Celebrating 100 Years of the Department of Education

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Category: News

Department of Education building

100th Anniversary of the passing of a statute creating the Oxford University Department of Education

In 2019, the University of Oxford’s Department of Education celebrates its 100th anniversary in style; rated first in the UK for degrees in education by the Times Higher Education World University Subject Rankings, number one in the UK for research in education by the most recent Research Excellence Framework (the REF), and as part of the world’s leading University for Social Sciences teaching and research.

Originally established in 1919 to prepare teachers for Elementary and Secondary schools, the department’s contribution to the wider community has been evident since its inception, with the delivery of the University’s cultural resources to schools always being of critical importance. Our excellence in teacher education remains a core part of the department today, as demonstrated through the recently received ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted rating of our PGCE programmes, through our MSc in Teacher Education and Learning and Teaching, our research informed teaching practices, and the work of our Oxford Education Deanery, which has been dedicated to supporting teachers’ professional development and improving outcomes for pupils in schools since 2013.

Today, the department has 7 postgraduate programmes, 9 research groups, 4 research centres, over 590 postgraduate students and more than 160 staff members. The department takes particular pride in the diversity of its students, with 33% of students coming from the UK or EU during 2018 and the remaining 67% from countries overseas, including Ghana, Japan, Germany, India, Malaysia, China, Mexico, Estonia, Australia, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey and the United States, among many others.

Research in the department has continued to grow over this past century, not only across the breadth of its research areas, addressing issues in Language, Cognition and Development, Policy, Economy and Society, and Pedagogy, Learning and Knowledge but also through its increased physical growth, research activity and popularity. In 2018, the number of researchers in the department increased by 36%, research income exceeded department records and the number of doctoral applications increased by 20%.

The relevance of our research on policy, in particular, has been both influential and crucial to the UK government through parliamentary committees such as the  Science and Technology Committee, the Treasury Select Committee and the Economic Affairs Committee, to the Education Committee, the House of Lords Select Committee and the Women’s & Equalities Committee. The depth of research on both an inter and cross-disciplinary level has seen collaboration not only within the Social Science disciplines, from Philosophy, Social Policy, Sociology and Psychology, but also into the Humanities and Medical Sciences.

Last year saw the launch of a brand new Masters programme aimed at researchers and professionals in the field of educational assessment and led by academic researchers from the department’s Centre for Educational Assessment. We also welcomed three new senior academic Professorships to the department in Higher Education, Teacher Education and Child Development and Education, with Associate Professorships in Applied Linguistics and Higher Education underway. 2018 also saw the arrival of our most recent research centre, the Centre for Global Higher Education, now headquartered at the department and actively researching themes from the internationalisation of Higher Education, local and global public good contributions of Higher Education and the implications of Brexit, trade and migration for UK universities.

100th Anniversary Activities

To mark our 100th anniversary a year-long series of themed activities will be delivered to address some of the department’s top initiatives for 2019, answer some of the big questions facing education today and to reveal the advancements the department has made to the study of and research in the field of education.

Celebrations will start with a public seminar series on ‘Student Access to University’, led by Simon Marginson (Professor of Higher Education and Director of the Centre for Global Higher Education). The series will run for 5 weeks starting in January and involve an array of education experts within and outside of the department. In March, our annual student conference, STORIES (Students’ Ongoing Research in Education Studies), will explore issues in mental health, access and accountability in education. During Trinity term we will discuss the importance of Teacher Education, the basis that established the department in 1919, through our second public seminar series for the year, as well as celebrating with our alumni through the relaunch of our annual Oxford Education Society lecture.

A paper commemorating the centenary and the department’s history will also be published by Emeritus Professor and former Department Director, Richard Pring, later in the year. Entitled, ‘Teacher Training at Oxford University; Reluctant birth, Robust development – and the Oxford Review of Education’, the paper will set-out the department’s evolution, relationship with the University and cultural involvement with the wider community and contribution to Government policy.

If you would like the opportunity to explore our history, learn more about our future research and discover how you can be part of our 100th anniversary celebrations, join our mailing list and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for all the latest updates. Further announcements will follow throughout the year.

To find out more about our research: www.education.ox.ac.uk/our-research/

To view our public seminar series on ‘Student Access to University’ and register to attend see here.

To find out more about our PGCE, range of masters programmes and DPhil in education: www.education.ox.ac.uk/programmes/

To view all upcoming events: www.education.ox.ac.uk/news-events/events/