|Day in the Life|
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From the 1830s onwards laws were passed to reduce children's working hours and more and more children started going to school.
On January 1st 1843 John Heathcoat opened the first factory school in the West Country, having made the rule that children were not to be employed in the factory until they could read and write.
From 1870 onwards all children in Britain were supposed to go to school from the age of 5 - 13, but many did not go regularly. Some parents could not afford the few pence it cost to send the children to school before primary education became completely free in 1891. They also needed the money the children were earning and their help in the home
At school children learnt reading, writing and arithmetic, history, geography and scripture.
Classes were large and children learnt their lessons by heart. They practised writing and did their sums on slates, which could be wiped clean. Boys and girls were usually kept separate and had separate playgrounds. Children who misbehaved, especially the boys, were hit with a cane.
Wealthy young children were taught at home by tutors or governesses. At the age of 7 boys were sent away to boarding school, while girls stayed home and were taught accomplishments such as piano playing, singing, dancing and embroidery so that they would be able to attract a husband.