Papers of Sir Toby (Tobias Rushton) Weaver (1911-2001)

Scope and Content

Papers of Sir Toby Weaver, including articles and papers, 1943-1996; a sample of the day-to-day work of a civil servant (DES) in 1968; miscellaneous copies of articles and papers by and about Weaver, Hansard reports, and DES establishment lists, 1973; analysis and review of the DES programme on Higher Education, 1971-1972; books and articles about and by Weaver; papers on the development of higher education policy, 1963-1973, relating to the Robbins Report, binary education system and the creation of polytechnics, including a calendar of main events and copies of key papers; biographical material; cassette tapes containing talks by Toby Weaver; 3 reel-to-reel tapes containing same.

Administrative / Biographical History

Tobias Rushton Weaver was born in London in 1911, the younger son of Sir Lawrence and Lady Weaver (nee Kathleen Purcell, harpist). He was educated at Temple Grove School, Eastbourne, and at Clifton College, Bristol. In 1929 he attended Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, gaining degrees in classics and law. In October 1932, Weaver moved to Toronto to work as a bank clerk for two years at the Canadian Bank of Commerce.

Upon his return to England, he enrolled at the London Day Training College (later the Institute of Education) and gained a teaching certificate. Weaver's first post (1935-1936) was as a class teacher at the Park Modern School, Barking, which he followed with a one-term appointment as a 'beak' at Eton. In 1936 he was appointed Assistant Director of Education to Wiltshire County Council, and in 1939 became Assistant Director for Higher Education to the Essex County Council.

Weaver served in the Royal Navy during World War Two, before taking up a post at the War Office in the Army Education Branch in 1942. Here he was Civil Assistant to the Director and later the Director General of Army Education. It was also during the war that Weaver married Marjorie Trevelyan (1941) and saw his first two children born.

In 1946, Toby Weaver joined the Civil Service and was posted to the Ministry of Education, where he joined the Teachers Branch. The Branch was at that time employed in the creation of 55 Emergency Training Colleges to absorb the 100,000 applicants for a shortened training. By 1947, he had moved to the Schools Branch as Territorial Officer in charge of LEAs in the south east.

In Jan 1948 Weaver became the Assistant Secretary to the External Relations Branch, with the title of Chief Information Officer. Responsibilities included the Ministry's press and public relations, editing the Annual Report, and representing the Ministry at overseas educational conferences.

His next role was once more in the Schools Branch as Assistant Secretary in charge of the School Building Programme and the organisation of schools, 1952-1956. In 1956, Weaver became Under-Secretary in charge of Schools Branch, taking responsibility for advising on all aspects of policy affecting schools, including the reorganisation of all-age schools, the comprehensive system, maintenance allowances, and attendance on the Minister during debates. In Jan 1962 he was promoted Deputy-Secretary, Schools.

In 1963, he was appointed Deputy-Secretary, Higher Education, a post he held until his retirement in 1973. Early on, the role included advising Ministers on the implementation of the Robbins Report on Higher Education, and the 1966 White Paper 'A Plan for Polytechnics and Other Colleges' was largely drafted by Weaver. His work was therefore largely responsible for the establishment of the binary policy for higher education and the creation of polytechnics. Other responsibilities included liaising with the University Grants Committee, university salarires, teachers' salaries and assessor on the Burnham Committee, further education, art education and teacher training.

Following his retirement, Weaver acted as Visiting Professor of Education at the University of Southampton, 1973; Professor of Higher Education at the Institute of Education, 1974-1976; and Professor of Educational Administration at the Open University, 1976-1978.

In addition to the above, Toby Weaver also acted as Governor of Clifton College; a member of the Education for Capability Committee of the Royal Society of Arts; Governor of Imperial College (1963-1987); Chairman of the Validation Board of the School of Independent Study, North-East London Polytechnic; Chairman of the Housing Association for Officers and their families; Member of the All Souls Group; and a Member of the British Academy.

Toby Weaver was honoured with a CB in 1961 and a knighthood in 1973.


These papers were collected together by Toby Weaver before his death in 2001. They were mostly arranged in boxes and catalogued by him, but a few documents were added by Professor Lawrence Weaver before deposit in the Institute of Education.

Access Information


Open, subject to signature of Reader Application Form.

Conditions Governing Use

A reader wishing to publish any quotation of information, including pictorial, derived from any archive material must apply in writing for prior permission from the Archivist or other appropriate person(s) as indicated by the Archivist. A limited number of photocopies may be supplied at the discretion of the Archivist.

Custodial History

Given by Professor Lawrence Weaver in October 2002.