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Prof Lionel Elvin dies at 99

Professor Lionel Elvin, one of the most distinguished educationists of his generation, died this week.

He served as director of London university's institute of education from 1958 to 1973.

He was previously director of Unesco's department of education, in Paris, from 1950 to 1956. For six years before that, he was principal of Ruskin adult education college, Oxford, a position which he always recalled fondly.

Professor Elvin was born in August 1905, and educated at Southend high, in Essex. He later progressed to Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where he obtained a first in English and history, and became a fellow for 14 years.

In the 1960s, he served on the Robbins committee for higher education, which recommended a major expansion in university entrance, from 4 to 10 per cent of the population.

He also recommended the introduction of the four-year BEd degree . He subsequently oversaw the first such courses at the institute of education.

And he played a key role in securing the institute its current premises in Bloomsbury.

Throughout his life, Professor Elvin maintained a keen interest in sport and his Who's Who entry lists his recreations as "most games, indifferently". In 1934, he married Mona Bedortha. The marriage lasted until her death in 1997. The couple had one son.

Professor Elvin's autobiography, Encounters with Education, was published in 1987.

Geoff Whitty, who studied under Professor Elvin at the institute of education, and is now its director, said: "Even in his nineties, he took a great interest in what we were doing. He'll be greatly missed."

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