In Elizabethan England there was no compulsory schooling. Most children’s lives revolved around the family, the church and the farm or workshop. However, Renaissance ideas spread from the continent, including the idea that society could be improved through education and learning. This meant that the demand for education grew:

  • The ability to read and write became a highly desirable asset.
  • Wealthier boys were better educated than ever before.
  • New universities and schools were opened. Some grammar schools with the name ‘Queen Elizabeth’ in the title still exist today. They taught exclusively in Latin to prepare the sons of the wealthy for university.
  • There were two universities, Oxford and Cambridge, although the Inns of Court in London where lawyers were trained was regarded as a third university.