In 1880 an Education Act made school attendance compulsory between the ages of five and ten, though by the early 1890s attendance within this age group was falling well short at 82 per cent.
Many children worked outside school hours and truancy was a major problem due to the fact that parents could not afford to give up income earned by their children.
Compulsory education was also extended to blind and deaf children under the Elementary Education (Blind and Deaf Children) Act of 1893, which established special schools. Similar provision was made for physically-impaired children in the Elementary Education (Defective and Epileptic Children) Act of 1899.
In 1880 an Education Act made school attendance compulsory between the ages…