In 1867, the British Army provided free education for the children of soldiers and for those soldiers wishing an education. It was not until 1870 that a public school system was offered outside of the army.
The schoolmasters and schoolmistresses of the fort were civilians, who qualified for their posts through a two year course at Chelsea Asylum. They were paid twice as much as a common soldier, and the schoolmaster held the honorary rank of Staff Sergeant.
Children went to school from the ages of 4 to 14 years. Up to the age of ten, students were instructed by the schoolmistress. From ages 10 until 14, they learned more advanced subjects from the schoolmaster. In the afternoons, however, the older girls returned to the schoolmistress for needlework lessons. School went 6 days per week, plus a half-day on Sunday for religious instruction. The hours were 9:30 AM to noon, and from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM. In the evening, the schoolmaster would give classes to soldiers. Attendance was voluntary, but no soldier could hope to rise in rank without proof of education to a certain level.
At the age of 14, the children had the choice of remaining with the army, or looking for work in town. Many chose the army, because if they stayed in town, they would be left behind when the regiment moved on. Boys could join the army as soldiers; girls, at the age of 14, had two years in which to find a husband before they were forced to leave the Fort. Soldiers were not permitted to marry before they had achieved 14 years of good service in the Army, thus girls usually married men more than twice their age.