The Church colleges 1890-1944 : with special reference to the Church of England colleges and the role of the National Society
The history of the Church colleges between 1890 and 1944 can be seen in terms of challenge and response. This study is concerned to examine the similar and different ways in which the denominational colleges responded to three challenges with which they were confronted in this period. The first challenge arose from the entry of the universities into the sphere of Elementary teacher-training in 1890 and the further erosion of the Voluntary monopoly by the Local Authorities after 1902. The second challenge was an attack on denominational exclusiveness, and the tension inherent in the situation in which colleges of the Established Church were part of an increasingly secular national education system is examined. The third, and most serious, was the challenge to survive in financial and therefore physical terms, in the face of Local Authority competition, through two World Wars, and with rapid changes of Government policy largely brought on by economic difficulties in the inter-war period. Central to this study is an examination of the machinery for the central administration of the Church of England colleges, which emerged in response to those challenges, and the study of the continuing but changing role of the National Society in relation to the colleges and their organisation. The nature and extent of the authority of the central organisation, as compared with its Roman Catholic and Methodist counterparts, is explored, together with the tension between the local and the central, which marked and marred the relationship of the individual colleges with the policy-making body.