Education for the Poor

By: Brittany Wright

Ragged Schools

Ragged Schools started when people found out that school and charities were not were not assisting enough children. Some teacher found barns, lofts, and other neglected building to teach topics such as reading, writing, and arithmetic. Between the year 1840 to 1881 there was an estimated 300,000 students attending the London Ragged Schools. Ragged Schools was said to be founded by John Pounds, Sheriff Watson, Thomas Cranfield, and Thomas Guthrie. The most famous was John Pounds, a cobbler in Portsmouth, that used his build to help his disabled nephew.


In 19th Century Victorian England, children were considered orphans if both parents had died from working in over crowded working conditions where they could have caught diseases and other sicknesses, or if one parent had neglected them. Most of the time, families and strangers would take them in. Their own social classes would adopt them because they were treated fairly. Higher classed families were not allowed to look at lower class orphans because they were treated unreasonably. The education for orphans was almost never as good as higher class families, so philanthropists gave money to schools to help educate orphans. These schools we set up to educate them for lower paying jobs. Housing and meals were also included until the orphan turned 17 and were required to go out and find work.


Orphanages were established after the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1934 for children who were neglected and too young to care for themselves. While children were living in the the establishments, they boys were taught how to trade while the girl were taught how to enter domestic service. Some of the orphanages were so terrible that the children would live on the street and go after the criminal lifestyle.


Smith, Mark K. "Ragged Schools and the development of youth work and informational development ." The encyclopaedia of informal education. Mark K. Smith, 2001. Web. 19 Mar. 2015. <>.

"Orphans in 19th Century Victorian England ." N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2015. < .>.

Banerjee, Jacqueline. "Ideas of Childhood in Victorian Children's Fiction: Orphans, Outcasts and Rebels." The Victorian Web. N.p., 22 Aug. 2007. Web. 20 Mar. 2015. <>.