Education in the 19th Century Essay Sample

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1. Source A is a primary source, a memoir of a board school pupil. It gives many impressions of what education was like in the 19th century. Advantages given of source A was, education was greatly improving, many subjects like ‘geography, physiology, dress making’ were introduced to improve the pupils learning. Pupils were taken on educational trips, ‘to see Ellen Terry in Romeo and Juliet’, which shows that school was not boring and compulsive. When the pupils had physical education, they had to wear special type of clothing, ‘we wore navy gym slips’, this shows that hygiene was improving and uniform was introduced. Although there were a lot of improvements there still were some bad views from this source. Children often were still unhygienic and unclean. Often diseases were spread like ringworm and nits, ‘there were children with dirty heads, lice dropping on to desks, children with warts on hands…’ this shows how disturbing and dirty these schools were. Different classes were mixed in to the same lessons so younger age would find it harder to understand, ‘two district classes’, this shows that children came out of school with a poor education.

There was very little to find out in Source B as it showed a photograph of children in a board school. The good points I found out about this source was they had all boys schools which could make the children concentrate more and learn masculine subjects. This source has a lot of bad points though. I think this is a picture from a ragged school as the clothes the children were wearing were dirty and often had holes etc in, this shows they were poor and probably from a working class background. These children look unhappy on the photograph as none of them are smiling and a few are actually frowning.

The similarities between these two sources are they both show disturbing images of dirty and ill children. They also show that working class children were started to get educated but often in a poor condition. The two sources also shows separate sex education, males and females were sometimes split up often to help them concentrate. Overall these two sources can tell us a lot about early 19th century education.

2. Sources A and C both point out that parents weren’t that interested in their children’s education. The sources suggest many reasons for why they weren’t.

Source A, a memoir of a board school pupil, has various reasons for parents negativity in education. One reason for this attitude was that the children were working so they had no time for education and were very tired when at school, the parents would rather their children work than go to school. Secondly, children who attended school were very often diseased and unfit to attend, those that did would have a lack of concentration. Another reason for parents poor attitude was the children had to undergo a test to enter the school, parents didn’t teach their children at home due to a busy lifestyle, so kids were not well educated.

Finally and probably the main reason parents weren’t interested in their children’s education was the cost, ‘6d per week’, Parents couldn’t afford to spend this as working class families earned very little and they had to pay for their food & drinks etc.

Source C, a section of a book by Jean Morgan published by Leeds university in 1984 also has many reasons for parent lack of attitude towards education, but it is a secondary source which can be a little bias or fictional. The first reason for children’s poor attendance was bad weather conditions. Pupils, especially smaller infants, would not attend school. Secondly, older children didn’t get properly educated, they often looked after the infants and were taught very little. Finally parents didn’t think school was important thus created a lack of attendance.

Both sources tell us a lot about parents attitudes towards their children’s education. Both sources mention the fact that illness often caused periods of time off school. They also mention that the children worked so fitting time for education also was very difficult. These sources do suggest that parents had a part in the under-achievement among poor children in Yorkshire but it’s not all their fault, hygiene & quality of education was also a factor.

3. Girls attended school less frequently than boy as the parents needed them at home to help with housework and baking, they felt that boys needed more of an education as they would be the main source of income for the family.

4. The timetable in source E show that the three R’s, reading, arithmetic and writing were vital in education. Most of a child’s school day was based on the three R’s.

5. Sources G & H show the different attitudes of parents towards punishment as one woman complains that her son had been beaten by one of the teachers, ‘Had a woman complain that her son had been marked by Mr.T’ this shows that some parents were not in favour of school discipline. On the other hand, a woman brings her son into school for truanting, ‘Running away from school during the last seven weeks’ this shows that some women were in favour of school discipline.

6. The 1870 education act was introduced by W.E. Forster, a Quaker. Each County in England was investigated, and if there were no places in a school, a school board was set up to run schools. The religious problem was overcome by non-denominational religious teaching in schools. Parents could take their children out of school if they didn’t like it. School boards could make their school compulsory and/or free if they wanted. Other acts made education compulsory from the ages of 5 – 12. In these sources you could conclude that the act was and wasn’t limited.

Source A, a memoir of a board school pupil suggests reasons why the act was limited. For a child to receive education it cost ‘6d a week’ which was quite a lot for a working class family at the time, but this wasn’t the main problem, in 1880 education became compulsory so parents had to pay weekly for their child to attend it wasn’t until 1890 that education became free, so some parent’s had to pay for ten years. Source A also shows that their were no medical checks in schools. This meant that if one child caught a disease it could have spread easily, which meant a lack of attendance still.

Source B, a photo of children in a board school shows that the children were dirty and unhygienic, it also suggests that the children have come from work due to the dirt. Children were tired after work in a morning and often too tired to attend school. Source C says that children had to be persuaded to attend school, which shows the act was limited. Source D shows that girls were more important at home than boys to do domestic work like cleaning, baking etc. This supports the idea that the act was limited as parents wanted their children to stay at home rather than making them attend school. Source G says that women were complaining about their children getting caned/beaten in school, which shows that parent’s weren’t in favour of school discipline and not supporting the 1870 act. I couldn’t get anything that proofed the 1870 education act was limited in Sources E, F & H.

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