View Full Version : Common Schools

Megan Roberts
11-02-2015, 1:13 PM
I have been reading the 1842 mine condition reports that can be found on The Coal Mining History Resource site, and these talk about "common schools" and "dame schools".

Having done some other checking I have found that dame schools were an early form of private elementary schools often found in areas of poverty and that they were usually taught by women and were often located in the home of the teacher.

I cannot find anything about "common schools" in the UK, although there is lot of information about them in the USA. Does anyone have any information about them?

Allan F Sparrow
11-02-2015, 1:20 PM
I have never seen the term, but then, I have not been looking.

Of course you know about the schools run by religious groups: the National Society and the British and Foreign Schools Society, which received government grants from 1833. I would have thought these were the only common ones, but I may be completely wrong.

The dame schools were as you describe, and varied very greatly in quality, it seems.

Peter Goodey
11-02-2015, 3:19 PM
I think "common schools" referred to a category of private school catering for working class children which was one notch higher than dame schools. See also "ragged schools".

PS Here's a reference for you

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:mLTHUfWUF3wJ:ww2.ecclesbourne.derby shire.sch.uk/ecclesbourne/content/subsites/history/files/AS%2520History/19th%2520century%2520Education.doc+&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk

This is the Google cached version because the original won't open for me.

11-02-2015, 9:39 PM

I've searched for "common schools" (include " " as part of search key) and checked out some of the early entries. But keep getting diverted down non relevant alleys (always an issue when checking Hansard!!)

Early newspapers are a possibility - several mention the significance of the bill passed June 1819 (Charitable Foundations Bill?).

11-02-2015, 11:05 PM
Might "common schools" be a development of the Circulating Schools that were the brainchild of the Rev Griffith Jones in the 18th century? Have found this: http://ukwells.org/location-biographies/griffith-jones. Admittedly, it does not use the term you are looking for - sorry! - but I also found a WordPress blog about GJ and it included the phrase "bringing literacy to the commoners".


Peter Goodey
12-02-2015, 8:09 AM
There's a big clue in the reference I provided. If using a search engine and you intend to put quotation marks around the search phrase (good practice), search on "common day schools". To confine the search to the .uk domain use a search term of "common day school" site:.uk or better ("common day schools" OR "common schools") site:.uk