Study Guide

The Mill on the Floss Historical Context

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Schools run by the state did not exist in England until 1870. Before that time, parents could send their children to any of four different types of school: private, endowed, church, and ragged. Anyone could open a private school, and no particular qualifications were required, so these schools varied greatly depending on the skill of the teachers. In The Mill on the Floss, the Reverend Stelling's school is a private arrangement, and as Eliot shows, Stelling is obviously not a very gifted teacher. Endowed schools were provided money by wealthy people, often as charity ventures and usually had more supervision of teachers. The Church of England, as well as other religious groups, also ran schools. Ragged schools were established by the Ragged School Union, founded in 1844, to educate the poor.

Women often did not attend school, but those in the wealthier classes had private governesses who schooled them...

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This section contains 749 words
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