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ragged school

noun
1.
(in Britain, formerly) a free elementary school for poor children
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for ragged school

any of the 19th-century English and Scottish institutions maintained through charity and fostering various educational and other services for poor children, such as elementary schooling, industrial training, religious instruction, clothing clubs, and messenger and bootblack brigades. The schools were allied in 1844 with the founding of the Ragged School Union in London. They rapidly died out after 1870 with the introduction of national compulsory education, though a few remained into the 20th century.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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