Critically Assess How Important The Activities In The Government In The Field Of Education In England Between 1870 and trust so this Essay

Before 1870 Financial provision for education was based on results of attendance and a child’s ability of reading, writing and arithmetic. Once a year two inspectors would visit schools testing children. School Master’s were anxious because their earnings depended on their children’s work. Although schools were inspected, attendance was still low. Only a small minority of children would be educated over the age of ten. With effect that commissioners estimated only a quarter of children received an education of satisfactory standards. Lowe’s reform Act 1867 was passed, he observed, [“I believe it will absolutely necessary that you prevail on our future masters to learn their letters”.[1}

[The Act of 1870 was the beginning of an end to Lassize-faire in education,[2] when W.E Foster introduced this bill, suggested if Britain was to regain economic status they had to build a foundation of technical education. Their objection was to complete the voluntary system, and to fill gaps. Public money should be spared. A national enquiry to the provision for schools should be conducted, if any deficiency of the inspected schools were proven giving the voluntary system a year’s leeway. The findings by the government ministers, that there was a clear need for education. A new system was put into place, which introduced the establishment of school board’s. This could provide a non- denominational elementary school; the ratepayers i.e. the voters, as well as grants from the government would finance this new system.

This Act was to help to provide for the states elementary education.[2] Although 1870 Fosters Education Act did not effectively introduce compulsory education nor was education to be free. Although voluntary schools were not replaced by the school boards. This act did not affectively address the needs to educate all children, but did affectively address deficiencies in English education. By laws made education compulsory only until a child reaches the age of ten.

It was not until 1880 Mandela’s Act of education, which introduced compulsory attendance for children between the ages of five to eleven. In 1883 the age limit for compulsory education was raised to 12 years, 1891 parental rights were given to demand free education for their children. Although elementary school fees were not abolished until l 1918

1902 Balfours Education Act, secondary and technical education was legalised [which were being provide inconsistently by the school boards [3]. School boards were abolished, and the voluntary church schools gained financial support by the ratepayers.

Education Act 1902, set the grammar school system into place, but proven be incapable of offering places to all those who were capable or wanted to attend.[Although scholarships were available many working-class families could not to afford to buy the uniform, nor to loss the child’s earnings[4] therefore this did not affectively address higher education for the working-class.

Education Act 1906 (provisions of school meals.) Empowered authorities to feed necessitous school children. Interest of the public into meals for needy children, dates back since 1860 with voluntary efforts of Anglican church [But the real stimulus was the Boer war.[5] Recruits were found to have deficiency, due to these government findings brought a social reform, children of today would be recruits of tomorrow. they had to properly be nourished, Although in 1903 it was recommended by the Scottish royal Commission on physical training, that education authorities should provide school meals, along side with the voluntary system. Liberal measures of 1906 empowered local authorities to provide school meals for the needy children. Half a penny rate was introduced; this was only a small measure and produced little progress.

1914 The exchequer granted that the cost would be half penny. Parent’s responsibility was removed of feeding their children in school proved impossible to make parents pay for their children’s school meals. Effectively began a system of publicly financed free school meals This Act also introduced the provisions of free medical treatment in education.

Education Act 1907 was the end of school boards, and public rates would support the church schools. It was also stated that only one quarter of places in the rate-aided schools had to be saved, as free places for those children came from elementary schools. This effectively created the eleven plus system. School children of elementary schools competed for the small number of places offered to them. This Act also effectively offered places to bright, and gifted children from working-class backgrounds. Especially in counties where over the ‘one quarter’ quota was offered.

Fisher education Act 1918 School leaving age was raised from 12 to 14 years, this became law, and recommended that nursery schools should be founded, for children of the age of three. This never happened due to lack of finance from the government; depression years started to kick in around 1920s

The Haddow report 1926 gave thought to primary education followed by secondary education from eleven years old onwards. It be education for all, and proposed to established modern secondary schools for the less academic children. The leaving age was to be raised to fifteen. Some progress was made over a five-year period with the system of modern schools, but 1931 brought a financial crisis and it meant another application of the brakes. It was not until 1936 that the school leaving age was raised to fifteen.

The Education Act 1936 was to [allow for the necessary provisions of buildings and teacher but there was a three year delay to this and the day the government had set, Hitler invaded Poland,[6] which the school leaving age was delayed yet again. This Act of 1936 did not effectively raise the school leaving age due to poor resources and the Second World War.

The Education Act 1944 is a noticeable example of social; reform as it was the Labour Government [which was confirmed in the public mind as the party of the Beveridge report,[7] this Act raised the school leaving age to 15 years adding that it should raise to sixteen as soon as possible. Fees for secondary and grammar schools were abolished. All places now would be open to competition also the 1944 Education Act created the tripartite system for secondary education. 11-year-old children would be divided up into the academically gifted that passed their eleven-plus and went to grammar school.

Also this new system would offer students who were particularly gifted which attended technical schools and the rest of the majority who went to secondary schools. Although this act did effectively address the needs for higher education funding was inadequate. With local authorities unable to afford three types of schools e.g. Devon and Anglesey, so they created one large Comprehensive school where all children from one area went, County Councils of London also created such Comprehensive schools; children would be allowed to go to Grammar school if they passed their eleven-plus.

The report on the eleven plus system, showed inconsistencies. For example, many of the eleven plus success were leaving school of the age of 15 without taking any certifies examinations, which the system had selected for them. This system also brought many failings. The eleven plus system was progressing into completing some certified examination for which they were apparently not suited. Results showed that the Comprehensive system had became more popular.


Failings in the Education system had been fault of many politicians to offer British people more than they could fulfil. Churchhill who had been Prime Minister for many years during many amended educations Acts it seemed to be he’s main and only concern to win the war. Although the government Liberal and Labour brought much social reforms to the education system. My opinion is that education was not as organized in the way it is today, it was not until the 1944 Education Act that the fact that all Masters should learn there letters, was address effectively and put into force. People’s access to educational provisions depended on a large extent on their position in society. For example, charitable church-run schools were available to the poor, while the rich could afford private tutors or send their children to private schools.

Julie Mitchinson.


Page Trevor May p144-145

Page 1 footnote [1] Trevor May an economic And Social history Of Britain 1760-1970 p144.

Page 1 footnote [2] Trevor May An Economic and Social history Of Britain 1760=1970 p144

Page 2 footnote [3] Derek Frazer The evolution of the British welfare state 2nd edition p147

Page 2 footnote [4] Trevor May An Economic And Social history of Britain 1760-1970 p?

Page2 footnote [5] Derrick Frazer the evaluation of the British welfare state 2nd edition page148

Page 2 Trevor May p305

Page 3 footnote [6] Trevor May an economic and social history of Britain 1760-1970 p373

Pag3 footnote [7] Trevor May An Economic and social history of Britain 1760-1970 p 86-87