Public Education

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Some independent schools are particularly old, such as The King's School, Canterbury (founded 597), St Peter's School, York (founded c.627),Sherborne School (founded c.710, refounded 1550 by Edward VI), Warwick School (c.914), The King's School, Ely (c.970) and St Albans School (948). These schools were founded as part of the church and were under their complete dominion. However, it was during the late 14th & early 15th centuries that the first schools, independent of the church, were founded. Winchester & Oswestry were the first of their kind and paved the way for the establishment of the modern "Public school". These were often established for male scholars from poor or disadvantaged backgrounds; however, English law has always regarded education as a charitable end in itself, irrespective of poverty. For instance, the Queen's Scholarships founded atWestminster in 1560, are for "the sons of decay'd gentlemen". The transformation of free charitable foundations into institutions which sometimes charge fees came about readily: the foundation would only afford minimal facilities, so that further fees might be charged to lodge, clothe and otherwise maintain the scholars, to the private profit of the trustees or headmaster. Also, facilities already provided by the charitable foundation for a few scholars could profitably be extended to further paying pupils. (Some schools still keep their foundation scholars in a separate house from other pupils.) After a time, such fees would eclipse the original charitable income, and the original endowment would naturally become a minor part of the capital benefactions enjoyed by the school. In 2009 senior boarding schools were charging fees of between £16,000 and nearly £30,000 per annum.[3] The educational reforms of the 19th century were particularly important under first Thomas Arnold at Rugby, and then Butler and later Kennedy at Shrewsbury, the former emphasising team spirit and muscular Christianity and the latter...
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