Education During the Victorian Period
Education during the Victorian Period progressed due to several acts and codes over the years. Voluntary schools, which the Church provided, were founded by the Anglican National Society after the grant of 1833 was proposed. The grant went to religious bodies, which were used to build schools. It was the first acceptance by the government to provide the poor with an education. The grant increased to 30,000 pounds in 1839 and then to 100,000 pounds in 1846. These voluntary schools were paid for by private subscription and were spread out over the country.
Gladstone’s Bill of 1870 was the work of W.E. Forster, who was an ardent churchman of Quaker origin. The bill doubled the State Grant to church schools and to Roman Catholic schools so they could become a permanent part of the new educational system.
There were seven elite boarding schools that were defined as “Public Schools” in the 1860’s by the educational Clarendon commission. They were Eton, Harrow, Westminster, Rugby, Winchester, Charterhouse, and Shrewsbury. They were maintained by private funding and received no profits.
The Code of 1890 made it possible to maintain evening continuation schools, which we think are night schools.
The new schools were known as Board Schools and they were paid for by local rates, or by the local school boards. Church teaching continued in all national schools. Before this, all the churches had to provide the education. The Roman Catholics and the Anglicans wouldn’t let their children go to these schools, though. They felt that these schools did not adequately teach their religious ideas. Board schools were introduced and the Roman Catholics and the Anglicans agreed that these schools satisfied all their educational needs.
The acts of 1876 and 1880 made attendance in schools necessary. During the first few years of Queen Victoria’s reign, 30-50% of the children went to school. The most common schools were Sunday schools. They went there if they weren’t working and while there they learned how to “read” the Bible. Its primary function was to fit people for their place in the social order. From 1870-1890 the average school attendance rose from 1.25 million to 4.5 million and the money spent on each child was doubled.
After the New County Council was established, an effective step towards a system of secondary education was taken Only 8% of male children received any secondary education.