Education and Obligation: Compulsory Schooling, Childhood and the Family

  • Rebecca Swartz
Part of the Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series book series (CIPCSS)


This chapter examines changing ideas about government education in metropolitan Britain, Western Australia and Natal between 1857 and 1880. I first discuss the 1857 Industrial Schools Act and then the 1870 Elementary Education Act. This legislation shifted thinking about the government’s right to intervene in education in metropolitan and colonial contexts. In the second part of the chapter, I focus on legislative change in Western Australia. I approach the 1874 Industrial Schools Act as a way into understanding changing conceptions of race, government responsibility, childhood and the family there. The final part of the chapter deals with government education in Natal, showing how ideas about race, childhood and education were articulated in relation to white children’s education in that context.


Compulsory education Obligation Government education Children Childhood Family Parents Race Forster’s Act Elementary Education Act Industrial Schools Act Metropolitan Colonial 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca Swartz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HistoryStellenbosch UniversityStellenboschSouth Africa

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