Pupil Teachers


A few of our forebears were pupil teachers and then became school teachers. Teaching offered the means by which these forebears progressed from the skilled working class to non-manual occupations. At the age of 13 promising pupils could be identified by their headmaster to become pupil teachers in elementary schools where they were taught how to teach and helped with the education of younger children. The pupil teacher was, in effect, an apprentice and if successful after five years, at the age of 18 or 19, he or she could qualify as a certified teacher. Pupil teachers began working at the age of thirteen because that was the age at which children could leave school and take up employment. In order to encourage parents to allow their children who were to become teachers to remain in school as pupil teachers they were paid a small salary. In 1903 male pupil teachers working in London were paid between £19 and £36 per year and girls between £13 and £26.

The Regulations for Pupil Teachers, appended below. Some current graduate entry teachers in their 20s could find the requirements challenging.


Pupil Teacher Regulations


The photograph of pupil teachers below does remind one of how young pupil teachers were when they began work. If they had not become pupil teachers they would have been in full-time employment elsewhere.


Pupil teachers circa 1890