Throughout the history of the Tavistock and Portman Clinics education and training has been an important part of our activities, even though it has not always existed as a separate Directorate of Education and Training (DET). The first move towards becoming a directorate occurred in the early 1980s with the establishment of the role of Dean, but it is comparatively recently that the separation of clinical and educational functions allowed DET to operate independently as a contemporary higher education institution, while continuing to draw on the deep well of clinical and consulting expertise in the organisation.

Ever since the Tavistock Clinic opened in 1920, there has been an awareness that the Clinic could not achieve its aims through its clinical functions alone.

In the early days our professional training took the form of training supervision meetings for staff and our wider educational offer took the form of public lectures for doctors and teachers. There was an expectation that clinical staff would give time for the education programme that was run for both professionals and the public. The lectures and the education programme were a key source of income on their own, but they also drove donations and patient referrals.

The Tavistock Clinic soon became a victim of its own success as it simply did not have enough consulting rooms to meet the number of patient referrals that were generated.

In 1932 the Tavistock Clinic moved to Malet Place at the heart of the University of London. As well as giving additional space for clinical consultations the move was oriented towards developing education and training as part of the Clinic’s contribution to mental health.

Malet Place was refurbished to meet the Clinic’s needs with purpose built consulting rooms and a large lecture theatre that could seat several hundred people. JA Hadfield, one of the seven founder members of staff, was appointed as Director of Education at the Tavistock Clinic in 1935. He had a strong academic background, lecturing at both the University of Birmingham and Kings College in the University of London. It was thanks to his influence that the Tavistock Clinic achieved university recognition for its courses in the 1930s.

Under JA Hadfield the Tavistock Clinic began organising lectures with famous guest speakers such as: Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, Emmanuel Miller, Edward Glover, Maria Montessori. He widened the range of courses that the Clinic ran and opened them up to other professions such as magistrates and probation officers as well as setting up a pioneering course for social workers in mental health.

Throughout the thirties the Tavi massively expanded across all its activities, but especially education.

During World War 2 most of our education courses were suspended. Malet Place was destroyed during the Blitz and in 1945 number 2 Beaumont Street became the third home of the Tavistock Clinic.

In 1945 the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR) was established to develop the new field of ‘social psychology’. TIHR was set up as a separate non-profit making company so that it could continue with the non-clinical areas of work that the Tavistock Clinic would not be able to do when it joined the NHS.

The end of the war marked significant changes both in society and at the Tavistock Clinic, which joined the new NHS in 1948. The Tavistock Clinic entered the NHS primarily as a clinical institution. National provision for post-graduate teaching in the NHS went to the Maudsley. This was a huge blow, but it did not signify the end of education and training at the Tavistock Clinic.

In 1945 HV Dicks took over from JA Hadfield to run education. HV Dicks transferred the Clinic’s post-graduate courses to the TIHR, while the Tavistock Clinic offered a full syllabus of professional training courses. It was in this period that the Tavistock first started issuing an annual prospectus.

John Bowlby, who had just been appointed as head of the Department for Children and Parents, restructured the Children’s Department to make training a key component of its activities and resumed the pre-war relationship with the London School of Economics for the training of social workers.

In 1948 John Bowlby asked Esther Bick to develop a Child Psychotherapy course and this included the first ever Infant Observation seminars. Infant Observation was an absolutely new form of learning and is widely regarded as one of the Tavistock Clinic’s most important innovations.

In 1957 the TIHR launched the first full scale experiments in group relations in partnership with the University of Leicester. The Leicester Conferences were the start of another unique stream of education for the Tavistock that continues to this day.

Throughout the 1960s the Tavistock Clinic continued to focus on professional training. Our courses became recognised and accredited by the Association of Child Psychotherapists (ACP), Association of Family Therapists (AFT), British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC), British Psychological Society (BPS), British Association of Social Workers (BASW) and Skills for Care.

During this period the Tavi also gradually increased its international activities with staff travelling abroad to lecture and international lecturers and trainees coming to London.

In 1967 the Tavistock Clinic moved into new, purpose built premises at Belsize Lane, which it shared with the TIHR and London Child Guidance Training Centre, and in 1970 the Portman Clinic moved in next door at 8 Fitzjohns Avenue.

During the 1970s the Children’s and Parent’s Department flourished. Bowlby published his definitive trilogy on attachment theory. Mattie Harris significantly extended our child psychotherapy teaching, opening up the pre-clinical seminars to non-medical professions and extending the national influence of the Tavistock.

In 1975 John Byng-Hall and Rosemary Whiffen established the first family therapy training course at the Tavistock Clinic. This later led to the establishment of the first ever doctorate in family therapy, offered jointly by the Tavistock and the University of East London.

In the early 1980s, under the leadership of Alexis Brook, both the Library and the Training Administration were acquired for the Clinic, and Dickie Bird became the Clinic’s first Dean. In the mid-80s the Seymour Report stated that although it had professional recognition, training at the Tavistock Clinic also needed academic accreditation, which we achieved, finding an academic partners, among these the University of East London (UEL) was our major partner.

More than 20 Masters level programmes were established between the UEL and Tavistock Clinic. By the late 1980s the Tavistock Clinic was extending its educational work on a very considerable scale.

In 1994 the Tavistock Clinic joined with the Portman Clinic and became an independent NHS trust, with Anton Obholzer as the Chief Executive, and at the same time a national training contract was negotiated with the NHS alongside our clinical contract.

In 1994 Margaret Rustin became Dean and under her leadership education at the Tavistock Clinic again expanded significantly. At one stage there were more than 1,000 Tavistock students enrolled on UEL courses and 70 per cent of the Tavistock Clinic’s income was coming from training.

As part of its contract with the NHS the Tavistock Clinic needed to change the pattern of training nationally and developed regional centres. One of the most effective ways of doing this was forming partnerships with senior local professionals. The child psychotherapists and family therapists were particularly energetic in this regional activity, and the adult psychotherapists followed suit. Quite quickly the Tavi was able to make links with almost all the health regions. Later, in 2002 The Northern School of Child Psychotherapy was established in Leeds, providing training to the whole of the north.

Our international profile was also important and a significant number of our senior staff developed training links in countries across the world.

In 2006, under the leadership of Nick Temple, the Tavistock and Portman achieved foundation trust status, giving it further independence. The Department of Education and Training significantly consolidated its position with steady growth in the National Contract, regional workforce involvement, and addressing strategic issues such as equality and diversity. Additional contracts were won and student numbers increased.

Trudy Klauber became the first Dean and Director of Education as the posts were combined. Under her leadership the Departmental Vice-Dean posts were transformed into Associate Deanships, linked to clinical services. DET began to more proactively manage quality assurance, relationships with academic partners and student feedback. The first Equalities Committee was established in DET with regular groups for minority ethnic students.

In 2013 Paul Jenkins was appointed as Chief Executive of the Trust and in February 2014 he published a strategic perspective, which highlighted the value that education and training had for the Trust and the extent to which he had been more peripheral. Paul wanted the Trust to completely reconsider the structural arrangements of education and training so that it operated as a Directorate in its own right rather than operating as a ‘bolt on’ to the clinical work. 

Since 2015, under our current Dean Brian Rock, the Trust has made significant strides in underpinning its education and training provision. This has included establishing a separate directorate; creating roles specific to overseeing and delivering our long and short courses, including establishing the roles of Associate Dean, Learning and Teaching and Portfolio managers. The Trust has invested in a student information management system, MyTap, to support the learning journey of students and the student experience. Further professionalisation has included the establishment of a dedicated student recruitment and marketing team and the creation of a new role of Operations Director.

The Trust has become a major training institution nationally for a range of psychological therapies. In 2019/20 more than 3,500 students attended courses funded by Health Education England. The Trust continued to work with our main university partners, University of Essex and the University of East London and several accrediting professional bodies, to offer a distinctive, high quality approach, delivered by clinician-trainers and grounded in the experiences and challenges of everyday clinical practice.

In the past three years, in partnership with Health Education England, our National Workforce Skills Development Unit was established to meet national workforce issues related to mental health and to support the national strategies outlined in the Five Year Forward View and Stepping Forward to 2020/21 the Mental Health Workforce Plan for England.

We continued to develop our geographical spread making our teaching and training available across the country with centres in Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Stroud, Manchester, Jersey, Kent. We also deliver courses through a network of international centres.

Our current Dean, Brian Rock, has brought a focus to international business growth and developing relationships with mental health providers in other countries including China. The academic year 2019/20 achieved both the highest number of student enrolments and the highest level of student satisfaction. This has continued into the new academic year, September 2020, and long-term development plans were brought forward, with the Trust’s Digital Academy opening to a global audience.

The Digital Academy keeps the Tavistock and Portman at the forefront of mental health and wellbeing. It increases the reach of the Trust’s training and educational work allowing more people to benefit from the heritage, skills and experience of the Tavistock and Portman. Designed as a complete online learning experience, the Digital Academy introduces concepts and ideas through short videos, activities, articles, peer discussion or reflective exercises presented by the Trust’s leading clinical educators. The Digital Academy makes the Tavistock and Portman’s unique high-quality training available not just across the UK, but internationally, making our 100 years of educational experience ready for the next 100 years.

Early in 2020 the Directorate of Education and Training faced one of its biggest challenges: dealing with the impact of Covid-19 and lockdown measures. Over the two week Easter break all of our education and training classes were moved online. By the end of the summer term we were delivering almost 3,500 sessions per week with and produced over two million minutes of online content in the month of June.

The education and training provided by the Trust offers support and development to the workforce and organisations in health, care and related sectors. It is steeped in the heritage and traditions of the Tavistock and Portman, but also rich with the founding spirit of creativity and innovation. This drives our continuing commitment to development in 2020 and beyond, as much as it did in 1920. 

The Deans

Dr Dicky Bird 1983-1987

Dr Rob Hale 1987-1994

Margaret Rustin 1994-1999

Prof. Andrew Cooper 1999-2004

Trudy Klauber 2004-2012

Malcolm Allen 2012-2014

Brian Rock 2015 – present