History of Women and Girls’ Education

Submitting Institution

University of Winchester

Unit of Assessment


Summary Impact Type


Research Subject Area(s)

Education: Curriculum and Pedagogy, Specialist Studies In Education
Studies In Human Society: Sociology

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Summary of the impact

Centre for the History of Women's Education's research, exemplified by Goodman, had cultural and educational impact in girls' schools and supported heritage preservation. Girls' schools came to value their archives from research illustrating they contained unique evidence of teachers' work and women's lives. Goodman supported successful Heritage Lottery Funding (HlF) bids for two Centres for the History of Girls' Education, which delivered consultancy to other schools, impacting on curriculum development, and providing cultural impact beyond their schools. Research highlighting the importance of the British Federation of University Women impacted the preservation of their Library and supported relocation of their archive.

Underpinning research

The Centre for the History of Women's Education (CHWE)'s reputation in the history of women's education, noted in the overview "Gendering the Story: Change in the History of Education" (Watts, History of Education journal, 2005), is built on monographs, edited collections and peer reviewed articles. CHWE's research draws on committee minutes, official publications and ephemeral sources that tended to be discarded as girls' schools re-organised. Exemplified by Goodman's research, the impact-related activities described in the case study build on the synergy between research — and the archives, schools and collections in which the research is conducted.

A major grant from the Spencer Foundation USA (£144,000) (Goodman and Harrop) (1996-9) investigated Women and the Governance of Girls' Secondary Education in Britain, 1870-1997, and collected quantitative and qualitative data relating to approximately 500 girls' schools in the UK. This was preceded by Goodman and Harrop's survey of girls' school archives which demonstrated that records of many girls' schools had been lost in the comprehensive re-organisation of the 1970s. Findings from Spencer funded research at Manchester Girls' High School (MGHS) published as "Governing ladies: Women governors of middle-class girls' schools, 1870-1925", in a collection edited by Goodman and Harrop (2000), was significant in illustrating the importance of the school to the development of girls' secondary education.

Illustrated by "Working for Change Across International Borders" (2007), Goodman developed colonial and international dimensions to the research that were significant in highlighting the international role of women (head)teachers in developing international citizenship, internationalising the curriculum, and linking international mobility and the development of authority in and through women educators' professional work and lives. This filled a historiographical gap, evidenced in peer reviewed articles in SSCI-rated journals. "Working for Change Across International Borders" (2007), provided insights into headteachers' development of international citizenship; "Social Change and Secondary Schooling for Girls in the "Long 1920s": (2007), demonstrated the international exchange of information about girls' education by women (head)teachers; "Cosmopolitan Women Educators, 1929-1939" (2010), showed women educators framing educational debate internationally, and "Travelling Careers" (2010), co-authored with CHWE members (2010), demonstrated overseas migration patterns in the professional lives of women attending Girton and Newnham before 1939.

Goodman also highlighted the significance of the British and International Federations of University Women (BFUW, IFUW) to the development of women's professional roles and research careers and to the internationalisation of women's higher education during the interwar period. This research was disseminated in peer reviewed articles in SSCI-rated journals and keynote addresses in the UK and the USA exemplified by "International Citizenship and the International Federation of University Women Before 1939" (2011), originally presented as the Presidential Address to the History of Education Society. The international dimension in Goodman's research was highly significant in developments around transnational and comparative approaches to the historical study of education.

The research underpinning the impact related activities has been undertaken while Goodman has been Professor of History of Education at the University of Winchester.

References to the research

Book Chapter
2000 Goodman, J. and Harrop, S. Governing ladies: women governors of middle-class girls' schools, 1870-1925, in J. Goodman and S. Harrop (eds) Women, Educational Policy Making and Administration in England: Authoritative Women Since 1800 (Routledge) http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415198585/ (chapter included in Liverpool University RAE2008 submission)

Peer refereed articles (last four included in REF submission)
2007 Working for change across international borders: the Association of Headmistresses and Education for International Citizenship, Pedagogica Historica, 43/1: 165-180 (10.1080/00309230601080642)


2007 Social change and secondary schooling for girls in the `Long 1920s': European engagements, History of Education, 36/4 and 5: 497-513 (10.1080/00467600701496765)


2010 Cosmopolitan women educators, 1929-1939: Inside/outside activism and abjection, Paedagogica Historica 46/1and2: 69-83 (10.1080/00309230903528462)


2010 Travelling careers: overseas migration patterns in the professional lives of women attending Girton and Newnham before 1939, History of Education 40/2: 179- 196, with Helen Loader, Andrea Jacobs, Fiona Kisby (10.1080/0046760x.2010.518163)


2011 International Citizenship and the International Federation of University Women Before 1939, History of Education 40/6: 701-721 (10.1080/0046760x.2011.598469)


Details of the impact

Schools were unaware of the significance of their archival material; some school archives were at risk; and schools' archival material was not used for curricular enrichment or to aid communities understand their heritage. Through discussion of publications with archivists and head-teachers, presentations to archivists and organisations, and via consultancy, the research raised schools' consciousness of the importance of their cultural heritage and their knowledge that they often possess the only historical records of `ordinary' and `extraordinary' women in their localities. The case study focuses on impact on heritage preservation and conservation through the establishment by two schools of Centres for the History of Girls' Secondary Education which led to impact on the curriculum and engagement of pupils in cultural events using archival material. Impact extended through engagement with the British Federation of Women Graduates (BFWG) around the research, and via BFWG newsletters, and presentations at BFWG events. Impact gained an international dimension with Goodman's invitation to join a USA advisory board developing a digital centre for the history of women's education.

Research insights in "Governing Ladies" were discussed with MGHS's headteacher to highlight MGHS's importance in the development of girls' education and led to a successful HLF bid (with Goodman as consultant) to preserve and conserve the MGHS archive, open it to the public and establish the Centre for the History of Girls' Schooling, with a web presence. The Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society funded digitisation of the photographs for the MHGS archive website (http://www.mhsgarchive.org/index.php). MGHS advised Wycombe High School for Girls (WHS) on their successful HlF bid to establish the Centre for the History of State-Maintained Girls' Schools (http://www.whs.bucks.sch.uk/explore/the-guild/archive).

MGHS provided access to academic researchers (141 requests), genealogists (2 each week) and based on HLF expertise offered support to other schools in preserving their archives (89 occasions), leading to meetings with the Girls' School Association (GSA) about girls' school archives nationally (with Goodman). MGHS piloted a GCSE Historical Studies examination for the OCR exam board based on school archive material.

Understanding about their cultural heritage and the need to conserve their archives, and about using archive material in the curriculum, was fostered in a series of conferences MGHS organised for girls' school archivists. 20 archivists attended in 2004 when Goodman highlighted the significance of her research and their archival material. Impact on the curriculum was demonstrated in 2006 when five 2004 attendees presented how they used their archive with pupils. (MGHS have recorded 109 archive uses for lessons, speech days and for former pupils, further staff qualifications, publicity, and talks to local and national groups). At a 2007 GSA conference on school archives, Goodman presented her research to 60 delegates to demonstrate the international significance of women (head)teachers and the importance of the archives, along with the MGHS archivist and archivists from the 2006 conference. At the 2008 conference on "School Archives and the Community", speakers from Manchester Central Library, the MGHS Marketing Manager, and six archivists, presented to 35 archivists. Further archive conferences and meetings followed. MGHSC pupils presented poetry and prose from the MGHS archive at the Imperial War Museum North's International Women's Days and MGHS provided information for the TES (2006) BBC Radio 4 — Woman's Hour (2007) http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/womanshour/02/2007_47_thu.shtml), BBC (2012, series on Home Front WW2), Stone City Films, and Testimony Films (Grammar Schools, A Secret History (2012), Phare-Est Media (Canada, 2012). At MGHS's suggestion, the Imperial War Museum is setting up a WW1 school archive website, and MGHS is providing sample material.

The more recently established WHS Centre archive is located in a purpose built room and catalogued with a web-presence, has joined Family History Society log book project, and advised two secondary schools on setting up archives. See: http://www.whs.bucks.sch.uk/explore/the-guild/archive

Goodman's invitation as international advisor to the Albert Greenfield Centre for the History of Women's Education (Bryn Mywr) was based on her "pioneering work on the history of women's education" (Letter from President)

The importance Goodman highlighted about the BFUW's role to the development of professional women and the internationalisation of higher education led the BFWG to relocate the Sybil Campbell Library (SCC) (originally located at the BFUW's international hall of residence) to the University of Winchester in 2006 when the SCC was in danger of dispersal. The BFWG News carried Goodman's articles on BFUW History to illustrate the BFUW's significance when the BFWG were working to relocate and open their archive, which had been closed for 10 years (now relocated to LSE) and she presented her research at BFWG regional and local events.

Sources to corroborate the impact

Manchester High School for Girls, letter from archivist and records of engagement with the archive Wycombe High School for Girls, letter from headmistress

Bid to locate the BFWG's Sybil Campbell Library at the University of Winchester

BFWG letter from President.

Letter of invitation to the Albert Greenfield Centre for the Digital History of Women's Education from the President, Bryn Mawr College, USA

Names providing statements or evidence:

Archivist, Manchester High School for Girls.

Headmistress, Wycombe High School for Girls.

President, Bryn Mawr College, USA

President, British Federation of Women Graduates.