300 years of schooling
‘School Town’ was the nickname for Brighton in Victorian times. The health resort attracted dozens of small private boarding schools for gentlemen and ladies. Groups of pupils promenaded the seafront in their Sunday best, shepherded by tutors, on the way to church. Roedean, the famous girls school, was established in Lewes Crescent in 1885.
‘Freeschooles’, which were charity-run schools, were first recorded over 300 years ago. Many of them were funded by donations from the public. Others were set up by the Church of England. Most of the 56 children who left Bartholomews ‘freeschoole’ in 1705 became sailors.
Gradually, the state took over education. By 1900, school was compulsory and free for children under thirteen. There were special schools for truants. In 2000, Brighton and Hove Council ran 48 schools. The tradition of private seafront schools still flourishes, but nowadays for foreign students learning English.