Nigel Grant

Biography of Nigel Grant

Nigel Grant
Nigel Grant

Nigel Duncan Cameron Grant was Professor of Education at the University of Glasgow from 1978 to 1995 and Professor Emeritus of Education and a Professorial Research Fellow from 1995 until his death in 2003.

Grant was born in Glasgow on the 8th of June 1932 and moved with his family to Inverness in 1939, the son of Alistair Cameron Grant a newspaper editor, notably appointed editor of ‘The Highland News.’ Grant attended Jordanhill College School in Glasgow and then moved on to Inverness Royal Academy which he attended from 1944-1950.

From this young age his aptitude and passion for education was already evident: in his application to study at the University for the year 1950, Grant stated that he wanted to attend in order to become a lecturer. Grant received his Certificate of Fitness on the 4th of July 1950, having taken classes in English, French, Latin, Greek, Mathematics and History. He was active during his school years and was a member of the Inverness Choral Society and the Labour Party League of Youth. He took a keen interest in the arts early on and was a member of the local Dramatic Society and stated that he was interested in ‘literature, art and music and…(had) done a little freelance writing.’

This passion for culture stayed with Grant throughout his life. A close colleague and friend of his noted that he was ‘a great traveller and a great linguist competent in French, Italian, Spanish, German, Russian, Danish, modern and ancient Greek…besides English.’ Later in his life as, he trained to become a teacher at Jordanhill College of Education, he played ‘Shakespeare characters up to 1965’ in the College productions and wrote ‘original poems…as well as short stories and plays’.

Grant’s application to the University was successful and he moved from Inverness to lodgings in Glasgow for his first term in Session 1950-1951. In his first year, he undertook classes in Greek, English and History and passed English and History in May 1951 and had to resit Greek in May and August of the same year. He was supported throughout his studies by an Education Authority Grant.

For his second year of undergraduate study in Session 1951-1952, Grant enrolled for classes in Moral Philosophy, English and British History. He passed English first time around in May 1952, Moral Philosophy in September 1952 and resat British History in May 1952, passing in September of the same year.

For his third and fourth year of study in Session 1952-1953 and 1953-1954 respectively, Grant was now enrolled in English Literature and Language junior honours then senior honours courses which he was successful in, hence graduating with a Second Class honours degree in English Language and Literature on the 25th of June 1954. Throughout his undergraduate degree, Grant was active in student life at the University, and was an ‘enthusiastic member of the Literary Society’ and for two periods was elected President of the Socialist Club.

After graduation, Grant applied for admission to the Ed.B (Diploma stage) for Session 1954-1955. This post-graduation course of training was at Jordanhill Training College for three terms beginning on the 1st of October 1954. He undertook classes in Educational Methods, Psychology and Physiology and History and Theory of Education and passed all of these subjects in September 1955. He also undertook classes in Hygiene and Biochemistry and passed in June 1956, allowing him to be awarded a diploma on the 10th of July 1956.

After successful completion of his diploma, Grant commenced study for an Ed.B degree (now entitled M.Ed) in Session 1957-1958. Grant enrolled for honours classes in Psychology, Educational Psychology, Theory of Education (II), Administration and Comparative Education. He had clearly found his calling in education, for he passed all of his classes and was hence awarded a first class honours degree Ed.B on the 7th of November 1959, with a thesis entitled ‘Script and Literacy in Asia’ . He was also awarded the Boyd Prize for the most distinguished M.Ed graduate of the year.

Grant undertook National Service in the Royal Artillery and on his return from this exploit taught English in Lightburn Secondary School and Crookston Castle Secondary Schools in Glasgow from 1957-1960.

In 1960, Grant was appointed lecturer in Education at Jordanhill College of Education. Whilst here, his second head of department, Lawrence Stenhouse, helped him to obtain a grant to travel to the USSR in 1962. Out of this journey came the book which helped to make Grant’s name: ‘Soviet Education,’ published by Pelican. From this book came an invitation to the University of Edinburgh in 1965 as a lecturer and reader in Education Studies. He was awarded a PhD from the University of Glasgow in 1969 with a thesis Teacher training in the U.S.S.R. and Eastern Europe in the post-war period, 1945-1966

Upon graduating with a PhD in 1969 for the year commencing the 1st of January 1970, Grant was noted as being a ‘Teacher’ residing in Edinburgh.

When Professor Stanley Nisbet retired from the Chair of Education at the University of Glasgow, Grant applied and was offered the position in 1978. He held this post of Professor of Education up until his retirement in 1995.

His reputation as a scholar grew during these years and he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh as well as receiving the Komensky Medal. For many years he was also a member of the Editorial Board of Comparative Education and was noted as a ‘colourful participant of conferences organised by the Comparative Education Society of Europe.’

Upon his retirement, Grant held the position as Professor Emeritus of Education and was a Professorial Research Fellow from 1995 until his death on the 13th of July, 2003. A collection of his papers, including his creative writing, is held by the University Archives (Ref: ACCN 4124)



Nigel Grant

Born 8 June 1932.
Died 13 July 2003.
University Link: Alumnus, Professor
GU Degrees: MA, 1954; EdB, 1959; PhD, 1969; DipEd, 1955;
Occupation categories: educationalists
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Record last updated: 27th Feb 2018

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