This article explores a category of pupils which is still relatively unknown: scholarship pupils supported by local councils in French schools in the 19th century. After drawing up a comprehensive inventory of existing sources of information about these pupils, the author examines two questions, basing his analysis on Rennes and Nantes. The first question concerns scholarship policy, which involves scholarships per se and also simple exemptions from the payment of school fees. The analysis shows that the number of recipients of this financial support increased during the 19th century, but rather moderately and gradually. This increase largely benefitted so-called ‘special’ – then modern – education. The analysis also shows that the way in which these pupils’ ‘school career’ was managed by councils became formalised over time and could create a real spirit of equity. The second question relates to the social characteristics of these pupils. The most obvious of these is that they were born or lived in the municipality which awarded the scholarship. It is also noted that there were fewer sons of civil servants among them than among pupils benefitting from state scholarships, and that their educational attainment was lower than their state scholarship counterparts. What is revealed, therefore, a unique school population, with distinct features.
- high school
- XIXth century