At the start of the 19th century very few children went to school. If they went to school, their families lost the money they earned. There were some good schools for boys, for example, grammar schools and public schools. Only richer families could afford to pay the school fees, though some schools gave free places to poor boys. Dame schools ‘Dame’ schools were usually run by one woman.
The ‘dame’ often did her best, but she was a child-minder not a trained teacher. Often quite poor herself, she took as many children as she could cram into her house. Sunday schools were run by churches, to teach children about the Christian faith. Journalist Robert Raikes started the first Sunday School for poor children in Gloucester in 1780. Ragged Schools were schools for poor children. One of the first was started in Portsmouth by a shoe-mender named John Pounds.