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Education in Norfolk

The Education Act 1902 and Education Committee records

The Education Act 1902 (Balfour's Act)

This placed the provision of elementary education under local government control and created local education authorities (LEAs).

It put education in the hands of county councils and county borough councils, which had been established by the Local Government Act 1888.

The Act also abolished school boards. Therefore the majority of former board schools, along with most British and other Nonconformist voluntary schools, became provided schools under LEA control. 

LEAs gave maintenance grants to schools. However non-provided denominational schools, which were defined by the Act as church schools not funded by the rates, usually paid for the provision of their own buildings.

Norwich City Council and Great Yarmouth Borough Council lost their education responsibilities following local government reorganisation in 1974. These were transferred to Norfolk County Council (NCC).

In the case of King's Lynn, education responsibilities appear to have been transferred to a district divisional executive committee under NCC in the mid-1940s. Thetford had already transferred to county council control by 1913.

Education committee minutes

The main records of the county and municipal borough education committees are their minutes, which give details of the administration of the committee, its membership and duties.

These include the building, maintenance and financial administration of schools, supervision of school attendance, the making of by-laws and staff recruitment.

The HMI (His or Her Majesty's Inspector) usually reported to the committee and the minutes sometimes include inspectors' recommendations.


  • For Norwich Education Committee, 1903-74, see N/TC 35/1/1-10
  • For minutes of its sub-committees see N/TC 35/2-15. These include the Elementary (later Primary) Education Sub-Committee, 1903-58, see N/TC 35/6/1-6


  • For minutes of the Norfolk County Council Education Committee, 1903-74 and its sub-committees, including the Elementary Education Sub-Committee, see C/ED 16/1-47

Great Yarmouth

  • For Great Yarmouth Education Committee, 1903-18 and 1932-41, see Y/ED 6-9 and for 1941-65, see Y/ED 495-502
  • For unsigned, indexed, sub-committee minutes, 1903-41, see Y/ED 10-47 and for April 1941-1954, see Y/ED 568-578
  • For signed sub-committee minutes, 1940-74, see Y/ED 503-552

King's Lynn

  • For records of King's Lynn Education Committee, 1903-45, see C/ED 130/1/1-15.
  • From the mid-1940s responsibility for education in King's Lynn was transferred to a district divisional executive committee under Norfolk County Council. For minutes of the King's Lynn Advisory Committee, April 1945 to 24 June 1946, see C/ED 130/1/15.
  • For the King's Lynn and District Divisional Executive Committee and its sub-committees, 13 June 1945-1974, see C/ED 130/3/1-20.
  • For indexes to these minutes, 1950-61, see C/ED 130/4/1-12.
  • There are also unsigned copies of the King's Lynn and District Divisional Executive Committee minutes, 1945-73, in C/ED 16/54-60

The education department became part of NCC's Children's Services in 2005. Some committee minutes for the Children's Services Overview and Scrutiny Panel, from January 2009 to May 2014, are available through NCC's website.

Other education committee records

Records of the county and borough council education departments and their committees also include correspondence, reports and, very occasionally, registers of some staff and pupils.
For catalogues of these documents, please refer to records of the relevant education department:

  • For Norfolk County Council, see list C/ED
  • For Norwich City Council, see list N/ED
  • For Great Yarmouth Borough Council, see list Y/ED
  • For King's Lynn Borough Council, see list C/ED 130

Following The Education Act 1944, LEAs had to create development plans for primary and secondary education.

There is a printed copy of the Norfolk Education Committee's Development Plan for Primary and Secondary Education, c1947, which includes King's Lynn and Thetford, available on the searchroom shelves.

  • For another copy of this plan, see C/ED 36/1/24 and, for a copy with maps, see C/P 12
  • Norwich produced its own plan, a copy of which is also available on the searchroom shelves: for an archive copy of the plan, see PD 192/99
  • For Great Yarmouth, there are area maps, reports and correspondence relating to the development plan, reference Y/ED 642-3