Education and educational system in Britain have long and interesting history. There were lots of changes during the progress.

We'll give you a few information about some main situations of educational system in Britain starting with the 12th century.


12th -14th centuries

Schools were attached to monasteries and churches to educate clerics who were the civil cervants and the scholars of the time as well as monks, nuns and priests.Education had no direct control by the state, the church had been almost a monopoly of literacy and education.Existed chantry schools for boys from poor families, beating was highly recommended in chantry schools and was an importany part of school and home education; song schools attached to cathedrals and almonry schools attached to monasteries for sons of those connected with the religious house to which they were attached or for relatives of monks.After song and almonry schools young men knew alphabet, were able to sing religious songs, to read Latin prayers and to read in English.Different from chantry schools in the song & almonry schools beating was not recomended, those who broke the rules felt the rod without delay and if anyone knew Latin but spoke English or French with companions or with the clerk, had a 'blow from the rod' for every word. Then in Britain of those days existed preparatory and grammar fee-paying schools for sons of merchants. In preparatory schools were taught reading and writing in Latin and English sufficient for entering a grammar school, and in grammar school itself were taught Latin and Divinity. After leaving grammar school a young man knew Latin Grammar, was able to translate from English into Latin, could sing in Latin and compose 24 verses a day, in grammar schools young men took part in debates conducted in Latin.The in Britain also existed home education for future monarcs, sons of noblemen. Men were taught military arts and court etiquette so the school-leavers had some military skills and skills in courty accomplishments. Then during the 12th and 13th centuries were some private foundations: by the bishop of Winchester the Winchester college was founded(1383)nowadays included to Clarenda Nine( nine most privilleged and oldest universities in Britain),during 12th-13th centuries were also founded Oxford and Cambridge Universities.


15th-16th centuries

Henry the Eights disbands the monasteries, were founded 'public schools' Eton, Winchester & others. Existed infant or 'petty' schools for sons of merchants, skilled craftsmen and squires.Boys were taught reading, writing and saying catechism or a series of questions and answers about God and Church.The aim of such schools was to teach a boy to be able to read and write in English. In infant schools was a belief that children are sinful when they are born and in order to make them grow up into good Christians, parents and teachers should be very strict with them and it goes without saying in that beating was thought to be the best way of making children learn. So if some pupil made a mistake at the lesson he was beaten. Then existed grammar and public schools for sons of tradesmen and craftsmen. But then children were taught not only Latin & Divinity, but Greek, Arithmetic and Music so that the pupils were able to speak and write in Latin, to write poems and essays in Latin, they knew some passages from the Bible by heart. For boys from the poor families existed parish schools , where boys were taught Reading, Writing and a bit of Latin and were able to say the Lord's Prayer. Also still existed home education for future monarchs, sons of nobility under the supervision of a knight. Education aimed at teaching: the military arts, court etiquette and social graces, reading and writing in Latin, sports. Then education for girls arose. But actually it was considered more important for a girl to know about housewifery than Latin. And so the girls did not attend school, but they were often taught in well-to-do families how to read, write and do sums. In 1509 in London was founded St.Paul's school,in 1552 Shrewbury school was founded, in 1560- Westminster school, in 1561-The Merchant Taylors' public school for boys in London,in 1567-Rugby school in Yorkshire, in 1572- Harrow school in Middlesex. All of them are included into the list of Clarenda Nine.


The 17th century

Or the Stuart period. During that period still existed parish schools for poor children, where were taught Reading and Religious instruction, Writing, Arithmetic and the same as in the Tudor period(15th-16th centuries) beating was thought to be the best way of making children learn; in the charity schools were educated the boys from the poor families. The 'subjects' were Religion, Reading and Writing. Also still existed grammar schools for the sons of tradesmen and craftsmen and the major focus was still on classical education there, but Modern sybjects became being recog nized as also important. Grammar schools during the Stuart period prepared boys for applying to Oxbridge.In public schools- for the boys from the wealthy families were taught Latin, Greek, Sports and Religious Studies.This type of schools was made to form a real gentleman from a boy. During 17th century in 1611 Charterhouse school was founded on the site of a former 'charterhouse' in London. In 1872 it was transfered to Surrey. As one of the leading public school for boys it is included in the list of the Clarenda Nine. The situation changed in attitude to girls in 17th century. So in well-to-do families girls got education while sharing their brothers' tutors' lessons or under the guidance of open-minded fathers, but the proportion of illiterate women was very high(80 per cent in London and 100 per cent in East Anglia). There were some schools for girls with mojor focus on Dancing, Music, Painting and Singing, Writing and Accounting. And very few included Latin, Greek, Italian, French, Spanish, Hebrew, Experimenting, Philosophy.


The 19th century

In the 19th century there was considerable growth of public schools to provide administrators and officers for the developing British Empire and elementary schools to provide basic skills (the three R's) of reading, writing and arithmetic for the skilled workforce required by the industrial revolution. During the 1811-1814 schools were organized in which the Bible was the basis of instructions. The National Schools were organized by the National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor on the Principles of the Established Church. In 1833 first grants were given to the such church schools. In 1839 there was a growth of the state's interest in the education of children for life and work in the industrial civilization. Control of grants was given to a new committee called the Education Department and the schools were to be inspected as a condition for receiving their grants. A minimum level of state support was established. In 1841 Roedean School was founded near Brighton in Sussex. It is one of the most privileged public schools for girls. Now it has about 400 students. In 1853 Cheltenham Ladies' College was founded in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. It is one of the leading public schools for girls in Britain and nowadays it has about 800 students. In 1861 the system of grants established by the Education Department in 1839 was replaced by a system called 'Payments by results': one third of the grant was to depend on the pupils' attendance and two thirds on the results of their examinations in reading, writing and arithmetic. The education reforms were caused dy the needs of industry and trade which demanded mass literacy for workers and better education for the managerial class. In 1870 Foster's Elementary Education Act was established and it provided elementary education for every child and set up School Boards to organize schools in districts where there were not enough schools. Children were to be taught to understand and follow simple instructions, to calculate simple measurements, weights and money, to be able to work with simple machinery or to serve in shops. In 1876 Sandon's Act was established according to which parents were given the responsibility of ensuring that children between the ages of 5 and thirteen went to school. Mundella's Act was established in 1880 and according to education became compulsory for the children between ages of 5 & 10; parents had to pay a few pence a week in fees. But after the Free Education Act established in 1891 the last noteworthy act during the 19th century, elementary education became free.


The 20th century

During the 20th century also were lots of Acts established and reforms made so we'll pay attention to it. And in addition we can call it the last century now. So in 1902 Balfour's Education Act was established. In provided for extending secondary education (education age was raised to twelve years), subsidising church schools from local rates and abolishing the locally elected Scool Boards, subtituting as local authorities the country or borough councils. New grammar schools were built and others received grants in return for providing a proportion of free places in order to meet the needs of better- educated workhouse to occupy the increasing number of white collar jobs in commerce and industry. In 1906 a Labour MP succeeded in getting a Private Member's Bill passed which gave local authorities power to provide meals for children going foodless to school. All secondary schools receiving public money had to offer at least 25 per cent of their places as free scholarships. In 1918 began to work Fisher's Act which raised the school-leaving age to 14 and elementary fees were abolished. Then in 1926 we see Hadow's report which suggested two types of schools: Grammar (an academic education with a school-leaving age of 16) and Secondary Modern ( a practically based education with a school leaving age of 14). Then goes Butler's Act which introduced free compulsory secondary education. British society was defined as meritocracy, it means society in which every child is given a maximum help to develop his/her talents. The tripartite system was established: Grammar schools for academic children selected on the results obtained in the intelligence examinations at the age of 11 (The Eleven Plus); Secondary Technical schools for the technically minded; Secondary Modern schools for the less academic. This Act raised the school-leaving age to 15 (from 1947) By the year of 1950 there were ten comprehensive schools which combined grammar and secondary modern schools under one roof. And this type of education started increasing rapidly. Years from 1965 to 1980. Almost all th grammar schools were replaced by co-educational comprehensives. Of the 1734 old direct grant grammar schools,119 decided to leave the state system rather than become comprehensives and became independent fee-paying establishments. During the 1986-1988 conservative reforms in education were made( the 1986 Education Act and the Education Act of 1988). Until 1988 the only compulsory part of any school curriculum was religious education. The Concervatives introduced a compulsory national curriculum which applied to all children of school age (5-16) in state schools. There are three core subjects in the curriculum: ENGLISN, MATHS and SCIENCE and seven foundational ones: TECHNOLOGY, HISTORY, GEOGRAPHY, MUSIC, ART, PHYSICAL EDUCATION and a FOREIGN LANGUAGE.
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