« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
The present occupations of the day succeed each other in the following order : At 59, Rise.
6 7, Morning prayers, meditation, spiritual reading.
55, Religious exercises.
12 hours. Music and drawing
1 Meals and recreation
12 hours. Sleep and time for rising
8 For the information contained in the above tables I am indebted to the Principal, by whom they were framed, and who reserves to himself the task of changing or modifying them, if in his judgment it should become expedient to do so. Ipon the details which they exhibit it is unnecessary to make any comment. It will suffice to notice briefly what appeared to me the most characteristic features of the institution, and *o state my opinion of the adequacy of the existing provision for training and instructing normal students, and for attaining the objects which should be aimed at in a normal school. The great exactness of the rural and religious discipline, and its visible effect upon the general character and deportment of the students, claims attention in the first place. Strict silence is observed everywhere throughout the day, except in times of recreation. All the meals are taken in common in the refectory in silence. The Lives of the Saints, or other spiritual books, are read aloud at dinner and supper by one of the students. They serve at the meals in turn, make their own beds, clean their own shoes, and sweep the lecture-room, class-room, dormitories, &c. They also work, from time to time, in the garden. On Sundays, days of obligation, and of other feasts, study is not obligatory ; but special religious instruction is given to the students, bearing upon
their peculiar vocation and future duties. It is impossible not to be struck with their obedience, humility, modesty, and cheerfulness. The whole proceedings of the house seem to be founded upon the maxim that they who aspire to form the character of others should first prove their capacity for the task by having formed their own; and it is abundantly evident that in this essential work ample progress has already been made. The Principal appears to think that all other improvement depends upon this, and should be considered subordinate to it.
It is probable, indeed, that the exactness of religious discipline, to which I have alluded, and the peremptory requirement of a certain moral and religious character as a condition of admission, may tend to check the number of applicants, and thus delay the period at which the full complement of normal students can be obtained. This disadvantage, it is believed, will be more than counterbalanced by the superior dispositions which will be developed in teachers trained in such an institution ; for it is generally admitted that the main hindrance to the usefulness of elementary teachers lies in the absence of purity and elevation of feeling and motive, in incompleteness of self-discipline, and in repugnance to those arduous sacrifices which their office involves, but which can only be inspired by the highest degree of patience and charity. To form these virtues should be, therefore, the primary object of those who direct a normal school, and they are rightly regarded as the essential conditions of success. Such institutions are evidently not designed to perpetuate a race of superficial, worldly, and selfindulgent teachers, from whose labours very small benefit can be expected, but rather to call into existence a new race of thoughtful, generous, and devoted men, fully comprehending their mission, and amply qualified to accomplish effectually its sacred and difficult duties. There is good reason to anticipate that such teachers will be formed in the institution of which I am speaking.
The Principal appears, however, to have come to the conclusion, that he cannot henceforth accept the evidence of personal virtue and religious dispositions as the sole con. dition of admission. He proposes to test also, by a suitable examination, the attainments and intellectual capacity of all candidates who present themselves. A considerable number of the present students, who have embraced the calling of teachers solely from religious motives, are rather commencing than completing their education ; and this is found to be a serious inconvenience. Such students, indeed, however highly qualified in some respects, are out of place in such an institution, which is not, and ought not to be, an elementary school.
Up to the present time no pupil-teacher, having completed his apprenticeship, has been a candidate for admission Students of this class may, however, be expected at a later period. Only two pupil-teachers in Roman Catholic schools have as yet finished their training.
The teaching force is at this moment inadequate, the appointment of a Vice-Principal not having yet taken place. It is hoped that a gentleman possessing eminent qualifications will shortly be nominated to that office, when the Principal, who is now assisted by masters, will be able to delegate a portion of his duties.
The practising school is in an entirely satisfactory state. The higher division of students spend the whole of each Tuesday,—the lower division the whole of each Thursday,---in this school. They partly listen to the lessons given, receiving at the same time appropriate instructions and suggestions, -partly assume the charge of the classes. Their instructions are afterwards canvassed and corrected by the Principal. On the two days named the Principal catechises in the presence of the students, and gives instructions to the children to prepare them for approaching the sacraments, and in the practice of devotional exercises. Such instructious present a model for the most important of all the functions hereafter incumbent, in some measure, upon the students.
A fuller report is, perhaps, unnecessary with respect to an institution of recent origin, conducted hitherto under difficulties which are only now disappearing, and far from having as yet assumed the form which it is designed to impress upon it, and which it is evidently destined to reach. Much more has already been accomplished by the unaided labours of the Principal than could have been reasonably demanded in so short an interval, considering the peculiar difficulties with which he has had to contend, and with which it must be added he has contended with singular judgment and prudence. With the appointment of a competent Vice-Principal the only positive defect will be removed. The buildings and accommodation are all that can be desired. The refectory is thirtyeight feet by fifteen feet; lecture-room, thirty six feet by fourteen feet six inches ; classroom, nineteen feet by fifteen feet six inches. The chief dormitory is sixty feet by twenty-three feet ; lofty, well ventilated; containing sixteen different compartments, suitably arranged and furnished, and four smaller rooms adjoining. The three other dormitories contain fifteen beds. The infirmary is twenty feet by eighteen feet six inches, sufficiently lofty, with infirmarian's room attached. The accommodation for the Principal and Vice-Principal is ample. The chapel is suitable and appropriate, but small, and will soon be of inadequate dimensions, as the number of students is increasing. A new one is said to be in contemplation.
It is only necessary to add, that the complete eventual success of the institution is now fully secured, and that it is slowly but surely accomplishing a work which will effect most importantly the whole future character of elementary education in Catholic schools. It must be a source of extreme gratification to its founders to witness the results already obtained; and all who are interested in promoting education for the Catholic poor are fully justified in regarding it with hope and confidence. An institution conducted with so much wisdom, patience, and prudence cannot fail ; and the character and qualifications of the Principal afford an ample guarantee that all which was aimed at in its establishment will be fully and effectually accomplished.
I have the honor to be, &c.
(Signed) T. W. M. MARSHALL. To the Right Honorable
The Lords of the Committee of Council on Education.
REPORTS ON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS.
General Report, for the Year 1852, by Her Majesty's Inspector
of Schools the Rev. HENRY MOSELEY, M.A., F.R.S., &c., on the Schools inspected in the Counties of Wilts and Berks.
The number of elementary schools inspected in the counties of Wilts and Berks, between November 1, 1851, and October 31, 1852, was 68. These schools were chiefly inspected by my colleague, the Rev. W. P. Warburton. Å separate note of each is appended to this report. They afford accommodation,-allowing eight square feet of area per child,—for 8,164 scholars. The number assembled in them at the time of inspection was 4,873, or about 59 per cent. of the number they would contain.
The ages of the children may be gathered from the following table, in which I have included the similar returns made in the two preceding years :
From this table it appears that the proportion of the children who are not more than seven years
has steadily increased during the last three years; that in the year 1849-50, 24
per cent. of them were above 10 years of age; in 1850-51, 25
per cent. ; and in 1851-52, only 22 per cent. The ages of the children in these schools are therefore steadily falling. As they are probably among the best schools in the counties of Wilts and Berks, being schools to which special advantages