School boards in England and Wales

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A board school in Kempston, Bedfordshire
Country Board School in Devon near South Molton. Opened 1876 for just 16 pupils. Closed 1922. Now a private dwelling (semi-detached) and Grade 2 listed

School boards were public bodies in England and Wales between 1870 and 1902, which established and administered elementary schools.

School boards were created in boroughs and parishes under the Elementary Education Act 1870 following campaigning by George Dixon, Joseph Chamberlain and the National Education League for elementary education free from Anglican doctrine. Education was still not free of fees. Members were directly elected, not appointed by borough councils or parishes. Each board could:

  • raise funds from a rate
  • build and run non-denominational schools where existing voluntary provision was inadequate
  • subsidise church schools where appropriate
  • pay the fees of the poorest children
  • if they deemed it necessary, create a by-law making attendance compulsory between ages 5–13
  • were not to impose any religious education, other than simple Bible reading

School boards were abolished by the Education Act 1902, which replaced them with Local Education Authorities.

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

  • Educational Documents, England and Wales 1816 to the present day, J Stuart MacLure, 1965, 1979, ISBN 0-416-72810-3 370.942
  • Education in Britain 1750–1914, W B Stephens, 1998, ISBN 0-333-60512-8