The impact of austerity on schools and children’s education and well-being

The impact of austerity on schools and children’s education and well-being. Cutbacks in government-sponsored services, growing inequality and falling real wages, and changes in housing and income support are impacting upon the lives of children and creating major challenges for schools and colleges in the UK. Mark K Smith explores some key areas of concern […]

Steve Biko and informal and community education

Steve Biko and informal and community education. Steve Biko is remembered as a founder and martyr of the Black consciousness movement in South Africa. Here Barry Burke assesses his significance for informal and community educators. contents: introduction · steve biko on education · conclusion · bibliography · how to cite this article Steve Biko (1946-1977) […]

Jerome Bruner and the process of education

Jerome Bruner and the process of education. Jerome Bruner has made a profound contribution to our appreciation of the process of education and to the development of curriculum theory. We explore his work and draw out some important lessons for informal educators and those concerned with the practice of lifelong learning. contents: introduction · jerome […]

Leslie Button and developmental group work

Leslie Button and developmental group work. The ideas of Leslie Button were influential in youth work practice and training for over 30 years. He developed a method for both training youth workers and working with young people that became known as developmental group work. He also made a significant contribution to the development of active […]

Henry Caldwell Cook

Henry Caldwell Cook. Pioneering teacher and advocate of natural education in self-governing communities. Henry Caldwell Cook (1885-1939) taught at Perse School, Cambridge and was best known for his (1917) book The Play Way. He had a vision of ‘natural education in self-governing communities’ but argued for a transition involving a ‘partial liberation from the classroom’. […]

Mary Carpenter, reformatory schools and education

Mary Carpenter, reformatory schools and education. Mary Carpenter’s path-breaking work on the experiences of children in trouble – and the education that should be offered them was a landmark in nineteenth-century educational and social analysis. Her realism, tolerance, and good humour struck a particularly liberal note. We explore the main principles and methods of her […]

John Dewey on education, experience and community

John Dewey on education, experience and community. Arguably the most influential thinker on education in the twentieth century, Dewey’s contribution lies along several fronts. His attention to experience and reflection, democracy and community, and to environments for learning have been seminal. (This ‘John Dewey’ page is due to be extended). John Dewey (1859 – 1952) […]

Antonio Gramsci, schooling and education

Antonio Gramsci, schooling and education. Gramsci’s emphasis on critical awareness, the importance of intellectuals being part of everyday life, and on the part played by so-called ‘common sense’ in maintaining the status quo have helped to open up the transformational possibilities of education. contents: introduction · ideological hegemony · organic intellectuals · gramsci on schooling […]

John Holt, learning and (un)schooling

John Holt. John Holt’s explorations of the failures of formal teaching and schooling influenced a generation of educators. By looking to the experiences and interests of children, and the sense they made of learning and education, we can find great possibility. John Caldwell Holt (1923-1985) forthcoming   Websites The best starting point is It […]

Ivan Illich: deschooling, conviviality and lifelong learning

Ivan Illich: deschooling, conviviality and  lifelong learning. Known for his critique of modernization and the corrupting impact of institutions, Ivan Illich’s concern with deschooling, learning webs and the disabling effect of professions has struck a chord among many informal educators. We explore key aspects of his theory and his continuing relevance for informal education and […]

Informal, non-formal and formal education programmes

In this piece Paul Fordham explores the emergence of the influential typology of education programmes as informal, non-formal and formal. The notions are considered in relation to the concern to foster economic development. Particular attention is paid to the characteristics of non-formal education in relation to participation, purposes and methods. Debates around ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ […]

Informal education in schools and colleges

In recent years there has been a significant growth in the numbers of informal educators working in formal educational settings like schools and colleges. We explore the phenomenon – and some of the possibilities and problems involved. contents: introduction · recent developments in school and college policy and practice · the decline in classroom teachers’ […]

Lifespan development and lifelong learning

Lifespan development and lifelong learning. ‘Development’ is one of those familiar concepts that seeps almost unnoticed into the conversations of educators. They are self-evidently concerned with the development of people. But what is development? Are there particular stages that we pass through in our life course? Contents · introduction · development · stages · gender, […]

William Lovett on education: Extracts from Chartism – a new organization of the people

Sharing something of a similar political tradition to Robert Owen – but coming a different social position – William Lovett – has a significant place in the development of ideas around schooling and lifelong learning. Here we reproduce extracts from Chartism – A New Organization of the People (1840) – written with John Collins ____________ William […]

Maria Montessori and education

Maria Montessori and education. First the education of the senses, then the education of the intellect – Montessori’s vision and ‘method’ are still popular. Maria Montessori (1870 – 1952). Maria Montessori was the first woman in Italy to qualify as a physician. She developed an interest in the diseases of children and in the needs […]

Nel Noddings, the ethics of care and education

Nel Noddings, the ethics of care and education, Nel Noddings is well known for her work around the ethics of caring, however, she has also added significantly to theory and practice more broadly in education. Here we explore her contribution. contents: introduction · nel noddings – life · caring · caring, schooling and education · […]

Julius Nyerere, lifelong learning and education

Julius Nyerere, lifelong learning and education. One of Africa’s most respected figures, Julius Nyerere (1922 – 1999) was a politician of principle and intelligence. Known as Mwalimu or teacher he had a vision of education and social action that was rich with possibility. contents: introduction · ujamma, socialism and self reliance · education for self-reliance […]

John Dewey: My pedagogical creed

My pedagogic creed – John Dewey’s famous declaration concerning education. First published in The School Journal, Volume LIV, Number 3 (January 16, 1897), pages 77-80. Contents: what education is • what the school is • the subject matter of education • the nature of method • the school and social progress • how to cite […]

Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi: pedagogy, education and social justice

Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi: pedagogy, education and social justice. His commitment to social justice, interest in everyday forms and the innovations he made in schooling practice make Pestalozzi a fascinating focus for study. Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746 – 1827). Born in Zurich, Pestalozzi took up Rousseau’s ideas and explored how they might be developed and implemented. […]

The Plowden Report

Derek Gillard describes the context and content of the 1967 Plowden Report ‘Children and their Primary Schools’ and assesses the criticisms that have been made of it in the years since it was published. He argues that it is still an important document which should be read widely today. contents: introduction – background to the […]

John Howard Whitehouse, John Ruskin and educational reform

John Howard Whitehouse, John Ruskin and educational reform. John Howard Whitehouse (1873-1955) is now remembered chiefly as a champion of John Ruskin – but he played a significant role in developing work with boys, was active in the settlement movement, served as an MP, and was an innovative educationalist and headmaster. Sara Atwood explores his […]