Prior to the Industrial Revolution the state played no role in the education of children.
- The Industrial Revolution however saw families forced into dense housing in the new industrial towns and gangs of untamed children roamed the streets, answerable to few, including the church and the government knew it had to intervene.
- The government thought that church schools would be the answer and the church was keen to respond, seeing its own attendances dwindling, particularly in the newly emerging industrial cities.
- The church was encouraged to build schools with the government supplying a grant of £20,000, matching pound for pound money invested in school building.
- Other types of school emerged as groups of like minded people urged reform in the school system.
- The public school system was also under scrutiny and reforms were also being introduced here.
- Curriculum was also subject to reform, driven by educationalists, the newly evolved public examination system and the state.
- The state aided scheme meant government had control over who went to school, the schools were aimed at the lower classes and were not intended to promote people through the social classes, they were designed to keep people in their place.
The emergence of teacher training colleges in the 1850’s and the Education Act in 1870, which said that the costs of schooling should fall on the public purse, meant that the state system of providing education had fully arrived in Britain and from there on in would become ever more interventionist.