The 1870 Education Act enabled School Boards to examine the provision of elementary education in their district, provided then by Voluntary Societies. If the School Board came to the conclusion that there were not enough school places, they had permission build and maintain schools out of the rates. It was not until ten years later that the government decided there were enough schools to make attendance compulsory for children up to the age of 10.
The 1918 Education Act was drawn up by Herbert Fisher. This raised the school leaving age to fourteen and included the provision of ancillary services (medical inspection, nursery schools, special needs provision, etc.)
In 1920 the government established a Consultative Committee of the Board of Education, chaired by Sir William Henry Hadow. The Hadow Committee published three important reports - 1926, 1931 and 1933.
These reports led to major changes in the structure of primary education. In particular, they resulted in separate and distinctive educational practice for children aged 5–7 (infants) and those aged 7–11 (juniors). The committee also recommended class sizes of no more than thirty.