Certified Schools were independently run homes which were licensed to receive children those who would otherwise be living in workhouse accommodation. The system was introduced by the Poor Law (Certified Schools) Act of 1862, which allowed Boards of Guardians to pay for pauper children to be boarded out in such establishments. In many cases, the homes also took children other than those from workhouses.
Boards of Guardians often found it very convenient to board out children in Certified Schools. This could happen if they had insufficient accommodation of their own, or only a small number of children to deal with, or as a way of dealing with children who had special medical, educational or religious requirements. Many Certified Schools were set up by the Roman Catholic community to take Catholic children out of workhouses so that they would not be in danger of losing their faith. Certified Schools usually provided training in practical skills to equip children for later employment. For girls, this was usually directed to preparing them for domestic service.
Further information, together with a complete list of Certified Schools, is available of my companion website childrenshomes.org.uk.
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