Scope and Content

Contains records on qualifications offered by Bedford Physical Training College and its successor bodies including regulations, syllabuses, timetables, course notes, examinations, examiners' reports, pass lists, student records and certificates.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Ling Physical Education Association (founded in 1899) established a Gymnastics Teacher Diploma for which Bedford Physical Training College was inspected and recognised for the examination in 1906. Students undertook a two-year course leading to the Ling Diploma. The curriculum, geared to the needs of the gymnastics and games mistress, included Educational Gymnastics, Massage and Remedial Gymnastics, Anatomy, Hygiene, Physiology, Games, Swimming and Dancing.

Owing to the fullness of the curriculum, the course length extended from two to three years in 1917 and from 1920 changed its name to the Diploma of Bedford Physical Training College, incorporating the Conjoint Examination (Massage & Medical Gymnastics) of the Chartered Society of Masseurs and Medical Gymnastics (C.S.M.M.G.) and the Examination in School Hygiene of the Royal Sanitary Institute.

In 1935 the College was recognised by the University of London for the award of the Diploma in Theory and Practice of Physical Education. (The London University Senate agreed to act as a central authority in granting the Diploma). Academic qualifications on entry were specified and Principles of Education and Theory of Movement were established within the course. The first Bedford students were examined in 1938. Bedford Students could continue to study only for the Diploma of the Bedford Physical Training College if they so wished. All students who took the University of London Diploma also took the College Diploma.

From 1946, Bedford students ceased to be entered for the examinations of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (formerly the C.S.M.M.G.) owing to the Society demanding a three-year training for electro-therapy, massage and medical gymnastics. There was no space within the curriculum for physical training college students to devote sufficient time to meet this requirement.

Following its transfer to Bedfordshire Local Education Authority on 1 August 1952, Bedford Physical Training College became a constituent of the Cambridge Area Training Organisation (ATO): a network of ATOs (across the country) aimed to create a coherent training service out of a medley of separate colleges through regional grouping. As a consequence, there was a broadening of the curriculum: students were prepared for a common syllabus in the Principles of Education, which included Psychology, Philosophy, History and Sociology, and English.

The Diploma in Theory and Practice of Physical Education was replaced in 1953 with the Certificate of Teaching of the Cambridge Institute of Education.

In the 1960s the three-year Certificate Course was remodelled: the study of education was developed and special (subsidiary) courses in English, Drama, Music and Art were introduced at the expense of medical and remedial work which marked the disappearance of the last feature of the Ling tradition: remedial gymnastics. Study of the subsidiary courses allowed students to teach these subjects as a second subject to support their teaching of Physical Education. The choice of practical activities was widened to include sports such as badminton, squash, trampolining, judo, sailing, canoeing, mountain activities and sub-aqua.

The Robbins Committee was appointed by the Government in 1961 to review the pattern of full-time higher education in Great Britain and to advise on what principles its long-term development should be based. A key recommendation published in the Robbins Report (1963), was that the three-year course for trainee teachers should continue, but four-year courses leading to a B.Ed. degree should be provided for suitable students. An attempt to establish a degree in Education at the University of Cambridge was rejected (by four votes) in June 1966, leaving the eleven Colleges of Education associated with the Cambridge Institute of Education without access to a degree in Education and thereby making them an exception amongst all other Colleges of Education. As an interim measure the constituent colleges of the Cambridge Institute were invited to temporarily join the London Institute of Education in 1967 so as to enable suitable students to register exceptionally as students of the London Institute taking the London Teacher's Certificate in 1968 and 1969 and, if they satisfied the necessary conditions, Part II of the University of London B.Ed. in 1969 and 1970.

A second attempt to establish a degree in Education at the University of Cambridge in February 1968 was successful. The degree in Education was open both to undergraduates at the University of Cambridge and to students at the Colleges of Education affiliated to the Cambridge Institute of Education, the latter took additional courses in academic subjects during their third year and in their fourth year took up residency in Cambridge and followed the same courses as the undergraduates. An internal Honours Degree combining Education & Physical Education thus became available to Bedford College of Physical Education students at the University of Cambridge in 1970.

The Certificate in Education Examination was withdrawn in 1976 and replaced entirely by the three-year B.Ed. Ordinary Degree awarded by Bedford College of Higher Education. Students admitted in the academic year 1975-76 were the last to follow the Cambridge Certificate in Education and to proceed to the University of Cambridge for the 4th-year Honours B.Ed.

In 1979 Bedford College of Higher Education gained approval for a B.Ed. Honours Degree (a one-year course in addition to the three- year B.Ed. Ordinary Degree). This was followed in 1980 with approval for a BA (Honours) Sports Studies Degree - a three-year non-teaching degree aimed at those looking for the opportunity to specialise in the study of sport.


Note on arrangement of papers:

1. All papers relating to qualifications awarded by Bedford Physical Training College and Bedford College of Physical Education have been arranged under the following headings:

  • Submission & Formal Recognition
  • Regulations & Syllabuses
  • Timetables
  • Course Notes
  • Teaching Practice
  • Examinations
  • Examiners' Reports
  • Pass Lists
  • Student Records
  • Certificates
  • Administration
  • Extra-Curricula
2. All papers relating to qualifications awarded by Bedford College of Higher Education have been arranged by the name of the degree and listed in chronological order given by the year in which the degree was approved