The Brian Simon Collection

This virtual issue of History of Education brings together journal articles both by and about Professor Brian Simon, in a collection designed to mark the centenary of Simon’s birth which takes place in March 2015. It provides a unique range of source material on his life, work and legacy, and acknowledges his significance as an educator and a historian of education in the context of his times and in relation to the wider historiography of the field.

These articles have been made free for you to access till 31st December 2015

Click here to read the full introduction

Guest Editor:
Gary McCulloch is Brian Simon Professor of History of Education, UCL Institute of Education. He is a former editor of History of Education, and currently a member of the editorial board.

Section 1: Articles by Brian Simon

The first section constitutes a significant set of contributions to academic journals by Simon himself. It includes some of his early work, a study of Leicestershire schools in the early seventeenth century (item 1) and an account of polytechnical education in Soviet schools (item 2).  The next three items exemplify his critical awareness of issues in teacher education, the study of education, and the historiography of education (items 3-5).  Item 6 provides an overarching critique of the history of education over the previous century, followed by four key articles on education policy and politics from the 1930s to the 1960s that have each secured an established place in the historical literature on the period (items 7-10 below).  The final paper in this section reflects his growing interest in education for citizenship towards the end of his career (item 11).

Section 2: The making of a historian of education

The second section provides critical discussion of Simon’s educational, social and political background and context and its relationship to his work in the history of education. David Reeder, a colleague at the University of Leicester and also a noted historian, contributed a moving obituary following Simon’s death in 2002 (item 12), while Ruth Watts similarly wrote an insightful review of the life of Simon’s wife, Joan, highlighting both her contribution to Simon’s work as it developed and Joan’s own significance in the field (item 13).  The study by McCulloch and Woodin provides an understanding of Simon’s upbringing in an elite social and political milieu, and how this helped to shape his worldview in the context of the 1930s (item 14).  Gary McCulloch’s paper considers the background to the first and second volumes of his four-volume history, based on the extensive Brian Simon archive at the UCL Institute of Education London (item 15).  Clyde Chitty and Norman Thomas provide a review symposium on the fourth volume (item 16).  Peter Cunningham and Jane Martin introduce a collection of articles in a special issue of History of Education (33/5, 2004) in his memory (item 17). Two key articles from this special issue which are specifically concerned with Simon’s own work are also included here, the first an assessment of Simon’s approach to sociology and social theory by Kevin Brehony (item 18), and the second a critical appraisal of his contribution to the international field by Marc Depaepe (item 19).