A Learning Profession?

Teachers and their Professional Development in England and Wales 1920–2000

  • Wendy Robinson

Part of the Studies in Professional Life and Work book series (SPLW, volume 2)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Setting the Scene

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Wendy Robinson
      Pages 3-13
    3. Wendy Robinson
      Pages 15-38
  3. Chronological Case Studies

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 39-39
    2. Wendy Robinson
      Pages 41-61
    3. Wendy Robinson
      Pages 85-109
  4. Teachers’ Reflections on Professional Development

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 131-131
    2. Wendy Robinson
      Pages 133-151
    3. Wendy Robinson
      Pages 171-191
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 193-202

About this book


This ground-breaking book uncovers a hidden history of the professional develop¬ment of serving teachers. Drawing on hitherto unpublished archive material, Wendy Robinson reveals an op¬timistic and liberal age of high class conferences in the 1920s and 1930s, in Lon¬don hotels and Oxford colleges, free from government control, where teachers from across the country and abroad, gathered for professional, intellectual and cultural ‘refreshment’. The status attached to these occasions was signified by the celebrities who graced them, including royalty, public intellectuals, educational practitioners and politicians. Professor Robinson then shows how post-war training became more instrumental, taken over by the Ministry of Education with its centrally-prescribed advanced courses, and, from 1970, by Local Education Authorities’ invention of ap¬parently democratic Teachers’ Centres. This analysis is complemented by face-to-face interviews with teachers and other practitioners once active in professional development. Fascinating, detailed inter¬views brilliantly capture teachers’ lived experience of professional development and its influence on their teaching, career development and professional identity. Fresh and original, lucidly written by one of the leading historians of education in Britain, A Learning Profession? is essential and engaging reading for those inter¬ested in the development of a teaching profession.


career development professional identity teaching

Authors and affiliations

  • Wendy Robinson
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ExeterUK

Bibliographic information