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As several Wesleyan schools newly erected are not yet settled on trustees, and the Committees are waiting until a model deed shall be furnished for that purpose; as also numerous applications are made by Committees of Schools, requesting information on the subjects included in the above inquiries; the Wesleyan Committee of Education will feel obliged by receiving such replies to the inquiries now respectfully submitted, as will enable them fully to understand the conditions which their Lordships will require to be observed, where assistance for the erection or annual support of schools is requested.
Answer to the foregoing “ Inquiries,” &c.
Committee of Council on Education, Rev. Sir,
Council Office, Whitehall, December 17, 1847. I BEG leave to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated December 10, with the enclosed paper, entitled “Inquiries submitted to the Committee of Council on Education, in order to ascertain the conditions on which they will make grants to Wesleyan Schools, for their erection and annual support.”
This document has been submitted to the Lord President of the Council; and I have related to his Lordship the general purport of the conversation which occurred when the Deputation of the Education Committee of the Wesleyan Conference attended at the Privy Council Office.
His Lordship authorises me to make the following replies to the several inquiries contained in this paper.
I. The draft of the Model Deed for Wesleyan Schools will be immediately submitted to counsel; and as soon as I am in possession of his opinion on its legal construction, I am to communicate with you on that subject, and also to make any other suggestions which may appear expedient.
The Committee of Council regard the erection of a master's house, in connexion with schools for the poor, to be important, inasmuch as it is a form of endowment little open to abuse. They have not however made this a condition of their schoolbuilding-grants, and as respects the grants towards the support of schools under the Minutes of 1846, they have for the present accepted an annual payment of 101. to a schoolmaster, and of 61. to a schoolmistress in the stead of the provision of a house rent-free. My Lords do not regard this as a permanent arrangement, but they will allow a period to elapse, quite sufficient to enable local committees to complete such arrangements, ere they withdraw this provisional rule.
II. The Committee of Council are not accustomed to grant aid towards the removal of debts, whether incurred in the erection or support of existing schools. The reasons are obvious. Were they to admit such claims for debts incurred in school-building, schools would often be commenced under the pressure of a burthensome annual charge, with ill-constructed buildings and defective deeds of trust, and application for aid would probably be deferred until the school was ruined by these errors. If such claims were admitted for debts gradually accumulated in school maintenance, their Lordships' grants would operate as a direct premium on improvident expenditure or languid exertions, for the relief of which the Parliamentary Grant would operate as a system of public
When, however, suitable school or other buildings are to be converted into week-day schools, their Lordships are accustomed, provided the schools are free from debt, to make liberal grants towards the requisite repairs, alterations, and school-furniture, upon the ordinary terms.
III. Respecting Grants for aid in the maintenance of Schools.
1. The Committee of Council will inform such Inspectors as may be employed in the inspection of Wesleyan schools, “ that, the established principles of the Connexion prevent the Wesleyan Committee of Education from undertaking to train in a Normal School, of their own or of another denomination, any pupil-teachers respecting whose moral and religious character no testimonial has been supplied.”
2. The candidates for certificates, who will be assembled for examination in each Inspector's district, will belong to those classes of schools only which are open to the Inspectors employed in the examination of Wesleyan schools.
3. Their Lordships will be satisfied, when they make a grant for pupil-teachers, if the lease of the school extend to the termination of the apprenticeship.
4. This inquiry has been previously answered.
5. The Committee of Council are unable to sanction, as a general rule, the apprenticeship of young females to a master of a school.
They cannot perceive that frequent exceptions to this rule can be admitted; and when the schoolmistress is incompetent, that will prove the misfortune, not only of the school, but of the candidates for apprenticeship. But their Lordships contemplate that occasional exceptions may be justified.
6. The rule requiring that one-half the salary of the master (required as a condition of their Lordships' 'grants in augmentation) shall be provided by subscriptions is founded on their desire to prevent their grant from causing a diminution of local
effort; on their wish to provide to the schoolmaster an incentive to exertion and a reward for faithful services, by the increase of the school-pence likely to be consequent on the improvement of his school; and on their intention to sustain the principle that the school of the poor is not to owe its support generally to their own unaided sacrifices for the education of their children. But where such sacrifices are made, and especially when made from religious motives, their Lordships will be ready to receive a special report of the facts; and though the wealthy may withhold their contributions, their Lordships will be ready to extend that aid from the public funds, which the poverty of the applicants alone prevents them from contributing from the wages of their labour.
IV. Their Lordships' grants in aid of the erection of training schools are made on the general conditions of school-building grants. The importance of training schools occasions a more careful attention to the plans submitted to them. They also inquire whether the staff of masters to be employed, their emoluments, &c., the course of studies, and the period of training, afford a reasonable prospect that the students will be able to pass the examination for their Lordships' third certificate.
If they are satisfied on these subjects, they award a grant, not exceeding one-third of the outlay on the site, buildings, and fixtures, and estimated at the rate of 501. for every student accommodated. The Committee do not encourage the erection of buildings for training schools in which the arrangements are likely to prove obstacles to the moral discipline or health of the students, or to prevent men of learning and character from taking charge of these important institutions.
The Committee of Council have great confidence that, in all their arrangements for the establishment of schools in connexion with their congregations, the Wesleyan Education Committee will rejoice to become the instrument of diffusing liberally the great benefits of Christian civilization to that large portion of Her Majesty's subjects on whose welfare they have hitherto exerted so marked an influence.
I have the honor to be, &c.,
(Signed) J. P. KAY SHUTTLEWORTH. To the Rev. John Scott, St. George's East.
FREE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND. ADMINISTRATION of the PARLIAMENTARY GRANT for EDUCATION
Report by the Deputation from the Education Committee of the
Free Church of Scotland of what passed in interview between them and the Right Honorable the Lord President of the Privy Council.-1847.
Preliminary Note. In transmitting, for the revisal of the Lord President of the Council, the following Report of what passed in an interview which the Deputation had with his Lordship, the object is to have such remarks made upon it as may enable the Deputation to vouch for its faithfulness and accuracy, when they finally submit it to their constituents.
There is one additional point of detail to which attention is respectfully solicited. It is understood, that, in England no aid is given to female teachers, unless they not only conduct the usual female industrial department, but also give religious instruction, and teach the elements of reading. In Scotland the general practice has been different; and it would be matter of great regret if the regulation of the Privy Council were to induce any change. In Scottish public schools, while females are appointed exclusively for the female industrial department, the masters, with their assistance, teach all the other branches, and the boys and girls learn together. This method is decidedly preferred by the best practical educationists; and it is confidently hoped that a modification will be consented to for Scotland, such as will admit of female teachers in public schools receiving aid, without the present practice being altered.
The Deputation will report, in order, upon the several topics which they brought under the notice of Lord Lansdowne, in the interview which they had the honor to have with his Lordship; merely premising, generally, that nothing could exceed the courtesy and attention with which the Deputation were received, and their views and suggestions considered by Lord Lansdowne.
The Deputation were much indebted to Mr. Maule and the Lord Advocate, for their presence and valuable assistance during the interview. Mr. Kay Shuttleworth also was present, and took a part in the proceedings.
I. The first object of the Deputation was to call attention to the third of the Resolutions adopted by the General Assembly, and to explain the grounds upon which it seems both practi
cable and desirable to apply a separate and distinct rule to Scotland, in the matter of 'national education, or of national grants for educational purposes. In particular, the Deputation dwelt upon the fact of the universal use of the Shorter Catechism, in all public elementary schools in Scotland, as a strong argument for the adoption of a system based upon the adoption of that manual, as well as the Holy Scriptures, for the regulation of the religious instruction to be given; and the Deputation further represented, that, such an arrangement would be the more easily carried out in Scotland, on account of the practice, already universally prevalent there in all public schools, of allowing children to attend for such branches of instruction as their parents or guardians may desire them to learn, without requiring them, either on week days or Sabbathdays, to take part in the religious exercises of the school, if their parents or guardians are unwilling that they should do so. It was intimated, that, there could be no objection to such right of exemption being made a peremptory condition of public aid being given to any school; but that, on the contrary, this would be considered reasonable and just. The usage of the Assembly Schools, in Popish districts of the Highlands, where, long before the disruption in the Church of Scotland, the General Assembly sanctioned the principle of allowing the children of Roman Catholic parents to attend their schools, without taking part in the religious exercises of which their parents might disapprove, was referred to, in illustration of the views generally entertained in Scotland on this subject. And it was strongly urged, that while, according to the Resolution in question, Government aid ought, in sound principle, to be restricted to those schools in which the Scriptures and the Catechism form the basis of the religious instruction given, this restriction could not really, in any quarter, become a practical grievance, if it were qualified by the provision last mentioned, respecting the allowance to be made for parties having conscientious scruples on the subject.
These representations of the Deputation were listened to with the utmost respect; and both Lord Lansdowne and Mr. Kay Shuttleworth expressed their conviction that there seemed to be much in them deserving of serious consideration. It was intimated, however, that the Government were not prepared to go beyond the principles of the existing Minutes of Privy Council, although they were anxious to adapt these Minutes, as far as practicable, to the circumstances of Scotland accordingly.
II. The Deputation proceeded to point out what the fourth of the Resolutions adopted by the General Assembly notes as the most objectionable feature in the present plan, as the Minutes of Council seem to describe it. They referred to