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Article by Margaret Craddock (1978, amended 2005)

History of Education in

Burton Latimer

Part II - Elementary Education Act 1870

This Act provided for school boards to be set up in areas which were short of schools.  The Education Department had the task of causing boards to be formed where necessary.  There was a compromise on the religious issue.  The right of withdrawal from religious instruction on grounds of conscience in all public elementary schools, including those run by churches was guaranteed.  The most important amendment accepted by the Government was the famous Cowper-Temple clause which laid down that in schools – ‘hereafter established by means of local rates, no catechism or religious formulary which is distinctive to any particular denomination shall be taught.’

Voluntary schools received a 50% grant from the Education Department but building grants came to an end.  The school boards were empowered to raise a rate in order to finance their activities.  School fees were not abolished.  Compulsory attendance from 5 to 13 was a matter for local option.

This Act appeared to have little immediate effect in the village.  According to the Education Code of 1871 “8 sq ft is to be provided for each child in average attendance,” and this at once condemned the two rooms in use as hopelessly insufficient for the growing parish. (See Appendix A)

In 1873, to meet the needs of the case, the trustees added another room, classroom and lobbies to the old school at a cost of £500 using some adjoining land acquired by the Rector, the Education Department allowing the use of Mr Bevan’s room for a while longer.

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