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Joint Report of the Council and the General Board on Teaching and Research in Education, and on Homerton College

The COUNCIL and the GENERAL BOARD beg leave to report to the University as follows:


1. The purpose of this Report is (a) to set out a strategy for the development of the University School of Education, to be implemented by convergence between the teaching and research activities of the present University Department of Education and those of Homerton College, to form a single integrated University School of Education, and (b) to outline consequential changes to the relationship between Homerton College and the University, and to identify the College's path for further development as a collegiate institution within the University.

School of Education

2. After various amalgamations and reorganizations, the University School of Education currently consists of the University Department of Education, which incorporates the former independent Cambridge Institute of Education. There is a strong association between the University Department, and the teaching and research activities of Homerton College (although the College is a free-standing institution funded independently of the University by HEFCE and the TTA).

3. After extensive discussion and review, in co-operation with the Faculty Board of Education, the Council and the General Board have concluded that the best way of developing Cambridge's contribution to teacher education, to the study of education, and to research in the field, is to develop the present School of Education by integrating the work of the University Department and the teaching and research work of Homerton College, within a single University Department. Only such an approach can provide the opportunity for the scale of activity in teaching and research which is now necessary to produce success of the standards appropriate to Cambridge in teaching and research (as demonstrated, for example, in the periodic Research Assessment Exercises).

4. The approach now commended by the central bodies is derived from proposals put forward by a Working Party chaired by Professor Malcolm Schofield, appointed by the General Board. The principal conclusion of this Working Party was that a process of convergence should take place. The recommendations of the Working Party, which were accepted by the General Board, are set out in the Appendix to this Report.

5. A further Working Party established in 1999 by the University Council through the Planning and Resources Committee of the Council and the General Board has taken the matter forward, in discussion with representatives of the Faculty of Education, and representatives of the Trustees of Homerton College. The Working Party has been chaired by Professor Q. R. D. Skinner, Professor A.J. Badger, and Dr A. D. B. Poole, and has included among its members Professor N. J. Mackintosh, Dr G. A. Reid (Chairman of the Bursars' Committee) and Dr P. B. Wilson (Secretary of the Senior Tutors' Committee) together with appropriate administrative officers. The Working Party has confirmed as desirable the strategy of convergence in teaching and research between the activities of the University Department and those of Homerton College. It has considered the steps necessary to achieve the strategy of convergence. The proposal is that subject to the agreement of the HEFCE and the TTA, Homerton's undergraduate- and postgraduate-funded places should pass to the University. The University would assume responsibility for teaching towards the following qualifications: the B.Ed. Degree, the B.A. Degree (in Education Studies), and the Postgraduate Certificate in Education. Appropriate funding transfers are being discussed with the two funding agencies. In addition, the research commitment by Homerton staff would pass to the new School, and the HEFCE has indicated that the relevant funds would pass from the College to the University. The HEFCE and TTA will also provide non-recurrent restructuring and transitional funding.

6. An important element of the scheme of convergence is that the University Department of Education (at present divided between various premises in central Cambridge, centred on Trumpington Street, and the building of the former Institute of Education in Shaftesbury Road) would be concentrated on the Homerton site, to take advantage of co-location with the existing teaching facilities at Homerton College, which include the new Mary Allan Building, partly funded by the HEFCE. The Council expect to report to the University in due course with a proposal for an additional University building or buildings on the Homerton site. Terms on which the University will use present Homerton accommodation for teaching and research are being negotiated.

7. Various changes are already taking place in the composition of the student body at Homerton. As a consequence of national changes to arrangements for Initial Teacher Training (ITT), student numbers for the B.Ed. Degree are being reduced, and the present Homerton College is re-orienting its undergraduate offering towards the B.A. The recommendations of the Faculty Board of Education in their Report on a proposed amendment to the regulations for the Education Studies Tripos (Reporter, 1999-2000, p. 1021) have recently been approved by the University. The Council have therefore agreed that the present restriction on the number of students who are admitted in a year as candidates for the B.A. Degree be removed and that a new limit of 210 on the total number of matriculated students who are candidates for either the B.A. Degree or the B.Ed. Degree be introduced.

8. At the proposed date of convergence (1 August 2001) the staff of Homerton College engaged in teaching and research would transfer from the employment of the College to the employment of the University under the provisions of the appropriate legislation. The General Board would establish an appropriate number of University Lectureships and other academic offices, to which, by decision of the Appointments Committee for the Faculty of Education, staff will be appointed. Others, such as academic-related staff, would be offered appropriate posts within the new School. Support staff would be offered appropriate University posts in assistant staff grades. For the staff concerned these changes are expected to be financially neutral. There is not expected to be extra cost to the University beyond that funded by the HEFCE and TTA. Consultations with staff are currently taking place.

9. The Council and the General Board believe that the changes set out in this section of the Report provide a sound basis for the further development of the University School of Education. They believe that it would be appropriate for the strategy to be endorsed by the Regent House and they recommend accordingly.

Homerton College

10. Homerton College is a higher education institution in its own right, and has a long history. It is also an Approved Society within the University. The College is governed by Trustees.

11. After convergence, the new College would have academic responsibilities within the University comparable to those in other Colleges, and the present College authorities have indicated that they would expect the College to provide strong tutorial support and direction of studies for undergraduate students in a variety of subjects, not limited to Education, similar support for Graduate Students in the School of Education, and to students for the P.G.C.E. and the M.Ed. Degree, and that they would wish to develop a strong College graduate community, consisting of Graduate Students from other Faculties, as well as Graduate Students in Education. College fees at standard rates would be paid for B.A., B.Ed., and Graduate Students, and at the postgraduate rate for P.G.C.E. students. The Trustees hope that by 2010 at least 20 per cent of undergraduates will be admitted to the College for subjects other than Education. The Trustees are actively pursuing the shape of the new College and they will be seeking the early appointment of research fellows and admission of research students.

12. The Council and the General Board welcome this approach, and in particular the development of a graduate community at Homerton College, which they believe would provide a valuable source of support for Graduate Students, whose numbers in the University are expected to continue to increase significantly in the coming years.

13. The University Working Party has examined academic and related plans for the new College, and have recommended that they provide a viable basis for the continuation of recognition of the College as an Approved Society. A process of progressive change is intended towards eventual full governance by a governing body comprising a Head and Fellows. As the College develops further, academically and in respect of governance, the Council believe that the case for the transfer of Homerton from the status of Approved Society to a more permanent status such as that of Approved Foundation will become clear. The Council therefore expect in due course to receive an application from the College, and to report to the University on this matter.

14. The Trustees' subordinate company, Homerton School of Health Studies Limited holds a contract with Lifespan Healthcare NHS Trust for nurse training in Cambridgeshire. The College collaborates with the Clinical School in the Master of Studies Programme in Primary and Community Care and is an accredited institution of the Open University Validating Service for academic awards related to nursing, midwifery, and health studies.

15. Some minor amendments would be necessary to the regulations for Homerton College (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 892), to permit the changes. The Council recommend that the changes should be made with effect from 1 August 2001.

16. The Council, as the central body principally responsible for relations between the University and Colleges, commend these collegiate proposals to the Regent House, and believe that the College in its new form will provide a valuable contribution towards the development of the University.


17. The Council and the General Board therefore recommend:

I. That approval be given to convergence between the University School of Education and Homerton College in relation to teaching and research in Education, and to the transfer of the College's teaching and research activities to the University.

II. That the regulations for Homerton College (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 892) be further amended with effect from 1 August 2001 to read as follows:

Regulation 2.

By amending sub-paragraph (b) so as to read:

(b) to present for matriculation a student who has been approved for admission to the College as an undergraduate, to enter such a student as a candidate for examination leading to the degree of B.A., and to present him or her as a candidate for such degrees.

By inserting after sub-paragraph (e) the following additional sub-paragraph:

(f) to present for matriculation Graduate Students, and to present Graduate Students approved by examination and by the Board of Graduate Studies for the degree concerned;

By amending proviso (i) so as to read:

(i) a number of students who are candidates for the B.A. and B.Ed. Degrees greater than 210, and

By deleting proviso (ii) and renumbering provisos (iii)-(v) as (ii)-(iv).

By adding to the end of proviso (ii) (previously (iii)) the words 'exceptionally, in a transitional period, greater than 650, and'.

20 November 2000

ALEC N. BROERS, Vice-Chancellor

1 November 2000

ALEC N. BROERS, Vice-Chancellor


Recommendations of the General Board's Working Party (Chairman: Professor M. Schofield) (July 1998)


18. The Working Party reaffirm their advice that the strategy set out in the Strategic Plan is realistic and well-conceived. In their view the Head of School has a coherent programme, and they are persuaded by the figure for the optimum size of the School he has identified. They note that if the Strategic Plan is to be implemented, decisions are needed by the Council and the General Board before the end of the current academic year. They recommend

(1) that the General Board approved the School of Education's Strategic Plan in principle as a basis for further action;

(2) that the General Board request their Needs Committee to draw up a schedule of accommodation for the School for their approval;

(3) that the General Board affirm their recognition that a commitment to the future for the School of Education envisaged in its Strategic Plan entails at this stage negotiation of a form of institutional merger with Homerton College;

(4) that the Council put in hand the necessary negotiations with the Trustees of Homerton College on the general basis proposed in the Strategic Plan;

(5) that the Council and the General Board request the Planning and Resources Committee to elaborate with the necessary officer support a financial framework against which the outcome of negotiations with the Trustees of Homerton College can be evaluated.

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Cambridge University Reporter, 22 November 2000
Copyright © 2000 The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge.