« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
General Report, for the year 1852, by Her Majesty's In
spector of Schools, the Rev. E. DOUGLAS TINLING, M.A., on the Schools inspected in the Counties of Somerset, Dorset, Devon, and Cornwall.
January 1853. In presenting to you the report of my official work during the past year, with the remarks which I feel called upon to make on the present state of education amongst the children of the poor in the south-western counties, I have in the first place to thank your Lordships for the appointment of the Rev. R. F. Meredith, as one of Her Majesty's Assistant Inspectors, to aid me in this extensive district, in which, previous to his appointment, the work of simple inspection was almost brought to a stand-still, in consequence of the great amount of day labour devolving upon me,-labour which, since my appointment, has not only doubled in regard to the number of schools to be visited, but has moreover been increased in a far greater ratio by the various examinations of teachers and apprentices.
The actual number of schools visited by me during the past year has not been so large as in former years, owing to illness which disabled me for thirty-eight days; but I have examined 17,510 children.
With the exception of this absence on account of illness, and of sixteen days holiday, I have been wholly engaged in the public service throughout the year; and although, on the present occasion, my report must leave a large body of schools unmentioned, yet I trust that, with the co-operation of Mr. Meredith, during the coming year, it may be possible to visit almost the whole of the schools which are at this time open to our inspection.
The present moment appears to me well suited not only for the looking onward to future progress, but also for duly considering the result already attained through the working of the Minutes of 1846, which may be deemed by this time to have had a fair trial. And I would here state my experience with regard to their effect
1st. Upon the schools;
4th. Upon the teachers. 1. In the schools much good has decidedly been effected by providing superior teachers for the several classes of children,
and by raising the character of the instruction given to them. But the present Minutes have not in any way been instrumental in retaining the children at school for any more lengthened period, neither have they promoted (as much as might be desired) the personal supervision of teachers over the individual children committed to their charge.
2. To the poor they have been very beneficial. They have opened to a certain number of their children a way advancement in after-life, with pecuniary assistance at the moment. They have shown that their children are cared for and thought of, beyond their more immediate friends and benefactors, even by " the powers that be,” for whom their respect and esteem has by such means been more extensively called forth; and this being done, by way of reward for good conduct and successful application, has encouraged the feeling which it is so essential to impress upon the poorer classes, that, with steady perseverance in the path of honest practical duty, they may fearlessly look for and expect God's blessing upon their undertakings. Through the education of the sons and daughters of the poor as school apprentices, an insight has been afforded of the advantages of a sound and good education, and a far more extensive and satisfactory knowledge of the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer has been carried into their cottage-homes than was ever obtained before. It is to be feared, however, that the real importance of education is not yet fully appreciated by the poorer classes, or we should see greater efforts made on their parts to retain their children longer at school, and to seize every opportunity to send them back again, even after they are supposed to have given up their more regular attendance at school.
3. Upon the apprentices themselves the most marked advantages have been conferred. They have received a good education ; they have been cared for beyond others ; they have been taught their duty to God and man,-yes, and have been led on calmly in obedience to God's commandments; and thus have they been raised (almost imperceptibly) to fit and prepare themselves for a most high and holy calling, even the training of Christ's little ones. The reports given to me in private, as well as the public statements made to me officially, are highly satisfactory, and speak well for the system, for the teachers, and no less well for the schools of the poor in which
, the apprentices have been trained.
4. With our school teachers the Minutes have produced a very great change; many have felt themselves obliged to vary their occupation, to resign the important charge with which they had been intrusted, and to leave their situations to be
filled by persons more equal to the fatigue, anxiety, and mental labour which must ever attach to a school teacher.
Thus much for the past; and, although few can rest satisfied with the present limited state of education for our poor population, yet decidedly a great gain has been effected by the pupil-teacher system. The 100,000l. expended by the country upon the annual grants for apprentices and certificated teachers, has been the means of carrying into the most remote corners of the land the greatest blessings to the poorer classes.
The early removal of the children from school, to which I have already alluded, forms the great practical difficulty which the educationalist has to overcome.
Night schools, in which adults may be brought back for instruction after that they have quitted our day schools, have been extensively opened during the past year, and with much success.
But difficulties exist which are felt to press very heavily upon these schools ::--
1. The National schoolmaster being wholly unequal to fulfil the duties of the combined offices of day and night school teacher without permanent assistance ; and the school funds being totally insufficient for two distinct and separate schoolmasters.
2. The extra labour (unless a regular and efficient teacher be appointed) being entailed upon the parochial clergy, by whom most of the night schools with which I am acquainted are supported and carried on.
Any assistance which can be brought to bear upon the establishment and maintenance of night schools would be a real benefit to the poorer classes. .
Homes for the young and unmarried labourers are also being set on foot, in which they may not only be kept, by the comfort of their own firesides, from the haunts of sin and from evil company, but also may by care and persuasion be induced to seek for instruction upon their daily occupations and pursuits, and (through a knowledge of God's love toward them) be led not only to avoid sin but to hate it, and to carry out as part of their daily life their daily Christian duties.
The little influence which we have obtained for good upon the adults of the poorer classes, even over children above the age of twelve or thirteen years,—the little care that we have taken of them in our thickly populated districts,—is now felt (if not acknowledged); and in devoting ourselves to the education of the poor it becomes a duty to do something more
than to pass our time amidst the infant population ; we need also to give ourselves to the teaching of those who, from various causes, differing in different localities, have never, with our present system, been kept under education for any length of time.
It appears to me, after much consideration, that whilst we only protest against the short time during which we can retain the children of the poor at school, we cannot do the good which is demanded at our hands. Protesting is but negative; we ought to grasp the only alternative which is left to us, and both devise and carry out the means of giving instruction to the poor when we can get hold of them, be it as they leave their work at night, or when they are accidentally deprived of regular employment.
We have the duty to perform, and, moreover, we must byand-by answer for our shortcomings.
May it be that we are found wise in our generation in the training of God's poor, both for their present daily life on earth, and for their happiness hereafter, and so win souls to Christ!
Greater personal supervision and contact between teachers and individual children might be insured by the more frequent and extended use of the playground, and the increase of industrial employment, where the mind and disposition, the temper and character, of each individual child must of necessity be laid more open to the teacher, and where by degrees each child might be cared for and treated not as one only of a large number, but as a distinct immortal being.
In looking back upon the progress of education in the different schools during the past year, I consider that in the better class there has been a steady continuance in their advanced position, rather than any especial onward movement in the attainments of the children ; whilst in the rest there has been a fuller realization of their imperfect state, and a great desire manifested to ascertain the readiest and most sure means for self-improvement.
This has been the case especially in the rural districts, as far as I have been able to judge; so that, whilst for the most part our town population first grasped the benefits offered to them, the agricultural districts are now, in many instances, struggling for advancement and for the help proposed by your Lordships' grants.
During the past year many apprentices have completed their fifth year, and others at the end of their fourth year have been candidates for Queen's scholarships in our various training institutions; twenty have from other causes left their schools. But it is satisfactory to find that, with more than
300 pupil-teachers, only five have given cause for their removal on account of misbehaviour; only three have failed in their annual examination; whilst nine have suffered either from the school managers leaving their schools without efficient teachers, or (as has been the case in two instances) from a change of school dynasty over which the apprentices had no control ; three have died.
The particular subjects of instruction remain much the same, with the exception of drawing.
There needs great caution that each subject introduced into our poor schools should be clearly and definitely taught, lest want of accuracy in the minds of the children be the result; and I am anxious to repeat a request made in my report last year, viz., “that a syllabus of work allotted to “ each class upon every subject, increasing as it rises from “ the lower to the higher classes, be prepared in the different “ schools, and handed to Her Majesty's Inspector on his official “ visit, together with a list of books by which the informa“ tion has been supposed to be imparted.”
Drawing.—The benefits offered by the Board of Trade are likely to be taken advantage of in many localities. From the deanery of Chew near Bristol the Rev. Edward Vaughan has forwarded a request, signed by a large number of school teachers, for the formation of a class to learn drawing, and to obtain the advantages offered by the Board of Trade.
School managers for the most part do not sufficiently realize the great benefit which may be obtained by mechanics, masons, carpenters, wheelwrights, and others, from the study of drawing
I am desirous of recording my opinion, that, whilst much is heard of the secular instruction given in our schools, the religious teaching fully keeps pace with it; and, in alluding to Scriptural instruction, I am glad to be able to add that the persons now entering our training institutions, as Queen's scholars, will, by their example and their general information, be most able assistants to the parochial clergy in the religious teaching of the children of the poor.
To the training institutions we must now look for the complete education of our apprenticed pupils ; and I can most hopefully report of the Exeter Training School for masters, in which in addition to the visit which I made in October with the Rev. H. Moseley, upon whom the duty of reporting upon the institution devolves,) I held the December examination, at which no less than forty-one presented themselves for examination.