Ragged schools: Schools for Destitute Children
Throughout most of the 19th century, school was not mandatory for children living in the United Kingdom and only available to those who could afford the fees. Ragged schools were some of the very few institutions available where destitute children could earn a basic education before 1870. The goal of this research was to understand why philanthropists found it necessary to provide these children with a free education. Many philanthropists wrote about ragged schools between the mid-19th century to the beginning of the 20th century. All these sources showed the problems 19th philanthropists saw and why they opened ragged schools to fix these problems. Life had turned upside down for many people as a result of the Industrial Revolution, and they struggled to survive in a world that was unfamiliar to them. The curriculum of ragged schools was designed to help these children properly function in an industrial society. They focused on giving their students a religious and basic education and provided for their physical needs by giving them food, clothes, and shelter. They also offered industrial classes and helped their students find honest work. The children that ragged schools aimed to help were children who were at risk of becoming hardened criminals. They had no resources available to them and lacked the skills needed to survive on their own without begging, stealing, or receiving charity. All the resources that ragged schools gave to their students gave them an opportunity to elevate their lives by giving them the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the newly industrialized world.
Thesis (M.A.)-- Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of History