Board of Education files relating to the supply of elementary school accommodation by Local Education Authorities established under the Education Act 1902.
These files were made up after 1903 and in the case of county councils, the files begin no earlier than 1902, but the files for county boroughs and for those municipal boroughs and urban districts designated as Part III Authorities under the Act, contain earlier correspondence with school boards and school districts superseded or taken over by those authorities. Such files include reports and recommendations of inspectors on returns under the educational census of 1871 (usually accompanied by district maps), copies of school accommodation notices, printed reports of the work of school boards, and lists of schools under government inspection. Files for the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man relate primarily to the inspection of schools.
The files also contain the surviving papers from earlier Free Education and Poor Law series of files. The former dealing with the provision of free school places under the Education Act 1890 and the latter with the attendance of poor law children at public elementary schools.
Particular aspects of the subjects which are dealt with in the files for the period 1870-1921 include the election and formation of school boards and the transfer to them of voluntary schools; day and evening ragged schools; industrial schools; evening schools; higher elementary schools and the provision of technical education; school savings banks; religious instruction contrary to Section 14(2) of the Elementary Education Act, 1870; provision for 'half-time' scholars; agreements in respect of 'border' or 'extra- district' children; the re-numbering of schools; and the introduction of a Black List of sub-standard schools.
From 1921 the records are mainly concerned with the supply of primary education on an area basis; provision of advanced elementary schools i.e. central schools, and schools of a special category e.g. Surrey Gipsy School. They include precedent papers, culminating in the High Court's decision in the action The County Palatine of Lancaster v Crowe on the responsibility of Local Education Authorities in respect of improvements; maintenance and repairs to voluntary schools; H.M. Inspectors' reports on school accommodation on an area basis; complaints by parents and organisations at the lack of school provision; and alterations and adjustments of boundaries (mainly under Section 46 of the Local Government Act, 1929) affecting public elementary schools.
The records from 1936-1944 are mainly concerned with the Education Act 1936. From 1939 this series is mainly concerned with education under war conditions. They include details concerning the provision of schools for war housing estates, war damage to school premises, requisition of premises and evacuation of children.