1870 Forster's Education Act

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  • 1870 Forster's Education Act
    • Went some way but not enough, basically
      • Laid the foundations for Disraeli's and others further improvement
    • Since the 1830's Voluntary Schools had provided religiously motivated-education to the poor based on government grants
      • However, there were too few schools and with the franchise expanding it was now in government's favor/interest to see the public educated
        • Gladstone in particular saw an educated public as improving productivity and better developing a new meritocracy
    • Act divided country into School districts and decreed that Elementary Schools/Board Schools would be built for those between the ages of 5-12
      • Only where existing provisions was inadequate and maintained by local tax rates, however.
    • Schools Boards elected by the same local ratepayers would be elected to run them
      • Put in charge of attendance and fees, but also had to cover the cost of poor children
        • In practice this was not always the case and many poor could not have the simple luxury of sending their children to school
          • They  could not cover any fee nor do without the income the child may bring into the house through work
    • Attendance at religious lessons were voluntary
    • Problems arose as to who should be elected to the school boards and the question of religious teaching
      • the National Educational League wanted to end the continued existence of any denominational schools
        • As well as ending of religious teaching in the New Board
        • Angelican National Education  Union demanded the continuation of RE
          • Neither side were satisfied with the compromise provided
            • Final Act excluded denominational RE teachings in the New Board Schools
              • Non-conformists pledged to withdraw their support from any Liberal candidate who did not promise further amendments
                • Resulting by-election losses which helped destroy the strong Liberal majority
    • Very first piece of legislation to deal specifically with the provisions of Education in Britain.
  • Background

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