Passing of the Cowper-Temple clause

Following stormy debates in the House of Commons over religious conscience during the second reading of the Education Bill, W.E. Forster, Vice-President of the Committee on Education, accepts an amendment from William Cowper-Temple, Liberal MP for Hampshire South. The new clause specified that schools could not refuse a pupil on religious grounds and if they wished to provide religious instruction this had to be held at the start or the end of the day so that any parent who objected could keep their child out of the lesson. The Cowper-Temple clause was accepted by all sides and the act passed into law in August 1870, representing the first major step to universal primary education.