Throughout history, there have always been those favoured enough to receive formal schooling. While many learned how to perform manual labour through apprenticeships, the children of wealthy landowners or those of noble birth were taught much differently. They learned to read and write, they were given mathematical courses, and they also studied history. Their apprenticeship might still have come to pass when joining the family business, but manual labour was not usually a part of it.
While there was education for the rich and noble, there were also opportunities for those without that type of support. Many religious orders required priests to be able to read and write. Orphaned children, unable to find a home with neighbours or relatives, were sometimes accepted as acolytes. Not all of them were taught subjects of higher learning, but those with quick wits and the ambition to succeed often found it was a pathway that gave them access to education.