What Does the Evidence Show About Education in England Before the Compulsory State System was Established?

Compulsory state education is a common norm in the west, with the majority of children in the west getting an education. In England in particular this system of compulsory state education system was established in 1870, which leaves the question: what does the evidence show about education in England before the compulsory state system was established?

At first most likely one thinks that before compulsory state education in England, few children were being educated in the lower classes, that education was merely for the rich. This was absolutely not the case. Before this compulsory education in England the percentage rates of literacy were already dramatically rising. In the later period of the 1830s, ninety five percent of fifteen year olds were literate. The compulsory education law in fact was established because there was a dramatic rise in people being educated, not the other way around. Also to note the reason why there was a drastic rise in people being educated was due to the increase in income and population. 

In short, the evidence showed that education in England was already dramatically increasing before 1870, when compulsory state education was put in place. 

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