The dons of Cambridge University have voted to allow the introduction of education studies as a subject for the university's exclusive BA degree.
After a fierce battle between progressives and die-hards, the dons voted by 850 to 596 to introduce the new subject. Opponents had argued that education was not a proper academic subject, and that the introduction of the new degree - which is theoretical and not a teacher training qualification - would lower entry standards.
The dons also voted by a similar margin to allow Homerton College, the specialist teacher training institution in Cambridge, to admit students for the new BA course. At present Homerton, which is an "approved society" of the university and not a full college, is only entitled to admit students for the four-year BEd degree.
Homerton will admit 15 to 20 people to study for the new degree this autumn, and expects eventually to offer 60 places. This is the number of initial teacher training places it has lost because of the fall in primary pupil numbers.
Dr Kate Pretty, principal of Homerton, said the decision was a big day in the college's history. The votes followed heavy lobbying by both sides, and represented an unusually high turnout of the university's 3,000 dons.