In the 1790s Parliament was very worried that the French Revolution would spread to Britain. There was a debate in the House of Lords where the bishops bemoaned the fact that most of the population could not read and were therefore unable to read the bible. A man called Robert Raikes set up the ‘Sunday School’ movement to teach people to read and write. This was very successful and by the nineteenth century there was a demand for more formal education for children.
The Church of England founded The National Society in 1811 with aim of establishing a school in every parish of England. A National Society School was established in Pearce’s Hill (in the building now called the Old School House) in 1829. By 1842 it had out grown its small building and a moved to a purpose built school on Frenchay Common, on land donated by Mrs Hannah Rooke of Frenchay Park House.
Meanwhile Non Conformists were very worried that children taught in National Schools would grow to become Anglicans. This led them to start their own movement – The British and Foreign Schools Society, often called British Schools. The nearest British School is at Wotton-under-Edge. These were often set up in rivalry to the National schools. This competition meant that by the time parliament passed the 1870 Education Act requiring local authorities to establish schools most areas already had a school