Merger with Moray House Institute of Education, 1998

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In 1998 Moray House Institute of Education merged with Edinburgh University, creating a new Faculty of Education.

Linkage with Heriot-Watt University

Moray House Institute of Education was constituted in 1991, as the result of a legal agreement between Moray House College of Education and Heriot-Watt University. From 1982 to 1991, qualifications issued by Moray House College of Education had been validated by the Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA). These years had also seen teaching become an all-graduate profession, with Moray House's 3-year Diploma course being replaced with a 4-year BEd degree in 1984. By 1989, the work of the CNAA was under review, and the body would eventually cease functioning in 1993. Moray House had thus to seek new validation arrangements for its degree courses. It entered into negotiations with Heriot-Watt University, and the two bodies issued a joint 'Statement of Intent' in June 1989, committing them to closer academic collaboration and formal institutional linkage. Following further consultations, an agreement was drawn up and eventually approved by the Secretary of State in February 1991. Students of the newly constituted Moray House Institute of Education would be matriculated students of Heriot-Watt, receiving degrees from that university’s Senate.

Consolidation of Scottish Higher Education

In 1993, the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council (SHEFC) was established, assuming responsibility for advocating student places in Scotland and disbursing grants. It indicated that it would support closer institutional links between educational establishments. The arrangement between Moray House and Heriot-Watt was an early example of the process of consolidation that would dominate the Scottish higher education scene over the next decade. Financial problems which effected the whole sector, but which were felt particularly keenly by smaller higher education institutions, led to a growing number of mergers. By the beginning of the 21st century, higher education in Scotland was predominantly university-based.

Merger with Edinburgh

By the mid-1990s, however, difficulties were emerging in the relationship between Moray House and Heriot-Watt. Moray House staff felt, in particular, that quality assurance arrangements for their courses should be delegated to them. This came to a head in 1995, and an informal approach was made to the University of Edinburgh about the possibility of merger. Moray House had a long history of ties with Edinburgh University. Students of its predecessor bodies, the Church of Scotland Training College (from 1873) and the Edinburgh Provincial Training Centre (from 1907), were permitted to attend university classes, and many obtained a MA or BSc. Closer links were established in 1903, with the appointment of Alexander Darroch (1862-1924) to the Bell Chair of Education, who doubled up for some years as Director of Studies at Moray House. This relationship was formalized in 1925 when Sir Godfrey Hilton Thomson (1881-1955) was jointly appointed to both posts. After Thomson's retirement in 1951, the roles were once again separated, but cooperation continued through the development of a joint BEd. Formal academic links were only broken during the period when Moray House was funded by the CNAA.

Following extensive consultations, a merger was agreed by the two institutions and ratified by the Secretary of State in June 1998. On 1st August 1998, Moray House Institute of Education became the Faculty of Education of the University of Edinburgh. The move coincided with celebrations of 150 years of teacher training in the Moray House building.

Since the reorganization of the University's 9 faculties into 3 colleges in 2002, the Faculty of Education has become Moray House School of Education in the College of Humanities and Social Science.

Women Now over Half of the Student Body

As a result of the 1998 merger, women constituted over 50% of the student body for the first time in the university's history. The percentage of women students had increased steadily from the 1960s onwards, rising from 30% in 1962-1963 to 48% by the mid-1990s. With the arrival of Moray House, they finally overtook male students.


  • Robert D. Anderson, 'The Construction of a Modern University', in Robert D. Anderson, Michael Lynch, and Nicholas Phillipson, The University of Edinburgh: An Illustrated History (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2003), pp. 103-207.
  • Hugh Perfect, 'History of Professional Training at Moray House' [[1], accessed 7 December 2017]