Chapter 6 – The Mid 19th Century

The Mid 19th Century – The Great Exhibition and its Consequences


Up to 1851 the existing schools and the Mechanics’ Institutions had made little impression on technology and technical education in Britain. The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge had contributed even less being mired in their medieval statutes. However the situation was about to change as the mid-19th century witnessed a particularly fascinating period economically, educationally, industrially and socially for Britain. It was the period of the Great Exhibitions and the emergence of other industrial countries which began to rival Britain’s supremacy in manufacturing. Up to the mid-19th century Britain was seen as the workshop of the world with unrivalled financial and industrial power but the situation was soon to change as the century moved on. In the 1850’s and 1860’s most European countries were engaged in a series of debilitating wars and fortunately for Britain none of these were on British soil. Picture below is an artists impression of the Crystal Palace where the Great Exhibition was staged.

Great Exhibition 1851

This gave Britain an advantage and opportunity to continue to sell its products and services where ever she chose to do so. Between 1855 and 1875 the value of British exports per head of the population, which itself was growing rapidly, rose by 50% i.e. from £4 to £6. The country remained the world leader in the export of textiles and the advantages of its natural resources particularly coal continued to give it some distinct benefits over its competitors. Total iron production in Britain in 1802 was approximately 100,000 tons and this had risen to over 2 million tons by 1850 and as a result most products were fabricated from iron and other metals by the mid 19th century. Most manufacturing units continued to employ relatively small numbers compared with our European competitors. The majority of workshops in the manufacturing centres making secondary metal products in Birmingham, Sheffield and across Lancashire still employed fewer than ten people. The average mining enterprises in Cornwall and the coal mines around Britain employed around 150 workers. However factories associated with railways, shipbuilding were big employers e.g. the naval dockyards employed over 5,000 workers during various wars. Overall the size of companies remained small until the 1870’s/80’s when mass production techniques and processing units associated with the manufacture of steel were introduced and as a result became more prominent.

One real advantage for Britain was the guaranteed and given markets in the empire for its products and services irrespective of their quality. The existence of the empire greatly assisted the access to cheap resources across the world, the so-called ‘imperial bonus’, but nevertheless even accepting this highly questionable advantage the magnitude of Britain’s achievements were remarkable.

The Great Exhibition of 1851.

The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations was organised by the Prince Consort (Prince Albert), Henry Cole, Francis Fuller and other key members of Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (Society of Arts) to celebrate industrial technology and design. The Executive Committee membership also included some notable individuals namely Robert Stephenson, Isambad Kingdom Brunel and was chaired by William Cubitt. The Great Exhibition and its consequences provide a useful opportunity to assess Britain’s position as the leading industrial nation and the state of its educational system particularly technical education. The Great Exhibition had both positive and negative consequences as we will see later and the positive ones gave a boost to the development to technical education. One of the positive outcomes of the Great Exhibition was it re-ignited the debate about the continuing deficiencies in the countries educational system both at school level and particularly the urgent need to develop a technical education system.

Many commentators say that the success of British Industry at the Great Exhibition was a resounding endorsement of its scientific, technological and industrial know- how. Whilst others commented that it highlighted for the first time that Britain was beginning to lose its manufacturing prowess and supremacy compared with its competitors and identified the beginning of its decline as the leading industrial power. However the exhibition provided a unique opportunity for proclaiming and broadcasting national pride and self congratulation felt by the country and its people.

The exhibition attracted over six million people from around Britain and beyond and with a minimum entrance fee of one shilling, (equivalent to 5p decimal currency), it highlighted the pride that the workers took in their achievements. The majority travelled to the Crystal Palace by train which by that time was the most popular form of transport. As a result of its success and large attendance the Great Exhibition made a surplus of £186,000 and this was used to purchase 86 acres of land in South Kensington that became know as ‘Albertopolois’ in recognition of the essential role played by the Prince Consort. The prime movers in this initiative and subsequent investment of the surpluses were the Prince Consort, Lyon Playfair and Henry Cole who later were to become secretaries of the Department of Science and Art. In retrospect the exhibition was more of a social success than an economic one. Britain took most of the medals for manufactured and industrial products whilst other nations took the prizes for foodstuffs, handicrafts and raw materials. America was just emerging as an industrial nation and was already beginning to show its ingenuity and innovation in some products.

One fascinating consequence of the success of the Great Exhibition was the realisation by British manufacturers of the importance of product trademarks or brands. As mentioned in earlier chapters Britain was slow to develop this technique to improve sales and marketing strategies – Wedgwood being one of the few exceptions – following the success at the exhibition and with so many medals won companies quickly introduced branding for their products in both national and international markets. Even though Britain won most of the medals at the exhibition and continued to be the work shop of the world throughout the 1850’s and 1860’s the exhibition had for the first time identified and reinforced the growing confidence of this countries competitors. The exhibition had also revealed the increasing degree of inventiveness, innovation and in many cases higher quality products being manufactured by our overseas competitors. By the time the Paris exhibition was staged sixteen years later the picture was very different and Britain only won a few medals and was eclipsed in most categories by other countries in Europe and America. In many ways the Great Exhibition of 1851 represented the apogee of Britain’s industrial age. I will now focus on the positive outcomes on the developments on technical education following the Great Exhibition.

The Benefits to Technical Education after the Great Exhibitions

One important, beneficial and relevant consequence of the Great Exhibition was the resulting attention given by a number of individuals and organisations to the issues associated with the health of technical education in the country. As mentioned above in spite of its success the Exhibition had highlighted growing concerns about the future health of British industry and its ability to compete internationally. A number of observers argued that the country was going to lose its easy supremacy, (the imperial bonus), in commerce, industry and trade to the emerging competitors and this could most certainly be linked to the inadequate state of education in Britain both at elementary and technical level.

These concerns alerted a number of key individuals and the Society of Arts to the urgent need to identify and address the lessons learnt from the Great Exhibition. Informed observers identified evidence that showed that those countries that were beginning to challenge our industrial supremacy made significant investments in their national education systems and most certainly the education of the workers. These countries were also heavily investing in scientific and technological research and development to support their emerging industries. These concerns and the resultant reviews started a chain of events that would lead to some positive, significant and lasting contributions in the development of technical education. The Great Exhibition had in some ways acted as a crucial focus and catalyst in galvanising action by triggering a number of initiatives that would begin to transform the landscape of technical education both in terms of national policy, its management and provision. These developments again showed the crucial part played by the Society of Arts and a few visionaries. The Society of Arts like the City and Guilds Institute of London which was created in 1878 [see chapter 7] have been and continue to be key organisations in the history of technical and commercial education particularly in the examination of these disciplines.

Following the Great Exhibition the Society of Arts organised a series of lectures focusing on the lessons learnt from the event. Lyon Playfair (1818-1898) [see biography] delivered a powerful plea for technical instruction and industrial research (1). He said “Raw material, formerly our capital advantage over other nations, is gradually being equalised in price, and made available to all by improvements in locomotion, and industry must in future be supported, not by competition of local advantages, but by a competition of intellects” and he continued ‘the cultivators of abstract science- – – -are – – – the horses of the chariot of industry- – -‘. In the establishment of institutions of industrial instruction you, at the same time, create the wanting means for the advantage of science in this country.”

Fortunately these timely and worthy statements were picked up and supported by such key people as the Prince Consort and in 1853 the government, following a statement in parliament, made a commitment to begin to provide systematic support for industry by way of scientific and technological instruction. As a result of this commitment in 1854 the Department of Science and Art was created which would have a profound influence on the subsequent development of education including the teaching of scientific and technical subjects. The new Department merged with an earlier more niche Department namely the Department of Practical Art that had been established in 1840 to create the new Department of Science and Art. As a result the new Department assumed the control of art and design in addition to its responsibility for science. The Department was initially part of the Board of Trade and its primary purpose was to promote and encourage scientific and technical education. In 1854 the new Department assumed responsibility for the management of the Government School of Mines that had been in existence since 1852. The Department then merged the School of Mines with the Royal College of Chemistry – a private institution since 1845. These developments can be seen as the beginning of directly state supported technological higher education in England. Scotland and Ireland already had professorial chairs endowed/subsidised by the government in science and engineering.

The Board of Trade had limited experience in education even though since 1837 it had administered grants for the Schools of Design but as evidence from the Great Exhibition had shown our product design had been fairly weak and marginal when compared with our competitors. The new Department, although a long overdue development, was ill equipped to motivate and elicit industrial instruction. England’s national system of elementary/primary education was still twenty years away, and there was no semblance of a system for technical education. Another negative force was that politicians and industrial leaders continued to be wedded to the philosophy of free enterprise. This approach was opposite to that on the Continent where State funding was readily available. The approach in England was still driven by voluntarism and free enterprise i.e. a laissez faire philosophy that reinforced a characteristic that has dominated many critical developments in our history e.g. private investment, the free market and individual endeavour. Many of these are not bad in themselves but when operated in unchecked forms can create all sorts of negative consequences – just look at the current (2009) recession when non-existent regulation and the free markets practice ran riot.

The Departmental structures gradually evolved in the light of experience and in 1857 the Education Department was created which assumed control of the Department of Science and Art. Two Departments were then established one for elementary education based at Whitehall and the other for Science and Art based at South Kensington. The Department attempted to establish a science school in London but this did not succeed and in 1859 a payment-by-results scheme was created for improving science teaching in a variety of institutions offering instruction at the time. This programme provide financial assistance to create classes in chemistry, geology, mathematics and physics as well as paying teachers who had passed the Department’s examination according to the number of their pupils who passed examinations. Rewards took a number of forms – pupils could be given exhibitions, prizes and scholarships whilst institutions were given grants towards purchasing books and scientific equipment. In spite of some drawbacks that would become evident later overall the payment by results scheme was a success. It did stimulate and incentivise teachers and pupils to study science and technical subjects. For example in 1862 the scheme dealt with 2,543 in 70 schools/teaching institutions and in 1872 the numbers had risen to 36,783 pupils in 948 schools/institutions (2). The scheme was expanded over the years following its introduction to embrace 25 subjects. One perplexing aspect of the scheme was that there was still no state control over institutions where science was taught. Even though Thomas Huxley recognised the short comings of the payment by results scheme he said it was an ‘engine for forcing science into ordinary education.’

In retrospect the creation of the Department of Science and Art can be seen as a significant contribution to the development of the education system for this country particularly for technical education. Its formation was most certainly a positive consequence of the 1851 Great Exhibition highlighting the importance of science, design and art in manufacturing and the need to improve our competitiveness with other European countries and America. The Department initially provided grants for arts and design helping to create the Royal College of Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Therefore at last the government and state began to get directly involved in education. As a result a national system began to slowly evolve with government support but the view still persisted that it was not a direct function of the State to support technical education as the role of the Science and Art Department was to encourage and seek voluntary funding from the Livery Companies of London. From 1853 the Department began to support the creation of experimental schools and as a result Science Schools often in conjunction with Schools of Navigation were established across the country including Leeds, Newcastle, Wigan and Truro. Unfortunately many of these schools failed and by 1859 only Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bristol and Wigan survived only enrolling only 395 students in all.

In addition to the Department of Science and Art providing support for the development of technical education the Society of Arts also continued to be a significant player in its development. For example it continued to actively support the Mechanics’ Institution movement and in 1852 convened a conference of the Unions* of the Mechanics’ Institutions to discuss ways of further promoting and enhancing the movement. One very important consequence of the conference was the development of an examination system for technical and commercial subjects [see the history of technical and commercial examinations]. The diplomas so awarded for the first time recognised the efforts of the students and most certainly acted as an incentive particularly for students studying in the evenings. However this important development was received by many employers with suspicion as they were still not convinced that industry needed technically and scientifically trained personnel.

*The Unions were groups of Institutions and a good example of one was founded in Yorkshire that comprised 100 affiliated branches and 20,000 members. In 1853 the secretary of the Yorkshire Union James Hole suggested in a seminal essay (3) that the Mechanics’ Institutions should further develop and become constituent colleges of a national industrial university. As a result of this very far-sighted suggestion James Hole was awarded a prize by the Society of Arts but sadly the idea was too radical and did not progress further.

The Great Exhibition had provided a long overdue stimulation and added impetus to the development of technical education. The Society of Arts and the Department of Science and Art continued for a few years after the Great Exhibition to promote technical education each from different perspectives; the Society representing private enterprise and the Department representing the first faltering steps of state intervention and parliamentary responsibility.

Additional Information on Art Schools

So far the state had played little or no part in the development of education however one exception was in art and design. The first tangible example of state intervention was in 1835 with the creation of Schools of Design and the granting of money for elementary education. This development was supported by a number of manufacturers who argued that the state had a duty to make grants to improve their trade. Later in 1837 the Board of Trade established a Council of the Government School of Design and in 1841 granted a sum of £10,000 to create a number of Schools of Design in key manufacturing areas. Interestingly the Council tried to encourage the towns in receipt of the grants to link the Schools of Design to the local Mechanics’ Institutions but many towns refused and kept the institutions separate. This is one of the reasons that since the mid-19th century many towns and cities have maintained separate Schools of Art many of which evolved from the Schools of Design. However many did subsequently merge with technical colleges and universities but the art and design disciplines have played a significant part in the development of technical and vocational education. Many Colleges of Technology/Further Education had and still have excellent departments /Faculties of Art and Design that complement the Colleges of Art. The Great Exhibition also stimulated the government to appoint a select committee in the operation of Schools of Design and in 1852 it was established under the auspices of the Board of Trade which lead the merger that created the new Department of Science and ultimately the Department of Science and Art mentioned above.

Reflections of the barriers and resistances to the development of a national system of technical education to this point in time.

It will be helpful at this stage of the history to pause and reflect on some of the issues that have already been identified in the first few chapters. Up to the mid 19th century central government had shown little interest in developing a national system of education at any level – elementary/primary, secondary level or most emphatically not technical education/instruction – preferring to adopt a laissez faire approach. Most of the developments particularly in technical education were as a result of initiatives and contributions from a few far-sighted individuals that were not consistently recognised or acknowledged by politicians. People like Lyon Playfair, Bernhard Samuelson, and Thomas Huxley continued to face prejudice, inertia and complacency. But thankfully they continued their efforts and were joined later by other visionaries like Philip Magnus [see biography]. Many of these individuals were concerned about increasing overseas competition and the commitment of other countries to technical and commercial education. These early attempts to create a sustainable system of technical education failed because of a number of negative forces that included:

  • A non-existent national system of elementary education and a totally inadequate basic/elementary education of the workers/artisans
  • The limited influence that such a small number of existing schools and education institutions could have to make an effective and sustained impact across the country i.e. the lack of the necessary critical mass.
  • The continued equivocation by government to get directly involved in developing a national education system
  • The continued suspicion and resistance by the majority of employers to accept the value of accessing the opportunities afforded of technical education for their workers
  • The almost total neglect of provision for females. One depressing feature and fact is the absence of references to women and their education and training at this time in the historical source materials. Little or nothing can be readily identified promoting education for females. It obviously reflected the male dominated society and hostile culture at the time towards women and their emancipation. Clearly highly questionable attitudes and perceptions about the role and place of women in society existed and created massive barriers for women to get involved in educational reform. What limited provision existed in schools and institutions was associated reinforced the ludicrous belief that the women’s place was in the home or in domestic service. The belief of the stereotypical roles of women has most certainly held back the equality issues that continue to be discussed even today.

A portrait of Bernhard Samuelson is shown opposite he was supported by many people who were omitted to the development of technical education on his enquiry.

Bernard Samuelson

The influence of the Dissenting Academies, Mechanics’ Institutions, and the Working Men’s Colleges and other initiatives linked with the technical education for the workers also helped to lay the foundations of the national system of technical education that was gradually created in the late 19th century and beyond. Although the dissenting academies were a relatively short lived movement it attracted some luminaries such as Joseph Priestley (chemist/ researcher into gases) and John Dalton (chemist/ thermodynamics) and produced a number of influential former pupils who went on to make significant contributions to a wide range of disciplines including science and technology. The Mechanics’ Institutions and Working Men’s Colleges that survived formed the basis for technical colleges and universities established in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

A Word About the Individuals Who Helped Create The Industrial Revolution.

Although the focus of this history is technical education the pioneers of and prime players in the first Industrial Revolution merit a mention. One of the most interesting if not surprising aspects of the first Industrial Revolution was the fact that the pioneers had no opportunities for formal education or training but gained their basic skills from craft apprenticeships, or were self-taught or were naturally gifted innovators and entrepreneurs. James Brindley (1716-1772) (canals), Thomas Telford (1757-1834) (roads), George Stephenson (1781-1848) (engines) and other great engineers began their careers as mechanics and learnt by direct experience in the workshop and on site. Scotland produced many of the most outstanding people some of whom were educated at the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh which excelled in medicine, science and engineering and were far more enlightened than their English counterparts of Oxford and Cambridge. It is interesting to note that the Scottish Primary School movement in the 19th century was the foremost in Europe. 

Although it must be said that at certain times science and the more practical subjects were taught in the English ancient universities and in a number of public and grammar schools, this was an exception rather than the general rule and was not sustained over a period of time for it to achieve the required critical mass and subsequent impact. The achievements of such brilliant engineers as James Brindley (1716-1772) (canals), John Smeaton (1724-1792) (lighthouses and steam engine design), James Hargreaves (1753-1827) and Samuel Crompton (1753-1827) (both involved with cotton and spinning technologies) did not owe much to formal education or state influence as none had seen the inside of any of the universities that existed at the time while other pioneers had attended institutions that were in mainland Europe, or if in England, studied at dissenting institutions [see chapter 5 of this history].

Thomas Telford 1757 - 1834

A portrait of Thomas Telford is shown opposite surrounded by some of his constructions and plans. In addition groups of like-minded engineers and scientists formed societies across the country such as the Lunar Society in Birmingham founded around 1766 that met regularly to discuss the latest ideas and developments in science and technology and included such people as Josiah Wedgwood, Matthew Boulton, John Murdock, Erasmus Darwin and James Watt [see biographies]. One recurring theme from these meetings was criticism of the traditional educational system and its institutions which were dominated by law and theological studies and an almost total neglect of technical and scientific instruction. This oasis that they created in the otherwise technical and science desert is a tribute to these great individuals who contributed so much to eventually gathering the momentum of the Industrial Revolution. In spite of the absence of any formal technical education the achievements of these and other individuals is truly remarkable. They greatly contributed to Britain becoming the first industrial nation and for its size unique in history for its achievements and industrial performance. Outstanding engineering triumphs were manifest throughout the country and beyond its shores whether in shipbuilding, railways, bridges, mining etc. The existence of the empire greatly assisted access to cheap resources, the so called ‘imperial bonus,’ but again even accepting this highly questionable advantage the magnitude of the achievements of these pioneers was truly remarkable. A portrait of James Brindley is shown opposite.


Chapter 7 will continue to describe the progress in the development of technical education including the continuing positive consequences of the Great Exhibition, the beginning of improvements in higher education, the various Royal Commissions and the creation of the City and Guilds Institute of London.


(1)  Playfair. L. ‘Lectures on the Results of the Great Exhibition of 1851.’ Journal SoA. 1852. (2) Balfour. G. ‘The Educational Systems of Great Britain and Ireland. Clarendon Press. 1903.

(3)  Hole. J. ‘An Essay on the History and Management of Literary, Scientific and Mechanics Institutes.’ Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans. 1853.

A more comprehensive book list is provided on this sitea long with a comprehensive chronology and glossary.

George Birkbeck (1776 – 1841)

Educator, Physician, Philanthropist and Innovator of education for workers and artisans

Even though Birmingham may claim to have had the first Mechanics’ Institute in Britain the initial idea emanated from Scotland and Birkbeck was the instigator and driving force behind their creation [see history of technical education]. Born to a Quaker family in Settle, Yorkshire in 1776 he was educated at Sedbergh school and Edinburgh University. He qualified as a doctor of Medicine in 1799 and was appointed Professor of Natural Philosophy at the Anderson’s Institute in Glasgow at the age of 23. The Anderson’s Institute had been founded following a bequest by John Anderson Professor of Physics at Glasgow University. John Anderson left most of his money to provide education for the “working and unacademic classes” and this led to the creation of the Anderson’s College (see biography of the Anderson’s College and to John Anderson on this website). Birkbeck required equipment for his lectures and research e.g. a centrifugal pump, and commissioned work from a Glasgow workshop. He found to his surprise and delight that the workers wanted to know the principles of the apparatus.

To capture the commitment and foresight possessed by George Birkbeck it is worth quoting him: “I beheld, through every disadvantage of circumstance and appearance, such strong indications of the existence of unquenchable spirit, – – – -. Why are these minds left without the means of obtaining that knowledge which they so ardently desire, and why are the avenues of science barred against them because they are poor? It was impossible not to determine that obstacle should be removed”. As a result he invited them to attend his classes and subsequently opened a mechanics’ class especially for them on Saturday evenings. They readily accepted his invitation and the attendances steadily grew – 75 at the first, rising to 500 for the fourth. The course lasted three months. The course was repeated each year until Birkbeck left Glasgow in 1804 and continued to lecture on science in Birmingham, Liverpool and Hull, finally settling in London. Whilst in London he involved himself in a wide range of scientific and philanthropic causes and societies ranging from the abolition of the employment of child chimney sweeps to meteorology. He also continued his interest in the education of the working classes and in 1809 he was instrumental with others in creating the London Institute located in King’s Arm Yard and later at Finsbury Circus. The Institute encouraged the pursuit of scientific and literary topics to the more educated populous.

However in 1823 he wrote an essay on the need for scientific education of the working classes similar to the model he had developed in Glasgow. Also in London a number of individuals namely J. Robertson and T. Hodgskin were interested in establishing educational establishments that would promulgate economic, political and social emancipation. George Birkbeck with the help of his friend Francis Place offered assistance to these individuals and got involved in fund raising and developing wider interest in the initiative. During this development period the emanatory mission was significantly reduced. A meeting was held at the Crown and Anchor Tavern on the Strand on the 11th November 1823 with an attendance of 2,000 and this led to the establishment of the London Mechanics’ Institution. Following a number of relocations and reorganisations the Institution was renamed the Birkbeck Literary and Scientific Institution in 1866 and in 1907 became known as Birkbeck College. This pioneering institution ultimately became part of the University of London and has remained true to his values and is a fitting tribute to this great man. George Birkbeck passionately believed that the Mechanics’ Institutions were a vehicle for self improvement of the workers and as a result a means of liberating their minds. Very few of the Mechanics’ Institutions realised his worthy and high minded beliefs but they did lay the foundations of technical education [See the history of technical education]. A man of great vision, he realised the danger of excluding the vast majority of society from any form of education and its negative impact on the motivation and productivity of the workforce.


  1. Kelly, T. ‘George Birkbeck, Pioneer of Adult Education.’ Liverpool University Press. 1957.

Godard. J. G. ‘George Birkbeck the Pioneer of Popular Education’. Bemrose and Sons London/Derby. 1884.

Henry Brougham (1778 – 1868)

Journalist, Politician – Lord Chancellor 1830 to 1834), Scientist, Writer, one of the founders of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, the London Mechanics’ Institution and University of London and a great supporter of the Mechanics’ Institution Movement.Born in Edinburgh and entered Edinburgh University at the age of 14 to study mathematics and natural science. Interested in optics he wrote and published a number of scientific papers through the Royal Society including a seminal paper entitled ‘Experiments and Observations of the Infection, Reflection and Colours of Light’ and delivered whilst he was still a student. At the age of 25 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. He also studied law and decided to become a practising lawyer but practised mainly in London having entering Lincoln’s Inn in 1803 and in 1808 was called to the bar. To supplement his income he also became a journalist and subsequently was involved with others in the founding of the Edinburgh Review in 1802 for which he wrote 35 articles in the first two years. The Edinburgh Review quickly established itself as one of the most influential political publications of the 19th century. A portrait of Brougham is shown below.

Henry Brougham

Brougham was a prolific writer covering a very wide range of topics ranging through the arts, mathematics, politics and science reflecting his interests and remarkable ability and commitment to education and social issues. Elected as an MP in Winchelsea he became very active in Parliament where he was often perceived as being too radical and as a result many of his ideas and attempts at reform were defeated. In 1830 he was appointed Lord Chancellor and was influential in getting the Great Reform Act of 1832 through parliament and also involved in instigating significant reforms to the legal system in England and Wales. Brougham campaigned on specific issues rather than toeing the party line and this eventually brought his ministerial career as a Whig to an end in 1834 and after 1840 he aligned himself with the Tories and remained active in the House of Lords. A portrait of Henry Brougham is shown opposite.

Throughout his political career he was a strong advocate of mass state education and educational reform particularly in regard to technical education. It was his commitment and support of technical education and the Mechanics’ Institutions that made him such a remarkable and farsighted individual. Throughout his life he supported the Ragged Schools Union and the Mechanics’ Institutions movement. Unfortunately his ideas on educational reform were ahead of his time and unpopular. Educational bills that he attempted to introduce were systematically defeated between 1820 and 1839. He was a key figure in the creation of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (SDUK) [see history of technical education]. He actively promoted technical education and the Mechanics’ Institutions through a series of inexpensive publications produced for the SDUK having appointed a well respected publisher Charles Knight [see biographies] to oversee these publications. He was very directly involved in the production of many of these publications e.g. the Library of Useful Knowledge (started in 1827) and other fascinating sets of publications issued by the SDUK including titles such as the Penny Cyclopedia 1833-1844), Penny Magazine (1832-1845) and the Quarterly Journal of Education (1831-1836). A typical scene at a Ragged School Instutution is shown opposite.

Ragged School Youth's Institute

He was instrumental in creating with others the London Mechanics’ Institute in 1823 In 1825 he wrote a seminal pamphlet ‘ Practical Observations upon the Education of People’ that helped to popularise Mechanics’ Institutions. He became President of the Club and Institute Union (created in 1862) which was closely associated with the Working Men’s Clubs and Institutes. He was Vice-President of the British and Foreign School Society. Brougham sat on the Senate of the newly established University of London with Michael Faraday. He was a strong advocate for the rights of women and against slavery. Henry Brougham was a remarkable individual and reformer in many aspects of education and social affairs and a key figure in the development of technical education.

He also has the distinction of making the longest speech in the House of Commons lasting six hours!


  1. Cavenagh. F.A. ‘Lord Brougham.’ Journal of Adult Education. Vol. IV. 1929.


Sir Lyon Playfair (1818 – 1898)

Chemist, Liberal Politician – Committed Advocate for Technical Education

Born in Bengal India where his father was the Chief Inspector-General of Hospitals. He returned to Scotland to live with his uncle and received his school education in St Andrew’s. He enrolled at the University of St Andrews at the age of 14 but found the courses uninspiring and after leaving the university entered his uncle’s commercial business but again found this unfulfilling. In 1835 he studied medicine at the Andersons/Andersonian College in Glasgow but quickly became very interested in chemistry being greatly influenced by one of his tutors namely Thomas Graham (1805-1869) and as a result devoted more time to chemistry than medicine. After Graham left Glasgow to go to University College London Playfair moved from Glasgow to Edinburgh University to continue his medical studies. Unfortunately ill health caused him to discontinue his studies and he returned to India to help in his fathers business but he soon became bored and returned to London to work with Thomas Graham.

It was at this time he decided to make a career in science and following Graham’s advice went to Germany to study at Giessen in Justus von Liebig’s (1803-1873) laboratory. He received a PhD in Chemistry and returned to Britain in 1840 very fluent in German and a great supporter of the Germany system of science and technical education and this would continue to be a great influence in his subsequent career. He worked briefly at the Primrose calico works at Clitheroe and after its closure undertook unpaid lecturing at the short-lived Manchester Royal Institution. He was offered a chair in chemistry at Toronto but was talked out of accepting it be the then Prime Minister Robert Peel. After another lecturing stint at Manchester he was then involved in some research into the composition of gases from blast furnaces and carried out this in conjunction with the famous German chemist Robert Bunsen (1811-1899). It was at this time that the government asked him to become involved in a series of Royal Commissions something which occupied him throughout his remaining life. The Royal Commissions included ones studying the potato famine in Ireland and the state of the toilets at Buckingham Palace. Whilst working at the Geological Survey Playfair carried out some fundamental chemical research into a group of salts that subsequently were used to help vascular disorders.

One of his most significant government appointments was made in 1850 as Special Commissioner as well as the honorary secretary to the Commission for the Great Exhibition that was to be housed in the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park [see chapter history regarding the Great Exhibition]. Following the success of the Great Exhibition held in 1851 Playfair became great friends with the Prince Consort (1819-1861) who himself as a German citizen and educated in Germany shared a commitment to technical education and provided significant support to advocates of technical education during his life. The profits made from the Great Exhibition were used to purchase the grounds on which the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Albert Hall and Imperial College were subsequently built.

In 1852 Playfair was appointed joint secretary of the newly created Department of Science and Art (DSA) that was part of then Board of Trade where he very actively promoted the development of technical education. But his political work achieved little and he left his part-time government role in 1858 and took a chair in chemistry at the University of Edinburgh. He carried out little chemistry research but focused his energies on reforming the teaching of chemistry and the university’s administration. He was president of the Chemical Society (now the Royal Society of Chemistry) between 1857 and 1859 and as his involvement in chemistry declined he resigned his chair at Edinburgh in 1868 and decided to enter politics full-time. He was eventually elected as a Liberal member of parliament for the Universities of Edinburgh and St. Andrews. Lyon Playfair held a number of senior positions in government including Postmaster General, Vice-President of the Council of Education and Deputy Speaker of the House and continued to speak on issues associated with education and public health. He was knighted in 1883 and then represented Leeds South from 1885 to 1892. After his peerage he took his seat in the Lords in 1892.

In 1864 he proposed to the Senate of Edinburgh University the introduction of Science degrees. The Senate agreed and degrees were offered in five areas namely; Mental Science, Philology, Natural Science, Mathematical Science and Physical Science.

One fascinating aspect of Playfair was that he was a noted and practicing scientist, a rare figure in politics, most certainly then and sadly still a rarity. In 1885 he was President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. Playfair travelled extensively in Europe and America where what he witnessed showed how poorly the performance of the English technical education system compared. He wrote a letter to the Schools Inquiry Commission (1867) chaired by Lord Taunton highlighting the weaknesses in manufacturing and mechanical industry and instruction in this country and made a strong plea for this to be considered by the Commission. Unsurprisingly as with many other visionaries his pronouncements went largely unheeded and little progress was made in the development of technical education.

On his return from the Paris Exhibition in 1867 where Britain had performed relatively poorly he stated: “ The one cause of this inferiority upon which there was most unanimity”, he said, “is that France, Prussia, Austria, Belgium and Switzerland possess good systems of industrial education for the masters and managers of factories and that England possesses none” This decline could be seen by comparing the number of palms of excellence awarded to Britain at the Great Exhibition (1851) and that in Paris (1867). In 1851 Britain exhibited in 100 different departments and was awarded the palm in the majority whilst in 1867 only 10 were awarded out of 90 department entries. Even though the Great Exhibition was a significant stimulus to the promotion of science and technology in Britain it failed to be sustained being let down by a weak system of technical education. Playfair continued to sound the alarm bells about the future of Britain’s international industrial competitiveness and performance and predicted the emergence of America and Germany as the major competitors to Britain.

He wrote and lectured extensively on science, education, public health and social welfare issues. One fascinating and recurring theme he raised was that although Britain initially possessed an advantage because of cheap and readily available resources, ultimately the final victory in industrial power and performance would be with nations that commanded the greatest scientific skills. He continued to have a great ally in Prince Albert, who had studied in Germany and maintained a strong lasting interest and support for science and technology. Indeed it was Albert who requested that Playfair tour Europe to study first hand technical education. One of his greatest supporters and someone who continued to lobby for science and technology was the great scientist Thomas Huxley (1825-1895) (see biography on this website). In spite of all the efforts of these visionaries little progress or improvement was made in the quality of technical and scientific education. Playfair spent most of his life as an advisor for the government extolling the importance of scientific and technical education and actively promoting industry to adopt the advances in science and technology. Playfair was a remarkable individual not only as a scientist, politician but also one of the first who correctly advocated the crucial role that technical education would play in the future wealth of any country – a prophet, and a man well before his time.


Reid. W. ‘Memoirs and Correspondence of Lyon Playfair.’ Cassell. 1899.

Armytage. W.H.G. ‘Lyon Playfair and Technical Education in Britain.’ Nature. 161. Pages 752-753. May 1948.

Jones. R. V. Nature. Pages 105-111. 1963

The Spitalfields Mathematical Society 1717 to 1846.

A fascinating example of a working men’s club was a small but influential movement founded in 1717 by Joseph Middleton. Initially called the “Mathematical Society” it later became known as the “Spitalfields Mathematical Society.” Middleton was a marine engineer who taught the mathematical elements of the skills associated with navigation for sailors. A rare portrait of Joseph Middleton is shown below.


Joseph Middleton, British mathematician

Membership was initially fixed at 64 i.e. the square of eight but initially this was revised down to the square of 7. However throughout its existence the membership fluctuated between 19 (not a squared number) in (1845) to a maximum of the square of 9 in (1804). I presume the use of the square for the number for the membership was to emphasis the mathematical nature of the Society? The membership comprised tradesmen and artisans that including bakers, braziers, brewers and bricklayers but the largest majority were weavers. The Spitalfields area was one of the centres for Huguenot craftspeople many involved in weaving and the weavers were interested and required to apply mathematics in their craft e.g. the importance of angles in thread design. The membership eventually included a number of noted mathematicians and senior individuals from industry such as Johm Canton, John Dolland, Thomas Simpson and Crossley. A portrait of John Dollard is shown below


Unfortunately at present I cannot trace the first names of the other individuals. Another emember was Benjamin Gompertz (law of mortality). There were no entry requirements except an interest and love of mathematics and the Society met weekly for three hours in local pubs in the Spitalfields area.

The three hour sessions comprised talks on mathematics, solving mathematical problems and the third hour members performed experiments on pieces of scientific equipment existing at that time including electrical devices, pneumatic pumps, reflecting microscopes and telescopes. The middle hour was conducted in silence whilst solving problems and a regime of fines was introduced if members broke the silence, used bad language, gambled or behaved riotously. The venue changed a number of times during its existence and in 1793 eventually was permanently located in a room in Crispin Street but all the venues were based in Spitalfields.

The records make fascinating reading and indicate dynamic yet at times quite turbulent meetings. At times during its existence the Society experienced problem with a gang of informers who accused the Society for charging for unlicensed lectures. As a result the Society was involved in a court case which they eventual won. The Society had to raise money in order to cover the legal costs associated with the case. The records indicate the degree of bad feeling this incident caused. The minutes record : “- – produce of lectures delivered in 1799-1800 had been materially diminished by the effect of the information lodged against several of the members by a Gang of Informers, who have occasioned so much trouble and expense to the Society during the pat year.” At other times there were arguments about the fees charged for the sessions and the fines that were imposed for a misdemeanours mentioned above. The Society created an extensive library with over 3000 volumes from which members could borrow books and pieces of equipment for a small fee. The membership grow to the square of 9 and in 1804 the Society introduced a constitution with a president, secretary, treasurer and six trustees. As more professional mathematicians joined the lecture programmes became more specialised and focussed including the following topics: 3 on astronomy 6 on chemistry 2 on electricity 1 on galvanism 2 on hydrostatics 1 on magnetism 2 on optics 1 on pneumatics. Interesting to note the high profile of chemistry. A fee of 1 shilling per lecture and 15 shillings for the complete lecture programme was charged.

(Source: The University of St. Andrews History of Mathematics Centre).

A number of the members such as John Dollond went on to establish the famous optical instruments company of that name and Thomas Simpson a famous mathematician became best known for the Simpson Rule and probability theory. One of the reasons for the increase in membership was as a result of taking over other mathematical and historical societies. But by 1845 the membership had declined to 19 due to the rise of mechanics institutes in London, the decline of handloom weaving and trade recessions of the 1840s and the Society agreed to be absorbed/amalgamated with the Royal Astronomical Society in 1846. All 19 of the remaining members were made fellows of the Royal Astronomical Society. The dissolution and amalgamation was steered through by Captain Smyth who later became an Admiral in he Royal Navy – note the marine connection with the founder Joseph Middleton. The legacy of the Spitalfields Mathematical Society was significant and influenced the establishment of other Mathematical Societies e.g. the London Mathematical Society (LMS) that was created in 1865. Other similar societies existed in Lancashire and Yorkshire and again the membership largely comprised of weavers emphasising the importance placed on mathematics by this craft.

Cawthorne. H.H. ‘The Spitalfields Mathematical Society’. (1717 – 1845). Journal of Adult Education. Vol. 111. No. 2. (April 1929). Cassels. J.W.S. ‘The Spitalfield Mathematical Society’ Bulletin of LMS. 11 p. 241 – 258. 1979.

Charles Babbage (1791-1871)

Mathematician, Philosopher and orginator of computing science

Charles Babbage was born in Devon in 1792 into a wealthy banking family. Because of ill health when young he received much of his early education privately and through self study when he discovered his interest in mathematics. He studied mathematics at Trinity and Peterhouse, Cambridge with great distinction although he failed to gain honours and was subsequently awarded an honorary degree in 1814 without being examined. Charles Babbage is mainly known now as the founding father of computer science and for his contributions to computer technology. His work in this area was inspired by the work of J.M. Jacquard who invented a loom that could be coded/programmed to produce repetitive patterns. At this time high error rates existed in the computation of mathematical tables and Babbage attempted to devise machines to remove this human error by mechanical means. Babbage spent a great deal of his life and fortune on designing and inventing ‘difference machines’ that subsequently laid the foundations for computing science and technology. He designed the Difference Machine and later the Analytical Machine that could perform practically all the then known mathematical operations. Unfortunately the necessary materials and technical facilities were not available at the time so his great machines were never able to crank out answers. However his ideas did lay the foundations of computing science developed decades later. Babbage was truly an individual ahead of his time and many of his ideas were viewed with suspicion and dismissed as unworkable though decades later he was recognised as a great innovator and visionary. His frustration and unhappy experiences with getting these machines recognised and the lack of financial support from government made him highly critical of the state of science at the time and the future prospects for science and technology and hence the education of these subjects in England. For example throughout his life he was a vigorous campaigner against the policies of the Royal Society of which he was a Fellow. He made several attempts to reform the Society but all his suggestions were initially ignored but eventually with support did bring about major reforms of the Society.

Baggage was also critical about the health of mathematics in England arguing that during the late 18th century the country had fallen behind its continental counterparts. He criticised his own mathematical studies at Cambridge that he thought were outdated. He became interested and impressed with the work of the continental mathematicians particularly those in France e.g. Lacroix. He was an active member of the ‘Analytical Society’ whose aim was the reform of English mathematics and to undertake translations of continental mathematical texts. By this time Babbage held the Newtonian chair of Mathematics at Cambridge (1828+).

A man of many interests he was very interested in the consequences and challenges of the emerging technological society analysing the interactions between science, technology and society. This aspect reinforced his concern about the decline of science and the inadequate state of science and technical education in England which led to the publication in 1830 of the book entitled ‘Reflections on the Decline of Science in England’ which was instrumental in establishing the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1831.It was his concern about the ineffective use and application of science in industrial processes that made him a strong advocate of scientific and technical education. Another key book was ‘The Exposition of 1851’ published after the Great Exhibition of 1851 when Babbage defined man as a tool making animal. This important definition was restated by Singer in his seminal series of books (1) that again highlighted how farsighted Babbage was. ‘What is man? —- Man makes things, but so do many animals; man shapes objects into tools, but so do few animals; man alone makes tools with which to make other tools’ Through his writings he because an influential promoter of the factory system advocating the importance of increased mechanisation and the system of the division of labour. These and other farseeing ideas were to have a profound impact on industrial production and ultimately on how technical education developed.
As well as being instrumental in founding the British Association for the Advancement of Science he played a significant role in the creation of the Astronomical Society (1820) and the Statistical Society (1834). Babbage was one of a few individuals e.g. A.W. Hoffman, W.G. Armstrong and Co. of Newcastle and Lyon Playfair [see biographies] who were strong advocates of technical education. Other achievements of this remarkable individual included a set of logarithm tables from 1 to 108,000, the standard gauge railway, improved lighting for lighthouses, the dynometer and the cowcatcher. Although many writers have said Babbage’s life was one of continual disappointment he was a remarkable individual, a true polymath, whom history has now acknowledged.


Of the many publications of Charles Babbage four merit referencing namely: ‘The Decline of Science in England, and some of its causes’. (1830), ‘The Exposition of 1851; or Views of the Industry, the Science and the Government’. (1851), ‘Economy of Manufactures and Machinery’. ( 1832) and ‘Passages from the Life of a Philosopher’. ( 1864). Incidentally the Cambridge University Press (CUP) is to soon reissue the first two of these seminal works

His legacy is to be found in the Societies he helped to create and most certainly the recognition as the founding father of computation science/technology and operational research.


  1. Singer. C, Holmyard. E.J. Hall.A.R. and Williams. T.I. ‘The History of Technology.’ OUP. 1958-1962. 5 volumes.
  2. An excellent overview of Charles Babbage life and achievements is to be found in: ‘Charles Babbage and his Calculating Machines.’ Edited by P. and E Morrison. Dover. 1961.

Footnote: A replica of the Difference Machine capable of calculating to 31 digits is housed in the British Museum and is testimony to the accuracy of his work. See image opposite of one of his machines.

Learned Societies and Professional Societies/Institutions

The foundation and development of learned and professional organisations representing science and technical disciplines is a fascinating study in its own right. Any study of their history identifies many similar issues that characterised the evolution of technical and scientific education. In addition analysis highlights the differences in the way disciplines developed and achieved recognition particularly during the late 18th and throughout the 19th centuries. The disciplines in both science and technology were in rapid transition and had to fight to gain recognition and a place in the education system during the 18th and 19th centuries.

I intend to write about the historical development of science education particularly in relationship to that of technical education at a later stage. Before the Industrial Revolution science had little impact on the lives of ordinary people except in areas that involved navigation and the military i.e. war. Science was perceived as exclusive and the domain of the gentry, the enthusiastic rich amateur, the royal courts and the then narrow world of academia. In addition benefactors often supported a number of gifted amateurs financially to undertake their scientific researches. The first scientific learned societies/institutions reflected this fact and as a result were exclusive and elitist and as Armytage (1) so aptly defined the time of their foundation as the aristocratic period.

The Industrial Revolution was driven by gifted and creative individuals most of whom had not attended university and had learnt their skills through direct experience of their respective trades and crafts and in some cases apprenticeship programmes (see biography on this website). For understandable reasons they were prone to be protective of their discoveries, processes and products and seldom shared their ideas. However as the Industrial Revolution gained momentum and pace scientific and technological discoveries blossomed resulting in an increased need for improved communication between individuals and industries. As a result a greater sense on industrial identity gradually developed creating a sense of community, corporatism and spirit across the evolving specialisms in science and technology. This led in turn to the need to establish institutions/societies representing specific areas of scientific, technical and industrial activity. Initially these institutions represented the more general aspects of the activity, discipline or subject but gradually more specialist institutions evolved in the 20th century. These distinct periods are shown below but the list is by no means complete but only illustrates the foundation of many of the key institutions/societies. What distinguishes learned societies is that they represent specific disciplines e.g. statistics, science and amongst other activities organise conferences, seminars and symposia on specialised topics and many operate publishing houses. The majority of professional organisations were and still are independent institutions that promote their disciplines and the specialist knowledge, skills, competences and professional conduct expected of their members. In addition many establish entry standards and encourage the professional status of their respective disciplines. A number accredit university and college programmes involved with their subjects whilst some set their own examinations for the various membership grades. Qualifications to gain entry to certain occupations began in the second half of the 19th century and added much to the status, recognition and development of technical and industrial education and subsequent occupations. For example the Institution of Civil Engineers established examinations in 1897 whilst the Institution of Mechanical Engineering and the Institution of Electrical Engineers introduced examinations in 1912 and 1913 respectively. Many of the institutions work closely with colleges and universities. The number offering examinations have reduced as more universities were established and various qualification reviews and reforms were introduced e.g. the creation of NCVQ. But to provide a scale of provision in 1964 Millerson (2) listed about 160 qualifying organisations with about 80 in science and technology, about 50 in commerce, sociology and law and around 12 in agriculture. There were approximately 120 that conducted their own examinations. Over the years many of the professional institutions have conducted surveys, commissioned inquiries and reports and lobbied governments communicating their concerns about the quality of technical and vocational education and training of people entering their professions.

List of Institutions/Societies and the dates of foundation

The Beginning (The Aristocratic Period)
Date of Foundation Society/Institution: 1660 /The Royal Society 1754. /The  Society for the Encouragement of Arts. 1771/ The Royal Physical Society of Edinburgh. 1783/ The Royal Society of Edinburgh. 1799 /The Royal Institution of Great Britain. 1804/ The Royal Horticultural Society. 1831/ The British Association for the Advancement of Science.

General/Specialist-Professional Periods
Date of Foundation Society/Institution:  1717/ Institution of Royal Engineers.1788/ Linnean Society of London. 1807/ Geological Society of London. 1818 / The Institute of Civil Engineers. 1819 / The Royal Microscopic Society. 1820/ Royal Astronomical Society. 1826/ Zoological Society. 1830/ Royal Geographical Society. 1834/ The Institute of Building, The Royal Institute of Architects, Royal Statistical Society, Society of Engineering. 1838/ The Royal Agricultural Society of England. 1841/ The Chemical Society, Royal Pharmaceutical Society. 1847/ The Institution of Mechanical Engineers. (First president George Stephenson who was instrumental in establishing the Institution following the refusal by the Institute of Civil Engineers to admit him without submitting an essay to satisfy his competence!). 1854/ Society of Engineers (Incorporated the Civil and Mechanical Engineers’ Society (f.1859) in 1910). 1855/ Geologists’ Associated.1860/ The Institution of Naval Architects. 1863/ The Institution of Gas Engineers (Now known as Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers. 1865/ London Mathematical Society. 1866/ The Royal Aeronautical Society (Incorporated the Institution of Aeronautical Engineers (f.1919) and the Helicopter Association of GB (f.1945) in 1960).

1869/ The Iron and Steel Institute (Now known as Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining). 1871/ The Institution of Electrical Engineers (grow out of the Society of Telegraph Engineers renamed the Society of Telegraph Engineers and Electricians in 1850 and became the Institute of Electrical Engineers in 1888 and merged in 2006 with the Institute of Incorporated Engineers to become Institution of Engineering and Technology, Mathematical Society. 1873/ The Institution of Municipal Engineers.1874/ The Society for Analytical Chemistry, The Physical Society (Now known as the Institute of Physics). 1876 /The Royal Society of Health. 1877/ The Institute of Chemistry, Agricultural Engineers Association. 1881/ The Society of the Chemical Industry. 1883/ Edinburgh Mathematical Society. 1886/ The Institute of Brewing. 1887/ Association for the Promotion of Technical Education. 1889/ The Institute of Marine Engineers (Now known as Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology), The Institution of Mining Engineers. 1892/ The Institution of Mining and Metallurgy. 1895/ The Institute of Sanitary Engineers (Now known as Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management), Institute of Engineers- in- Charge (Initially named the Institute of Parochial Engineers). 1896/ The Water-works Institute (Became the Institution of Water Engineers in 1911). 1897/ The Institution of Heating and Ventilation Engineers (Now known as the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers). 1899/ Institute of Refrigeration (Initially named the Cold Storage and Ice Association).

1900/ The Ceramic Society. 1901/ The British Standards Institution (Became the British Standards Institution in 1930), British Academy. 1903/ The Faraday Society. 1904/ The Institute of British Foundrymen, Association of applied Biologists. 1906/ The Institution of Automobile Engineers ,The Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering, Institute of Commerce.  1907/ British Association of Chemists. 1908/ The Institute of Metals ,The Institution of Structural Engineers. 1909/ Illuminating Engineering Society. 1910/ Textiles Institute.1911/ The Junior Institution of Locomotive Engineers, Biochemical Society. 1912/ Institution of Railway Signal Engineers, Institute of Medical Laboratory Technology. 1913/ The Institute of Petroleum, Institute of Personel Management. 1914/ Association of Supervising Engineers. 1916/ The Society of British Aircraft Constructors, Society of Glass Technology. 1917/ The Institute of Quarrying. 1918/ The Institute of Physics (Formerly the Physical Society), Institution of Fire Engineers. 1919/ The Institute of Transport, Institute of Engineering Inspection (Initially named Technical Inspection Association. 1920/ The Institution of the Motor Industry, Society of Radiographers, Society of Consulting Marine and Ship Surveyors. 1921/ The Institution of Production Engineers, The Institution of Rubber Industry. 1922/ The Institution of Chemical Engineers. 1923/ The Institute of Welding/Welding (Institute), Institution of Lighting Engineers, Institution of Royal Engineers. 1925/ The British Institute of Radio Engineers, The Textile Institute. 1927 /The Institute of Fuel (Now known as the Energy Institute), The British Boot and Shoe Institution. 1930/ The Institution of Highway Engineers (Now known as Institution of Highways and Transportation). 1931/ The Institute of Housing, The Plastics Institute. 1934/ Faculty of Radiologists. 1937/ Institute of Export. 1938/ Institution of Agricultural Engineers,Engineers Guild. 1939/ Faculty of Radiographers, Institute of Automobile Assessors. 1943/ Institute of Healthcare Engineering and Estate Management. 1944/ Institute of Measurement and Control. 1945/ Institution of Engineering Designers, Society of Operations Engineers, Institution of Water Officers, Institution of Metallurgists. 1946/ Institution of Plant Engineers, Faculty of Builders. 1947/ Society of Cosmetic Chemists. 1948/ British Institute of Management (Incorporated the Institute of Industrial Administration (f.1919) in 1951). 1949/ Institute of Statisticians, Hotel and Catering Institute. 1950/ The Institute of Biology. 1954/ British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing. 1957/ British Computer Society. 1958/ The Institution of Nuclear Engineers. 1959/ Society of Environmental Engineers, Institute of Nuclear Engineers, British Academy of Forensic Science. 1960/ Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine. 1961/ Institute of Printing (Merged with Association of Printing Technologists (f.1956) in 1962).1962/ British Nucleur Energy Society. 1964/ Institute of Mathematics and its Applications.1965/ Institute of Highway. Incorporated Engineers. 1971/ Institution of Environmental Sciences. 1974/ The Institute of Acoustics. 1976/ Institute of Building Services Engineering, Royal Academy of Engineering. 1980/ The Royal Society of Chemistry (Previously four separate societies namely The Chemical Society, The Society of Analytical Chemistry, The Royal Institute of Chemistry and The Faraday Society). 1998/ College of Teachers (Was the College of Preceptors). 1999/ Institute of Logistics and Transport. 2001/ Institute of Leadership and Management. 2002/ Institute of Materilas, Minerals and Mining. 2003/ Energy Institute. 2006/ Institution of Engineering and Technology (Successor to Institute of Electrical Engineers and the Institution of Incorporated Engineers)


  1. Armytage. W.H.G. ‘A Social History of Engineering.’ Faber 1961.
  2. Millerson.G. ‘The Qualifying Associations: a study in professionalism.’ RKP. 1964.

December 2010.

The History of Technical and Commercial Examinations

bookiconThis short history of technical and commercial examinations describes the developments of the examination system from the mid-19th century to the present time.

It complements the history of technical education and is significant because it shows how this form of assessment and formal education of competence and fitness developed to validate technical and commercial education and training provision and the achievements of individuals in their fields.


A Short History of Technical Education –Glossary

All areas of human activity create and develop their own specialist language. The area of education and training is no exception to this rule and acronyms, abbreviations and special terms abound. The list below attempts to provide a reference of terms used in post-16 education and training as well as terms associated with schools and Higher Education. Although many of the terms are historical they still appear in many documents. This fourth version of the glossary hopefully will cross reference with the history of technical and vocational education, the history of technical and commercial examinations and the chronology. The list cannot hope to be perfectly accurate or complete but should provide a guide to the terminology, new organisations and initiatives that come and go with increasing rapidity but hopefully the list will be of use to the readership. I have attempted to include material for Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

Updated August 2018


A Advanced level of the GCE

AA Advanced Apprenticeship

AA Adult Apprenticeship

AA Activity Agreement

AACE Army Certificate of Education

AACE Association for Adult and Continuing Education – formed in 1978

AACS Adult Advancement and Career Service

AAD Advanced Apprenticeship Diploma

AAE Association for Adult Education

AAES Association of Agricultural Education Staff

AAI Association of Art Institutions

AAN Apprenticeship Ambassador’s Network

A1 First year of Advanced Study

A2 Second Year of Advanced Study

AB Awarding Body

AB Academic Board

ABE Adult Basic Education

ABC Awarding Body Consortium

ABCC Association of British Correspondence Colleges

ABCC Association of British Chambers of Commerce

ABCTG Administration, Business and Commercial Training Group

ABCUs Association of British Credit Unions

ABLSU Adult Basic Literacy Study Unit

ABRC Advisory Board for the Research Councils

ABSN Adult Basic Skills Numeracy

ABSSU Adult Basic Skills Strategy Unit

AC Academy

AC Area Colleges

AC Audit Commission

ACACE Advisory Council for Adult and Continuing Education

ACARD Advisory Council for Applied Research and Development

ACC Association of County Councils

ACCA Qualification Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales

ACE Advisory Centre for Education

ACE Apprenticeship Certificates England

ACE Army Certificate of Education

ACEG Association for Careers Education and Guidance

ACFEC Advisory Committee on FE for Commerce

ACFHE Association of Colleges for Further and Higher Education – previously known as ATI

ACHMI Audit Commission and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate

ACIOB Associate of the Chartered Institute of Building

ACID Association of Colleges Implementing Dip HE Programmes

ACL Adult and Community Learning

ACL Awards Circular Letter

ACLF Adult and Community Learning Fund

ACM Association for College Management (Merged with CEF to form AoC)

ACME Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education

ACOST Advisory Council on Science and Technology

ACRA Association of College Registrars and Administrators (Now merged with AoC)

ACS Average Class Size

ACS Accredited Certification Scheme

ACSCC Association of Community, Colleges and Centres

ACSP Advisory Council on Scientific Policy – founded in 1947 became CSP

ACSTT Advisory Committee on the Supply and Training of Teachers

ACT Association of Careers Teachers

ACTE Association for Career and Technical Education

ACVET Advisory Committee for Vocational Training

AD Advanced Diploma

ADAR Art and Design Admissions Register/Registry

ADES Association of Directors of Education in Scotland

AdFLAG Adult Financial Literacy Advisory Group

ADO Adult Dyslexia Organisation

AE Adult Education

AE Apprenticeship England

AEA Advanced Extension Awards

AEAS Association of Educational Advisers in Scotland

AEB Associated Examining Board (‘A’ and ‘O’ levels)

AEC Association of Education Committees

AEC Adult Education College

AEIC Advancement of Education in Industry and Commerce founded in 1919

AELP Association of Employment of Learning Providers

AEO Association of Education Officers

AfC Association for Colleges (Merged with CEF to form the AoC)

AFD Additional Foundation Degree places

AFE Advanced Further Education

AFECs Advanced FE Councils – two proposed one for England and one for Wales

AFEIS Advanced Further Education Information Service

AFF Apprenticeship Field Force

AfL Assessment for Learning

AFO Apprenticeship Framework Online

AGCAS Association of Graduate Careers and Advisory Service

AGCS Advisory Group on Content and Standards

AHRC Arts and Humanities Research Council

AIP Advisory Interview Process (Part of New Deal)

ALC Adult Learning Account

ALCES Association of Lecturers in Colleges of Education in Scotland

ALBSU Adult Literacy and Basic Skills Unit

ALC Adult Learning Committee

ALCAB A- level Content Advisory Board

ALE Association for Liberal Education

ALF Average Level of Funding

ALG Adult Learning Grant

ALH Average Lecturer Hours

ALI Adult Learning Inspectorate (Replaced the TSC)

ALL Adult Literacy and Lifeskills Survey

ALLN Adult Literacy, Language and Numeracy

ALM Adult Learning Mathematics

ALMP Active Labour Market Policies

ALN Additional Learning Needs

ALNCFS Adult Literacy and Numeracy Curriculum Framework for Scotland

ALNE Adult Literacy, Numeracy and ESOL

ALP Association of Learning Providers

ALRA Adult Literacy Resource Agency

ALS Additional Learning Support

ALSSF Adult Literacy Support Services Fund

ALT Association of Learning Technology

ALT Association of Lecturers and Teachers

ALU Adult Literacy Unit

ALW Adult Learners’ Week

AM/Adm Memo Administrative Memorandum – communication from government to LEAs

AMA Association of Metropolitan Authorities

AMA Advanced Modern Apprenticeship

aMA Accelerated Modern Apprenticeship

AMB Area Manpower Board (The regional offices of the MSC)

AMS Annual Monitoring Survey

AMSE Associate Member of the Society of Engineers

ANCC Adult Numeracy Core Curriculum

AOs   Awarding Organisations

AoA Association of Agriculture

AoC Association of Colleges merged with NILTA in 2004 – known called AoCNILTA

AoN Application of Number

APA/L Accreditation of Prior Achievement/Learning

APC Association of Principals of Colleges

APEL Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning

API Age Participation Index

APL Accreditation of Prior Learning

App4E Apprenticeships for England

APMG All Party Parliamentary Manufacturing Group

APPG All Party Parliamentary Group (Apprenticeships)

APPG All Party Parliamentary Group

APR Age Participation Rate

APT Advanced Personnel Technology

APT Association of Polytechnic Teachers

APTI Association of Principals of Technical Institutions – founded in 1921

APU Assessment and Performance Unit – established in 1974

APVIC Association of Principals in Sixth Form Colleges

AQA Assessment and Qualifications Alliance

AR Apprenticeship Rate

ARB Assessment Resource Bank

ARCA Adult Residential Colleges Association

ART Association of Art Institutions

AS Advanced Subsidiary Awards (Previously called Advanced Supplementary Awards)

ASB Adult Skills Budget

ASCL Association of School and Colleges Leaders

ASDAN Award Scheme Development and Accreditation Network

ASE Association of Science Education

ASE Amalgamated Society of Engineers

ASET Accreditation Syndicate for Education and Training

ASET Association for Sandwich Education and Training

ASH Average Student Hours

ASL Additional and Specialist Learning

ASLIB Association of Special Libraries and Information Bureaux

ASNs Additional Student Numbers

ASSC Alliance of Sector Skills Councils

AST Advanced Skills Teacher

ASTMS Association of Scientific, Technical and Managerial Staff

AT Attainment Target

AT Academy Trust

ATA Apprenticeship Training Agency

ATB Agriculture Training Board

ATC Adult Training Centre

ATC Accredited Training Centre

ATC Art Teacher’s Certificate

ATC Art Training Centres

ATCDE Association of Teachers in Colleges and Departments of Education

ATD Art Teacher’s Diploma

ATI Association of Technical Institutions – founded in 1894 -became ACFHE

ATL Association of Teachers and Lecturers

ATO Approved Training Organisation

ATO Area Training Organisation –  Established in 1947 – before 1975 there were 23 ATOs

ATS Adult Training Strategy (MSC programme)

ATT Association of Accounting Technicians

ATTI Association of Teachers in Technical Institutions – founded in 1904

AUS Association of University Administrators

AUT Association of University Teachers

AUT (S) Association of University Teachers (Scotland)

AVCE Advanced Vocational Certificate of Education

AVPC Association of Vice-Principals of Colleges


BAAS British Association for the Advancement of Science sometimes referred to as the BA

BAC British Accreditation Council for Independent FE and HE Institutions

BAC British Association of Counselling

BACE British Association for Commercial Education

BACH British Association of Construction Heads

BACIE British Association for Commercial and Industrial Education founded in 1919 under the name of Association for Education and Industry

BAOL British Association for Open Learning

BALID British Association for Literacy in Development

BAME Black and Minority Ethnic

BAPCK British Association for Promoting Cooporative Knowledge

BASIL Basic Skills for Inclusive Learning

BATC Building Apprenticeship and Training Course

B&M Black and Minority Staff

BB British Baccalaureate

BBC – AL BBC–Adult Learning

BCC British Chambers of Commerce

BCED British Council Education Department

BCGA British Commercial Gas Association

BE Basic Employability

BEAEC Board of Education Adult Education Committee

BEAS British Educational Administration Society

BEBS Business Enterprise and Support

BEC British Employers’ Confederation (Now the CBI)

BEC Business Education Council (Established in 1974 by the DES to plan a set of certificates and diplomas other than degrees)

BECTa British Educational Communications and Technology Agency

BEI British Education Index

BEM Business Excellence Model

BEP Business Enterprise Programme

BERA British Educational Research Association

BERR Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

BESA British Educational Supplies Association

BESD Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties

BESE Board of Education Science Examinations

BET Basic Employability Training

BFUW British Federation of University Women Ltd.

BG (S) Business Gateway (Scotland)

BHA British Hospitality Association

BIAE British Institute of Adult Education – founded in 1921 became NIAE in 1949

BILD British Institute of Learning Disabilities

BIM British Institute of Management – founded in 1945

B-IT Business – Improvement Techniques

BIS Business, Innovation and Skills

BITC Business in the Community (BL’s Business Links)

BITES Business IT and Employment Skills Qualifications

BJET British Journal of Educational Technology

BLA British Learning Association

BMA British Manufacturers’ Association founded in 1908

BME Black and Minority Ethic

BoE Board of Education. (1899-1944))

BOND Building on New Deal

BOPUs Basic On Programme Units

BOT/BoT Board of Trade

BPC British Productivity Council

BRE Better Regulation Executive

BRG Bureaucracy Reduction Group

BRTA British Road Tar Association

BRTG Better Regulation Task Group

BS Basic Skills

BSA Basic Skills Agency

BSARC Basic Sills Agency Resource Centre

BSCF Basic Skills Community Fund

BSEA British Steel Export Association founded in 1929

BSF Building Schools for the Future

BSQI Basic Skills Quality Initiative

BSUS Business Start Up

BTEC Business Technician Education Council ( TEC+BEC)

BTF Bureaucracy Task Force

BTG British Technology Group. (NEB + NRDC).

BTP Better Teaching Partnership

BVQR Board for Vocational Qualifications Reform


C. Cd. Cmd. Cmnd. Command Paper

C1, C2 etc First two years of craft course

C/Circ Circular

CA City Academies

CA Credit Accumulation

CA Community Action

CAA Computer Assisted Assessment

CABs Component Awarding Bodies

CABE Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment

CAC Central Advisory Council

CAC (Wales) Central Advisory Council for Wales

CACC Council for the Accreditation of Correspondence Colleges

CACE Central Advisory Council for England and Welsh equivalent CACW

CACGS Computer-Aided Careers Guidance System

CACHE Council for Awards in Children’s Care and Education

CACPD Council for the Advancement of Communication with Deaf People

CACW Central Advisory Council Wales – established in 1951

CAD Computer Aided Design

CAE Computer Aided Engineering

CAEL Council for Adult and Experiential Learning

CAFAS Council for Academic Freedom and Standards

CAFCASS Children and Families Court Advisory and Support Service

CAI Computer Aided Instruction

CAL Computer Aided Learning

CALL Computer Assisted Language Learning

CALLMI Computer Assisted Local Labour Market Information

CAM Computer Aided Manufacture

CAPS Cooperative Awards in Pure Science – replaced by CASE

CAPIS Central Association for Promoting Industrial and Provident Societies formed in June 1850

CAPITB Chemical and Allied Products ITB

CAPs Credit and Access Pathways

CAO/SAO Chief/Senior Administrative Officer

CAS Careers Advice Service

CaSE   Campaign for Science and Engineering in the UK

CASE Campaign/Confederation for the Advancement of State Education

CASE Co-operative Awards in Science and Engineering

CASE(S) Confederation for the Advancement of State Education (Scotland)

CASHE Council for Adult Skills and HE

CAST Curriculum Advice and Support Team

CAT College of Advanced Technology – 10created in 1965

CAT Credit Accumulation and Transfer

CATE Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education

CATS Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme

CBE Competency Based Education

CBET Competency Based Education and Training

CBEVE Central Bureau for Educational Visits and Exchanges

CBI Confederation of British Industry

CBL Competency Based Learning

CBSS Conjoint Board of Scientific Societies

CCA Credit Common Accord

CCA County Councils’ Association

CCs Commercial Certificates

CC County College

CCE Committee of Council for Education

CCEA Northern Ireland Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment

CCETs Community Consortia for Education and Training

CCETSW Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work

CCDU Counselling and Career Development Unit

CCIS Client Caseload Information System – used by Connexions

CCTE Chamber of Commerce, Training and Enterprise

CCTE Committee on the Co-ordination of Technological Education

CCW Curriculum Council for Wales

CCWTE Central Committee on Women’s’ Training and Employment

CDG Child Development Group

CDLs Career Development Loans

CDP Committee of Directors of Polytechnics

CDP Community Development Programme

CDT Craft Design and Technology

CDU Curriculum Development Unit

cea curriculum, examinations and assessment

CE/IAG Careers Education and Information Advice and Guidance

CEA Council for Educational Advance

CEDEFOP European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training named after its French acronym

CEDP Career Entry and Development Profile

CEC Commission of European Communities

CEE Certificate of Extended Education

CEF College Employers Federation

CEF Common European Framework

CEG Careers Education and Guidance

CEG Careers Enterprise Group

CEI Council of Engineering Institutions – founded in 1965

CEL Centre for Excellence in Leadership

CELL Committee for Education and Lifelong Learning (Scotland)

Ce-LP Certified e-Learning Professional

CELP College Employer Links Project

CEP Community Education Programme

CEP Community Enterprise Programme

CERDU Central Examinations Research and Development Unit

CERI Catering Education Research Institute

CERUK Current Educational Research in UK

Cert Ed Certificate of Education

CES Commission for Employment and Skills

CESI Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion

CET Council for Education Technology

CETTs Centres for Excellence in Teacher Training

CfBT Centre for British Teachers

CfE Curriculum for Excellence

CfE Campaign for Education

CFE College of Further Education

CfE Curriculum for Excellence

CFE Certificate of FE Various stages e.g. 1, 2 and 3.

C4EO Centre for Excellence and Outcomes

CfFET Computers for Further Education Teachers

CfE Curriculum for Excellence (Scotland)

CfL Campaign for Learning

Cof I Committee of Institutions a key body of CNAA

C – FP Community–Focused Provision

CGLI /C&GLI City and Guilds of London Institute

CGTEA Consultative Group for Training and Education in Agriculture

CHE College of Higher Education

CI College Information

CI Central Institute – Scotland

CI Community Industry MSC)

CIAG Careers Information Advice and Guidance

CID Council for Industrial Design

CIDG Credit Issues Development Group

CIF Common Inspection Framework

CIFE Council for Independent FE

CIHE Council for Industry and Higher Education

CIHT Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation

CiL Collaboration in Leadership

CILA Compulsory Individual Learning Accounts

CILT Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research

CILT Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport

CIM Centre Institute of Management

CIPD Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development

CIPFA Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy

CIPHE Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering

CIRF International Vocational Training Information and Research Centre

CIS College Information System

CIT Committee on Industrial Training

CIT Communication and IT

CITB Construction Industry Training Board

CL College Letter – similar to Circular

CLA Copyright Licensing Agency

CLAIT Computer Literacy and Information Technology

CLP Community Learning Programme (WEA)

CLAW Consortium, Local Authorities Wales

CLEA Council of Local Education Authorities

CLMG Campaign for Learning through Museums and Galleries

CLO Common Learning Outcomes

CMI Chartered Management Institute

CMS Career Management Skills

CMS Council for the Mathematical Sciences

CMathTeach Chartered Mathematics Teacher

CMT College Management Team

CNAA Council for National Academic Awards

CO Cabinet Office

COFOG Classification of the Function of Government.

COI Central Office of Information

CoI Committee of Institutions part of the CNAA structure

COIC Careers and Occupational Information Centre

CoID Council of Industrial Design

CoLRiC Council for Learning Resources in Colleges

Comp Comprehensive School

CoP/CP College of Preceptors

COS Certificate of Office Studies

COSHEP Committee of Scottish Higher Education Principals

COSLA Convention of Scottish Local Authorities

CoT College of Teachers – founded as the Society of Teachers (SoT) in 1846 and after incorporation became known as the College of Preceptors (CoP) and from 1998 became known as the College of Teachers

CoVE Centre of Vocational Excellence

CP Community Programme (MSC programme)

CPA Comprehensive Performance Review

CPBB Commission on Public and British Business

CPCE Committee of the Privy Council on Education

CPD Continuous Professional Development

CPCE Committee of the Privy Council on Education

CPF City Parochial Foundation (London)

CPRS Central Policy Review Staff

CPVE Certificate of Pre-Vocational Education

Cr/Circ Circular

CRAC Careers Research and Advisory Service

CRCH Central Register and Clearing House

CRE Commission for Racial Equality

CREDIS Credit Framework (Wales)

CREDO Council for Curriculum Renewal and Educational Development Overseas

CREST Creativity in Science and Technology

CRQ Centre for Research into Quality

CS Community Service

CS Central School

CSA Council of the RSA

CSA Care Standards Act

CSCI Commission for Social Care Inspection

CSCS Construction Skills Certification Scheme

CSE Certificate of Secondary Education

CSE Civil Service Examinations

CSEC Central Schools Employment Committee

CSFC House of Commons Children, Schools and Families Select Committee

CSP Council for Scientific Policy – founded in 1946

CSP Commissioning Support Programme

CSI Customer Satisfaction Index

CSM Committee on Scientific Manpower

CSNA Careers Service National Association

CSO Central Statistical Office

CSP Council for Scientific Policy was formerly the ACSP

CSR Comprehensive Spending Review

CSRU Community Schemes Resources Unit

CSTA Construction Skills Training Academy

CST Council for Science and Technology – BIS

CSciTeach Chartered Science Teacher

CSV Community Service Volunteers

CSYS Certificate of Sixth Year Studies

CT Credit Transfer

C3A Colleges of the Third Age

CTC Central Training Council superseded by MSC

CTC City Technology College – first opened in 1986.

CTEB Council of Technical Examination Bodies – 6 REBs + CGLI

CTE(S) Council for Tertiary Education (Scotland)

CTI Computers in Teaching Initiative

CtL Care to Learn

CTLLS Certificate to Teaching in Lifelong Learning Sector

CTTE Commerce Training and Enterprise

C2k Curriculum 2000

CUC Committee of University Chairmen

CULE Cambridge University Local Examinations

CVA Contextualised Value Added

CVCP Committee for Vice-Chancellors and Principals of Universities of the UK (Now called Universities UK)

CVE Continuing Vocational Education

CVS Council for Voluntary Services

CVU Council of Validating Universities

CWB Central Welsh Board

CWDC Children’s Workforce Development Council

CWF Cost Weighting Factor

CXPs Connexions Partnerships

CY Community School

CYEE Central Youth Employment Executive – original title CJEE Central Juvenile Employment Executive founded in 1946

CYS Community Special School

CYSA Community and Youth Service Association


DA Diploma in Art

DA District Auditor

DAB Diploma Awarding Body

DAB Diploma Development Board

DAE Diploma in Advanced Engineering

DAFS Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland

DAS Diploma Aggregation Service – closed in September 2013

DATA Design and Technology Association

DATEC The Art and Design Committee of TEC

DAuE Diploma in Automobile Engineering

DBERR Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

DCAe Diploma in Aeronautics (College of Aeronautics Cranfield)

DCE Diploma of Continuing Education

DCMS Department, Media and Sports

DCS Day Continuation School

DCSF Department of Children and Families (2007-2010 replaced by the Department for Education DfE/DFE in 2010)

DDA Disability Discrimination Act

DDPs Diploma Development Partnerships

DE Department of Employment

DEA Development Education Association

DEAs Disability Employment Advisers

DEA Department of Economic Affairs

DEFRA Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

DEIN Department of Enterprise, Innovation and Network

DEL Department of Employment and Learning (Ireland)

DELG Distributed and e-Learning Group

DELLS Department of Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills

DELNI Department for Employment and Learning Northern Ireland

DELTA Deaf Education through Listening and Talking

DENI Department for Education of the Northern Ireland Office not responsible for H and FE

DEP Department of Employment and Productivity

DES Department of Education and Science (1964-1992).

DfE Department for Education (1992-1995)

DfEE Department for Education and Employment (1995-2001)

DfES Department for Education and Skills (formerly DfEE and DES -2001-2007)

Dip AD Diploma in Art and Design

DipHE Diploma in Higher Education

Dip Tech (Eng) Diploma in Technology Engineering

DipTech Diploma in Technology

DITB Distributive Industries Training Board

DIUS Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills

DLE Demand-Led Element

DLF Demand – Led- Funding

DMS Diploma in Management Studies

DoE Department of Employment/Environment

DoH Department of Health

DoI Department of Industry

DoT Department of Technology

DPS Directed Private Study

DPSE Diploma in Professional Studies in Education

DRA Default Retirement Age

DRC Disability Rights Commission

DSA Department of Science and Art

DSA Disabled Students Allowance

DScA Department of Science and Art (also DSA)

DSIR Department of Scientific and Industrial Research – founded in 1916

DTC Day Continuation Classes

DTI Department of Trade and Industry

DTLLS Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector

DTLR Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions DTP Desk Top Publishing

DVE Diploma of Vocational Education

DWP Department of Work and Pensions


EA Education Act

E&D Equality and Diversity

EA Education Authority

EAA English Architectural Association

EAB Examinations Appeals Board

EAEB East Anglia Examinations Board  (CSE examinations)

EAG Evaluation Advisory Group

EAL English as an Additional Language

EARACFE East Anglian RAC for FE

EAS Enterprise Allowance Scheme  (Introduced in1983),

EAV Examining and Validating

EAZ Educational Action Zone

E Bacc/English Bacc introduced into the league tables in 2010

EBC E Bacc Certificate

EBITT Employment-based Initial Teacher Training

EBP Educational Business Partnership

EBPOs Education – Business Partnership Organisations

EBTA Employer Based Training Accreditation

EC(UK) Engineering Council(UK)

ECA Educational Centres Association

 ECAC  English Central Advisory Council

ECCTIS Education Counselling and Credit Transfer Information Service

ECDL European Computer Driving Licence

ECIS Engineering Careers Information Service

ECITB Engineering Construction Industry Training Board

ECO Entry Certificate Office

ECTS European Credit Transfer System

ECY Extended College Year

ED or Ed Dep. Employment Department (1856-1899)

EDS Education Data Surveys

EDAP Employee Development and Assistance Programme

EDCs Economic development Councils – set up by the NEDC

Edexcel Awarding body formed from the merger of BTEC and ULEAC

EDI Electronic Data Interchange

EDIMs Equality and Diversity Impact Measures

EDS Employee Development Scheme

EDS Electronic Data Systems

EDS Education Data Surveys Ltd

EEA Engineering Employers Association. (Took over role and title of the original EEF then later reverted back to being called the Engineering Employment Federation (EEF).

EEC Education and Employment Committee

EEC European Economic Commission

EEF Engineering Employers Federation

EEF Education Endowment Foundation

EEN Education for Enterprise Network

EES European Employment Strategy

EET Education and Employers Taskforce

E4E Education for Engineering sometimes referred to as E and E

EFA Education for All/Employers Forum on Age/Education for All

EFA Employers Forum on Age

EFA Education Funding Agency

EFL English as a Foreign Language

EFMD European Foundation for Management Development

EGSA Educational Guidance Service for Adults

EHE Enterprise in Higher Education. (Introduced in 1987).

EIC Employment Induction Course

EiC Excellence in Cities

EIGA Engineering Industries Group Apprenticeship

EIS Educational Institute of Scotland

EIGA Engineering Industry Group Apprenticeship Scheme

EITB Engineering Industry Training Board became Engineering Training Authority (ETA) in 1991

EJEB Engineering Joint Examination Board – established by a number of key professional bodies to oversee examinations in Engineering.

EL 1/2/3 Entry Level 1,2 3

ELL Enterprise and Lifelong Learning (Scotland)

ELLD Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Department (Scotland)

ELLI European Lifelong Learning Initiative

ELLIS English Language Learning Instruction Service

ELWa Education and Learning Wales (Created from merger of FEFCW and HEFCW)

EMA Educational Maintenance Award

EMEU East Midlands Educational Union

EMFEC East Midlands Further Education Council

EMIE Education Management Information Exchange

EMPNTO Employment NTO

EMREB East Midland Region Examinations Board (CSE examinations)

EMTA Engineering and Marine Training Authority

EN Enterprise Networks

ENB English National Board ( Nurse training)

E 1,2&3 Entry levels 1, 2 & 3

EO Equal Opportunities

EOC Equal Opportunities Commission

EOS Employee Opinion Survey

EPA Education Priority Area proposed in 1963

EPA Equal Pay Act

EPC Employers’ Parliamentary Committee founded in 1898

EPI Employment Policy Institute

EPPI Evidence-Informed Policy and Practice in Education

EQF European Qualifications Framework

EQCF European Qualification and Credit Framework

ERP Employer Responsive Programme

ERA Education Reform Act

ERC Employment Rehabilitation Centre

ERP Enterprise Resource Planning

ERSA Employment-Related Services Association

ES Employment Services

ES Edinburgh Review

ESB English Speaking Board

ESD Employment Services Division ( Part of MSC)

ESF European Social Fund

E2E Entry to Employment

ESG Education Support Grant (Specific grant for the then DES)

ESGE Expenditure Steering Group for Education

ESIW Essential Skills in the Workplace

ESL English as a Second Language

ESOL English for Speakers of Other Languages

ESRC Economic and Social Research Council

ET Employment Training

ET Education and Training

ETB Engineering and Technology Board

ETC Elementary Technical Course

ETE Enterprise, Training and Education.

ETF Education and Training Foundation

ETAG Education and Training Advisory Group

ETBI Education and Training Board (Ireland. (2013+)

ETC Elementary Technical Course

ETDU Examination Techniques Development Unit

ETF Environmental Task Force

ETG Environmental Task Group (Part of the New Deal Programme)

ETI Education and Training Inspectorate

ETO Economic, Technical and Organisational

ETP Employment Training Programme

ETPs Employer Training Pilots

ETS Educational Testing Service

EU European Union

EV External Verification/Verifier

EYDCP Early Years Development and Child Care Partnership

EYFS Early Year Foundation Stage

EZs Employment Zones


FAB Federation of Awarding Bodies

FACE Forum for the Advancement of Continuing Education

FACLS Federation of Associations of College Lecturers in Scotland

FAST Forum for Assistive Training

FBI Federation of British Industries founded in 1916 (Now the CBI)

FD Foundation Degree

FDA Foundation Degree in Arts

FDF/fdf Foundation Degree Forward

FDG Foundation Degree Group

FDS Foundation Degree in Science

FDS First Destination Statistics

FDTF Foundation Degree Task Force

FDTITB Food, Drink and Tobacco ITB

FE Further Education

FEAT Further Education Advisory Team

FEC Further Education College

FECL Further Education College Letter – similar to Circular

FECRDU Further Education Curriculum Research and Development Unit ( More commonly known as the FEU)

Fed EE Federation of European Employers

FEDA Further Education Development Agency (Succeeded by FSDA)

FEDEA FE Design Excellence Awards

FEDOR Federation of the Regions founded 1993 created by the 8 RACs

FEI Further Education Institute

FEFC Further Education Funding Council

FEFC(W) Further Education Funding Council (Wales)

FEIS FE Information Service

FEMIS Further Education Management Information Service

FEMU FE Marketing Unit

fenc Further education national consortium

FENTO Further Education National Training Organisation

FERAS Further Education Revenue Account Survey

FERA Further Education Research Association

FERL Further Education Resources for Learning

FERN Further Education Research Network

FERSG FE Reputation Strategy Group

FESC Further Education Staff College (known more commonly as Coombe Lodge)

FESDF FE Staff Development Forum -established in 1996

FESF Further Education Standards Fund

FESI Further Education Sector Institution

FESR Further Education Statistical Record

FET FE and Training

FETAC FE and Training Awards Council

FETN  FE Tutorial Network

FETT Further Education Teacher Training

FEU Further Education Unit . (Succeeded by FEDA and then by LSDA)

FfA Framework for Achievement

FFE/ffe Framework for Excellence

FFORWM The National Organisation for Further Education Colleges in Wales

FFDSA Friends’ First Day Schools Association

FFTIT The Forum for Technology in Training

FHE Further and Higher Education

FIS Funding Information System

FITC Foundry Industries Training Committee

FL Flexible Learning . (Methods include open and distance learning, APL and transfer options

FLLN Family Literacy, Language and Numeracy

FLT Foundation Learning Tier

FM Functional Mathematics

FMA Foundation Modern Apprenticeship

FMB Federation of Master Builders

FOI Freedom of Information

FoSBs Federation of Small Businesses

FRESA Frameworks for Regional Employment and Skills Action

FS Foundation School

FS Free Schools

FS Functional Skills

FS Flexible Specialisation

FSA Financial Service Agency

FSB Federation of Small Businesses

FSMQ Free Standing Mathematics Qualification

FSMUs Free Standing Mathematics Units

FSP Financial Skills Partnership

FSSA Financial Services Skills Academy

FT Foundation Tier

FT Full Time

FTC Full Technological Certificate (CGLI)

FTE Full Time Equivalent


G Course General Course

G1,G2 The two years of a part-time general preliminary diagnostic course at a college

G* The one year part-time general preliminary diagnostic course at a college

GA Graduate Apprenticeship

GB Governing Body

GC Grouped Course/Certificate

GCE General Certificate of Education

GCSE General Certificate of Secondary Education

GDP Gross Domestic Product

GEEP Graduate Engineers Engagement Programme

GERBIL Acronym for the General Education Reform Bill (1987)

GEST Grants for Education, Support and Training

GFE(C) General Further Education College

GIST Girls into Science and Technology

GLH Guided Learning Hours

GLP General Learning Programme (WEA)

GM Grant Maintained

GNVQ General National Vocational Qualifications (Advanced, Intermediate and Foundation)

GNCTU Grand National Consolidated Trade Union

GO Government Office

GONOT Committee to coordinate GCSE, OES, NLI, OCEA and TVEI.

GOLD Gateway of Leadership Development

GP Green Paper

GPA Grade Point Average

GRIST Grant-Related In-Service Training (Replaced by TRIST)

GS General Studies

GSCC General Social Care Council

GSVQ General Scottish Vocational Qualification

GTA Group Training Association

GTC General Teaching Council

GTCs Government Training Centres

GTC(S) General Teaching Council for (Scotland)

GTC(W) General Teaching Council for (Wales)

GTP Graduate Teacher Programme

GTTR Graduate Teacher Training Register

GVA Gross value Added


H Higher grade of Scottish leaving certificate

HASWA Health and Safety at Work Act

HCIMA Hotel Catering and Institutional Management Association

HCOS Higher Certificate in Office Studies

HCTB Hotel and Catering Training Board

HE Higher Education

HEA Health Education Association/Authority

HECSU HE Careers Service Unit

HED HE Division

HEEPI HE Environmental Performance Improvement

HEFC(E) Higher Education Funding Council (England)

HEFC(W) Higher Education Funding Council (Wales)

HEI Higher Education Institute

HEIF Higher Education Innovation Fund

HEIST Higher Education Information Services Trust

HELM Higher Education and the Labour Market

HEQC Higher Education Quality Council (Succeeded by QAA)

HEQED Higher Education Quality and Employability Division

HERO HE and Research Opportunities

HEROIC Higher Education Reach Out to Industry and the Community

HES Higher Elementary School

HESA Higher Education Statistics Agency

HESDA Higher Education Staff Development Agency

HG Higher Grade (Scotland) introduced in 1962

HGES Higher Grade Evening School – developed from the Higher Grade Day School as did the Ordinary Continuation School from the Ordinary Day School

HGDS Higher Grade Day School

HIE Highlands and Islands Enterprise

HMCI Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector

HMI Her Majesty’s Inspectorate

HMICA Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Court Administration

HMSO Her Majest’y Stationery Office

HNC Higher National Certificate

HND Higher National Diploma

HO Home Office

HOC(Ed/S/A Comm) House of Commons Education, Science and Arts Committee

HoD Head of Department

Holland Report ‘Young People at Work’ (1977) – led to the creation of YOP

HPWP High Performance Working Practices

HRA Human Rights Act

HRB Humanities Research Board

HRD Human Resources Department

HRF Human Resource Forum

HSC Health and Safety Commission

HSC Higher School Certificate

HSE Health and Safety Executive

HSLC Higher School Leaving Certificate

HT Higher Tier

HTB Hairdressing Training Board

HTC Higher Technical Certificate

HTD Higher Technical Diploma


IAASE Independent Appeals Authority for School Examinations

IAG Information Advice and Guidance Service

IAG Information Advice and Guidance

IAL Informal Adult Learning

IALS International Adult Literacy Survey

IAP Individual Action Plan

IATA International Air Transport Association

IB International Baccalaureate

IB Information Bank

IBE International Bureau of Education

IBO   International Baccalaureate Organisation

ICs Instructional Centres

ICAC Intermediate Certificate in Art and Crafts

ICAE International Council for Adult Education

ICD Institute of Careers Officers

ICE Institute of Civil Engineering

ICEA International Community Education Association

ICG Institute of Careers Guidance

IDL Interdisciplinary learning

ICO Institute of Careers Officers

ICT Information Communication Technology

ICTF Inner City Task Force

ICTLA   Independent Commission on Teaching and Learning for Adults

ICTS Interdepartmental Committee on Training for Skills – founded in 1964

IDAB Industrial Development Advisory Board – BIS

IDBT Information, diagnostic, brokerage and transition

IDUK Institution for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge

IE Industry/Education Unit

IEA Institute of Educational Assessors

IEA Institute of Economic Affairs

IELTS International English Language Testing System

IES Institute for Employment Services

IES Integrating Employment and Skills

IET Institution of Engineering and Technology

IfA Institute for Apprenticeships

IfL Institute for Learning

IFLL Inquiry into the Future of Lifelong Learning

IFS Institute of Fiscal Studies

IiE Industry in Education founded in 1993

IIP Investors in People

IiYP Investing in Young People launched in 1997

ILA Individual Learning Account

ILAM Institute of Leisure and Amenity Management

ILB Industrial Lead Body . (Later became NTOs)

ILM Institute of Leadership and Management

ILM Intermediate Labour Market

ILO International Labour Organisation

ILP Individual Learning Plan

ILP Independent Labour Party

ILR Individual Learning Record

ILT Information Learning Technologies

ILT Institute of Learning and Teaching

ILTHE Institute of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

IMA Institute of Mathematics and its Application

IMS Institute of Manpower Studies

INSET In-Service Education and Training

IoD Institute of Directors

IoP Institute of Physics

IP Innovative Programme

IPD Institute of Personnel and Development

IPDF Industrial Partnership Development Fund

IPPR Institute for Public Policy Research

IPR Intellectual Property Rights

IQF Integrated Qualifications Framework

IROs Integrated Regional Offices

IRSCADE Inter-Regional Standing Committee for Art and Design Education

IS Industrial Society

IS Information System

ISI Institute for Scientific Information

ISIRC Iron Steel Industrial Research Council

ISM Institute of Supervision and Management

ISR Individual Student Record/Report

IST Institute of Science and Technology

ITTC International Student Travel Conference

IT Industrial Training

IT Information Technology


ITALS Initial Teacher Award – Learning and Skills

ITB Industry/Industrial Training Board

ITC Industrial Training Council replaced by the CTC

ITE Initial Teacher Education

ITEA  Irish Technical Education Association (1929 – 1944)

ITEA Iron Trades Employers’ Association

ITEC Information Technology Centre

ITEC Information Technology, Electronics and Communication

ITIA Irish Technical Instruction Association (1902-1928/29)

ITNTO IT National Training Organisation

ITO Industry Training Organisation

ITP Individual Training Plan/Independent Training Provider

ITQ IT Qualification

ITRU Industrial Training Research Unit

ITS Industrial Training Service

ITT Initial Teacher Training

ITTE Initial Teacher Training Education

IV Internal Verification/ Verifier

IVEA Irish Vocational Education Association 1944-2013

IVET Innovation in Vocational Education

IVET Initial VET

IWA Institute for Welsh Affairs

IWF Institutional Weighting Factor


J1, J2 Before 1944, the two years of a course in a junior technical school preceding admission to a senior course in a college

JANET Joint Academic Network (Network linking Universities and other HE Institutions)

JBPVE Joint Board for Pre-Vocational Education

JC Joint Committee – representatives of industry and the professions to oversee standards of National Certificates and Diplomas

JCC Joint Consultative Committee

JCGQ Joint Council for General Qualifications (AQA, Edexcel, OCR,WJEC and CCEA)

JCP Job Creation Scheme (Short lived scheme introduced by MSC in 1975)

JC+/JCP Job Centre Plus

JCP Job Creation Programme (Ended in 1978 – replaced by YOP and STEP (MSC programmes))

JCQ Joint Council for Qualifications

JEC Joint Education Committee

JES Joint Efficiency Study

JETI Jobs, Education and Training Information

JICs Junior Instruction Centres

JIS Job Introduction Scheme

JISC Joint Information Systems Committee founded in 1993

JMA Jobseekers Mandatory Activity

JMB Joint Matriculation Board (‘A’ and ‘O’ levels)

JNC Joint Negotiating Committee

JREI Joint Research Equipment Initiative

JRSS Journal of the Royal Statistical Society from 1887

JRS Job Release Scheme

JSA Jobseeker’s Allowance

JSS Job Splitting Scheme

JSS Journal of the Statistical Society until 1886.

JTS Job Training Scheme (MSC programme)

JTS Junior Technical School

JWT Jobs Without Training


KPI Key Performance Indicator

KS Key Skills

KSA Key Skills Assessment

KS 1/2/3/4 Key Stage (1 to 4 in schools) in National Curriculum

KSF Knowledge and Skills Framework

KSSP Key Skills Support Programme


LA Local Authority

LA Library Association

LA Learning Aim

LAA Local Authority Association

LAA Local Area Agreement

LACSAB Local Authorities’ Conditions of Service Advisory Board

LAD Learning Aim Database L&D Learning and Development

LAP Low – Attaining Pupil Programme

LAPSEC Local Authority Post-School Education Coordinating Committee

LAR Learner Achievement Record

LARS Learning Aims Reference System

LAT Learner Achievement Tracker

LBs Lead Bodies

LC Learning Card

LC Local College

LCC London Chamber of Commerce

LCC Lifetime Careers Consultancy

LCC London County Council

LCCG Learning Card Consultation Group

LCCI/LCCIEB London Chamber of Commerce and Industry Examinations Board LCCI/

LCCIEB London Chamber of commerce and Industry Examinations Board

L&D Learning and Development

LCP Local Collaborative Project

LD Learner Databank/Database

LDA Learning Difficulty Association

LDD Learning Difficulties and/or Disabilities

LEA Local Education Authority

LEACAN LEA Curriculum Advisors Network

LEATG Local Education Authority Training Grants Scheme

LEATS Local Education Authority Training Scheme

LearnDirect (UfI) LearnDirect (also referred to as the University for Industry)

LEC Local Enterprise Council (Scottish equivalent of the TECs)

LEN Local Employer Networks

LEPs Local Economic Partnerships

LEP’s Local Employment Partnerships

LET Learning from Experience Trust

LeTTOL Learning to Teach On-Line

L4L Learning for Living

LfLFE Literacies for Learning in Further Education

LFHE Leadership Foundation for HE

LFS Labour Force Survey

LGA Local Government Association established in 1997

LGNTO Local Government National Training Organisation

LGTB Local Government Training Board

LHCRACTE London and Home Counties Regional Advisory Council for Technological Education. (Formerly Higher Technological Education)

LI Literary Institution

LIBs Lead Industry Bodies

LIC Local Information Centre

LIF Local Initiative Fund

LIG Learning Innovation Grant

LIN Learning Information Network

LINC Learning in Neighbourhood Centres

LLL Lifelong Learning

LLLU London Language and Literacy Unit

LLMI Local Labour Market Information (Intelligence)

LLN Language, Literacy and Numeracy

LLN Lifelong Learning Network

LLPs Local Lifelong Learning Partnerships

LLSC Local Learning and Skills Council

LLUK Lifelong Learning UK

LMC Local Management of Colleges created after the 1988 Education Act

LME London Matriculation Examinations

LMI Labour Market Information/Intelligence

LMC Local Management of Colleges – followed the 1988 Education Act

LMS Labour Market Survey

LMS London Mathematical Society

LNE Literacy, Numeracy and ESOL

LP Learning Partnership

LP Learning Programme

LR Learner Responsive

LPC London Polytechnic Council

LRC Learning Resource Centre

LRD Labour Research Development

LREB London Region Examinations Board

LRS Learner Registration Service

LSC Learning and Skills Council founded in 2001 and ceased in2010 and replaced by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) and the Young Peoples Learning Agency (YPLA)

LSCLSD LSC Learner Support Directorate

L&S Learning and Skills

LSDA Learning and Skills Development Agency (formerly FEDA)

LSI Literary and Scientific Institution

LSIA Learning and Skills Improvement Agency

LSIS Learning and Skills Service

LSIS Learning and Skills Improvement Sevice replaced Quality Improvement Agency (QIA) and Centre for Excellence in Leadership (CEL)

LSMI Literary, Scientific and Mechanics’ (or Mechanical) Institution

LSN Learning and Skills Network

LSRC Learning and Skills Research Centre

LSSF Learning and Skills Standard Fund

LSYPE Longitudinal Study of Young People in England

LTAC Local Technical Advisory Committee

LTB London Technical Board

LTEB London Technical Education Board

LTSN Learning and Teaching Support Network

LUEs London University Examinations

LUEB London University Extension Board

LVSRC London Voluntary Sector Resource Centre

LWBLA London Work Based Learning Alliance


MA Managing Agents

MA Modern Apprenticeship

MAA Multi Area Agreements

MAAC Modern Apprenticeship Advisory Committee

NABE National Association for Business Education

MAFF Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

MAG Modern Apprenticeship Group (Scotland)

MAP Microprocessor Application Scheme (1977 Labour Govn.)

MARIS Materials and Resources Information Service

MaST Mathematics Specialist Teacher (Programme)

MaSN Maximum Student Number

MSSSB Marketing and Sales Standards Setting Body

MC Matriculation Certificate

MCT Member of the College of Technologists – replaced by the CNAA doctorate award

MDF Mutual Development Fund (Managed by FEU/TA)

MEI Mathematics in Education and Industry

MEP Microelectronic Education Programme

MEP Management Extension Programme

MES Museum Education Service

MESP Mini Enterprise in Schools Project

MI Management Information

MI Mechanics’ Institutions/Institutes

MIN Modular Information Network

MIS Management Information System

MIS Mutual Improvement Society

MLE Managed Learning Environment

MLNS Ministry of Labour and National Service

MODFC College funded by the Ministry of Defence

MoE Ministry of Education

MoG Machinery of Government

MOOCS Massive Open On-Line Courses

MoT Ministry of Technology

MoU Memorandum of Understanding

MSC Manpower Services Commission established in 1973 to undertake the DoE responsibilities for training and employment

MSC Management Standards Centre


NAA National Assessment Board

NAAEC National Association for the Advancement of Education for Commerce – founded in 1935

NAAL National Assessment of Adult Literacy

NAB National Assessment Bank

NAB National Advisory Body for Public Sector HE (Replaced by PCFC)

NABCE Non Award Bearing Continuing Education

NABE National Association for Business Education

NAC National Apprenticeship Council (Retail. Meat etc)

NAC National Advisory Council

NACAB National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux

NACAE National Advisory Council on Art Education

NACCE National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education

NACEIC National Advisory Council on Education for Industry and Commerce – founded in 1948 following the Percy Report

NACETT National Advisory Council for Education and Training Targets

NACP National Association of Connexions Partnerships

NACRO National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders

NACTST National Advisory Council on the Training and Supply of Teachers

NACTT National Advisory Council for Education Technology

NACVS National Association of Councils for Voluntary Service

NAEGA National Association for Educational Guidance for Adults

NAFE Non-Advanced Further Education

NAGCELL National Advisory Group for Continuing and Lifelong Learning

NAIEA National Association of Inspectors and Educational Advisors

NAITFE National Association for Information Technology in Further Education

NALA National Adult Literacy Agency

NALS National Adult Learners Survey

NALT National Association of Labour Teachers

NAO National Audit Office

NAPAEO National Association of Principal Agricultural Education Officers

NAPAG National Academic Policy Advisory Group

NAPL National Association of United Trades for the Protection of Labour – ceased to exist in 1832

NAPTSE National Association for the Promotion of Secondary and Technical Education

NARIC National Academic Registration Information Centre/National Academic Recognition Information Centre for UK

NAS National Apprenticeships Service

NASD National Association for Staff Development

NASDFHE National Association for Staff Development in F and HE

NASU National Adult School Union

NATECLA National Association for Teaching English and Other Community Languages to Adults

NATFHE National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education

NATSCS National Association of Teachers in Selective Central Schools

NATW National Association of the Teachers of Wales

NAUTPL National Association of United Trade for the Employment of Labour.

NAW National Assembly of Wales

NAW  National Appreciaticeship Week

NBHS National Bureau for Handicapped Students

NBR National Base Rate

NCA National Certificate in Agriculture

NCAT National Centre for Alternative Technology

NC National Certificate

NC National Curriculum

NC National Council

NCA National Certificate in Agriculture

NCAL Nationwide Consultancy for Adult Learning

NCC National Computing Centre

NCC National Curriculum Council

NCDAD National Council for Diplomas in Art and Design

NCE National Commission on Education

NCET National Council for Educational Technology (Became BECTa in 1998)

NCETW National Council for Education and Training Wales

NCETM National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics

NCETW National Council for Education and Training in Wales (ELWa)

NCF National Curriculum Framework

NCFE Northern Council for Further Education

NFER National Federation for Educational Research.

NCH National Certificate in Horticulture

NCIHE National Committee in Inquiry into HE

NCLC National Council of Labour Colleges

NCITO National Council of Industrial Training Organisations

NCRVE National Centre for Research on Vocational Education

NCST National Centre for Schools Technology

NCTA National Council for Technological Awards (Hives Council)

NCTEC Northern Counties Technical Examinations Council

NVG National Consultative Group for the Co-ordination of Validation Arrangements in Agriculture and Related Subject

NCH National Certificate in Horticulture

NCT National Council of Technology

NCTA National Council for Technological Awards. (Hives Council)

NCTEC Northern Counties Technical Examinations Council

NCTET National Council for Teacher Education and Training

NCVO National Council for Voluntary Organisations

NCVQ National Council for Vocational Qualifications

NCWE National Council for Work Experience

ND New Deal

ND National Diploma

ND 50+ New Deal or the over 50s

NDA National Diploma in Agriculture

NDAQ National Database of Accredited Qualifications

NDC National Disability Council

NDD National Diploma in Design or Dairying

NDDP New Deal for Disabled People

NDIF New Deal Innovation Fund

NDLP New Deal for Lone Parents

NDLTU New Deal for the Long-Term Unemployed

NDPA New Deal Personal Adviser

NDPB Non-Departmental Public Body

NDPU New Deal for the Partners of the Unemployed

NDYP New Deal for Young Unemployed

NEB National Examination Board ( Shorter title for NEBAHAI)

NEBAHAI National Examination Board for Agriculture, Horticulture and Allied Industries

NEBOSH National Examinations Board in Occupational Safety and Health

NEBPN National Education Business Partnership Network

NEBSM National Examinations Board for Supervisory and Management

NEBSS National Examination Board in Supervisory Studies

NEC National Extension College

NEDC National Economic Development Council (Neddy)

NEDO National Economic Development Office

NEET Not in Education, Employment or Training

NEG NAFE Evaluation Group

NEL National Education League founded in 1869

NEP National Employment Panel

NES National Engineering Scholarships

NES National Entry Scheme

NES National Employer Service

NESS National Employer Skills Survey

NET Not in Education or Training

NETP National Employers Training Programme

NEU National Education Union founded in 1869

NFAE National Foundation of Adult Education founded in 1946 and eventually became NIAE in 1949 when it merged with BIAE

NFCA National Federation of Community Associations

NFEC National Forum for Engineering in Colleges

NFER National Foundation for Educational Research in England and Wales

NFET National Framework for Education and Training

NFWI National Federation of Women’s Institutes

NGfL National Grid for Learning

NHSU National Health Service University

NIACE National Institute for Adult Continuing Education

NIAE National Institute of Adult Education (England and Wales)

NICEC National Institute for Careers Guidance and Counselling

NICIE Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education

NID National Institute for the Deaf (Now RNID)

NIERF Northern Ireland Research Forum

NIESR National Institute for Economic and Social Research

NIG NAFE Implementation Group

NIHEC Northern Ireland HE Council

NILTA National Information and Learning Technology Association mergered with AoC in 2006

NIPD National Improvement Partnership Board

NISEC Northern Ireland Secondary Examinations Council

NISS National Information Services and Systems

NISVQ National Information System for Vocational Qualifications

NJAC National Joint Advisory Council founded in Scotland in 1949 and in England and Wales in 1953

NJCBI National Joint Council for the Building Industry

NJICGI National Joint Industrial Council for the Gas Industry

NJEE National Juvenile Employment Executive

NJTS New Job Training Scheme

NLI New Learning Initiative – part of the Low-Attaining Pupils Programme (LAP)

NLN National Learning Network

NLS National Literacy Strategy

NLSC National Learning Skills Council

NLSS National Learners Satisfaction Survey

NLT National Learning Target

NLT National Literacy Trust

NMN National Mentoring Network

NMiTE New Model in Technology and Engineering

NMW National Minimum Wage

NNEB Nursery Nurses Examination Board

NNN National Numeracy Network

NOC National Occupational Standards

NOCN National Open College Network

NOF National Opportunities Fund

NOMS National Offender Management Service

NOS National Occupational Standards

N+W New Opportunities for Women – MSC programme to improve access for women

NPFA National Provider Financial Assurance

NPFS National Planning and Funding System

NPS National Preferred Scheme

NPTC National Proficiency Test Council

NQAI National Qualifications Authority of Ireland

NQ National Qualification

NQF National Qualifications Framework

NQT Newly Qualified Teacher

NR National Route

NRA National Record of Achievement

NRAG National Rates Advisory Group

NRCVQ Network of National Resources Centres for Vocational Guidance

NRDC National Retail Distribution Certificate

NRDC National Research Development Corporation

NRDCALN National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy

NREB Northern Region Examinations Board

Nrich Mathematics Enhancement Project

NROVA National Record of Vocational Achievement

NRP National Reference Point

NSA National Skills Academy

NSAE National School for Art Education founded in 1888 original name National Society for Art Masters renamed in 1904

NSAR National Skills Academy for Rail

NSDR National Summary Data Report

NSEAD National Society for Education in Art and Design

NSF National Skills Force

NSP National Support Programmes

NSSF National Standardisation Strategic Framework

NSTF National Skills Task Force

NSTOs Non Statutory Training Organisations

NT National Traineeship (Replaced by FMA)

NTA National Training Award

NTAC National Trade Advisory Committee

NTAR National Training Academy for Rail

NTET National Targets for Education and Training

NTI New Training Initiative

NTIs New Technology Institutes

NTO National Training Organisation (Succeeded by SSC)

NTOD National Training Organisations Division

NTONC National Training Organisation National Council

NTP New Training Initiative

NJTS New Job Training Scheme

NUS National Union of Students

NUJMB Northern Universities Joint Matriculation Board

NUTGs National Union for Townwomen’s Guilds

NVH New Vocational Horizons

NVQ National Vocational Qualification

NVYOs National Voluntary Youth Organisations

NWREB North West Regional Examinations Board (CSE examinations)

NWS New Workers Scheme

NYEC National Youth Employment Council


O Ordinary level -GCE. Ordinary grade of the Scottish leaving certificate.

O1, O2 etc The first two years of an ONC course

OB2L Overcoming Barriers two Learning

OD1,OD2 The first two years of an OND course.

OC Open College set up by the DTI in 1987

OCF Open College Federation

ODLQC The Open and Distance Learning Quality Council

OCN Open College Network

OCR Oxford Cambridge Royal Society of Arts Examinations

OCS Ordinary Continuation School

OCSEC Oxford and Cambridge Schools Examination Council (‘A’ and ‘O’ levels)

ODs Open Diplomas

OD1, OD2 etc The first two years of an OND course

ODLE Oxford Delegacy of Local Examinations (‘A’ and ‘O’ levels)

ODLQC Open and Distance Learning Quality Council

OECA Oxford Certificate of Educational Achievement

OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

OEPs Open Educational Practices

OERs Open Educational Resources

OES Oxford Examination Syndicate

Ofqual Regulator of qualifications, examinations and assessment in England and vocational qualifications in Northern Ireland – DfE

Ofsted Office for Standards in Education – DfE

OG Ordinary Grade (Scotland

OGC Office of Government Commerce

OLDC On Line Data Collection

OLF Open Learning Foundation

OLS Open Learning System

OLSU Offenders’ Learning and Skills Unit

ONC/D Ordinary National Certificate/Diploma

ONS Office for National Statistics

Op 1, Op 2 etc The first two years of an operatives course

OOPEC Office for Official Publications for European Committees

OPAL Older People Active Learning

OPCS Office of Population Censuses and Surveys

OPPs On Programme Payments

OPSR Office of Public Service Reform

OQC Operations and Quality Committee

OR Occupational Route

ORF Output Related Funding

ORT Organisation for Rehabilitation through Training

OSCs Occupational Standards Councils

OST Office for Science and Technology

OT Open Tech

OT Other Training

OTF Occupational Training Family

OTJ Off/On-the -Job Training

OTS Office of Third Sector

OU Open University

OUDE Oxford University Department of Education


P1, P2 etc The first two years of a preliminary course

PAR Programme Analysis and Review

PARN Professional Association Research Network

PAT Professional Association of Teachers

PB Professional Body

PBTE Performance Based Teacher Education

PCAS Polytechnics Central Admissions System

PCC Preliminary Craft Course

PCDL Personal and Community Development Learning

PCE Professional Certificate in Education

PCET Polytechnics Council for the Education of Teachers

PCET Post Compulsory Education and Training

PCFC Polytechnics and Colleges Funding Council

PDP Personal Development Plan

PEDD Professional Educational Development Division

PEI Pitman Examination Institute

PEL Paid Education Leave

PELTS Personal Learning and Thinking Skills

PEP Political and Economic Planning

PEP Private Enterprise Programme.

PER Professional and Executive Recruitment (MSC)

PESA Public Expenditure Statistical Analysis

PESC Public Expenditure Survey Committee

PEVE Post Experience Vocational Education

PfE Platform for Employability

PFI Private Finance Initiative

PFR Provider Funding Report

PGCE Postgraduate Certificate in Education

PIs Performance Indicators

PICKUP Professional, Industrial and Commercial Updating Programme (Programme for employed adults)

PIDA Public Interest Disclosure Act

PIDA Pre-Inspection and School Context Indicator

PIP Parents Information Programme

PISA Programme for International Student Performance (OECD)

PIU Performance and Innovation Unit

PJA Personal Job Account

PLA Peoples Learning Agency

PL Principal Learning

PL Principal Lecturer

PLAR Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition

PLP Programme Led Pathways

PLRAP Planning Learning and Recording Achieve and Progress

PLSU Prisoners Learning Skills Unit

PNC Preliminary National Course

PODN Professional and Organisational Development Network in HE

PoR Payment on Results

POS Programme of Study

PPBS Planning Programmes Budgeting Schemes

PPDS Product and Process Development Scheme (1977 Labour govn.).

PPP Public Private Partnership

PQP Principal’s Qualification Programme

PRAISE Pilot Records of Achieve in Schools Evaluation

PRO Public Records Office

PRT Programme Review Team

PRU Pupil Referral Unit

PSA Public Service Agreement(s)

PSC Parliamentary and Scientific Committee. Pre- Senior commercial

PSE Personal and Social Education

PSHE Personal, Social and Health Education

PSHE Public Sector Higher Education

PSI Policy Studies Institute

PSLB Procurement and Supply Lead Body

PSS Peoples Skills Scoreboard

PST Pre-senior Technical Course

PT Part Time

PTC Preliminary Technical Course

PTLLS Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector

PTP Private Training Provider

PV Private and Voluntary

PVS Private and Voluntary Sector

PW Programme Weighting

PYC Positive Youth Charter


QA Quality Assurance

QAA Quality Assurance Agency

QC Quality Control

QCA Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (Formed be the merger of SCAA and NCQ)

QCDA Qualification and Curriculum Development Agency

QCF Qualifications and Credit Framework

QE Quality Enhancement

QET Quality in Education and Training

QDB Qualifications Data Base

QIA Quality Improvement Agency

QNCA Qualifications and National Curriculum Agency (Initial title for QCA)

QUANGO Quasi Autonomous Non- Governmental Organisation

QUILT Quality Information and Learning Technology

QSC Quality and Standards Committee

QTLS Qualified Teacher of Learning and Skills became operative on 2007

QTS Qualified Teacher Status


RACs Regional Advisory Councils (Established in 1946 to ensure co-operation between authorities and coordinate the provision of both AFE and NAFE – now disbanded)

RACOFEEM Regional Advisory Council for the Organisation of FE in the East Midlands

RAE Research Assessment Exercise

RANSC Records of Achievement National Steering Committee

RAPAL Research and Practice in Adult Education

RARPA Recognising and Recording Progress and Achievement in non- accredited learning

RAS Robotic and Autonomous Systems

RASE Royal Agricultural Society of England

RB Research Brief (Parliamentary document).

RBA Reports of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (the BA)

RBL Resource Based Learning

RC Royal Commission

RCs Regional Colleges – 25 in 1965

RCB Regional Curriculum Board

RCCDE Regional Council for Colleges and Departments of Education

RCP Responsive College Project

RCR Royal Commission Report

RCT Royal College of Technologists

RCTI Royal Commission on Technical Instruction – 1881 Samuelson

RCU Responsive College Unit

RDA Regional Development Agency

ReACT Redundancy Action Scheme

REBs Regional Examinations Boards/Bodies – six established

REC Recruitment ERoyalmployment Confederation

REFED Refugee Education and Employment Programme

REPLAN DES programme to promote development of educational opportunities for the adult unemployed

RESTART MSC programme for the long term unemployed

REUs Regional Examining Unions

RFF Regional Field Force

RI Reporting Inspector

RI Regional Inspector

RI Royal Institution

RIA Regulatory Impact Assessment

RIC Royal Institute of Chemistry

RICS Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

RIF Regional Innovation Fund

RIS Regional Innovation Strategy

RMC Regional Management Centre also known as Regional Centre for Management Education

RMCA Regional Management Centre Association

RNID Royal National institute for the Deaf

RoA Record of Achievement

RoC Rules of Combination

ROSE Relevance of Science Education

ROSLA Raising the School Leaving Age

ROTO Register of Training Organisations

RPA Raising the Participation Age

RPR Raising Participation Rates

RQA Raising Quality and Achievement

RR Research Report (parliamentary document).

RRA Race Relations Act

RS Royal Society

RSA Royal Society of Arts (Formerly the Society of Arts)

RSC Royal Society of Chemistry

RSG Rate Support Grant

RSI Regional Staff Inspector

RSSL Recruitment Subsidy for School Leavers

RSU Ragged Schools Union

RtA Route to Achievement

RTG Real Term Guarantee

RTOs Registered Training Organisations

RVCF Regional Venture Capital Funds

RVQ Review of Vocational Qualifications

RVQs Related Vocational Qualifications

RWE Realistic Working Environment


S Section of an Act of Parliament -plural pl.Ss

S1, S2 etc Before 1961 the first two years of a senior course leading to ONC examination. (In Scotland the classes in a secondary school)

SA Skills Academies

SA Skills Account

SA Skills Alliance

SA School of Art

SA Student Apprenticeship

SAs Subject Advisors

SAAS Student Awards Agency for Scotland

SACCA Scottish Advisory Committee on Credit and Access

SAD Science and Art Department

SAE Scottish Adult Education

SAGSET Society for Academic Gaming and Simulations in Education and Training

SAL Supported Autonomous Learning

S&L Speaking and Listening

SANCAD Scottish Association for National Certificates and Diplomas

SAR Self Assessment Report

SAR Student Attendance Ratio

SASE Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England

SATRO Science and Technology Regional Organisations.

SBC Small Business Council

SBN Skills for Business Network

SBS Small Business Service

SC School Certificate

SC Schools Council

SC Select Committee

SCAA Schools’ Curriculum and Assessment Authority

SCATO Standing Conference of Area Training Organisations

SCCAPE Scottish Council for Commercial Administration and Professional Education

SCCE Scottish Council for Commercial Education/Schools Council for the Curriculum and Examinations

SCCYCSS Standing Consultative Council for Youth and Community Service in Scotland

SCDC School Curriculum development Committee

SCE Scottish Certificate of Education 1962 to the late 1990s replaced the Junior Secondary Certificate (JSC) and the Scottish Leaving Certificate (SLC)

SCEA Scottish Council for Educational Advance

SCET Scottish Council for Educational Technology

SCETT Standing Conference for the Education and Training In the Public Sector

SCIP School Curriculum Industry Partnership

SCITFE Standing Committee for IT  created in 1989 renamed NILTA in 1989

SCNVYO Standing Conference of National Voluntary Youth Organisations of England and Wales

SCONUL Standing Conference of National and University Librarians

SCOP Standing Conference of Principals

SCORE Science Committee Representing Education

SCOTBEC Scottish Business Education Council

SCOTCATS Scottish Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme

SCOTEC Scottish Technician Education Council

SCOTVEC Scottish Vocational Education Council

SCPL Select Committee on Public Libraries

SCPR Social and Community Planning Research

SCPT Schools Council Project in Technology

SCQF Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework

SCR Select Committee Report

SCRAC Standing Conference of Regional Advisory Councils

SCRE Scottish Council for Research into Education – established in 1928

SCREB Standing Conference of Regional Examination Boards

SCROLLA Scottish Centre for Research into Online Learning and Assessment

SCSST Standing Conference on Schools’ Science and Technology

SCTEB Standing Conference of Technical Examining Bodies

SCUE Standing Conference on University Entrance

SCWVYO Standing Conference for Wales of Voluntary Youth Organisations

SD Specialised Diploma

SDA Skills Development Advisors

SDA Severe Disability Allowance

SDA Sex discrimination Act

SDD Scottish Development Department

SDF Staff Development Fund

SDF Social Democratic Federation

SDI Specialist Designated Institution

SDUK Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge

SE Scottish Executive

SE Scottish Enterprise

SEAC School Examination and Assessment Council (Became SCAA)

SEB Scottish Examination Board

SEC Schools Examination Council

SED Scottish Education Department

SEED Scottish Executive Education Department

SEETLLD Scottish Executive Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning

SEDA Staff and Educational Development Association

SEMTA Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies Alliance

SEN Special Educational Needs

SEND Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

SENDA Special Education Needs and Disability Act

SEO Scottish Education Office

SEOs Society of Education Offices

SERC Science Engineering Research Council

SEREB South East Regional Examinations Board. (A CSE examinations board)

SESCCT South-East Scotland Committee for Certificates in Teaching – abolished in 1963

SET Science, Engineering and Technology

SETNET Science, Engineering, Technology, Mathematics Network

SEU Standards and Effectiveness Unit

SF Standards Fund

SFA/SfA Skills Funding Agency

SfB Skills for Business

SfBN Skills for Business Network

SFCEF Sixth Form College Employers’ Forum

SFEA Scottish FE Association

SFEDI Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative

SFEFC Scottish FE Funding Council

SFES Small Firms Employment Subsidy

SFEU Scottish FE Unit

SfL/SFL Skills for Life

SfLH Skills for Life and Health

SfIP Skills for Life Improvement Programme

SfLQ Skills for Life Qualification

SfLQI Skills for Life Quality Initiative

SfLSU/G Skills for Life Strategy Unit/Group

SFR Statistical First Release

SHEFC Scottish Higher Education Funding Council

SI Statutory Instrument – detailed regulations

SIAD Society of Industrial Artists and Designers

SIAE Scottish Institute of Adult Education

SIC Standard Industrial Classification

SID/A Society of Industrial Design/Art

SIG Strategic Intervention Grants

SIG Special Interest Group

SILO Schools-Industry Liaison Officer

SIO Scottish Information Office

SIR Staff/Student Individual Record

SISTERs Special Institutions for Scientific and Technological Education and Research

SKE Subject Knowledge Enhancement

Skill National Bureau for Students with Disabilities

Skillsnet CEDEFOP international network of researchers and policy makers.

SLA School Leaving Age

SLC Student Loan Company

SLC Science Learning Centre

SLDD Students with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities

SLS Social and Life Skills

SLT Single Level Test

SMART Specific, Measurable, Realistic and Time Bound

SMEs Small and Medium Enterprises

SMMT Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Ltd.

SMT Senior Management Team

SoA Society of Arts

SOC Standard Occupational Classifications

SOED Scottish Office Education Department created in1999

SOEID Scottish Office Educational and Industry Department

SPD Special Programme Division (MSC) – were responsible for Youth Opportunities Programmes (YOP) and Special Temporary Employment Programmes (STEP)

SQA Scottish Quality Authority established in 2006

SQC Scottish Qualifications Certificate introduced in 2000

SQMS Scottish Quality Management System

SQS Sector Qualifications Strategies

SRB Single Regeneration Budget

SRC Science Research Council

SRCFE Scottish Regional Council for FE

SRCFE Southern Regional Council for FE

SREB Southern Regional Examinations Board (CSE examinations board)

SRHE Society for Research into HE

SS Skills Strategy

SS Studio Schools

SSA Sector Subject Area

SSA Standard Spending Assessment

SSAs Sector Skills Agreements

SSAL Scottish Survey of Adult Literacies/Literacy’s

SSAT Specialist Schools and Academies Trust

SSCs Skill Sector Councils (Replaced the NTOs)

SSEC Secondary School Examinations Council. (Replaced by SCCE)

SSDA Sector Skills Development Agency

SSP Specialist Schools Programme launched in 1993

SSR Staff Student Ratio

SSRC Social Science Research Council

SSTA Scottish Secondary Teachers Association

STA Standards and Testing Agency – DfE

STC Short Training Course

STFC Science and Technology Facilities Council – BIS

STSs Secondary Technical Schools or Secondary Technology Schools

STEAC Scottish Tertiary Education Advisory Council

STECC Scottish Technical Education Consultative Council – founded in 1959

STEM Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

STEMNET Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Network

STEP Special Temporary Employment Programme -(MSC programme)

STF Scottish Training Federation

STF Skills Task Force

STRB School teachers pay and Review Body

STSCC Scottish Teachers Service Conditions Committee

SUBCHAM Training Providers sub-contracting with Chambers of Commerce

SUBCOL Training Providers sub-contracting with Colleges

SUBLE Training Providers sub-contracting with large employers

SUBLA Training Providers sub-contracting with Local Authorities

SUfI Scottish University for Industry

SULF Scottish Union Learning Fund

SUJBSE Southern Universities Joint Board for School Examinations ( ‘A’ and ’O’ levels)

SVEC Scottish Vocational Education Council established in 2007

SVQ Scottish Vocational Qualification

SVQRB Strategic Vocational Qualifications Reform Board

SVUK Standards Verification UK

SWAP Scottish Wider Access Programme

SWEB South West Examinations Board (CSE examinations board)

SWRB Social Work Reform Board

SYPS Scottish Young Peoples Survey


‘T’ Course Technician Course

T1, T2 etc The first two years of a technician course

TA Training Agency (Short lived title for the former MSC)

T&D Training and Development

TA Teacher Assessment

TACS Training and Consultancy Service

TAG Technical Advisory Group

T&L Teaching and Learning

TALIS Teaching and Learning International Survey (OECD)

TALENT Training Adult Literacy, ESOL and Numeracy

TAP Training Access Point

TAS Training Advisory Service later become the Industrial Training Service (ITS)

TC Technical Certificate

TC Technical Academies

TC Tertiary College

TC Training Centre

TC Training Commission (Short lived title of the former MSC)

TC Technicians Council

TCs Training Credits

TCA Tertiary Colleges Association

TCH Teacher Contract Hours

TCS Teaching Company Scheme

TCT Technology Colleges Trust

TCTR Third Sector/Charity Training

TDA Training and Development Agency for Schools

TDG Technical Data Group

TDLB Training and Development Lead Body

TEB Technical Education Board

TEC Technician Education Council

TEIs Teacher Education Institutes

TECNC Training and Enterprise Councils National Council

TECs Training and Enterprise Councils

TEED Training, Enterprise and Education Directorate

TEEM Teachers Evaluating Educational Multimedia

TEN Training and Employment Network

TES Times Educational Supplement

TES Total Expenditure on Service

TES Through-Life Engineering Services

TES Temporary Employment Subsidy

TETOC Technical Education and Training Organisation for Overseas Countries

TF Task Force

TFEP Training for Enterprise Programme

TfI Teachers for Industry

TfT Technologies for Training

TFT Technology and Flexible Training

TfW Training for Work

TGoL Trades Guild of Learning founded in 1873

TGVS Task Group for Vital Skills

THES Times Higher Educational Supplement

TIC Technical Instruction Act (1889)

TiE Technology in Education

TIS Travel to Interview Scheme

TLTP The Teaching and Learning Programme

TME Total Managed Expenditure

TOC Training Occupational Classification

TOPS Training Opportunities Scheme MSC

TP Teachers’ Pension

TPI Teachers Pay Initiative

TPS Teacher Placement Service

TQA Total Quality Assessment

TQM Total Quality Management

TQS Training Quality Standard

TRACE Training for and Approaches to Careers Education

TRADEC Trades Education Courses

TRC Teacher Registration Council

TRIST TVEI-Related In-Service Training

TSA Training Standards Agency

TSC Training Standards Council (Replaced by ALI)

TSD Training Services Division (Part of the MSC)

TSN Talent Source Network

TSO The Stationery Office replaced the HMSO

TSP Training for Skills Programme

TSSP Traineeship Staff Support Programme

TT Teacher Training

TTA Teacher Training Agency

TTCL Teacher Training College Letter – similar to Circular

TTF The Training Foundation

TtG Training to Gain

TfW Training for Work

TOR Terms of Reference

TSB Technology Strategy Board – BIS

TTWA Travel to Work Area

TU Trade Union

TUC Trade Union Council

TUEO Trade Union Education Officer

TUCET Trade Union Congress Education Trust

TULR Trade Union Learning Representative

TVEI Technical Vocational Education Initiative

TVET UK Technical Vocational Education and Training UK

TWs Training Workshops

TWI Training within Industry

TWIAS Training Within Industry Advisory Service

TYS Targeted Youth Support


UABs Unitary Awarding Boards/Bodies

UACE Universities Association for Continuing Education

UBI Understanding British Industry

UBS Unit Based System

UCAS Universities and Colleges Admission Service

UCAE Universities Council for Adult Education – founded in 1945

UCCA Universities Central Council on Admissions

UCEA Universities and Colleges Employers Association

UCET Universities Council for the Education of Teachers

UCISA Universities and Colleges Information Systems Association

UCLES University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate

UCoSDA Universities and Colleges Staff Development Agency

UCP Unified Curriculum Project

UCU University and College Union (AUT+Natfhe)

UD Unit Bank

UDACE Unit for the Development of Adult Continuing Education

UDC Urban Development Corporation

UDEs University Departments of Education

UDE University Diploma of Education

UDILs University Directors of Industrial Liaison

UEB University Extension Board

UEB University Examining Board

UEI Union of Educational Institutions

UESEC University Entrance and School Examination Council

UFC University Funding council

UfI University for Industry (Later called Learn direct)

UGC University Grants Committee/Council

UGS Using Graduate Skills

UI Understanding Industry

UKACEM UK Advisory Council on Education for Management – established in 1960

UKBVQR UK Board for Vocational Qualification Reform

UKCES UK Commission for Employment and Skills – BIS

UKCOSA UK Council for Overseas Student Affairs founded in 1968

UKForCE UK Forum for Computing Education

UKOD UK Publications Database

UKRI UK Research and Innovation

UKSkills UK Skills

UKTI UK Trade and Investment

UKVQRP UK Vocational Qualifications Reform Programme

UKRLP UK Register for Learning Providers

UKSC UK Standing Conference of Management Heads

UKTI UK Trade and Industry

ULCI Union of Lancashire and Cheshire Institutions – REB

ULF Union Learning Fund

ULIE University of London Institute of Education

ULN Unique Learner Number

ULR Union Learning Representative

ULT United Learning Trust (Academies)

UMI Union of Mechanics’ Institutions

UMS Unit of Manpower Studies

U3A University of the Third Age

UoD Unit of Delivery

UP University Press

URLs Union Learning Representatives

UROP Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme

UTC University Technical College

UUK Universities UK

UVAC University Vocational Awards Council

UVP Unified Vocational Programme




VA Voluntary Aided

VABs Vocational Awarding Bodies

VASFE Vocational Aspects in Secondary and FE

VC Voluntary College – church or trust owned

VCE Vocational Certificate in Education

VCE ‘A’ level Vocational Certificate of Education Advanced Level

VCL Voluntary College Letter – similar to Circular

VCOs Voluntary and Community Organisations

VCS Voluntary and Community Sector

VET Vocational Education and Training

VFM Value for Money

VLE Virtual Learning Environment

VMS Vacancy Matching Service

VP Vocational Preparation

VP Vice Principal

VPP Voluntary Projects Programme

VQRP Vocational Qualifications Reform Programme

VQs Vocational Qualifications

VRQs Vocationally Related Qualifications

VSF Voluntary Sector Fund


WA Welsh Assembly

WABLA (HE) Welsh Advisory Body for Local Authority Higher Education

WAG Welsh Assembly Government

WB Welsh Baccalaureate

WBA Work Based Assessment/Accreditation

WBL Work Based Learning

WBLA Work Based Learning for Adults

WBLN Work Based Learning Network

WBLP Work Based Learning Project

WBLYP Work Based Learning for Young People

WBP Work Based Project

WBQ Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification introduced in 2006 also known as the Welsh Baccalaureate

WBSN Work Based Skills Network

WBTA Work Based Training for Adults

WCTs World Class Tests

WDCs Workforce Development Confederations

WDPs Workforce Development Plan

WDSU Workforce Strategy Unit

WE Work Experience

WEA Workers Educational Association

WEEP Work Experience on Employers Premises (MSC)

WEP Work Experience Programme (MSC) replaced by YOP

WETUC Workers’ Educational Trade union Committee

WF Work Foundation

WfD Workforce Development

WG Welsh Government

WIC Work Introduction Course

WISK Work Skill Course

WJEC Welsh Joint Education Committee

WLN Women’s Leadership Network

WMACFE West Midlands Advisory Council for FE

WMCs Working Men’s Colleges

WMCand IU Working Men’s Club and Institute Union – founded in 1862

WMEB West Midlands Examinations Board (CSE examination board)

WMEU Working Men’s Educational Union

WO Welsh Office

WOED Welsh Office Education Department

WOP Wider Opportunities Training Programme

WOW Wider Opportunities for Women MSC

WP White Paper

WP Works Programme

WP Widening Participation

WPLP Workplace Learning Programme (WEA)

WPU Widening Participation Unit

WRL Work-related Learning

WRNAFE Work Related Non-Advanced FE

WS Work School – training run on employer premises. In 1952/53 there were 71 FT students, 5774 PTD students, 1472 PTDE students and 2288 Evening students. Total 9605.

WS World Skills

WMC&IU Working Men’s Club and Institute Union – founded in 1862 by H. Solly

WSIP Workforce Strategy Implementation Plan

WTEC Workmans’ Technical Education Council

WTES Workmen’s Technical Education Society

WTEU Workmens’ Technical Educational Union – founded in 1852/53

WTSU Workmen’s Technical School Union founded in 1869 – quickly succeeded the Workmen’s Technical Education Society (WTES)

WULF Wales Union Learning Fund

WWCs Working Women’s Colleges

WWW World Wide Web



YA Young Apprenticeship

YALP Young Adults Learners’ Partnership/Project

YC Youth Credit

YCFE Yorkshire Council for FE REB

YCS Youth Cohort Survey

YE Youth/Young Enterprise

YEB Youth Employment Bureau

YEI Youth Enterprise Initiative

YEO Youth Employment Office/Officer

YES Youth Employment Subsidy/Service (MSC scheme)

YEUK Youth Employment UK

YFB/YfB Youth for Britain

YHAFHE Yorkshire and Humberside Association for F and HE

YHREB Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Examinations Board (CSE examinations Board)

YJB Youth Justice Board

YOP Youth Opportunities Programme (Programme under the Special Programme Division of MSC)

YOT Youth Offending Team

YOUTHAID Youth Unemployment Pressure Group

YOUTHWAYS course established by the Department of Education (NI) to help unemployed young people

YPLA Young People’s/Person’s Learning Agency established in 2009 finished in 2010 replaced by Education Funding Agency (EFA)

YPLC Young People’s Learning Committee

YS Youth Service also known as the YSA  YS Association

YSF Youth Service Forum

YSs Young Stayers-on

YSS Youth Support Service

YT Youth Training

YTP Youth Training Programme

YTS Youth Training Scheme (MSC)

YU Young Unemployed

YUMI Yorkshire Union of Mechanics’ Institutions/Institutes

YWs Young Workers

YWS Young Workers Scheme


ZBB Zero Based Budget

ZHCs Zero Hours Contracts