Catalogue description Records of the Inspectorate

Details of Division within ED
Reference: Division within ED
Title: Records of the Inspectorate

Records of HM Inspectorate of Schools and successors relating to the inspection of educational establishments.

Minutes and papers of the Inspectorate's Central Panel are in ED 176, with records of the Inspectorate's panels and committees in ED 158 and ED 211.

Registered files raised by the Inspectorate Support Services are in ED 213. Unregistered papers originating from Local Offices are in ED 233.

Circulars and memoranda issued for the use of the Inspectorate are in ED 22 and ED 135.

Collections of HM Inspectorate reports are arranged as follows:

  • Adult education in ED 196;
  • Higher Education in ED 271;
  • Independent schools in ED 172;
  • Institutes of further education in ED 114 and ED 197;
  • Military educational establishments in ED 193;
  • National and district surveys in ED 235;
  • Primary schools in ED 156;
  • School meals services in ED 194;
  • Secondary schools in ED 109;
  • Special education establishments in ED 195;
  • Teacher training colleges in ED 115;
  • Youth welfare services in ED 149.

There is a collection of special reports in ED 77, with confidential reports in ED 251, and reports from local offices in ED 272.

Date: 1840-1993
Related material:

Early inspectors' reports will be found in:

Records of the Welsh Office Education Divisions in Division within BD

ED 3

ED 4

ED 9

ED 14

ED 17

Reports on Welsh General Education are in ED 91

Reports on Welsh Elementary Education are in ED 92

Reports on Welsh secondary education are in ED 93

Reports on examination for free (special) places are included in the papers in ED 110

Some reports relating to military educational establishments are included in ED 121

Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Board of Education, HM Inspectors of Schools, 1899-1923

Board of Education, Inspectorate (England), 1923-1944

Board of Education, Inspectorate (Wales), 1923-1944

Committee of the Privy Council on Education, HM Inspectors of Schools, 1839-1899

Department of Education and Science, HM Inspectorate (England), 1964-1973

Department of Education and Science, HM Inspectorate (Wales), 1964-1973

Department of Education and Science, HM Inspectorate of Schools (England), 1973-1992

Department of Education and Science, HM Inspectorate of Schools (Wales), 1973-1992

Education Department, HM Inspectors of Schools, 1856-1899

Ministry of Education, Inspectorate (England), 1944-1964

Ministry of Education, Inspectorate (Wales), 1944-1964

Office for Standards in Education, 1992-

Physical description: 24 series
Administrative / biographical background:

In 1839, the right of inspection of schools was made a condition of grant aid and two inspectors of elementary schools were appointed in that year. The churches were given a voice in the selection of inspectors in 1840 and until 1876 the inspectors were organised not by districts but by religious denomination, with inspectors for Church of England, non-conformist and Roman Catholic schools. In 1876 an area organisation was instituted and continued as the Elementary Division of the Inspectorate under the Board of Education.

Standards of institutions aided by the Science and Art Department and of secondary schools by the Charity Commissioners were largely tested by public examinations set both by the grant aiding and various other independent bodies. After 1902 the principles of inspection applied to elementary schools were extended to other levels of education. The Inspectorate was divided into five main divisions: elementary, secondary, technical, teacher training and art, with additional branches of women inspectors (first appointed in 1883) and, from 1907, a Welsh branch for certain aspects of Welsh education covered by the Welsh Department of the Board.

Both the aims and the methods of inspection have varied from time to time, largely as a result of different methods of assessing grants and of changing attitudes towards educational policy and methods. The Education Acts 1902 and 1918, by laying responsibility for the efficient maintenance of education on local education authorities, increased the side of the Inspectorate's work concerned with educational improvement by means of advice and constructive criticism. The Inspectorate acted as an intermediary between the board and the local education authorities and was given wide advisory responsibility for the schemes encouraged by this legislation. The Inspectorate was also largely responsible for schemes for teachers' short courses. Educational aspects of institutions under the control of government departments, such as the industrial, reformatory and borstal schools of the Home Office and poor law schools for which the Local Government Board and the Ministry of Health were successively responsible, were inspected by the Board. The advisory services of the Inspectorate were used by other departments such as the Colonial Office, the War Office and the Air Ministry.

The Inspectorate was wound up in 1992 by the Education (Schools) Act and some of its functions were taken over by the newly established Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED).

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