Victorian society was divided up into three classes, the upper class, middle class, and the working class. This affected how the people living in this era were educated. The upper class was the rich families so they required the best tutors to provide their education. The next social ranking was the middle class. The middle class also owned and managed businesses and empires. The working class was the lowest class among the social ranking, also known as the skilled workers. Many children in the Victorian era had very little schooling if any at all. In 1870, the Education Act declared that all children must be granted an elementary education. The Education Act did not radically change society or the school system. Only the rich and the poor attended school, but it did not align with the life of the different classes. The children got to attend Sunday school, public school, or homeschool based on their social standing. Every child was guaranteed an education, but it was not an equal one. Education was seen as unimportant for the children of the less fortunate. The poor families needed extra help on their farms, so instead of sending their kids to school, they stayed home and helped with whatever chores needed to be done. Some children had to work to provide money for their families and had little time for school. The girls from wealthy families were taught at home, and the rich boys had an opportunity to attend school. were taught based on certain considerations. One of the considerations was their social standing in society. Poor families relied on their children for extra money. Families that lived in big cities found it difficult to send their children to school because of fees they would have to pay and the loss of income that the family would have had with the children being at school.
In the mid-1840’s the idea of schools called Ragged schools, were being introduced, it was a type of volunteer-led school. The Ragged school would help to meet the different needs in the community by feeding and clothing the children. They were also taught trades such as shoemaking and also domestic skills to help their family pay the bills. The government also began to pay for the training of the teachers. The training was needed to teach the future generation of young people, who would one day be leading the country. With the rising numbers of poor students still needing to be educated, the Ragged school was the only option.
By the late 1860 ́s, there had been a significant increase in the number of voluntary schools, attendance for the working class children was always high. The number of children who did not attend school had declined greatly. Throughout Britain, there were still a large number of children living in poor circumstances that were still unable to go to university. Britain went through an incredible, prosperous period of industrialization, and the British Empire grew. There was a great need for all British people to be trained to help drive Britain forward and be able to show the world to its citizens. Those young people are Great Britain ́s future, then the world ́s capital. The days were gone when it was appropriate to fear that they would become dissatisfied with their social standing by making disadvantaged children go to school and learn.
The government finally passed an Education Act in1870 to deal with the education of the young generation in Britain. Each child must have a position at school, and school buildings must have reasonable quality. Headteachers were now required to be qualified. To ensure that the curriculum they are offering met the new standards, schools across the country are checked and evaluated. New rules also meant that school boards could make school mandatory for children between the ages of 5 to 10 and 13.
The next major step towards compulsory education came with the Elementary Education Act in 1880. Ten years had gone by during which school boards had been given the choice of having kids go to school. Now, from their hearts, the state had taken the decision: These new laws meant that every child had to go to work. The 1891 Elementary Education Act was one of the most relevant laws to be passed towards the end of the century. It set new rules starting the basic education should be free for all, not just for those in severe poverty.
Unlike school today, you would expect to be cold at school as a Victorian child because there might not have been a flame to warm your room or school hall. If it was, you might have been so far away that the air could ́t touch you! Having most likely walked to school, you might spend your time in wet, cold clothes from your trip, depending on the time of year, and you would certainly be tired, sometimes kids would have to walk a long way to school! You ́d expect your instructor to check you absolutely when you got there and you’d have to be smartly turned out. Respect for your instructor was very necessary and during registration, you would bow to them or curt them. Learning, writing, and arithmetic would be the lesson ́s in the three R. Occasionally schools will teach geography, history, and drill, the PE counterpart of the victoria. You probably wouldn’t have had your own books; instead, they’d be distributed throughout the class and placed on your desk by the instructor, who’d be at the front of the room. You may or may not have a break depending on which school you went to! You’d be expected to pay attention and work to a high standard during the classes When you made a mistake, such as misrepresentation or even writing with your left hand, punishment would either be painful or humiliating and could either be a slap across cane knuckles or sent to the corner to wear the dunce’s cap, always shamefully with your head against the wall.
Education was very different towards the end of the century from what was before Queen Victoria took the throne in 1837. Although there was still a huge difference between the schools then and now, in the space of sixty years, there had been significant improvements. By the end of the 1800s, there were even libraries and pianos in many of the town schools. In addition to the three R ́s, the subjects studied could include sports such as cricketing, needlework, drawing, and craftwork, map drawing, geography, history, religion, gardening, and music. Special rooms for science and cooking had also started in some universities. In order to encourage progress and hard work, schools gave awards and prizes. People are closely monitored and people with excellent attendance could be given a Queen Victoria Medal in appreciation of the quality of the school and the dedication of the person. A very different story from the beginning of the century, every child in Britain, rich or poor, went to school now and there were 5.7 by 1900.