Education Act 1918
Discover the story of the 1918 Education Act and the impact it had on British society during the 20th century.
What did the act achieve?
The 1918 Act raised the school leaving age from 12 to 14. It abolished all fees in state elementary schools and widened the provision of medical inspection, nursery schools, and special needs education.
The greater part of the financial burden of education - some 60 per cent - was transferred from the local authorities to central government. This was partly to foster a greater sense of professionalism among teachers by allowing them improved salaries and pensions.
However, many of these innovative changes could only be implemented in part, or not at all, due to cuts in public expenditure forced by the economic depression of the 1920s.
A series of reports commissioned by the board of education considered how secondary education should be shaped for the future. But a lack of resources prevented any significant change until after the Second World War.