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Celebrating Honorary Teaching Degrees at the University of London

The University of London is offering honorary Bachelors of Education to those who hold teaching certificates received from some of the former London area teaching colleges, where the University was the awarding body.

The University was delighted to host the 2023 ceremony on 27 June at Logan Hall. You can read a write-up, browse through photos and watch the highlights from out 2023 celebrations.

The 2024 ceremony will take place on 6 June at Senate House. Applications for this event are now closed. If you would like to receive your honorary degree in absentia, please refer to the information below. 

What happens next?

Applications to attend the 2024 ceremony are now closed.

For those who attended one of the below-named colleges, you can apply to receive your honorary degree certificate by post, otherwise known as a degree in absentia, please refer to the information below. 

Eligible colleges:

  • Coloma College of Education
  • Maria Assumpta Teacher Training College
  • Sittingbourne College of Education
  • Nonington College of Physical Education
  • Stockwell College of Education
  • Thomas Huxley College
  • Philippa Fawcett and Furzedown College of Education (including Philippa Fawcett Teacher Training College and Furzedown College of Education).

If you attended one of these colleges and would like us to check if you are eligible for a degree in absentia, please complete this form only once

If you have any questions, please contact us at honoraryteachingdegrees@london.ac.uk

Background

Until the 1980s, teachers were typically trained on two-year or three-year certificate courses at teacher training colleges, which were nationally organised into area training groups under the administrative control of the Area Training Centres (ATCs).  

The actual certificates were mostly awarded by universities but via the ATCs. From the late 1960s and through the early 1970s these certificates were gradually wound down and teaching became a graduate profession. At the same time, many teacher training colleges underwent a national rationalisation process and typically were closed or merged into various larger higher education institutions.   

In the 1980s, UK law changed and a Certificate of Education was no longer deemed a requirement for teachers. It was replaced with the requirement for all trainees to complete a graduate or postgraduate course.  

There has been a movement across the higher education sector for the thousands of individuals who received teaching certificates between the 1930s and the 1980s to be awarded honorary Bachelor of Education degrees at special ceremonies.  

Of the 26 former teaching colleges in London, all but seven* merged into other institutions. The institutions into which the colleges merged usually received the student records for those colleges. In recent years, many of those institutions have given honorary Bachelors of Education to those who received teaching certificates.  

The seven colleges which did not merge into other institutions simply closed. The University of London, as the awarding body, believes that we are the ones to take forward giving honorary degrees to those who received teaching certificates.   

*The seven colleges are:  

  • Coloma College of Education  
  • Maria Assumpta Teacher Training College  
  • Sittingbourne College of Education  
  • Nonington College of Physical Education  
  • Stockwell College of Education  
  • Thomas Huxley College  
  • Philippa Fawcett and Furzedown College of Education (including Philippa Fawcett Teacher Training College and Furzedown College of Education.)

See below for further information.

Further information