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Retrenchment and Restraint in Educational Expenditure, 1880-1980

J.C. Dakin

The development of the educational system has been checked or deflected from time to time as the result of crises in the country's economy. What parts of the system were especially affected and to what extent did considerations other than economy, for example, the desire for structural or administrative reform, influence politicians and administrators in the prosecutions of economies?
With the passing of the Education Act of 1877 the state, working through the agency of a small department, regional boards and local school committees, became the provider of primary education. The Act decreed that all children aged from 7 to 13 must attend school, although not necessarily a state school. State schooling was free and the mass of the children began to attend state schools. Virtual total financial responsibility for the state school system was assumed by the central government. The local education authorities had no power to raise revenue by imposing rates or charging fees, Their job was to spend. This made the whole educational system especially sensitive to the downturns and depressions in the national economy which affected government funding.

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