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There was a marked difference in the life experience of working class and middle class children in Victorian Britain. It was common for children from working class families to work long hours in mines, mills and collieries from a very early age. The clip traces successive Parliamentary Acts, including the 1864 Factory Act and the 1880 Education Act which made education compulsory. It goes on to chart the increase in the school leaving age into modern times.
This clip is from:
First broadcast:
9 November 2007

Classroom Ideas

This clip could be used as a stimulus for discussion or investigation into the working experiences of children in Victorian Britain. Pupils could be asked to watch the clip and think about the differences between the lives of working class children and middle class ones. Pupils could be given prompt questions such as 'Whose life was more comfortable and why?' in order to nurture their exploration of this. Pupils could then be asked to use the statistics about law changes, such as children having to spend some time at school, to think about what must have happened before these were put in.

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