The English private school 1830-1914, with special reference to the private preparatory school
The English private preparatory school evolved from a complex patter of private education which developed in the nineteenth century and which differed in degree and kind from earlier private education. Nineteenth century pattern if provision were determined by the prevailing philosophy of laissez-faire; by increased wealth and expectations of beneficiaries of the industrial revolution; by the improvement in modes of travel; by the introduction of middle class and professional examinations and by the character of those prepared to meet the demand. Social factors as in the case of some proprietary schools and religious factors, as in the case of yet other proprietary schools and many private schools of pious owners, all contributed to the shape the character of the supply which met the demand. Underlying much of this supply, however, was the economic factor of the private profit motive, which also characterised the private preparatory school. In the early years of the century there were classical schools for the sons of gentlemen which intended to specialise in the education of young boys from about eight to fourteen. Other smaller schools, kept by middle class spinsters and married women alike, contributed the evolution of the late nineteenth century preparatory school which by the 1880’s had become an institutionalised phenomenon with close ties with the Royal Navy in providing a supply of young officer material but more especially with the public schools, whose characteristics they mirrored: the institutionalisation of these schools let to their political organisation in the 1890s. By 1914, these two forms of educational institution, with largely antithetical origins, had been closely linked to comprise the major part of secondary education in the independent sector of English education in the twentieth century.