IO Specialisation Timeline (1702-1839)
1702:Although teaching aboard RN ships pre-dates the 18th century, then usually performed unpaid by the chaplain, the ‘Naval Schoolmaster’ role was first introduced into the Royal Navy by a Queen Anne Order in Council which used the term ‘Naval Educator’ and allowed a bounty of £20 per year from the public purse. The role was targeted at suitable persons to enter service as ordinary midshipmen who would then receive the bounty in addition to their service pay. The entrance exam was set by the Master and Brethren of Trinity House and the subjects to be taught would include reading, arithmetic, seamanship and navigation.
1729:The Admiralty decided that training should cease at sea and a new Naval Academy was to be erected in Portsmouth for a capacity of 40 students. The curriculum would include navigation, geometry, arithmetic, English writing, French, drawing, fencing and dancing.
1733:The Naval Academy opened but was not a success due to entrenched views of senior officers that training could only be accomplished at sea. Prejudice was such that some Captains refused to accept academy graduates while others refused to promote them beyond midshipmen. Schoolmasters continued to mainly conduct their role at sea. Despite this, over the next few decades the Admiralty continued to promote training ashore, became more influential and took control of all officer appointments.
1806:The Admiralty decided that the Naval Academy should be enlarged to 70 students and be renamed the Royal Naval College.
1812:The bounty for Schoolmasters was increased to £30 per year plus a yearly £5 tuition fee paid by each young gentleman being trained. Chaplains could accept these monies to instruct if no Schoolmaster was borne. Honours graduates were exempt from the entrance exam which was now set (ashore) by the Royal Naval College.
1836:Order in Council of 22 December 1836 authorised the full warrant rank of Naval Instructor and Schoolmaster.
1837:Royal Naval College closed and all training was transferred to sea.
1838:Warrant Officer Naval Instructor and Schoolmaster appeared in the Navy List for the first time.
1839:Royal Naval College reopened as a training college for commissioned officers and mates, thus becoming an institution for adult students.