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Title: Entrepreneurial Education: Northumberland 1869 -1889
Authors: Harlow, Victor Isaac Sebastian
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis analyses the impact of the ground-breaking 1870 Education Act on entrepreneurial education in Northumberland. Some regulation and funding of mass education was already in place by then but the 1870 Act introduced direct state provision in the form of elected School Boards and school buildings. The Act promised to support the voluntary sector and use state provision to fill the gaps between existing schools and the total number of school-age children. In 1876 however, an Amendment Act changed and enhanced the delivery of state education. The remit of school boards was considerably extended from their responsibility to educate disadvantaged children to become the primary vehicle for delivering universal education. The 1870 Act required local governments to assess educational need in their areas. Where provision was inadequate, they were required to form a democratically elected school board. Any ratepayer could serve on their committee or vote, including women and elections were to be held every three years to ensure accountability. Boards were intended to work alongside the voluntary sector, encouraging the growth of all school accommodation thus relieving pressure on state provision. By 1876, however, it was clear that in some areas, such as Newcastle, the democratic process of the boards had broken down. Furthermore, the 1876 Reform Act which introduced additional powers to enforce compulsory attendance was used to force closures of ‘undesirable’ schools. This included Private Adventure Schools charging 9d or less per week. The history of education in nineteenth-century Britain has attracted considerable scholarly scrutiny but relatively little attention has been paid to the function and contribution of Private Adventure Schools. Particularly those charging 9d or less per week which could be considered affordable to the working class. A surge of research in 1970, inspired by the centenary of the Education Act, did little to evaluate the diversity and quality of entrepreneurial education. All too often, flawed reports, observations and skewed statistics of government inspectors were accepted without due diligence. Aside from the early work of authors such as E.G. West (Education and the State, 1965) and Philp Gardner (The Lost Elementary Schools of Victorian England, 1984), and the G.R. Grigg’s 2005 case study of Welsh Private Adventure Schools, this lacuna in the literature has still not been addressed. This study offers an entirely new approach to identifying and analysing the impact of entrepreneurial education. By using the whole of Northumberland as a defined geographical area and concentrating on the two decades between 1869 and 1889 this study compares urban and rural educational development in the wake of the 1870 Education Act. A mixed-methods approach combines big data, GIS and a quantitative survey to map out school structures with demographic context. In addition, a broad selection of qualitative historical material has been used to excavate individual school histories and changes in attitudes to education from a variety of perspectives. The key findings conclude that entrepreneurial education was much more resilient in Northumberland than previously thought. It was also far more diverse, quality-driven and impactful than current literature suggests. This thesis argues that the decline of entrepreneurial education in the late nineteenth-century was not inevitable. These schools warrant more attention both as a neglected aspect of educational history and for its significance to contemporary global debates on the role of low-cost private schools in developed and developing economies.
Description: Ph. D. Thesis.
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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