One day schools for working people

Elizabeth Bryan, Area Tutor Organiser for the Workers Educational Association, talks about the one-day schools run in 1957-1958 for working people.

You can also read a transcript of this video.

The Workers Educational Association

The Workers' Educational Association (WEA) was founded in 1903 by Albert Mansbridge. The first branch in Scotland was founded in 1905 in Springburn. This was followed by branches in Edinburgh (1912), Aberdeen (1913) and Glasgow (1916).

The WEA was created to promote the higher education of working men and women at a time when few educational opportunities existed for the working class. It is a national, voluntary organisation which provides adult education based on democratic principles.

Suggested activities and discussion points

  • Why do you think these one day schools were popular and attracted a high number of workers? What other types of learning environments were available to working people in post-war Britain? Do you think there are more or less learning opportunities for working people today?
  • Thinking about the topics for the one day schools mentioned in the video, do you think some of these would be relevant today? Why or why not? Which topics do you think would attract a large number of people today?
  • What type of person do you think would have attended these one day schools? What sort of jobs would they have had?

Find out more

Learn more about Hamish Henderson in our web feature 'The Write Stuff'.

Find out what the WEA in Scotland offers today.


Labour history page


Find out more about labour history at NLS

We have the leading collection of research material relating to Scottish labour and trade union history.


Visit the Scottish Screen Archive to find films relating to Scottish industry from fishing and tweed-making to mining and agriculture.

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