The National Archives holds the administrative and policy files of the government departments concerned with education, but not staff records of teachers or information about individual pupils. Where these survive, they are held by local archives.
What do I need to know before I start?
Try to find out:
- the county or local authority
- the name of the school
- a date range to focus your search
Information about staff or pupils, including school log-books and admission and discharge registers, can sometimes be found in the relevant local archive.
Teacher training run by the state began in 1902, but denominational teacher training colleges began in the 19th century. Many schools existed as parish, national, Church of England, or voluntary schools, and their records may be found in the papers of relevant parishes. The records of nonconformist churches may also contain information about schools.
School registers and log books (1870–1914)
Search by pupils’ names the school registers and log books on findmypast (£). They include church, board, elementary and some secondary schools in England and Wales.
The records are from local archives and include handwritten registers, log-books (diaries recording the daily occurrences at the school, including absences, illnesses, visitors and holidays) and attendance records.
Teachers’ registration records (1870–1948)
Search teachers’ registration records on the Findmypast website (£) for teachers in England and Wales from 1870 to 1948.
Records available only at The National Archives in Kew
There are no records of individual teachers or pupils at The National Archives at Kew.
Records in other archives and organisations
Records held elsewhere
The National Archives’ catalogue contains collections and contact details of local archives around the UK and beyond. To locate these records, search our catalogue with keywords and refine your results to ‘Other archives’ using the filters.
Read ‘Education and the State from 1833’ by Ann Morton (PRO, 1997).