The emergence of teacher supply for adult education institutions and technical colleges from the 1950s to the 1960s and beyond

Martyn Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


When mechanics’ and similar institutions became established for adults by the middle of the nineteenth century, there was goodwill amongst committee members and volunteers to teach the classes. The institutes were not government-funded and relied on patronage and membership fees to fund them. There was a shortage of teachers for the classes as those who were qualified were trained to teach in schools. In any case, many institutes could rarely afford to appoint more than one or two, if any, qualified teachers. However, the reputation and on-going success of such adult institutions depended on good quality teaching and learning. The Great Exhibition of 1851 in London had highlighted that Britain was losing its leading industrial position in the World. This shook the government and as a result Royal Commissions were set up which, ultimately, resulted in the Technical Instruction Act of 1889 and the Local Tax Act of 1890, both of which in their own way resulted in state funded support for adult technical education. Between 1900 and 1940, further education was established but the First World War and the Great Depression prevent expansion. The findings of the McNair Report of 1944 highlighted the need for technical training colleges to support those wishing to teach and lecture in further education. The paper summarises how teacher supply was variable for adult education and how teaching training for the lifelong learning sector came about.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-441
Number of pages13
JournalResearch in Post-Compulsory Education
Issue number3
Early online date18 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


Cite this