By 1914 Britain had a basic education system. Most children from the working classes attended an elementary school from the age of five to twelve.
Children from the middle classes were able to attend secondary school if they paid, or could receive a bursary if they passed an examination. These might be day or boarding schools which offered a wider education at a higher level than the elementary schools. Children attended from the age of seven up to and beyond sixteen years. They were separate from elementary schools and did not follow on from them.
Other wealthier children attended a range of private schools with greater opportunities for further education.
During World War 1 the system was investigated by Fisher, president of the board of education. He drew up the 1918 Education Act with plans to raise standards and increase provision.
The 1918 Act raised the school leaving age from 12 to 14 and made provision for part time classes for those in work from ages 14 to 16. It abolished all fees in state elementary schools and widened provision of medical inspection, nursery schools and education for those with special needs. Even so, children could still leave school at 12 if suitable work was found for them!
However, many of these changes were abandoned or only partly implemented due to lack of funds in the economic depression of the 1920s. Sadly it was not until after the second world war that there was any great change in the education system.