Files of the Office of Special Inquiries and Reports and of its successors, the Department of Intelligence and Public Relations (1935-1945), the Information and External Relations Branch (1945-1949) which subsequently subdivided into the Information and General Branch and the External Relations Branch concerning international educational policy.
Most of the surviving files before 1932 relate to international conferences and committees, overseas appointments and the interchange of teachers. The nineteenth century papers concern the organisation of the work of the Office of Special Inquiries and Reports and the formation of the departmental library.
Papers of the Second World War relate to the Conference of Allied Ministers of Education (1942-1944), which led to the establishment of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
Post-war files cover all areas of educational policy and information which contain an international aspect. They deal with the department's relationship with a number of international bodies, including the European Union, the Council of Europe, UNESCO, and the British Commonwealth, and UK organisations with international responsibilities including the Central Bureau for Educational Visits and Exchanges, the Army Education Services and the British Council.
There are also papers of the Interdepartmental Committee on the Teaching of English Overseas; the Committee on Educational Facilities within the Commonwealth; the Commonwealth Education Conferences 1959, 1962 and 1964; the Wheare Committee on Children and the Cinema, and the subsequent working party; and of various international conferences and committees arranged under the aegis of the Council of Europe.
Other matters of interest after 1951 are the inspection and maintenance of British schools in the Suez Canal zone (until the Suez crisis of 1956), the interchange and exchange of students and teachers with overseas countries, and the transfer of the Imperial Institute in London (renamed Commonwealth Institute in 1958) to new premises.
Also included are files dealing with educational matters in the Channel Islands.
The subject files have been successively prefixed SIR, IPR, IER and INF and ER.