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A school was founded in Christchurch c.1140 which was attached to the Priory. This was lost, as in many towns, when the the monastery was dissolved leaving on the Priory Church.

A free grammar scholl was established for local children in 1662 which was held in St Micheal's Loft in the Priory. In 1828, the grammar school became a private academy under the control of the vicar which closed in 1869 when education became more widely available through the National Schools set up throughout the country.

As well as the free National School, there were a number of private and boarding schools in Christchurch during the 19th century which were fee-paying and thus restricted to those who could afford to pay for the education of their children.

The Congregational or Independent School in Millhams Street also opened at about the same time as the National Schools.

In 1898, the Science, Art and Technical School was inaugurated for more advanced training and the available syllabus included cookery, shorthand and carpentry. The school had its headquarters in the Town Hall but the classes were held at various locations throughout the town.

In 1833 the first government grant of £20,000 was made to British and National Schools.

Early education was provided by the Church and was made more widely available in the schools provided by monasteries. Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century deprived many towns of their only school.

For the children of the poor, the only provision was often the 'dame schools' which were charged low fees, but were also so rudimentary that they provided little more than a child-minding service. There were also 'charity schools' provided for the poor such as those which were run by the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge.

The 1840's saw the establishemnt of the 'ragged schools' - free schools for the poor offering very rudimentary education and established by charitable individuals.

The 100 or so 'grammar schools' provided a very limited form of education in that they mainly taught the classics.

In the 18th century, the rich could send thier sons to one of the nine puiblics schools, the best known being Harrow and Eaton. There was no such provision for girls until after 1850.

England had only two universities, Oxford and Cambridge, and Scotland had four. Like the grammar and public schools, the universities concentrated on the classics and science departments were not founded until the middle of the 19th century.

In 1780, Robert Raikes started the first Sunday School in Gloucester to to provide religious education to children. These became widespread.

The rapid rise, particularly of the urban population, in the 18th century as a result of the industrial revolution led to a shortage of school provision which the government was not prepared to tackle.

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The National Society was established by the Church of England in 1811 to provide schooling for Amglican children. The necessary funds were raised by charity and small fees charged by the National Schools.

The British and Foreign Schools Society was established in a simialr manner by the Nonconformist Churches in 1814.

In 1833 parliament approved an annual grant of £20,000 to the two church societies and this had steadily increased to £600,000 by 1858.

E.W. Forster's Education Act of 1870 provided that ratepayers could elect local school boards to provide schooling which was still less widely available than required.

In 1880 the elementary education of children up to the age of ten became compulsory and such education became free in 1891.

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  Early in 2003 a Swindon primary school offered one of its pupils a free place on a school trip (which would cost those parents making sure their children regularly attending school about £300) if the girl attended regularly for the duration.

"Inducement" or "incetive"? Whichever, is it fair? Have you heard of similar and what do YOU think?


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2003 July
  Despite decades of upheaval in the education system following a series of changes and recent teacher complaints about the teacher time devoted to administration rather than teaching, it was suggested that the examination system in the UK might again be changed with students obtaining a European-style bacalaureate, taking into acount out-of-school activities, rather than individual examination results.

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The National Schools in Christchurch
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