The earliest known schools in England were connected to the Church, all the way back to 600 AD. in 604 AD a school was set up in what is now known as Rochester Cathedral. Though things started earlier it cannot be said that this translated to an education system for all.
Independent schools in England have had a long history and can be traced back to the tenth century. The oldest is in Canterbury known as Kings’s School. Free Grammar schools came about during Tudor times. Free for those who could not pay the fees, though that still did not open this to the masses, as most required everyone in the household to be economically active i.e. work.
Things started to move in the 18th Century when parliament started to put money into the building of schools for poor children.
This was the first time the state had become involved in education (1833). 1839 Government grants were available for the construction and maintenance of schools, this included inspections.
In 1840 the Grammar school act saw the enrichment of the Grammar school curriculum to include science and literature.
During Gladstones time as Prime Minister, Robert Lowe (politician) worked as a key reformer. Specifically looking at raising standards, preventing waste of money and highlighting inefficient teaching. From this work a revised code was released in 1861, this changed the funding on grants being dependant on the outcome of student performance in passing exams on reading, writing, and maths. This was known as Payments by results.
This brings us up to the headline poster of this blog post. The Forster Act / Elementary Education Act of 1870 required schooling be provided at primary age, in areas where there were inadequate provisions. Section 74 of the act gave powers to school boards to make attendance compulsory between the ages of 5 and 13. The exemptions for children over 10 who had attained the required educational standards (this standard also had variance s across the country. The other exception as is the case today, Illness, a child would be exempt for the duration of that illness.
Too many parallels with the system today, and the reason is, it was our yesterday which built this today…
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