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Report by Her Majesty's Inspector of Schools, the Rev. HENRY MOSELEY, M.A., F.R.S., on the Schools for Apprentices in Her Majesty's Dockyards.
In compliance with your instructions, I have examined the Schools for Apprentices in Her Majesty's dockyards at Portsmouth, Devonport, Chatham, Woolwich, Sheerness, Pembroke, and Deptford.
The total number of apprentices attending these schools is 665. Their ages vary from 13 to 19 years, and all are in the first four years of their servitude, except those who, being candidates for admission to the Central School, have been permitted to await my examination, notwithstanding that they have entered on their fifth years.
The hours of attendance at the schools, as prescribed by the Admiralty Regulations, are from 13 P.M. to 8 P.M. daily; the apprentices in each school being directed to be taught in two divisions, one of which is to attend from 1 o'clock to 6, and the other from 6 o'clock to 8. From the practical difficulty of one master continuing to teach without intermission for so many hours, this regulation has, however, been modified in some of the schools under the care of a single master.
The Chatham, Sheerness, Woolwich, Deptford, and Pembroke schools are each thus taught by a single master. The Portsmouth and Devonport schools have each two masters.
The subjects of instruction are those generally taught in elementary schools, with the addition of Geometry, the Elements of Algebra, and, in a few cases, Trigonometry and the second part of Algebra. I examined all these schools orally in Religious Knowledge, Reading, English Grammar, History, and Geography; and proposed to each a series of questions to be answered in writing.
Copies of the questions which I proposed to the Portsmouth school are appended to this Report.' Those proposed to the other schools were similar to these.
Answers were given to these questions in writing, and the written answers of 604 apprentices are now before me. They have been carefully examined, and the result is recorded in the following Table :
* Appendix A.
From this Table, which shows the proportion borne by the number of those apprentices in each school who have done well to the whole number in that school, it appears that the largest schools are not the best; the probability of any given apprentice reaching a certain moderate standard of general attainment (getting a fair education) being, for the most part, less in those schools than in the others.
This must not, however, be accepted as a full statement of the relative efficiencies of the schools. It does not indicate truly the schools in which the standard of mathematical attainment is the highest, and in which there is the greatest probability of any apprentice reaching that standard. In this respect the Portsmouth school stands pre-eminent.
The Portsmouth School. This school is taught in two divisions. The master of the second division is Mr. Bradley. The first division is placed under the immediate charge of the head master of the school, Mr. R. Rawson, a gentleman who, with eminent mathematical attainments, unites all the qualities of an efficient mathematical teacher.
The number of apprentices in the upper school is 47, of whom 7 are engineers, and the rest principally shipwrights.
The instruction of both classes in religious knowledge has been undertaken by the Rev. Joseph Woolley, M.A., head master of the Central School, who attends once a-week for that purpose. In other respects, the instruction of the upper school is wholly mathematical, the education of the apprentices in the other subjects included in their course being supposed to be completed in the lower school.
The apprentices of the first class have read six books of Euclid, and Algebra as far as Quadratic Equations, and some of them as far as Cubic Equations, and they have a little knowledge of the theory of equations of the second degree. They have read the first, second, and fourth sections in Hymer's Trigonometry, and are acquainted with the simpler problems in statics and with the dynamics of constant forces.
The second class have read three books of Euclid and Quadratic Equations; and the third class one book of Euclid and Simple Equations.*
My examination bears ample testimony to the excellent way in which these subjects have been taught. It has obviously been the object of Mr. Rawson to accustom these young men to think for themselves. He is of an opinion that no one can be
* At my last examination of this school, out of 117 apprentices whom I then examined, only eleven afforded evidence of any knowledge whatever of algebra and geometry. More than the same amount of knowledge of these subjects has now been attained by fifty.
a good mathematician who is not, to a certain extent, selfinstructed, and this opinion governs the mathematical education he is giving in the school.
A great deal of the time of his scholars is occupied in the solution of problems, and they are, apparently, accustomed to apply under this form all the mathematical knowledge they acquire, from its first elements.
It is thus that the mathematical mind is built up upon a sure basis.
The candidates from the Portsmouth school for admission to the Central School were in their mathematical attainments considerably in advance of those from any other school.
I should be glad to be able to record as favourable an opinion of the lower school as of the upper. It consists of 117 apprentices, who are taught by a single master, in two sections, one containing 56 shipwrights, and the other 42 caulkers, sailmakers, and blacksmiths, and 19 engineers. These sections attend the school on alternate afternoons and evenings, except that the engineers attend only three hours in the week.
The subjects of instruction are Religious Knowledge, English Grammar, Geography, Writing, and Arithmetic, and, to the first class, the first and second books of Euclid and the Elements of Algebra. I received an unfavourable impression of the discipline of this school. It was, indeed, found impossible to preserve silence in it whilst my examination was proceeding. In respect to attainments, it has advanced since my last examination, but is yet greatly below the standard which might reasonably be expected in a school composed of youths from the age of 13 to 18 years, to whose education so large a portion of their time is devoted, and who must, by the Admiralty Regulations, have attained a respectable standard of instruction before they were admitted.
The Devonport School. This school, composed of 120 appren tices, is taught in five classes, by a master (Mr. Rae), and an assistant master (Mr. Buttery).
The subjects of instruction are nearly the same as in the Portsmouth school. The Table prefixed to my Report shows, however, that in respect to mathematical instruction the standard of efficiency is by no means so high; nor is the standard of general instruction in the school such as to compensate for the comparative inferiority of its mathematical teaching. I am glad, however, to bear testimony to a marked improvement in the Religious knowledge of the apprentices, to which the chaplain of the yard, the Rev. Mr. Briggs, has given great attention.
A lending library has recently been opened, containing from 300 to 400 volumes.
Two apprentices were recommended from Devonport for admission to the Central School.
The Chatham School.-Only one of the 92 apprentices who compose this school has reached a respectable degree of attainment in elementary mathematics, or given any evidence of mathematical ability. Whilst the general standard of efficiency in respect to mathematical instruction is thus so low as scarcely to realize the objects for which the school was instituted, I can, however, speak favourably of the labours of the master (Mr. M'Garahan) in other things. His pupils have done well in English History and Geography, and fairly in Arithmetic and Industrial Mechanics.
One apprentice was recommended for admission to the Central School.
The Woolwich School.—A substantial school-room has been erected since my last inspection, with a capacious class-room. The architectural character of the building is appropriate, and the internal arrangements and fittings exceedingly well adapted to the purposes of the school. It is composed of 100 apprentices, placed under the charge of a single master (Mr. Macavoy), who teaches them without intermission from 1 to 8 P.M. daily.
The school having been established only one year, a high standard of general and of scientific instruction was not to be expected in it. I cannot, however, think that the labours of a single master are sufficient for the efficient instruction of so great a number of apprentices.
A lending library, containing 1,100 volumes, has been established for the use of the dock-yard labourers and apprentices. I have been unable to recommend any apprentice from this school as qualified for admission to the Central School.
The Deptford School.-Sixty-three apprentices attend this school. The Table at the head of my Report bears testimony to a high degree of efficiency as to certain parts of its course of instruction. In no other school, except that at Portsmouth, have so large a proportion of the apprentices afforded the evidence of a knowledge of the three first books of Euclid; and the proportion who have advanced so far in Algebra as to be able to solve an equation is double that of any other school. They have done extremely well in Industrial Mechanics, and they write correctly from dictation.
These results of my written examination agree with the notes I have preserved of my oral examination. In no other school have I observed more interest to be maintained by the apprentices in the business of the school, or found more intelli
* That is, without intermission of the master. The apprentices are not required to attend all these hours, but are taught in two divisions, one of which attends from 14 to 54 P.M., and the other from 5 to 8 P.M.