Papers of Philip Toogood

Scope and Content

Comprises papers from throughout Philip Toogood's career from Swavesey Village College onwards encompassing teaching, publishing, research, cultural and learning exchanges and consultancy.

The arrangement has been constructed to reflect the stages of his career; the few labelled files that were received have been retained intact; photographs are in a single series.

Administrative / Biographical History

Philip Toogood (1935-2013) was an educational pioneer who had a long and diverse career in education.

After studying at Cambridge he spent three years as a Royal Navy 'schoolie' (an officer who taught junior seamen) on the shore-based HMS St Vincent, near Portsmouth.

His teaching career began at Uppingham School after which he became Head of Department at Wyndham Comprehensive School in Cumbria (1966-1970).

As Warden of Swavesey Village College (1970-1977) he led the secondary school to become comprehensive and, influenced by the ideas of Henry Morris and the Village College concept, developed the adult and youth provision into generic community education.

In Telford (1977-1983) he became Head of Madeley Court School, a large social priority area 11-18 comprehensive, and Chair of the adult association of the whole education and recreation centre. Here he developed the theory and practice of mini-schooling to break up large schools into small human-scale learning communities. He resigned his post in 1983 in protest against the response of the Shropshire Education Department to a critical HMI report on the school which he wrote about it in his book 'The Head's Tale'.

Moving into publishing, he established Dialogue in Education Publications, which produced a few issues of a magazine and published 'The Head's Tale' in 1984. He went on to found the Education Now Publishing Cooperative Ltd in 1987, which published over 40 books, 12 magazines and 44 newsletters. His own work included editing 'Small Schools', co-authoring 'Anatomy of choice in education', contributing to 'Flexischooling' and writing a manual on 'Minischooling'. Education Now evolved into the Centre for Personalised Education Trust in 1996 and in 2004 it transferred its resources and membership to Personalised Education Now (PEN). CPE-PEN produces a newsletter and a journal and organises learning exchanges and conferences (as of 2017).

As part of an arrangement made with Shropshire County Council following his departure from Madeley Court School he undertook research at Keele University and for the Shropshire County Council Youth Service (1983-1984).

He also spent time throughout the 1980s organising cultural and educational exchanges between the UK and Poland.

His next teaching venture was at the Small School at Hartland. While there he was invited by the Schumacher Society to co-ordinate a movement later known as the Human Scale Education Association in 1985, and 'helped develop its three pronged priorities of Small Schools (the preservation of those in existence and the creation of new ones), Minischools (to humanise large schools) and Flexischools (to link the human scale structures of schools with home-educating families in genuine home-school partnerships)'. It culminated in a 3-day conference on Human Scale Education at Oxford Polytechnic in 1987 which explored the ideas of minischooling and flexischooling in a variety of settings (including the New York 'City-as-School'), the need to protect small schools and the right to home education.

After spending two years at Hartland Philip and his wife Annabel were asked by parents to re-open the Dame Catherine's School at Ticknall, Derbyshire (1987-[1994]), and run it as an 'independent, parent-cooperative learning centre and all-ages school and a base for the development of flexischooling'. The secondary section of Dame Catherine's then split off to become the East Midlands Flexicollege. It was presented to the government as a model for all secondary schools in Burton without success.

Philip then spent 2 years running a small languages school in Spain and on his return to the UK he undertook a 2-month consultancy in independent learning at Deptford Green School in Lewisham, London.

He continued to offer in-service training assignments and consultancy concerning personalised education.

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Roland Meighan archive cat ref RM.