The first Education Committee, appointed in 1837 and permanently established in 1839 by the WM Conference, had responsibility for the promotion and oversight of the Sunday Schools and day schools which represented the Church's contribution to the religious and elementary education of the poor. Its work expanded in the second half of the century with the foundation of Westminster and Southlands Colleges and the Methodist Residential Schools. In the twentieth century, as the number of day schools dwindled, the Committee increasingly co-operated with other denominations whilst retaining its freedom to comment on government policies. In 1973 its main responsibilities were assumed by the new Division of Education and Youth. In 1985 a non-executive Education Committee was created to promote connexional interest in education and advise on policy matters.