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In those days, education of girls was not of high priority, so poor girls were destined to a life of servitude and hard work, whether married or not, whilst rich girls hoped to marry someone who would look after them and keep them in the manner to which they had been accustomed.Schools for young ladies taught them the skills they would need in married life.The first Council funded schools in Malvern were Somers Park in 1909 and Great Malvern, on the edge of Barnards Green, in 1916, augmenting the Church Schools, which by now were largely funded by the state.It was not until 1953 that 'The Chase', the first Council School providing Secondary Education in Malvern, was opened, followed in 1958 by 'Dyson Perrins'.From 1870 the school leaving age was 10, being raised to 12 by 1899.In 1918 the school leaving age went up to 14; and in 1947 it was raised again to 15 years.The discussion about what should be taught and how continues even now to be a subject of fierce debate as, for example, with the Conservative/Liberal Democrat Coalition government of 2010 positioning to take state schools outside Local Education Authority control in order to give schools and governing bodies that seek it greater independence and hopefully increasing the quality of education.A very early Malvern school for the poor was called 'The School of Ancient Industry' for spinning wool, flax, hemp etc.

Church and state schools grew and adapted to meet the needs of an expanding population, immigration, movement in centres of population and the changing skills needed in the workforce.Since the middle of the nineteenth century Malvern has been well known as a centre of education, and it is amazing just how many schools there have been in the town over the years.Our story about past and present schools in Malvern, Worcestershire, England, started when we investigated the history of two small plaques in St Mary's Church, Guarlford, dedicated to the memory of former pupils of Southlea School, a small preparatory school for boys which closed in the 1930s.The passing of the Elementary Education Act in 1870 required the compulsory universal education of all children between 5 and 10 years.National Schools were founded in the 1800s by the 'National Society for Promoting Religious Education'.

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