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Conservative Party Archive: Conservative Central Office - Education Department


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The papers of the Education Department, mainly comprising the records of the Conservative National Advisory Committee on Education, including the minutes of the Conservative and Unionist Teachers' Association/National Advisory Committee on Education, correspondence with area-level teachers'/education advisory committees, as well as other organisations and individuals, including several Ministers and Shadow Ministers of Education. The papers also includes material on issues such as teacher training, immigration and schools, and the Council for Educational Advance.


  • 1944-1990, n.d.


232 shelfmarks

Language of Materials

  • English

Conditions Governing Access

General access conditions apply to this material.

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries, Conservative Party Archive [followed by shelfmark, e.g. CCO 505/1/1].
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Full range of shelfmarks:

CCO 505/1-5

Collection ID (for staff)



Papers of the Conservative Party Education Department, 1944-1983.

Biographical / Historical

A Central Education Committee within Conservative Central Office existed at least from 1925, when it took over the role of political education from the National Union's Labour Committee. In 1928, responsibility was transferred to the short-lived Conservative and Unionist Educational Institute, whereupon responsibility passed back to the Education Committee. Its purpose was solely to do with political education - i.e., the training of Conservative Party agents and activists, which was organised through day conferences and weekend courses held by Area Education Committees (of which there were 9 in existence by 1937), and through courses at the Party's newly-established training colleges, the Philip Stott College at Overstone, Northamptonshire, and from 1929, Ashridge College, at Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire [for which see, Conservative Colleges]. In September 1937, the Central Education Committee became a sub-committee of the National Union's Executive Committee.

A separate Central Council of Conservative Teachers' Circles dealt with the Party's developing interest in the education of children, and coordinated the activities of the growing number of local Conservative Teachers Circles.

Other than newsletters, the records do not survive of any of these pre-War entities.

The recommendations of the Maxwell-Fyfe Committee on Party Organisation in 1947 led to the creation of National Advisory Committees in a number of key areas to facilitate better communication between the National Union and Conservative Central Office. Amongst these was the Conservative and Unionist Teachers' Association. The C.U.T.A was serviced by a new Education Department within Conservative Central Office, but in practice, the two were synonymous, with the Secretary or National Organiser of the C.U.T.A being based in Central Office, and the records subsequently created relate to the work and activities of the C.U.T.A.

In 1966, the Conservative and Unionist Teachers' Association changed its name to the Conservative National Advisory Committee on Education in acknowledgement of its wider remit concerning Education rather than teachers. in March 1994, the N.A.C.E ceased to exist, and has since been replaced by the Conservative National Education Society. No records of this latter organisation have yet been deposited in the Conservative Party Archive.

Custodial History

The Conservative Party Archive (CPA) was established as a source for academic study at the Bodleian Library in 1978 by an agreement made between the University of Oxford and the Conservative Party, and brought together surviving historic papers of the Party previously held in various locations including Newcastle University Library and the former Conservative Central Office in Smith Square, London. Since 1996, ownership and financial responsibility for the CPA has been vested in the Conservative Party Archive Trust. The CPA preserves the records of all three areas of Party organisation: parliamentary, voluntary and professional. It is recognised by the Conservative Party as the official repository for its historic records and those of affiliated organisations, and receives new material on a regular basis.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Conservative Party.
Conservative Party Archive: Education Department
Finding aid prepared by Emily Tarrant
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom