The Education Act of 1885 established the Education Department. It made it compulsory for all children aged between seven and 13 to attend school three days a week unless they were instructed elsewhere, had poor health, or there was no school within two miles.
The aim of the Education Act was to provide a free, compulsory, and secular education.
In addition to establishing the Education Department and making school attendance compulsory, the Act made provision for new schools, and for teacher training in model schools for men and women. The curriculum was to be non-sectarian with history as part of secular instruction.
Children over eleven who had been educated to the compulsory standard could be exempted by the local Board of Advice, which oversaw schools in its area. Parents who failed to send their children to school could be fined five shillings for the first offence and 20 shillings for subsequent ones.
Prepared by: Caroline Evans
Created: 15 March 2014, Last modified: 25 January 2018