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The measure which bears Balfour's name, since he was largely responsible for its drafting and introduction, is now regarded as an important and progressive step. It:
- raised the school-leaving age to twelve
- granted subsidies to church schools from local rates
- abolished the locally elected School Boards, and passed the authority over schools to the country or borough councils
However, at the time, the credit Balfour might have justifiably have expected was largely lost because of the furious row that broke out among religious rivals over the nature of the schooling to be provided. Ever since educational reforms had been attempted in earlier decades there had…