Chancing upon Hayward in the Conway Hall Library

Conway Hall Library2Last week, during a break from working in our basement closed stacks, Sally Perry and I happened upon Conway Hall in Red Lion Square.  It is the Ethical Society’s 1920s HQ and has a gem of a library.  The Library has the largest and most comprehensive humanist research resource in the UK – for additional information and a link to the online catalogue go to

Whilst browsing the collection, I came across some books by F. H. Hayward whose library we hold in the IOE’s Special Collections.  This in itself was not surprising as Dr. F. H. Hayward (1872 to 1954), a District Inspector of Schools for the London County Council, was a supporter of the secularist movement and a founding member of the Moral Instruction League which was set up to further ethical and civic teaching in schools on a non-theological basis.

Hayward worked tirelessly for 32 years for the cause of elementary education in the poorest districts of East London.  He was a prolific writer and teacher who was well known among the profession during the early part of the 20th century.  He wrote thirty books and numerous journal articles on the theoretical foundation for teaching moral education and education for citizenship.  These writings were published in the key education-related journals of the time including Educational Review, School, School World, Journal of Education, Times Educational Supplement, Child Study and Journal of Proceedings of the Child-Study Society. Hayward is perhaps best known for his new method of moral instruction that attempted to inculcate the values of good citizenship.  This was his ‘Celebration’ method.

Hayward 1The first Director of the Institute of Education (which was then the London Day Training College), Sir John Adams, was a personal friend and mentor.  He thought highly of Hayward, stating in a personal letter to the author (which is reprinted in Hayward’s autobiography, An Educational Failure, p. 152):


The more I consider you and your educational work, the more I regard you as a figure in the history of education rubbing shoulders with Comenius and Pestalozzi and rousing the writer’s wonder at the inability of your contemporaries to appreciate the value of your contribution.  The time will come when light will break … and you will be raised to the pedestal which is being silently prepared for you.

Upon its publication, the autobiography was largely reviewed favourably by the press (according to the publicity material pasted into Hayward’s own copy of the book – see R. Rawnsley, p. 343). Adjectives and phrases such as ‘moving’, ‘instructive’, ‘fresh’, ‘vital’, ‘engagingly candid’, ‘of profound interest’, ‘original thinking’, ‘forceful’, ‘sane’ are just some of the words that describe the book.  The autobiography is part of the Hayward Library held in the IOE’s Special Collections and includes both the books that influenced Hayward’s thinking and the books and pamphlets on the importance of moral education that were published from his home after his retirement from the London County Council.  More information on the Hayward Collection is at:



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Arts and Diversity education resources

I recently received what is perhaps my favourite donation of library books that I have ever received in the 9 years that I have worked at the UCL Institute of Education. The donation of 3 very large boxes of material, was given to us by Naseem Khan and contained a wealth of extremely useful resources for those interested in arts and diversity in education. Naseem Khan’s working life has included journalism, broadcasting, policy development, research and arts administration. Her main focus has been around cultural diversity.
Naseem was ‘Head of Diversity’ for the Arts Council from 1996 to 2003, but she was actively engaged in that area of work long before that time. In 1976 for example, she wrote the pioneering ‘The Arts Britain Ignores’ – recognized as a significant piece in opening up the debate on the nature of ‘British culture’. Additionally, Naseem was a founder/coordinator of the first national umbrella body for all non-indigenous arts activities, MAAS (Minorities Arts Advisory Service). As a journalist, she wrote a weekly column, Work in Progress, on cultural issues for The New Statesman for two years, was a regular Guardian freelancer in addition to working as the ‘Theatre Editor’ of Time Out. Naseem was also the coordinator of the vast alternative ‘Festival of India’ (1983) and co-director of the ‘Academy of Indian Dance’ (1982). Naseem has been a Senior Associate of the research consultancy, Comedia, and wrote ‘The Road to Interculturalism: Tracking the arts in a changing world’ for their 2007 study of ‘The Intercultural City’. With Comedia, she worked on projects around the role of urban parks and open space, the use of public libraries and the social impact of the arts.
In 1999, Naseem received the OBE. Currently, she runs her own policy consultancy and continues to be a significant and valuable voice in arts and diversity in the UK. For more information about the work Naseem has undertaken and continues to progress, see

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What’s goes on inside is what counts

I’m here in Berlin for an Erasmus Libraries week and I’ve come to realise that UCL libraries have a lot in common with Freie Universität (FU) Libraries. For example:

  • FU has almost 36,000 students; UCL has about the same number.
  • FU uses Primo as a library discovery tool; UCL also uses Primo.
  • FU has 13 libraries in Berlin; UCL has 18 libraries in London.
  • FU has over 300 librarians; UCL has over 300 librarians as well.
  • FU used the library system, Aleph, and has moved to Alma; UCL uses Aleph and is planning to move to Alma.

In fact, there are more similarities among the 19 librarian delegates from 13 countries than there are differences.  We all strive to organise, preserve and share resources for research within a variety of structures and cultures.  Perhaps at UCL, we don’t have the garden oasis that can be found in FU’s Campus Library (below) or the enticing curves of FU’s  Foster designed Philological Library (bottom), yet UCL libraries do have their unique buildings, both old and new, and like FU, a wealth of resources.

FU campusLibraries come in all shapes and sizes and while the outside space can inspire, the real inspiration is what our users do with what is inside.




Philological Library

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UK Out, I’m In

I know the UK is going out, but I’m in Berlin and I’m going to do my darndest to keep European library ties revived. I’m here at Freie Universitat on an Erasmus Staff Week: Libraries in Motion – Structures and Services. It looks to be a packed 5 days of sharing and learning from those here in Berlin and from delegates from Europe, the Middle East and the US.  90 delegates are attending: 70 from university international offices and 20 from libraries. We’re all here to share best practice and innovations and to spread the word that we need to open our minds to the world, especially during troubled times.

FU was founded in 1948 with the support of the American allied forces in a move to free students and staff from overpowering political influence. From the beginning, Freie Universität has made connections in Germany, in Europe and worldwide. Today, Freie Universitat has 11 departments,  34,170 students and their international strategies have netted them partnerships and recognition from around the world. The QS World University Rankings® 2015/16 ranks FU fifth in Germany and 116th in the world.

I guess the lesson here is that to be truly free is to be open to the world. Let’s hope that we can exercise this same freedom in the UK in future.







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Convent days

Frost in May by Antonia White (1899-1980) was first published in 1933.It was republished in 1978 by Virago Press as the first of its Modern Classics.

We meet the narrator and heroine Nanda (Fernanda) Grey when she is enrolled, aged seven, at the Convent of Five Wounds.Nanda remains at the Roman Catholic Boarding School until she is suddenly asked to leave by the nuns. A misunderstanding has arisen about a book she is writing and the nuns regard her as a wicked influence.

We experience Nanda’s world through her eyes and although written for adults the language used can seem childlike. Antonia White is good at portraying school life with its routines, rituals, the teachers, the hierarchies, the joy of being praised and the sorrow at not living up to expectations. The treatment from the nuns can seem cruel, but it is just reported, not commented on. Frost in May


Nanda does not find it completely possible to fit in with her fellow pupils. Her family are middle-class converts to Catholicism. Many of her classmates are from well-established Roman Catholic families which are often wealthy and sometimes aristocratic.

There is a strong autobiographic element to the book. Antonia White was baptised into the Church of England but became a Roman Catholic when her father converted when she was aged nine. She was a boarder at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Roehampton, South West London. Antonia wrote a book to give to her father on his birthday. In this schoolgirl story her characters were wicked people but at the end she was going to have them repent and convert to the Catholic Church. Unfortunately the nuns discovered her early chapters and were shocked by her perceived wickedness. She was unable to explain the proposed ending before she was expelled. This sudden wrench from her stable, mostly happy life due to her writing had a serious effect on her career as an author. The unhappy memories generated by the writing of ‘Frost in May’ meant she did not write another novel for 20 years.


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Migrating to IOE LibGuides 2.0

LibGuides version 2Summer 2016 will be a time of transition at the UCL Institute of Education Library as we aim to enrich the user experience both in the library and online. One key change involves IOE LibGuides.

Since 2012, we have used LibGuides to support learning in our face-to-face and online library sessions.  We updated our ‘LibGuide look’ in 2014 and in 2016, we’ve been working toward the migration to LibGuides 2.0 on the 1st of June 2016.

With LibGuides 2.0 we hope to provide users with enhanced responsiveness and interactivity.  You may not find much difference in the way you navigate through the different groups of guides which are arranged in the Digital Library, Library Collections, How to…, Archive & Special Collections and Services for Users, but what you may notice is that the look is slightly different.  The navigation remains the same, that is, through the bread-crumb trail at the top left hand side and you can still search for guides. An important enhancement is that LibGuides should display the same on all devices.

We have also purchased LibWizard which offers us the tools to create better forms, surveys, quizzes and tutorials.  We’ll provide more about that in future blogs.

Do bear with us while we work through the LibGuides to ensure that all the guides are accurate and all the links work. If you find any inaccuracies, let us know by sending us a message on IOE LibAnswers.  Do also send us your feedback. Are there any new guides that you think would be useful?  Are there ways in which we can improve the guides to make the content more accessible?  Your input is always appreciated.

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Favourite subjects versus relevant curriculum?

When I glanced through one of our new acquisitions – a book which analyses the success of Japan’s educational system – a list of pupils’ favourite subjects struck me.

Both elementary and middle school students had voiced a preference for sports, arts, and music, in that order. Both groups had rejected their own language (Japanese), their first foreign language (English, if taught), and maths as least appealing. Natural sciences and social sciences held the middle ground.

Boy playing discus. Pottery from Attica (5th c. B.C.) - © The Trustees of the British Museum

Boy playing discus. Pottery from Attica (5th c. B.C.) – Photograph: © The Trustees of the British Museum

So I looked at surveys from my European home country for comparison. And indeed, in 2005, 6 in 10 German teenagers declared physical education one of their favourite subjects and 4 in 10 loved art education. Roughly 3 in 10 voted for history, geography, English, or maths, while 2 in 10 professed a taste for physics or chemistry. In a 2010 poll, the undisputed number 1 on the podium, sports, was joined by maths at number 2, before geography and history.

Yet, I reckon that these studies were biased: the 2005 one was commissioned by the chemistry industry (would chemistry even have figured otherwise?) and the 2010 one by a foundation for arithmetics (would maths have retrospectively come top for adults otherwise?). Were there given lists, where music, for instance, was not mentioned?

In the same way, the results of a 2015 poll in France may be due to the presentation of subjects: mother tongue education (21%) and mathematics were much appreciated (25%) and history/geography came top (27%); yet, maths on its own scored almost as much as geography & history together, so was really the favourite.

Interestingly, sports was rather unpopular with French people (8%)! So were foreign languages, with natural sciences not much loved either. However, adults were interviewed in hindsight. Perhaps they did not feel up to strenuous exercise any more? And did the French pollsters offer any artistic subjects at all?

A third German poll (2008), amongst children aged 6 to 12, found great support for music amongst girls but next to none amongst boys. Figures from Germany also show again and again that sports is vastly more popular with boys and art with girls; maths with boys and language with girls.

Anyway, are not the German preferences quite different from, and the Japanese ones precisely the opposite of, most curricula on earth, be it in East Asia, in Europe, in America or in Britain? So why would children be most interested in the fields deemed the least important by adults – parents, teachers, politicians – and vice versa?

Are those core subjects really so much harder? Or are they made harder by exacting standards and constant testing? Are they really less engaging? Or are they still soured by dull curricula, dull teaching materials, dull teaching methods? And are they really so much more relevant to life? Or do the kids have a point in leaning towards exercise and creativity first, knowledge about our world and society next, and mathematics and languages last? Do they maybe want to balance out an imbalance created by us?

Photograph by Hanserblich (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons. Explanation (not covered by my national curriculum): The music produced by this group is a symphony and not a waterfall.

Photograph by Hanserblich (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons. –
Explanation (not covered by my national curriculum at the time):
The sound produced by this group is a symphony and not a waterfall.

When I looked at the current national curricula for primary education and secondary education, I was shocked at the proportion of space given to literacy and numeracy, to natural and social science, and to the insignificant rest.

We have stored these documents online for you – and for the public – on our DERA repository: The 2014 primary national curriculum in England and The 2014 secondary national curriculum in England.

For secondary education, the framework on English filled around 25 pages. The advice on maths and computing was 12 pages long, on sciences, also 12, and on history, geography, and citizenship together only 10. Lastly, art, design, music, sports were worthy of two pages each.

Religious education must have fallen by the wayside, and personal, social and health education is not mentioned either, both by contrast to the national curriculum of 1999.

The double page conceded to studying ‘a foreign language’, by the way, seems positively bizarre to someone from Europe, where the second language is considered the third core subject, together with maths and your own language and literature, and where a third language is the norm…

On the other hand, my prestigious baccalaureate left me with considerable command of algebra, but none of designing or even drawing any object, and with the ability to read Latin fairly well, but none to distinguish a symphony from, let’s say, a waterfall.

Why are art and music regarded as something separate, something artistic rather than academic, instead of teaching everyone, at the very least, art and music history just like political and, in fact, literary history?

West African textile, decorated with portrait of anti-colonial leader Amilcar Cabral. A double expression of identity through design and motif? - Photograph: © The Trustees of the British Museum

West African textile, decorated with portrait of anti-colonial leader Amilcar Cabral. A double expression of identity: through design and motif? –
Photograph: © The Trustees of the British Museum

As regards the multiple and invaluable benefits of actual artistic activity, Professor Susan Hallam of the UCL Institute of Education has summarised the research for you in The power of music (2015). As a UCL student or staff member, you can read her ideas online in an e-book of 2010.

Amongst the many boosts of music education are intelligence, literacy and numeracy! For the wider role of art and design education, the Library has just acquired a title on the identity of black people in Britain and their roots in Africa.

In this context, the recent speech by Schools Minister Nick Gibb, What is a good education in the 21st century? – also filed on DERA for you – is revealing.

The minister deplores the decline of ‘academic subjects’ and ‘knowledge’ in theories and policies of education. He provides a number of valid examples where problem-solving would not be possible without previously memorised and practised knowledge, like time-tables and vocabulary.

Gibb certainly makes some good points for the concepts of this and the previous Government; yet he confirms the hierarchy of skills and the hierarchy of studies. Little space here for intelligence through music or identity through art!

By the way, that study on Japanese schools by Christopher Bjork comes to a surprising conclusion on undifferentiated cramming and child-centred learning.

If you want to find out more on curricula, the classmarks at the Newsam Library are ‘Mabt’ and ‘Mabt Oversize’ (upstairs, right and further right). A search tip: If you go to ‘Full Search’ on the Library Catalogue and look up ‘Curriculum’, on the right hand there will appear a list of related search terms, very specific ones like ‘Curriculum analysis’ and ‘Curriculum relevance’.

Quick links to the current national curriculum are on our guide to Official Publications; European links and worldwide links can be found on our guide to International Education.

I do hope that all students at the UCL IOE will contribute to a meaningful education system in their countries – most of them as teachers and researchers and some of them as politicians!

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