Historical and current perspectives on legislation and provision
This chapter provides an overview of the growth and development of provision for children in the early years, that is, from birth to 8 years of age, with the history of special or additional provision for children seen as 'different' from peers on account of the learning, physical or behavioural difficulties they experienced. In the UK, the development of early special education provision and provision in the early years, beginning at the end of the eighteenth century, should be seen in a national context where industry was rapidly developing and expanding. The beginnings of compulsory elementary schooling from 1870 had a particular significance for the special education sector. The chapter suggests that it is important to know the history of the development of both special education provision and also provision in the early years sector. Between the introduction of compulsory elementary education and World War Two there were a number of developments in the education system.