London Metropolitan Archives - Item Details


Date of Creation:


Reference Code:


From Collection:


Scope and Content:
  • The collection consists of policy and Director's files relating to the administration of the Learning Resources Branch, and various materials published by the Branch including teacher and pupil packs, audio and visual cassettes, resource posters and advisory booklets. Policy files include the development of the Educational Television Service and equal opportunities initiatives in race and gender. Publications such as the resource posters promote women's employment in industry
Extent: 68.00 linear feet
Site Location: London Metropolitan Archives
Level of Description:

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Administrative History:
  • The origins of the Learning Resources Branch lay in the foundation of an Education Library in 1889, when 500 books were purchased by the School Board for London for the use of teachers in infant schools. As a result of the recognition of the increasing need for teaching material, the library collection and range of services was expanded, and moved to County Hall in 1932. Other resource needs were met through the establishment of a Film Library and Schools Equipment Centre at Kennington Lane, the appointment of an inspector for Aural and Visual Aids, and the establishment of an Educational Television Service, to be supplemented by a Media Resource Centre at Highbury, in 1970. In order to rationalise and coordinate these resources, two services were created in 1976, inspired by Leslie Ryder, who realised the importance of organisational support systems in the transformation of teachers' practices and childrens' learning: firstly, the Learning Materials Service, run by Peter Weiss in North London, which brought together the Educational Television Service and part of the Media Resource Centre, that was concerned with the creation of television programmes, and secondly, the Learning Resources Branch Centre, Kennington Lane, which brought together the Media Resource Centre's exhibition collection and information services, the education library service, various library and media loan services, parts of the Schools Equipment Centre, and advisory and support staff involved in library and resource centre development. The new staff and services were soon subject to an Organisation and Management Review in 1978, which eventually led to the merger of the Learning Resources Branch and the Material Services into a newly formed Learning Resources Branch, in 1983. The two areas produced a rich flow of curriculum material, books and resources based on London school experiences, gathered through the Media Resources Officer's liaison with schools, and the secondment of teachers to work with Learning Material editors. The Branch also co-produced material with major publishers. It has been argued that ILEA's learning resources had the most impact on curriculum practice in secondary schools than all the other agencies' initiatives, including Nuffield and the Schools Council, put together. The Branch was also involved in a number of projects of national importance, including the "Need to Know" project, which led to the establishment of the Information Skills in the Curriculum Research Unit (INSCRU), based in the Branch but funded by the British Library. In the 1988/89 financial year, large cuts were made on Learning Resources staff and services, and the Branch was abolished, with the demise of the ILEA, in 1990
Access Restrictions: These records are open to public inspection, although records containing personal information may be suject to closure periods
Physical Condition: Fit
Arrangement: The material was initially sorted and arranged in 1990 by Virginia Berkeley, former Principal Learning Resources Adviser
Appraisal: During the abolition of the Learning Resources Branch, records were destroyed as staff cleared their offices. However, Shirley Blandford, Principal Learning Resources Advisor, ensured that the Head of the Education Library Service, Richard Mainwood's records were kept, and the extent to which some records were duplicated. The records were later reviewed in September 2002