Edge Hill College of Higher Education

It was with some trepidation that I pitched up in Ormskirk, Lancashire in October 1974 to study Geography and Education. Poor A Level results determined my student option of a college of education rather than my university rejections. It was further complicated by being in the United States for the previous year. My mother wrote in a letter that, with the impossibility of an interview, I must have been given a good school reference by John Woods the headteacher at secondary school.

There is much to be said about the social aspects of four years as a student, but a loft turn-out revealed three ring-binders of papers. This focussed the attention on some of the hard work that must have taken place. Really!

Education Paper 1 side 2
side 2
Education Paper 1
<click to enlarge>

A printed sheet indicates the educational studies option course on the psychology of education (term 8) with these five areas to be studied:

  1. Cognitive development (i) Piaget
  2. Cognitive development (ii) Bruner
  3. Convergent and divergent thinking
  4. Memory
  5. Problems and methods of personality assessment

This is followed by lecture outlines, seminar topics, initial reading, and more detailed reading. It appears that I presented a seminar on “Improving memory is only a matter of organising the material and of adequate repetition. Discuss.” If only I could remember that! (Ba-dum, tish!) The little arrow on the exam paper suggests I wrote an answer on “Examine evidence as to why we forget.”

I had also written essays on “Review and discuss the literature you have read relating to the home-school links” and on “What is the relationship, if any, between education and indoctrination?” The philosophy of education option (term 9) covered:

  1. Creativity
  2. Freedom and Authority
  3. Moral Education
  4. Equality
  5. Child-centredness

The folder includes Times Educational Supplement articles from May 1977 (price 18p) when it had substantial journalism unlike the renamed TES today. These include ‘O level standards dropped’ and The William Tyndale School disciplinary decision. Also there is, continuing the Great Debate, leaks from the “Green Paper sees teaching as vital social justice”, “Green Paper to nudge schools to common core” and Shirley Williams saying “I’m afraid I can’t give a straight answer…”

A hand-written note on my induction programme shows that 31 students started the geography course. As only 23 names appear on the third year results list it wasn’t a push-over to pass. It was the teaching practices rather than subject courses that caused most drop-outs.

Gus working for once
Gus working (for once) in Marg’s JD room

I started in Milton Hall and went non-resident to The Old Vicarage at Westhead for a year and then to four-bedroom townhouse in Windows in Skelmersdale. (This merits another story.) The photo above shows me in a room of John Dalton Hall. Marg, who was two years ahead, has a memory of where we met – I was snuggled in a coat lounging in an armchair in the library reading The Guardian. I was probably trying to get warm.

Paper 2 Section B
Paper 2 Section A


Well, reader, I graduated with a Bachelor of Education (Honours).

With Mother, Lancaster University 1978

I wasn’t alone. This is John Goodwin, Angus Willson, Ian Mackenzie, Stuart Breckons.

Lancaster University 1978
And here’s the rest of the four-year BEd (Hons) group.

A memory posted to the Facebook page.
Brian Wildsmith was a tutor, TP tutor and a fine fellow. I don’t repeat this as any criticism but as a lesson I took in the dangers of professional BS. And, believe me, I have both received it and dished it! It was in a Wigan middle school and he was explaining to me how children’s artwork showed their deeper understanding of ideas. There was a drawing on the wall and he used it to illustrate his point in some detail. I mentioned this to the class teacher about the child’s work and she said “I’ll show the book she copied it from.”

It would be great to hear stories from any of you!

Next: Geography at Edge Hill

Elsewhere on Pannage
See pages on
Edge Hill College of Higher Education
Geography at Edge Hill
Students’ Union
Summer Vacation Fieldwork Assignment
and a post about
Indoctrination – on one part of the education course

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