1920: Selfridge's School

Physical culture

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Before the Education Act of 1918 the school leaving age for most children was 12.  But, even before the War there were concerns about education in the UK with poorer children leaving school only to take up low skilled, low paid, insecure jobs, to supplement the family income.

The 1918 St, known as the Fisher Act after the president of the Board of Education Herbert Fisher, introduced many important changes.  It raised the school leaving age to 14 and made part time education from  the age of 14 until 18 compulsory. To enable this 'continuation schools' were founded, running day classes for those in work.  No fees were payable at these schools.

American Harry Selfridge founded Selfridge's department store in Oxford Street, London in 1909.  Selfridge founded a continuation school, to cater for his  eligible employees.   The curriculum was a broad one including practical and academic subjects.


Laundry class

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 Literature class  (c)  TopFoto

Literature class

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Cookery class

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 Sketching and needlework class  (c)  TopFoto

Sketching and needlework class

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 Cookery class  (c)  TopFoto

Cookery class

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Drama Class (‘Vanity Fair’)

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 Physical culture  (c)  TopFoto

Physical culture

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Boys’ literature class

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Sewing class

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Physical culture

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Drama class - the trial scene from 'Merchant of Venice'.

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 Text and curation: Amanda Uren



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