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educational settlements and adult education

some materials from the encyclopaedia and archives


As Mark Freeman says in his article (educational settlements), educational settlements have been largely neglected in the history of adult education. They were non-residential adult education institutions that emerged in the first quarter of the twentieth century. Yet for a short time, in the interwar period, they were significant contributors to the development of adult education, and their influence is traceable in community centres, local authority adult education centres, social action centres and other institutions.

Educational settlements grew out of Quaker adult schools (see, adult schools and the making of adult education) and drew on some of the thinking developed by Barnett and others within the university and social settlement movement. Basil Yeaxlee, a key pioneer in the development of the theory and practice of lifelong education was an important figure within the educational settlement movement (as Secretary of the Educational Settlements Association).

Educational settlements also provided a model for some of the emerging work of community centres and associations.

In 1946 the Educational Settlements Association renamed itself as the Educational Centres Association (the word 'settlement' was seen as problematic and paternalistic). A number of the settlements remain today - providing a more associational alternative to the current concern by government with accreditation and skilling in adult education and learning. Examples include the Percival Guildhouse, Rugby and Bristol Folk House.