Life and Death in Higher Education is the result of many years of research but is topical because of the current teacher shortage. At its peak in 1961 there were 40,000 men and women who entered colleges of education in Britain compared to 50,000 who entered traditional universities. There have been interesting histories of individual colleges but this book takes a holistic approach which was supported by the historian Professor Asa Briggs.
This controversial study is packed with fascinating facts that will intrigue and inform readers. As well as the relationship between colleges and schools social issues are analysed such as the role of working class teachers and the battles of women staff and students. New evidence is provided for the colleges’ expansion and their sudden closure.
The study draws on undiscovered official and local archival sources. An important feature is the testimony drawn from interviews from former college students, the oldest being 101 years.
This immensely readable book appeals to general readers as well as specialist historians of education. It is of particular interest to teachers, especially those whose institutions were originally colleges of education. Political scientists and sociologists will find much of relevance, as will feminists who have enjoyed Debenham’s last two published books.