StorageSiteUCL Institute of Education
Reference Number IE/TPN
TitleRecords of Institute of Education Director - Percy Nunn
DescriptionComprises correspondence and papers of Sir Thomas Percy Nunn regarding his role as Principal (from 1932 Director) of the London Day Training College (from 1932 Institute of Education). Mainly communication with the Board of Education, London County Council and University of London; files relating to his work for the Board of Education Consultative Committee of London Colleges and Secondary Schools and International Institute Examinations Enquiry for England; and correspondence and papers on the establishment of courses for people who were to work in education roles in the British Colonies, and the resultant establishment of the Colonial Department at the Institute.
Extent5 boxes
AdminHistoryThomas Percy Nunn joined the London Day Training College in 1904 as Lecturer in mathematics, science and teaching methods; with responsibility for supervision of practice teaching. In 1905 he became one of two Vice Principals, a role he held until 1922 when he became Principal of the College. When the College transferred wholly to the University of London it was renamed the Institute of Education and the role of the Principal changed to that of Director. Nunn held this post until his retirement in 1936.

Nunn's qualities and achievement have been described by two members of staff in Studies and Impressions (1952). Gladys Calthrop, a specialist in modern languages, wrote that "Nunn's outstanding intellectual capacity and wisdom made him the leader under whom the staff made so notable a contribution to modern educational thought, both on the theoretical and practical side and in the production of material for use in schools". She praised his great gifts of organisation and ability to manage staff as well as his brilliance as a teacher. Percy Gurrey, Head of the English Department referred to Nunn's intellectual ability, force of character, width of interest and knowledge, and to his involvement in teaching and assessing students' lessons. He praised him for his confidence in the staff, to whom he gave a good deal of responsibility and freedom to "teach and preach what we pleased". Nunn did not confine himself to academic matters: he had a great love of music, both classical and light, and also wrote verses and parodies for college concerts.

Nunn's expertise and experience led to his being co-opted to assist in the drafting of the Hadow Reports on "The Education of the Adolescent" (1926) and "The Primary School" (1931), and to service as a member of the Advisory Committee of the Colonial Office on Education. He held several appointments as external examiner in Education, Philosophy and Psychology, and was a visiting professor at Columbia University in 1925.

His varied interests are demonstrated by his membership of the Mathematical Association (President 1917-18), the British Association, the British Psychological Society (Chairman of the Education Section 1919), the Aristotelian Society (President 1923-24), the Child Guidance Council and the New Education Fellowship. He was President of the Training College Association in 1915, and a member of the Teachers Registration Council.

Nunn was awarded honorary degrees by the universities of Liverpool (LittD), Dublin (LittD) and
St Andrews (LLD). He was a Senator of the University of London from 1929 to 1936.

In 1930 he was knighted for his services to education.

Born: 28 December 1870 - Bristol
Died: 12 December 1944 - Madeira
Married: In 1894 - Ethel Hart; 1d

Education and qualifications:
Attended a proprietary school in Weston-super-Mare run by his father and grandfather
Bristol University College, BSc (London) 1890, BA 1895, MA 1902,Teacher's Diploma 1902
University of London - DSc 1906

Nunn taught first at the family school in Weston-super-Mare, then in Halifax, at Bedford Modern School, and in London at a grammar school in Camberwell and at William Ellis School, Highgate where he was Senior Science Master
1903-05 Woolwich Polytechnic and Shoreditch Technical Institute
1903-36 London Day Training College/Institute of Education
Lecturer in mathematics, science and teaching methods; supervision of practice teaching
Vice Principal 1905-22; Principal 1922-32; Director of the Institute of Education 1932-36
In 1913 appointed Professor of Education, University of London, Emeritus from 1937

The Aims and Achievements of Scientific Method (1907), based on his DSc thesis
A First class book of Chemistry (1912)
The Teaching of Algebra including Trigonometry (1914); Exercises in Algebra (1913-14)
Education: its data and first principles (1920)
Relativity and Gravitation (1923)

General editor of Black's Elementary Science series
Nunn also made numerous contributions to books, scientific journals and encyclopedias
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