Education Department and Board of Education: Certified Efficient Independent and Private Schools, Files

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Details of ED 33
Reference: ED 33
Title: Education Department and Board of Education: Certified Efficient Independent and Private Schools, Files

Education Department and Board of Education files of correspondence and papers relating to certified efficient independent and private schools.

The files contain in some instances, as indicated in the series list, parish files where the parish contained only one school.

A few files relate to the Channel Islands.

Date: 1871-1944

By counties for England and Wales and the Channel Islands.

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Board of Education, 1899-1944

Education Department, 1856-1899

Physical description: 167 file(s)
Selection and destruction information: The files of schools which ceased to exist some time ago have not been preserved.
Publication note:

Detailed conditions for recognition by the Education Department embodied in regulations published in 1908 as Command Paper 3944. The list of Independent primary and secondary schools in England and Wales recognised as efficient under rules 16 - list 70 are published by H.M.S.O.

Unpublished finding aids:

Copies of the regulations, circulars, lists and "rules 16" referred to above are available in the Department's Library.

Administrative / biographical background:

Prior to 1870, parliamentary grant was refused by a large body of schools because it carried with it obligation to be inspected and the increased requirements of the Revised Code of Minutes and Regulations of the Committee of Privy Council on Education, 1862, led to withdrawal by schools which had received grant in the past.

Under Section 72 of the Elementary Education Act, 1870, schools which refused inspection by the Education Department could not be regarded as giving efficient education and it followed that the enforcement of school attendance under byelaws approved by the Education Department placed these schools in some difficulty.

The position of schools which were prepared to accept inspection but not to fulfil the conditions of Section 7 of the Elementary Education Act, 1870, in respect of religious instruction was regularised by the Elementary Education Act, 1876. Section 48 of the Act defined as "certified efficient" any school which "..... is not conducted for private profit and is open at all reasonable times to the inspection of Her Majesty's Inspectors and requires such attendance from its scholars as is required in a public elementary school ....". Thus the essential difference between a "certified efficient" school and a public elementary school was that the former was not obliged to observe the 1870 Act "Conscience Clause".

Detailed conditions for recognition by the Education Department were set out in circular 137 (1877), revised in 1890 and 1900, and subsequently embodied in regulations published in 1908 as command paper 3944.

Certified efficient schools were not obliged to engage certificated teachers and the requirements of the Teachers' Superannuation Act, 1898, affected them most adversely. Under changing social conditions the number of certified efficient schools fell from 425 in 1880 to 108 in 1900.

The definition of certified efficient schools was largely re-enacted as s 170(2) of the Education Act, 1921, and referred to in s 44 in relation to school attendance. The number of certified efficient schools which did not wish to become public elementary schools maintained by the local authority continued to shrink; in 1920 there were no more than 40. Local circumstances and prejudices accounted for a small number of schools while certain charity schools desired to retain some special feature (e.g. scheme for apprenticeships); other day schools were controlled by religious orders and some locally endowed schools existed. Finally there were a few residential institutions - orphanages and one or two London "Places of Detention" - which for one reason or another failed to fall within s 15 of the Education Act, 1902, and were classified administratively as "certified efficient" schools.

In 1927 a general statement, known as "Rules 16" was issued "..... of the conditions upon which the Board would recognise certain schools and other educational institutions as efficient but not for the payment of grant." The widened definition took in private schools conducted for profit and related to secondary schools and training colleges, as well as elementary schools for the purposes of Sections 44 and 170 (2) of the Education Act, 1921, which were absorbed and ceased to maintain their separate identity.

The term "certified efficient" no longer exists, such schools being described as "efficient".

All schools currently recognised as "efficient" come within the provisions of Part III of the Education Act, 1944, concerned with the registration of independent schools

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