be "The largest network of teachers in the world", and has been owned by the US-based TPG Capital (formerly Texas Pacific Group) global investment company since July 2013.
Past staff and contributors
Staff journalists at TES have included Simon Jenkins, who became editor of the Evening Standard and The Times; novelist, literary historian, and biographer Valerie Grosvenor Myer; and Timothy Mo and Frances Hill, who both became novelists.
External contributors have included Gordon Brown, who contributed comment articles to the Scottish edition of TES as a young lecturer in 1979. A competition for writing by pupils in 1980 was won by Sacha Baron Cohen, then eight years old.
- 1910–1938: George Sydney Freeman
- 1938–1940: Donald McLachlan
- 1940–1952: H. C. Dent
- 1952–1969: Walter James
- 1969–1989: Stuart Maclure
- 1989–1997: Patricia Rowan
- 1997–2000: Caroline St John-Brooks
- 2000–2005: Bob Doe
- 2005–2007: Judith Judd
- 2007: Wendy Berliner (acting)
- 2008: Karen Dempsey
- 2008–2013: Gerard Kelly
- 2013–present: Ann Mroz
It was revamped after the newspaper’s relaunch in 2007 and is now split into distinct sections, including 'Community', 'Jobs', 'Resources' and 'School News'. Community offers online forums where trainees, teachers and other education professionals can connect with like-minded people, discuss best practice, gain peer to peer advice and support, and have their say on the issues that matter to them. Jobs is home to all the vacancies listed in the TES magazine and is updated daily.
The Resources section is a platform for teachers to share original classroom resources, including lesson plans, PowerPoint presentations, interactive whiteboard resources, worksheets, and activities. As of the 21 March 2016, more than 1.5 million pieces of content have been uploaded by teachers.
In February 2015, TES Global launched an open marketplace, which allowed teachers to buy and sell teaching resources.
The TES website is now home to "the world’s largest online community of teachers", with 7.9 million registered users.
First held in 2009, The TES Schools Awards are held annually to celebrate achievements by schools in the UK. Categories include school of the year for primary, secondary, special needs, and early years, as well healthy school of the year and creative school of the year.
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