« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
evidently been difficulty in procuring the proper material for the apprenticeship. Many have been rejected as unfit ; many others also have been presented who were too young for pupil-teachers. I have no doubt that in many cases schoolmanagers have had much trouble in obtaining fit candidates. And there seems to be two chief reasons for this difficulty ; first, the goodness of trade, the demand for labour, both in the manufacturing and agricultural market, and its remunerative, ready, and certain payment.
In these two latter particulars especially the apprenticeship is at a disadvantage ; for the payment of pupil-teachers by your Lordships' Committee is, from the nature of the case, conditional, and therefore uncertain. It is conditional on intellectual progress, on good character in school, and (in Church schools) on good conduct at church. It is therefore by no means so certain as the payment
of other juvenile labour. Payment of
Nor is it more remunerative,-in my district, at least, -to boys and young men ; for its payment amounts to this, that, in five years a young man may earn 751., i.e., on an average 151.
per annum. He receives nothing before he is fourteen years of age, when his first annual payment is 10l. ; but, if he be apprenticed (as is allowable) when almost sixteen years of age, he may be nearly seventeen years old before he receives this first payment. Perhaps the money value of the apprenticeship may be more plainly seen by showing it as a weekly payment. Under the most favourable circumstances,
£ s. s. d. At 14 years of age the pupil-teacher receives 10 O i.e. 3 10 per week. 15
12 10 i.e. 4 93
do. 16 do.
15 0 i.e. 5 9 do. do.
17 10 i.e. 6 81
200 i.e. 7 8 do. Now there is plainly no inducement in this rate of payment for a young man to give up the usual labour either of the field or the factory for that of the school ; and, in addition to this, the delay, in some cases unavoidable, between the date of payment to a pupil-teacher and the payment itself is not unfrequently so great, amounting, in some cases, to three or four months, during which the managers of the school, its teacher, the apprentice, and his parents are equally ignorant whether he have passed his examination or not, that it is no wonder if, with sickened hearts, the parents turn away from a bope so long deferred, and forget the future advantages of their child's position in his present arduous and weary trial. It is my strong conviction, that; in order to meet the rapidly changing and greatly improving circumstances of the
working classes,-drawn away into the more stirring and remunerative courses of life at home, or rushing headlong into the marvellous gold-fields of far distant regions,-it will be necessary to make such alterations in the apprenticeship of pupil-teachers as may secure to them a less hazardous, if not, to worldly eyes, a more profitable position.
Much was said last year of the difficulty of providing Future prosituations for the pupil-teachers already apprenticed in our pupilschools. It was asserted that much embarrassment would arise teachers. in dealing with so large a number (now I believe nearly 6,000) of young people, who, at the most critical period of their lives, would, from inability to procure schools, be thrown upon the world, soured by disappointment, sharpened by necessity, and with considerable powers for evil, if not for good. I confess, my Lords, that I never shared in these apprehensions, which the circumstances of the last year, the improvement and stea diness of trade, the increase of emigration, and the discovery of large and valuable gold-fields in Australia, must tend to diminish in all who felt them. But I would point to a practical answer to this question, which shows how many of these young people are silently absorbed into the social system, without seeking for employment in the profession for which they were destined. It appears that one hundred and twentyone apprentices (eighty-six males and thirty-five females) have completed their apprenticeship this year in my district. Of
. this number there have gone
So that above twenty-two per cent. of these young people have found situations for themselves; the young men chiefly as clerks and book-keepers, employed in railways, merchants' and lawyers' offices; the young women in domestic occupations and dress-making; so that, if this proportion obtain in other districts and in future years, it may be calculated that nearly a quarter of the young people employed as apprentices in our schools will not enter the scholastic profession, nor tend to create a plethora of teachers in the country. But besides this, I find, on referring to the Schedules (xxiii), that fortyfour pupil-teachers (twenty-nine boys and fifteen girls) have either withdrawn or been removed from your Lordships' list of apprentices during the last year in my district,
It seems that the causes alleged are the following :
12 Change of residence by parents
6 For iinmorality
8 Conditions of Committee of Council not fulfilled
This number gives an average of eleven to each year of the apprenticeship (the fifth year having been considered above), so that, taking the average number of apprentices of each year in my district at 113, nearly ten per cent. of the pupil-teachers have ceased from these causes ; or, to state the whole result in the five years, rather more than thirty-two per cent. of the young people who are apprenticed either do not complete their apprenticeship, or they follow other callings. Thus a sufficient safety-valve seems to be provided against over-pressure of the educational engine. Nor is the loss of these young people to be regretted. In the majority of cases, whatever their other qualifications or attainments, they seem to be deficient in devotion to this work, therefore they are unfit for it. Nor, on the other hand, has the public money paid for their instruction and services been wasted. In many cases it has been fairly earned ; and in all, with very few exceptions, they go forth into the world better qualified for its business, and more useful to their country, than if they had never been subjected to the discipline of the apprenticeship or elevated by the instructions of the teacher.
I am glad to be able to report favourably on the schooland gardens. fields and gardens, towards the cultivation and superintendence
of which your Lordships have made grants of money this year. They are yet only few in number in my district, and are chiefly situate on the estate of the Earl of Dartmouth, whose judicious liberality, aided by the intelligent exertions of his agent Mr. Thynne, and of the clergymen of the different parishes, Revs. C. A. Hulbert (Slaithwaite), L. Jones (Almondbury), C. Wardroper (Farnley-Tyas), and R. Collins (Kirkburton), has been the main cause of any successful results in this branch of juvenile education. I add in an Appendix the reports of the schoolmasters of Upper and Lower Slaithwaite, Farnley-Tyas, and Almondbury, to which I am anxious to direct public attention, and especially to those of Mr.J. Mellor, ånd Mr.G.Jarmain. They all agree in these important points, 1st, the willingness of the children to work, and the general encouragement given by their parents to this kind of labour ; 2dly, the actual, though small, profit of their allotments; and
3dly, the healthy effect produced on their work in school by their work in the garden, shown by their standing in the school and conduct in it. To these may also be added the practical knowledge acquired by these young gardeners of a subject which will be useful and interesting to them in whatever situation of life they may be placed, the cultivation and refinement of their tastes by more observant acquaintance with the wonderful and beautiful works of nature, and, above all, the habit of healthy industry and cheerful occupation of time, which will, by God's blessing, save them from many a temptation, and support them in many a trial of their after life. I believe that it is hardly possible to over-rate either the moral or economical value of school-fields and gardens in manufacturing, quite as much as in agricultural, districts of our country. They are the only industrial schools which can be attempted in most parts of it. I regret, therefore, that in the great county of York so little has been hitherto attempted in this direction, and that so much juvenile labour is wasted in its schools, which might be thus healthily and profitably employed. Besides the schools above mentioned in the neighbourhood of Huddersfield, I have seen no other gardening operations except at St. James', Hull, where the pupil-teachers, under the instruction of their master, cultivate a piece of ground at some distance from their school, which will, I think, require both time and labour to get it “into good heart.” They seemed to be energetic and intelligent in their work, the result of which I witnessed, during my last visit to Hull, in a very large cauliflower, which was sent to the house where I was staying, as a proof to the Inspector of their skill as gardeners.
With regard to instruction in elementary drawing, recom- Instruction mended in the circular letter of your Lordships' Secretary to Her Majesty's Inspectors, (dated 27 September 1852,) 'I have to report that the subject has been taken up with interest in Leeds, Halifax, Huddersfield, York, and Bradford, and that there is reason to hope that in the course of the present year (1853) it will form a part of the regular instruction of many schools, occupying some of the time which is now given to writing in copy-books. The great practical difficulties in the way of so desirable a result seem to be the paucity of well-qualified teachers, i.e., teachers who can teach elementary drawing on right principles, and the insufficiency of school funds to bear even the trifling addition of expence on this head. I am informed by the Secretary of the Department of Practical Art, in a letter dated 22 Novem
a ber 1852, "that to justify the appointment of a diawing“ master," by that department in any place," there should be.
in drawing. School management,
a probability that he would earn at least 701.
, at the rate of “ 5l. per school per annum for one lesson per week.” In such towns as those which I have mentioned above, and other large towns in my district, there would be little difficulty in raising this or a larger sum from the many schools of the place; and the advantages to be derived from sound instruction in the principles of drawing are so many and so obvious that I trust the time will soon come when instruction in this subject will form as necessary a part of school-work as instruction in writing,—the one, indeed, being only a branch of the
a other,—the one suggesting ideas by forms, the other by letters. At the Kirkstall schools an engagement has been made with a well-qualified drawing-master to give instruction there, the whole expense being paid, with his usual liberality, by Mr. W. Beckett, M.P. I trust that many of the wealthy supporters of our schools will follow his good example.
In conclusion, I wish to bring under your Lordships' notice a subject which has frequently pressed itself on my attention during the last year, viz., the importance, I would almost say the necessity, of having a more general system for our schools, as well as a wider basis for their conduct and management, than that which is generally to be found in them. The school is frequently managed exclusively by one person, whether it be, as often in the case of Church schools, the clergyman or the wealthy mill-owner, or the great landed proprietor, or the Lady Bountiful of the place. In those localities where the school is supported entirely by one person, where the site is private property, the buildings have been erected by individual liberality, and all expences of sustentation are defrayed from the same source, no alteration can be expected, except such as may follow from judicious advice, or from the slow, but sure, action of public opinion. But the majority of schools are not under these circumstances; they are built by general or local subscription, aided by grants from the public purse; they are supported by local contributions, by the children's payments, and by annual grants of the p ublic money; and they succeed more or less (I am speaking of those schools which come under my inspection), according to one, or the other, or both, of these two conditions, viz., the existence of a good teacher in them, and a good manager over them; the manager being, in the great majority of cases, some individual with absolute irresponsible authority. In the event of change, either of teacher or manager, the whole school seems to fall to the ground. Before the next yearly visit of inspection it has hardly a trace of what it was. Everything has deteriorated. Nothing remains either of the system which formerly prevailed in it, or of its results. And how often this