Education Buildings

Listing Selection Guide

A guide to outline the selection criteria used when listing education buildings.

This guide looks at buildings of all types provided to facilitate education, from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century. Education stimulated some of the country’s finest architecture, ranging from the medieval universities to post-war primary schools. Many schools were built in response to the successive Education Acts of 1870 and later, and embody in physical form developing ideas on education, and child welfare more generally. At times, such as in the years after the Second World War, it was school building which earned Britain greatest international acclaim, and its universities contain some of the best works of the leading architects of the day.

In 2010 English Heritage (now Historic England) published an authoritative overview in its Informed Conservation series of the history of school buildings in the context of evolving educational provision: Elain Harwood, England's Schools: History, Architecture and Adaptation (2010). It provides a fuller, and more extensively illustrated, treatment of the topic than is possible here. This guide includes a brief historical overview of some of the principal developments in the history of education buildings, and an explanation of our approach in assessing such buildings for listing.

This is one of a series of guides which set out some of our approaches to listing buildings. Covering twenty broad categories of building types, they including historical overviews and special considerations for listing, plus select bibliographies. They are primarily intended to develop understanding of listed buildings and structures, and to offer insight into listing decision making.


  • Introduction
  • Historical summary
  • Specific considerations
  • Select bibliography

Additional Information

  • Series: Guidance
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Pages: 24
  • Product Code: HEAG111


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