During the 18th Century the main types of schools were charity schools for the poor, Sunday schools, endowed grammar schools and private schools.
In the 19th Century, public elementary schools expanded in numbers due to the work of the British and Foreign Schools Society (non-denominational) and the National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church (Church of England).
These voluntary schools were initially self-financing, so education provision nationwide remained patchy. After 1833, government funds were available for building. Later legislation made education compulsory, and ensured that more schools were built and increased the leaving age.
Finding and using school records online
You can use FindMyPast to search many admission registers for National (Church of England) Schools, 1870-1914. Access to this site is free at Shropshire Archives. You can download the list Shropshire National School admission registers on FindMyPast (PDF).
Finding and using school records at Shropshire Archives
Catalogues of primary (elementary) school records are online at XED3, although it is also worth checking for information in the Church of England parish and non-conformist chapel collections. School board records are at XED2 and Local Education Authority records are at XED1. Although the lists are online you will need to visit Shropshire Archives to view the originals in our search room.
Useful types of records include:
- managers’ minutes
- log books (like a school diary)
- admission registers
- school building plans
- 1902 Education Act returns
- lists of elementary schools, 1846-1924
For information on individual pupils, the admissions registers are the most useful. These relate to pupils’ entry into school, and can include date of birth, names of parents/address and the date when pupils left school and reason for leaving. Unfortunately, many admission registers have not survived. Log books, which act like a school diary by recording daily events, are also interesting, although detail varies considerably.
In order to comply with current Data Protection legislation, access to some school records is restricted. In particular, school admission registers are normally subject to restricted access for 90 years (secondary schools) and 95 years (primary schools). Please ask staff for further advice.
It’s also worth checking our local studies library to see if there are histories of the school or school magazines. Our library stock is included on our online catalogue. The lists of elementary schools are on microfilm.
For records of grammar schools, secondary schools and colleges in general you will need to check the printed catalogues onsite or ask staff for advice. Catalogues online include:
Find out more
For more information about the other types of school records we hold, how to find them and the legislation affecting schools, take a look at our printable short guides page.
Information in other places
Many schools continue to hold their own records. This is the case for Shrewsbury School. The National Archives holds records such as secondary education endowment files (1850-1945), elementary school files (1854-1984) and secondary school files (1818-1946) and also building grant applications (1833-1870).