A Little Learning… Educating the People 1700-1900

Ref: C2224622

This course covers the history of elementary education in England, 1700-1914, looking at attitudes towards and influences on the education of the labouring classes, and types of provision such as: Charity, Dame, Sunday, National, Ragged and Board schools. It examines teaching methods and considers some specialist schools such as training ships, factory and workplace schools, and schools for disabled children. We will look at provision for the child of the state such as workhouse, separate, district and industrial schools, and reformatories. We will explore the route to compulsory, free education in England, and look at sources for the history of schools to help students find out more about their local schools. Finally we will explore the means of self-improvement for adults, such as chapbooks, mechanics' institutes, night classes and the WEA. The course is illustrated throughout with images, quotations and examples from schools, some researched by the tutor.

Course aim

To explore: attitudes towards the education of the labouring classes; types of school; progress towards compulsory, free education for all; and self-improvement for adults, 1700-1914

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Identify the main types of school and methods of teaching during the period
  • Outline the route towards free compulsory education for all during the nineteenth century
  • Identify the key routes for self-improvement for adults of the labouring classes
  • Research through various means (online, parish records etc) the history of my local school

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information http://pearl.open.ac.uk/

Download full Course information sheet

A Little Learning… Educating the People 1700-1900


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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