Education became an issue to the families living in the colliery villages in 1861 as until this time a large family could improve its income by sending the children out to work. The education act, which came into force in 1861, would change that and not allow children to work under the age of twelve unless they could prove that they could read and write. This meant that a family would have to wait longer before getting any wages from the children in the family and meant the parents would have to support them for longer. Dudley already had a school in 1861 but Seghill had just set up a Co-operative school and announced this fact with some pride in a letter to the Evening chronicle. Where each household would pay 3d to the up keep of the school although the school did not supply materials this was to teach the children not to be wasteful. Not all parents could afford the 3d a week and would not worry about keeping their children out of school to work around the home or to take on some work to supplement the family income as and when it became available. Another reason for education in the 19th century was due to the growing responsibility of the workers to use expensive machinery.In a newspaper article entitled Educate the miners the argument was put forward that it was foolish to allow any one to work down the colliery who was not educated and it was in the best interest of the mine owners to make sure that their workers had an education Lack of education could result in the mine owners losing money due to damaged machinery because of the ignorance of the workers. Fynes, a miner who criticises the lack of schools in mining villages although in his own book he lists four residents in Dudley in 1861 who were to play some part in the labour union movement. George Duncan and his wife taught the children of Dudley whom, in 1861 was the only married woman in Dudley who was shown to have an occupation. Not only was George the village teacher but he was the village postmaster. Dudley old schoolhouse pictured with Dudley school behind.
In the 1861 census.
Living in number 1 School Row is George Duncan age 34 the schoolmaster of Dudley, born in Askeld, Northumberland his wife Isabella is the School mistress born Killingworth. They have two children Thomas, age 2 born Great Willington and Robert age 9 months They employ Jane Temple age 12 born Seghill as a servant.