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The history of Shoreditch College starts in the early 1900s, when London County Council wanted to improve teaching standards in its Manual Training Centres. It offered 4-year scholarships to 10 boys to become pupil teachers in Handicraft. The course covered academic work, educational method and teaching practice, emphasising woodwork, metalwork, modelling and art. Qualification to teach was achieved on passing the City & Guilds Handicraft Teachers Examination.

In 1907 the scholarship scheme became a department of the Shoreditch Technical Institute in Pitfield Street, Hoxton, London N1. In 1919, the Board of Education awarded training college status, and the department was renamed Shoreditch Training College. By 1930, the College had separated from Shoreditch Technical Institute to become affiliated with the University of London's Training College Delegacy. The growth in teacher training after World War II meant that numbers at the College had risen to 300.

With the growth in numbers, Pitfield Street could no longer accommodate the College and in 1951 Shoreditch Training College moved out of London to Cooper's Hill, Englefield Green, Surrey (the College continued to be funded by the London County Council). Once at Cooper's Hill, Shoreditch Training College became residential, accepting students from all over Britain and the Commonwealth. Further expansion followed with student numbers reaching 550 by 1964 (including a number of qualified teachers taking a supplementary course in handicraft). Soon afterwards, the first BEd degree course was validated and the College’s name changed to Shoreditch College of Education, becoming a leading teacher training institution in the field of Craft, Design & Technology (CDT). A reduction in teacher training threatened closure but a merger with Brunel University in 1980 meant that the training of design-technology teachers continued.

[For further information, please see an article on the History of Shoreditch College by JR Williams at www.shoreditchcollege.org.]

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