The Education Act of 1870 required all children aged between 5 and 13 years to attend school.
- The education provided was not free
- A family had to pay a few pence a week for each child attending.
- For poorer families, where the total weekly income left only a shilling or so after rent, then this became an intolerable burden.
- In poor families, children were important contributors to the family income, a loss of their income, whilst they attended school, caused very real hardship.
- Failure of the child to attend school would result in a visit from an inspector and a fine for the family.
- In some areas school fees would be paid for the poorest families by the school board.
School boards could decide whether or not to make attendance compulsory. By 1873 40% of schools were compulsory.
- Reform of education took many decades, the Factory Acts in the 1830’s were intended to protect children and allow them some sort of education
- Compulsory education was a momentous change in the lives of children, look at our Education and Children theme to see how other reforms impacted on the lives of children