Education, work, and leisure
The timeline above picks out a number of significant historical points. From it you will see that schooling for the top echelon of British people started in AD 600, through royal patronage. Concern with people’s conditions of work came only gradually and change was achieved slowly through the Factory Acts of the nineteenth century. These aimed to prevent child labour and to restrict work to ten hours a day. Today, the ‘working week’ generally covers 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday, although few people still work those exact hours and many are now employed on ‘flexitime,’ with unfixed times for arriving at and leaving work. Britons work the longest hours in Western Europe and attempt to express their real selves through leisure activities, both in the private space of the home and outside it. This chapter will look at the part played by education, work, and leisure in forming British people’s identities, and will deal with those topics in sequence.