Joseph Lancaster

(990 words)

Joseph Lancaster was the inventor of a system of mass instruction that was central to the education debate in the early nineteenth century. The so-called “Lancasterian” system broke new ground in its use of pupil-tutors, in its cultivation of “public spirit” in school, and in its ecumenical approach to religious instruction (Lancaster, Improvements in Education, 34, 94-6, 162). Lancaster’s system was adopted as the basis of a planned national education system by the Grenville ministry of 1806-7, and it was subsequently backed by a diverse group of philanthropists who constituted themselves as the Royal Lancasterian Association in 1810 and as the British and Foreign School Society in 1814.

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Duggett, Tom. "Joseph Lancaster". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 28 October 2008
[, accessed 27 November 2015.]