Search just our sites by using our customised search engine
Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

Scottish Education - Schools and University
Appendix II. Training Colleges


(By Dr MORGAN, Principal of Edinburgh Provincial Training College.)

The system of training teachers in Scotland underwent great modification and extension as the result of a Minute issued by the Scotch Education Department on 30th January, 1905. The method of training in operation prior to that date had done valuable service to the country, but it had several obvious defects. While the organisation of the elementary school system was on a national basis the training of teachers was almost entirely in the hands of the Churches; the Universities and the elementary and secondary school authorities had no representation in the Managing Committees of the Church Training Colleges ; the output of trained teachers was insufficient for the wants of the country [The annual output of trained teachers from all the Training Colleges and King's Student Centres in 1906 was about 700, leaving a deficit of about 400 to be filled from the ranks of untrained teachers-chiefly ex-Pupil Teachers and Acting Teachers.]; and there was no provision made for the professional training of Secondary Teachers and Teachers of Special Subjects such as Drawing, Manual Work, Domestic Science, &c. To remedy these defects the Minute provided for the establishment of four Provincial Committees for the Training of Teachers in connection with the Universities of St Andrews, Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Edinburgh. Each Committee was to look after the training of teachers of all grades in its own Province. Thus the `sphere of influence' of the St Andrews Provincial Committee was to extend from the counties of Fife and Forfar in the east to Perth and Stirling in the west ; of Glasgow Provincial Committee from Inverness in the north to Dumfries in the south, and from Perth and Stirling in the east to Argyle in the west ; of Aberdeen Committee from Shetland in the north to Forfar in the south, and from Aberdeen in the east to Ross and Inverness in the west ; of Edinburgh Committee from Fife in the north to Dumfries in the south, and from Berwick in the east to Stirling in the west. The Minute laid down precise rules regarding the constitution of each Provincial Committee, a certain number of members being elected by the Court of the University, by the Governors of each of the Technical Institutions in the Province, and by the Secondary Education Committees and the Managers of the Secondary Schools in the area. Each Provincial Committee was to be completed by the addition of a certain number of co-opted members representing the teachers in the Province, and any Church or Denomination transferring its Training College to the Provincial Committee.

The functions and powers of the Committees thus constituted were defined in a series of highly important regulations entitled " Regulations for the Preliminary Education, Training, and Certification of Teachers for Various Grades of Schools." The Regulations after careful consideration in draft form by the Provincial Committees themselves and other bodies interested in the training of teachers, were laid on the table of the House of Commons on 7th June, 1906, and came into operation a month later.

The details of the Regulations are somewhat complicated but the following is a brief analysis of their chief provisions:

Arrangements are made for the training of Primary Teachers, Secondary Teachers, and Teachers of Special Subjects.


The education and training of Primary Teachers are to be given in two distinct stages-the Pupil Teacher or junior Student Stage, and the Senior Student Stage. Nothing need be said here regarding the Pupil Teacher System.

1. Junior Students.

(a) General Education.

Candidates for admission to junior Studentship must have received instruction according to an approved curriculum in a Higher Grade School, or a Higher Class School, or in a School accepted by the Department as satisfactory for the purpose; and they must have obtained the Intermediate Certificate. Junior Students must therefore be 15 years of age, and the normal duration of their course is three years. During this time they must receive instruction, according to a curriculum approved by the Department, in English and one other language, History, Geography, Mathematics, Experimental Science, Drawing, Physical Exercises, Music. Instruction may also be given to certain students in Woodwork or Needlework and the Domestic Arts, or School Gardening. At the conclusion of their course all junior Students must be presented at the Leaving Certificate Examination for examination in such subjects of the approved curriculum as the Department may have previously determined.

(b) Practical Skill.

During their course each junior Student must undergo systematic training in the art of teaching each of the Primary School subjects.

Those who complete their course to the satisfaction of the Department in respect of (a) and (b), and who obtain from the principal teacher of the Centre a satisfactory report regarding their character, conduct, bearing and manner of speech, are awarded a certificate (The Junior Student Certificate) giving full details regarding their attainments.

2. Senior Students.

The candidate next becomes a Senior Student and undergoes a further course of education and professional training which extends normally over not less than two years, except in the case of Graduates, Untrained Certificated Teachers, and Provisionally Certificated Teachers, who may be admitted to a one-year course of training.

(a) General Education.

A condition of admission is that the candidate possess the junior Student Certificate, the Leaving Certificate, or produce evidence satisfactory to the Department of having undergone an equivalent course of instruction. The Senior Student may continue to study the subjects of general education stated above for junior Students, and the authorities of the Training Centre may allow students to attend any University classes, or classes in a School of Art, a Technical College,

Agricultural College, or College of Domestic Science, for which they are qualified and which may be useful to them in their future work as teachers. Thus, while professional training is the first and chief concern of the Training Centre, qualified students are given every facility for making a higher and more concentrated study of general subjects.

(b) Professional Education.

According to the Regulations provision must be made at the Training Centre for instruction in School and Personal Hygiene (including a course in Physical Exercises), Psychology, Ethics, Logic, and the History and Principles of Education.

(c) Practical Skill.

The students have to undergo a course of instruction in the methods of teaching each of the subjects of the Primary School curriculum, and the instruction must be accompanied by adequate practice in teaching under skilled supervision. A valuable feature of the practice in teaching under the new system is that it is given in the grant-earning schools in the district, thus ensuring that it is obtained in surroundings approximating as nearly as possible to those under which the student will afterwards have to teach.


(a) General and Special Education.

As a guarantee of sound general culture candidates for training are required, as a rule, to have graduated in Arts or Science. They must further produce evidence that they possess a thorough knowledge of the particular subject they desire to teach. The standard of knowledge required by the Regulations is, generally speaking, the possession of a Degree with Honours in the subject, or attainments in it equivalent to this.

(b) Professional Education.

Students during their training must undergo a course of professional education approved by the Department. The precise nature of the course is not prescribed in the Regulations, but it should include a re-study of the student's particular subject from the professional point of view. Each subject of the school curriculum requires a method of treatment which unfolds its inherent logic, and adapts it best to the growing mind of the pupil. The Secondary Teacher while in training must, therefore, study the educational possibilities of his subject for knowledge and for discipline, and how to use it most advantageously for both. The professional education of the Secondary Teacher should also include a number of subjects the same as for Primary Teachers, such as School and Personal Hygiene, Psychology, Ethics, Logic, History and Principles of Education, all treated more particularly from the point of view of the requirements of the secondary school.

(c) Practical Skill.

The Regulations require the students to receive instruction in the organisation and management of Intermediate and Secondary Schools, and to make themselves acquainted with the actual working of schools of this kind to which access is obtained through the Training Centre.

The students have also to receive instruction and practice in the methods of teaching the particular subject or subjects for which recognition is desired.

The length of the course of training is not prescribed, but it generally is a session of at least 30 weeks. This period may be reduced in the case of holders of the Primary Teacher's Certificate.


The Regulations lay it down that in order to obtain the recognition of the Department as qualified teachers of special subjects such as Cookery, Laundry Work, Drawing, Physical Drill, Manual Instruction, &c., three conditions must be fulfilled:- (a) a general education equivalent, generally speaking, to the standard of the Intermediate Certificate, (b) an expert knowledge of the special subject to be taught testified to by the Diploma of an Institution recognised by the Department for the purpose, (c) the successful completion of an approved course of professional training, including instruction in the aims and methods of education generally, and in the teaching of the particular subject for which recognition is desired.

By the issue of the Minute of 1905 little less than a revolution has been effected in the system of training Scottish teachers, and great changes are still ahead. Owing to the sound general education given at the junior Student Centres, the Provincial Training Colleges will in course of time be relieved of the necessity of giving instruction in general subjects, the quality of the practical training given in them will be raised, and they will probably become more closely connected with the Universities as their Professional Schools for the Training of Teachers.

The number of students at present (May, 1909) undergoing training in the various Provincial Training Colleges is as follows:-

Return to Book Index Page


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus