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Instructions and regulations for certified industrial schools

Industrial Schools and Reformatory Schools were set up in the mid nineteenth century. Reformers believed that by keeping children away from crime they would stand a better chance in the future.

The purpose of Industrial Schools was to help vulnerable children before they committed a crime. One of the aims was to introduce children to activities that could help them in their working lives. Life in Reformatory Schools was harsher, as children were sent there having committed an offence.

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Instructions and Regulations for Certified Industrial Schools.  Reference: HO 45/9396/50134
HO 45/9396/50134Instructions and Regulations for Certified Industrial Schools
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Instructions and Regulations for CERTIFIED INDUSTRIAL SCHOOLS

Managers of an Industrial School desiring to have their School certified under the Industrial Schools Act (1866), must in the first instance apply to the Secretary of State to have the School inspected. If, on the Report of the Inspector, a Certificate issued, the Rules and Regulations of the School must be submitted for the Secretary of State’s approval.

The Rules should state:

  • (A) The Name and Locality of the School.
  • (B) The Constitution and powers of the Governing Body.
  • (C) The conditions of Age, Sex, Health, on which its inmates are to be admitted.
  • (D) The number of Inmates which it is proposed to receive; and must contain the following Regulations:-
The Children lodge in the School shall have separate beds. If any are lodged out, under Section 26 of the Industrial Schools Act, notice of each shall thereon be sent to the Office of the Inspector of Industrial Schools
The Children shall be supplied with plain useful clothing, not necessarily uniform either in material or colour.
The Children shall be supplied with plain wholesome food, according to a Dietary to be approved by the Inspector.
The Secular Instruction of the Children shall consist of Reading, Spelling, Writing, and Ciphering, and, as far as practicable, the Elements of History, Geography, Social Economy, and Drawing. It shall be given for three hours daily. The Religious Instruction shall be in accordance with the Religious denomination of the School, and shall be given daily. The Industrial Education shall be, for Boys, in Farm and Garden Work, and any common handicraft; for Girls, in Needlework, Washing and Housework. The Children shall be employed for not less than six hours daily. In Training School Ships, the Boys shall be instructed in Naval Exercises and Employments, and the Elements of Navigation.
Each day shall be begun and ended with simply family worship, to be prescribed by the Rules. On Sunday, the Children shall attend Public Worship, at some convenient Church or Chapel. In case of any Child being admitted who is specified in the Order of Detention as of some other religious persuasion than the Church of England, a Minister of such religious persuasion shall be allowed to visit such Child, and the Child shall not be required to learn the Catechism of the Church of England.
A Time-table, showing the hours of Work, School Instruction, Meals as approved by the Inspector, shall be fixed in the School-room.
The Master shall be authorized to punish the Boys, and the Matron the Girls, detailed in the School in case of misconduct. All Faults and Punishments being entered in a book kept for that purposed, to be laid before the Committee at their meetings.
Punishments may consist of Forfeiture of Rewards and Privileges, Reduction in quantity or quality of Food, Confinement in a room or lighted cell for not more than three days, and moderate Personal Correction. But no Child shall be deprived for more than two meals in succession. And any Child in confinement shall be allowed not less than 1 lb of Bread, and Gruel, or Milk and Water, daily. [No modes or methods of Correction different from the above may be resorted to unless specified in the Rules sanctioned by the Secretary of State.]
The Children shall be allowed two hours daily for Recreation and Exercise, and shall be occasionally taken out for exercise beyond the boundaries of the School.
The Parents or other Relations of the Children shall be allowed to correspond with them at reasonable times, and to visit them once in two (or three) months, such privileges to be forfeited by misconduct or interference with the discipline of the School.
On the discharge of any Child from the School, he (or she) shall be provided with a sufficient outfit, according to the circumstances of the discharge, and shall be apprenticed or placed out, as far as practicable, in some employment or service. If returned to relatives or friends, the expenses of such return shall be defrayed.
The School shall be open to inspection of Visitors at convenient times, to be regulated by the Committee (or Managers).
The Master and Matron shall keep a Journal of all that passes in their respective departments of the School. All admissions, licences, discharges, dissertations, and other offences, and all punishments, shall be recorded in it. The Journals shall be laid before the Committee (or Managers) at their meetings, and the Inspector on his visits.
A Medical Officer shall be appointed to visit the School. He shall enter his visits in a Book kept for the purpose, with a note of all serious cases of illness attended by him in the School, and of the treatment prescribed.
In the case of the sudden or violent death of any inmate of the School, and Inquest shall be held, and the circumstances of the case immediately reported to the Inspector.

In case of any child deserting from the School, or being placed out on licence, or dying while an inmate of the School, or on license from it, or being committed to a Reformatory School, immediate notice shall be given to the Inspector.

The Children shall be examined and their proficiency in School Instruction and Industrial Training tested from time to time by the Inspector.

All Books and Journals of the School shall be open to the Inspector for examination. Any Teacher employed for the instruction of the Children shall be examined by him, if he think it necessary. Previous notice shall be given him of the appointment or discharge of the Master or Matron, and the Schoolmaster or School mistress.

The Master or Matron (or Secretary), shall keep a Register of admissions and discharges with particulars of the parentage, previous circumstances, of each Child admitted, and of the disposal of each Child discharged, and shall regularly send to the Office of the Inspector (under cover to the Under Secretary of State for the Home Department) the Returns and Quarterly


  • What sort of clothes did children wear in an Industrial School?
  • Can you find two subjects that Timothy would have been taught that are similar to your own lessons?
  • He was also given lessons that would have helped him find a job. Can you name two of these subjects?
  • What could the effect of the experience in the Industrial School have had on Timothy’s life?
  • Why do you think he ran away?

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