Aolseley Brown

30th March 2007 at 01:00
AOLSELEY BROWN who died last month, aged 69, was vice-president of the Educational Institute of Scotland in 1991-92 and president in 1992-93. He was one of the first generation of men to hold the Diploma of A College of Education, which was previously restricted to women.

By going for the diploma, Wolseley opted for a career in primary education.

Male graduates had always had the choice of teaching in primary or secondary, subject to obtaining the appropriate postgraduate teaching qualification. Opening the DCE course to men was intended to increase the proportion of male teachers and provide more male role models for pupils in primary schools. Wolseley regretted the fact that this was never achieved.

He spent all his teaching years in primaries in Lanarkshire, mainly in Golfhill, Airdrie. At a time when promotion prospects for men in primary schools were very good, he never applied for a headship. He wanted to remain in the classroom and was not attracted to administration. He would have made a good chartered teacher.

Wolseley's other great love was the EIS. When he entered the profession in the early 1960s, the EIS was on the brink of a militant campaign to improve conditions of service. It eventually led to the teachers' contract that survives to the present day.

Wolseley was fiercely loyal to Lanarkshire and lobbied EIS officials to ensure that its schools were at the forefront of the campaign. He was also a leader of the 1980s campaign for an independent review of teachers'


When elected to the highest EIS offices, he had to take a wider view, visiting all parts of Scotland and representing the EIS internationally. He was made a Fellow of the Institute in 1995.

In his retirement, Wolseley became active in the Scottish Joint Committee on Religious and Moral Education, and was convener right up to his death.

The committee has undergone a remarkable transformation since the 1960s.

From starting out as a cosy liaison group between the EIS and the Church of Scotland, which began meetings with a Christian prayer, it has become a wider body embracing other teacher organisations, all the main churches, non-Christian faith groups and even secular humanists in the form of agnostic teachers of RE. The prayer has been replaced by a "time for reflection" based on the Scottish Parliament model.

Wolseley chaired meetings of this motley group. His private religious views remained a mystery, though it now emerges that he converted to Buddhism seven years ago.

Under his leadership, the SJCRME became increasingly concerned with the philosophical content of this part of the curriculum, now called religious, moral and philosophical studies in the upper secondary schools.

That Wolseley was a true polymath was shown by his interest in information and communications technology. He was one of the first teachers in Scotland to have a home computer. As an ICT educational pioneer, he influenced the development and use of new technology.

Wolseley leaves a widow, Jeanette, and a son Ewan. Their daughter was lost through illness a number of years ago.

He had a large circle of friends and contacts among Scottish teachers and educationists, to whom his death came as a great shock.

Fred Forrester

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