Tunstall’s Technical Schools, which were housed in the Victoria Institute in Station Road (The Boulevard), opened in November 1890.
Subjects taught by the schools included Art, Science and General Subjects.
Most students attending classes at the schools worked during the day in industry or commerce and gave up their evenings to study for vocational qualifications.
The schools’ academic year started in September, and there were four ten-week terms, Students were given a week’s holiday at Christmas, another week at either Easter or Whitsun and a “long vacation” lasting two months during July and August. To ensure that students attended classes regularly during term time a register of attendance was kept which could be viewed by their parents or guardians and by their employers.
Tunstall’s Technical Schools entered their students for examinations set by the Board of Education. Students who passed were awarded certificates and the ones who gained the highest marks were given gold, silver or bronze medals.
Students who wanted to continue with their studies and become industrial designers or art teachers could apply for scholarships tenable at the Royal College of Art in London.
Speaking at Tunstall Technical Schools’ annual prizegiving ceremony in 1899, Staffordshire County Council’s director of technical education, Thomas Turner, said that North Staffordshire, like other leading industrial areas, should have its own University College.
The local newspaper, The Sentinel, supported Turner’s call for a University College to be established in North Staffordshire and asked one of the area’s leading educationalists to write about the scheme.
Published on May 27, 1899, the article that was written by an unnamed contributor said technical schools in The Potteries were too small to run scientific or academic courses for boys and girls who had been educated to matriculation standard.
To overcome this problem, the writer suggested creating a North Staffordshire College where students could read for degrees in academic subjects and receive degree level vocational training in engineering, ceramic technology, mining or metallurgy.