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The Forster Education Act, 1870

  • The country was divided into school districts
  • Board schools, providing elementary education for pupils aged 5-12 years, were to be built where provision was inadequate and maintained out of the local rates
  • School boards were to be set up, electe by ratepayers in each district, to run the new schools. They had autonomy over attendance anfd fees, but had to pay fees for poor children.
  • Attendance at religious lessons was voluntary
  • Cowper-Temple amendment = excluded denominational religious teaching in the new board schools and the final act was a compromise.
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Administrative Reforms

Civil Service:

  • Principle of entry by competitive examination was established

Judicature Act (1873)

  • Aimed to simplify the British legal system by uniting the existing seven major courts into the Supreme COurt of Judicature
  • Tidied up the organisation and roles of the courts
  • Simplified the cumbersome and lengthy appeals
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Labour Laws

Trade Union Act (1871)

  • Legal right of the unions to hold property and funds
  • Have them protected by law
  • Also had the right to strike

Criminal Law Amendment Act (1871)

  • Passed immediatey after
  • Any form of picketing illegal
  • Trade unions legalised, but any action they took was made illegal
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Licensing Laws

Licensing Act (1872)

  • Magistrates had power to issue licences to publicans
  • Fixed opening and closing hours
  • Prohibit the adulteration of beer
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Legislation affecting Women

The Married Women's Property Act

  • Women ratepayers had the vote in local elections
  • Women had legal status
  • Allowed a woman to keep £200 of their own earnings
  • Girls could attend school
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