Political Assocation

Scope and Content

The records represent comprehensive correspondence with members of the Political Association covering administration, the editing of journals, conferences, and papers about the Politics in Schools dispute in the early 1970s.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Politics Association was founded in 1969, and was affiliated to the Hansard Society. Its purpose was to "Provide a professional service for those actively engaged or interested in the teaching of political subjects" and "exist(ed) to promote enhanced standards of civic education".

It came into prominence when its honorary president, Bernard Crick, acted as arbiter between the three main political parties during the dispute on the holding of sixth form conferences in schools. Representatives from each of the main political parties were brought together and a meeting was held 30th January 1973 at Buckingham Palace Road. The representatives were John Gummer, Conservative party vice-chairman, Mr Reg Underhill, Labour party agent and Mr John Pardoe, Liberal MP for North Cornwall. An agreement was reached, and published in 1973.

At the same time, in the early 1970s Crick obtained a three year grant from Nuffield Foundation to look at civic education development, as well as Leverhulme Trust funds to make a survey of levels of political knowledge and ignorance among school leavers.

The organisation had a membership base (600 members by 1973) and published a journal called ‘Teaching politics’ and issued a newsletter called ‘Grassroots’. From the records the association appears to have operated in part from Birkbeck College, with some reference to the use of a scanner and tone and addressograph.


The files were largely grouped together, but were found in box files and were not in the main body of the filing cabinets. The files have been arranged in chronological order in this series.