CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
TitleAberdeen College of Education
Extent550 volumes/files, 75 photographs, 91 plans and 4 bundles, 1 audio, 1 artwork and 2 objects
Creator NameAberdeen College of Education
Administrative HistoryHISTORY

In 1959 the College was granted more autonomy, with the Provincial Committee replaced by a Governing Body. The balance of power within the Governing Body had altered. The influence of the churches and the local authorities had decreased whilst that of the College staff and teachers had grown. The Governing Body had oversight of all matters of finance, staffing and the provision of resources. The National Committee for the Training of Teachers was replaced by The Scottish Council for the Training of Teachers, then (1967) to become the Joint Committee of Colleges of Education in Scotland, who were more of a co-ordinating and advisory body. The Joint Committee also had a sub-Committee called the Commitee of Principals. The Secretary of State and the Scottish Education Department still had a role in the general overview of the Colleges of Education, the approval of new courses and the cost of the running of the College. The General Teaching Council was founded in 1965 which became responsible for advising the Secretary of State on policy. It also took responsibilty for the probationary period of teaching, maintaining a register of qualified teachers and exercising powers of discipline.

The Special Recruitment Scheme had been administered by the National Committee for the Training of Teachers but in 1959 the new Governing Bodies of the Colleges took over the interviewing and selection functions. In 1967 the College were required to set-up selection boards for this purpose.

The College was now extending beyond simply traditional 'training', and now developing all forms of 'education'. It responded to the recommendations of the Robbins Report (1963) by offering the B.Ed. degree (a four year degree course for intending Primary teachers in 1965) with the University of Aberdeen, the first College in Scotland to do so. To validate this qualification the College established a Joint Board of Studies with the University. Diplomas were also established in Music in the 1960s, Speech & Drama in 1971 and Technical Education in 1972. In 1972 the B.Ed degree with Honours was introduced. The College had also raised its research profile with its publication, 'Education in the North' (1965), which gradually established a national and then international readership. The College also started to extend their range of activities to cover further education and in-service courses, all over the North of Scotland. The in-service work was grouped under five headings: qualifying courses, national courses, school based in-service activities, short courses and distance learning. From 1971 the College undertook Youth and Community Work qualification training and in 1984 a new B.Ed. course started with external accreditation from the Council for National Academic Awards.

The 1960s and early 1970s saw a marked expansion in student numbers and in 1968 the College was relocated to Hilton campus although annexes at Woolmanhill and George Street were retained, along with part of the original premises in St. Andrew Street (until 1973). From c700 students in 1962, by the early 1970s the student population hit c.2000 and there were now some 160 lecturers. Yet by the mid-1970s there had been increased pressure from government to decrease funding for teacher training because of demographic changes. By 1983-1984 there were only c800 students. There was continued rationalisation of resources and finally in 1987 this meant the merger of Aberdeen and Dundee Colleges of Education, resulting in 'Northern College'.


The Governing Body were responsible to the Secretary of State for Scotland and had oversight of all matters of finance, staffing and the provision of resources. The Principal was ex-officio Vice-Chairman and the Governing Body elected its own Chairman.

The Board of Studies role was to advise upon, and assist the principal in relation to the co-ordination of studies including teaching method and practice, the maintenance of standards, the discipline of students and generally questions falling within the responsibilities of the teaching staff and also to appoint members of the teaching staff to serve on the Governing Body.

The Board of Examiners under the Principal as Chairman considered the progress of students and reported findings to the Board of Studies.

A list from 1983-1984 illustrates the academic organisation of the College. There was a three-tiered Department structure:
(a) professional studies department and units comprising; Education, Educational Psychology, Reading Studies, Primary Education and Special Educational Needs. The general function relates to pedagogy and the theory and practice of learning and teaching.
(b) academic subject departments and units comprising: Applied Linguistics; Biology; Economics and Business Studies; English; Geography; History; Mathematics; Languages; Modern Studies; Physical Science; Religious Education; Arts and Crafts; Health Education; Home Economics; Music; Physical Education; Speech and Drama; Technical Education; Youth and Community. The general function relates to providing academic education and an analysis of the pedagogy of their specialist areas at both initial and in-service levels.
(c) and service departments comprising: Television; Library; Teaching Aids; Computer Education; Administration. The general function relates to provide academic resources and servicing to the other College departments.


The Principal

John Hardie (1959-1961) (former Director of Studies, Aberdeen Training College)
James Scotland (1961-1983)
David Adams (1983-1987)

Vice Principal - (post created in 1962)

Gerald Osborne (1962-1978)
Robert Stark (1979-1985)
Joan Taylor (1985-1987)

Senior Assistant Principal - (post created in 1973)

Robert Stark (1973-1979)

Assistant Principal - (post created in 1968, a Dean of Women post which then became another Assistant Principal post in 1971 and a third one was created in 1973)

Robert Stark (1968-1973)
Joan Taylor (Dean of Women) (1971-1985)
James Drummond (1973-1981)
James Campbell (1985-1987)

College Secretary - (post created in 1967)

Ian Coghill (1967-1987)
DescriptionThe student records from 1959 are still of current use and held by the School of Education. From 1959 onwards a highlight are the very detailed administrative and management records including the papers of Principal James Scotland (1961-1983). There are also minutes of the Governing Body and sub-committees, papers of College staff (including the Vice and Assistant Principals and College Secretary), financial records, staff records, teaching materials, College publications, plans and photographs.
AppraisalScottish Education Department circulars, memorandum, copies of legislation sent to all Colleges of Education have been destroyed.

Scottish Education Department Returns - 'Medical Report on candidate for Teacher's Certificate' outgoing (form 9T) 1959-1962 destroyed.

Printed pamphlet collection (mainly Scottish Education Department, B.B.C, general education pamphlets from the 1950s-1970s have been weeded.
AccrualsPlease note that student records from 1959 are still held by the School of Education and will be deposited once they are no longer of current use.
Access StatusRestricted
Access ConditionsSome records contain personal information and may be closed for 75 years under the Data Protection Act (1998)
Related MaterialPublished material relating to the College are held in Special Libraries & Archives Local Collection (open access):

Set of Governing Body minutes (missing volume 10, 1983-1987)

Incomplete set of student handbooks

A checklist of historical material relating to the College (Aberdeen : [s.n.], 1979?)

Prospectus 1979-1980, 1981-1982, 1982-1983, 1983-1984, 1984-1985, 1985-1986, 1986-1987
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