In the late 1700s, when Gore’s Directory was first published, those calling themselves teachers came from many different backgrounds.  Over the next few years, with the growth of Charity and Church schools, came the development of the monitorial system, originated by Joseph LANCASTER. Older, more able pupils were paid a small amount to teach younger pupils or those who were struggling.  The master taught them the lessons, and they passed them on.

Routes into Teaching (based on Ruth Jennings’ book Lofty Aims and Lowly Duties (Sheffield Academic Press, 1994)

In the 1840s, anyone could set up their own school or academy. For funded schools there existed the monitorial system (above) and training colleges, which catered for paying students.  HMI noted in their regular reports the lack of trained teachers.  In 1846 the government provided some support to training colleges, and introduced the pupil-teacher apprenticeship system.  The pupil teacher apprenticeship was a five-year programme, starting at the age of 13 (although there are many instances of 12 year olds)


There were a number of major teacher training institutions in Liverpool.  In 1875, Christopher BUSHELL and Samuel G RATHBONE instituted a Pupil Teacher College in two houses in Shaw St.  Samuel RATHBONE paid the rent!  In 1898 the College moved to Clarence Street.  In 1906, the premises became home to Oulton Secondary School.

Edge Hill Training College (see above) for women teachers was founded in 1884.

Mount Pleasant RC Training College (left) catered only for women; there was no equivalent for Catholic men, who usually attended the University.

Liverpool University Day Training College

Many Liverpool teachers also attended Warrington Training College, or Bangor.


Pupil teachers were paid a small salary; teachers who had already gained their certificates were paid to coach them for 90 minutes each day, after normal schooling hours.  They had contracts (right - Fanny SCHNITZLANDER 1895-1897. She had a further contract from 1899-1902).  Their religious credentials and academic prowess were checked with home visits and regular testing.  Once a pupil teacher completed the apprenticeship, s/he could apply for certification which would allow them to apply for the post of assistant master / assistant mistress.  Evidence from the 1903 Liverpool Education Handbook shows that many were kept on by the school at which they had been pupil teachers.  The more ambitious could take the Queen’s Scholarship examination. If they passed they would receive certification and other advantages.

Fanny’s contract states that if she should ... enter a Training College as a Queen’s Scholar before the last-mentioned date, or such later date as shall be fixed by an extension of the engagement ..., this engagement shall end.  It also states that she will not be paid if she fails to meet standards.

Pupil teachers could sit the Queen’s Scholarship examination at one of the teacher training colleges.  A 1st Class Scholarship was worth 25 per year and a 2nd Class 20 per year.  Ruthy JENNINGS tells us that in 1853, 705 male apprentices completed their five year programme. Of these 304 competed for the Queen’s Scholarships and 248 were successful. This gives us a rate of about 35% of successful pupil teachers taking up the Queen’s Scholarship. The majority of these came from denominational schools. 

For those going onto become students at the Training Colleges were expected to live in. They were in many cases similar to university undergraduates, although their qualification was not equal to a degree.  It continued to be possible for those with a degree to enter the teaching profession without any sort of training up until the late 1970s. Similarly, a degree which is now required was not compulsory until that time - it was often an additional year at training college, in a system similar to that established in the 1850s. 

After completion of their qualification, a two year probationary period of continuous service in one school was required for full status. 

The 1903 Handbook (see right) has a range of grades of teacher:

Candidate - I assume this replaced the old system of monitors: these children were being coached to be pupil teachers. 

Pupil Teachers - see above

Ex Pupil Teacher Assistants - I presume probationers

Certificated Assistants - at last, a proper teacher!

First / Senior Assistant - equivalent to Deputy Headship in a small school

Headmaster / Headmistress - in a large school, usually Head of a Department

Principal - equivalent to today’s Headteacher


Above:  teachers listed at Butler St Junior Mixed Department in 1903.

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