Education in the Elizabethan era was generally for boys of upper or middle classes, although some upper class girls, often of the nobility were also given an education.

Girls were often only educated at home by their parents or a private tutor depending on the wealth of the family. Girls were allowed to attend ‘petty school’, the most elementary school of the Elizabethan times, which they would attend from the ages of 5-7. They were not allowed to attend ‘grammar school’ or university.

To begin their education, the boys first attended petty schools. The petty school, also known as Dame School, was the most elementary school of the Elizabethan times, which children (mostly boys of upper or middle class, with the exception of a small amount of upper class girls) would attend from the ages of 5-7. The word petty was thought to derive from the French word ‘petite’ meaning little. These schools were usually run by a well-educated housewife, therefore, were also called ‘Dame Schools’. At these schools’ the children were taught what were considered the most important lessons to be taught during childhood; how to read and write English, learn the catechism and lessons of behavior.
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The boys first learnt the rudiments ofLatin with the assistance of the Tudor textbook known as Lily's Latin Grammar - using the horn-book and the alphabet as a tool and the basis of Elizabethan education. This short introduction to grammar and education, compiled by William Lily, had been authorized by Henry VIII as the sole Latin grammar textbook to be used in education and schools.

At school, the children used a hornbook. The hornbook is a wooden paddle with a parchment of the alphabet or anything they used to learn stuck onto the paddle. A horn from an animal would then cover the paddle to protect until it was used again.

The Elizabethan alphabet only has 24 letters as opposed to the alphabet today which has 26. In the Elizabethan alphabet, “u” and “v” are the same as “i” and “j”.

Education was required for most professions. For example, in the Elizabethan times, if you wanted to be an actor you required a university degree in arts and a license to act. Back then, it was illegal for women to act.

The noble children were taught by tutors at home but, from the age of 7 to 14, children of a lower standing went to Grammar Schools - the most common institute for Elizabethan education during the Elizabethan period. Many schools were financed by the local Guild.

When they graduated from grammar school, any males could go to the university.

References
http://www.enotes.com/science-fact-finder/communication/what-hornbook
http://www.elizabethan-era.org.uk/
http://www.elizabethan-era.org.uk/elizabethan-education.htm
http://spatters4.tripod.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/hornbook.gif
http://www.william-shakespeare.info/william-shakespeare-biography-childhood-and-education.htm