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The Education Act of 1870.

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The Education Act of 1870 Introduction During the 1830's two thirds of England's population could not even read or write. The majority had access to only unskilled work. There was a growing demand for people to be trained and able to specialise in various aspects advancing technology. The government seemed to be reluctant to intervene as Mr Davies Giddy claimed, in the House of Commons: "...Giving education to the labouring classes of the poor, it would, in effect, be found to be injurious to their moods and happiness; it would teach them to despise their lot in life, instead of making them good servants in agriculture and other laborious employments to which their rank in society had destined them." In spite of the apprehension of the Dissenters and the unwillingness of sections of the governing classes, the state was being forced, slowly, but surely to take more than a passive interest in the education structure of the country. ...read more.


From comparative independence, the state of labourers and small farmers changed to one of dependence, for the growth of mechanical industries, which had previously kept the villagers from want. This move required the illiterate to become literate. The social order of agricultural times had broken the community into sharply defined divisions of society, but it was essentially a community with parallel interests, and the well-to-do classes had almost a stake in the well being of the lower classes. This morality issue led to the drastic shake up in the social services, including education. The solution for this diversity was schooling. Child labour was criticised and once again, the solution suggested was for all children to attend school. The general opinion of the public had changed by the mid part of the nineteenth century which also implied that education was needed to be made compulsory for all children: "I am in favour of higher grade schools being provided for the advanced scholars so that children of the poor have equal opportunities with those who are better off."? ...read more.


Other religious bodies joined in the growing need for elementary schools. However, voluntary finance would not be enough. Societies built thousands of schools without extra money and could not provide education for every child. A controversial issue about which party should control education was raised. Schemes, which were politically, morally and sociably desirable in them, were wrecked anyway to the inability of their protagonists to think socially. The government marked the beginning of state intervention in 1833, when they handed small building grants to these societies. Its significance was that it was the first acceptance by the government of any financial responsibility for education of the poor. Central Society of Education reports (1837-39) showed that these schools filled the social controlling role more clearly. The grants were repeated year by year and were slowly increased. In 1839, the government made two important decisions on education. First they decided to set up a committee to deal with educational matters after several changes this became in 1964 the department of Education and Science.) Secondly, it appointed inspectors to visit schools it helped. The main responsibilities passed gradually from churches and voluntary societies to the state. ...read more.

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