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General Report, for 1848-9, by Her Majesty's Inspector of Schools,
JOSEPH FLETCHER, Esq., on British and Denominational
Schools. * My LORDS,
24th November, 1849. In accordance with your Lordships' recent instructions, I hare now to render an account of the discharge of my duties during the past year and a-half; and the following table supplies the most succinct statement that I am able to render of the occupation of my time since the close of May, 1848, to Occupation which period my last Report was brought :TABLE, showing the Occupation of Time for a Year and a Half, of 78 Weeks, a-huit.
or 468 Days, exclusive of Sundays, from the Week ended 27th May, 1848, exclusive, to the Week ended 24th November, 1849, inclusive.
of time during the last year and
9,871 | 211
Travelling and Inspection, generally with examination of
pupil-teachers, and frequently also to report upon the claims to augmentation of teachers' salaries under certificates . .. Diary reports, correspondence, interviews with promoters of
schools, devising circuits, notices of inspection, &c., occupy.
two in the spring of 1849, and two of female teachers in the
autumn of 1849.
Total examinations ,
General Report . .
4 35 2
The “ miscellaneous” section of this table needs no further comment; but a comparison of the other two shows, that upwards of one-fourth of the whole available time for the inspection of schools, and the examination of teachers for certificates
* Being those in which the authorized version of the Scriptures is daily used, whether without Catechisms, on the principles of the British and Foreign School Society, or with them, on the principles of the several Protestant denominations which admit to their schools children exempted, on the requisition of their parents, from learning such Catechisms.
of merit, was occupied by the latter duty only; with the necessary effect of restricting the labours of inspection almost wholly to the schools which receive your Lordships' annual grants for pupil teachers, or in augmentation of the salaries of the head teachers. The following pages will show that there is no ground for supposing, however, that this temporary limitation of the field of duty has in any degree impaired the power of the existing provisions for elevating the popular education of the country, but quite the contrary; and even the meetings of teachers for examination will, I trust, have had an improving effect upon those who have attended them, beyond the mere attainment of their express object, and the demonstration which has been afforded of their true character, as scenes of pleasurable and honourable, if also of arduous exertion, in which even failure is the best lesson towards success, while success only is published. It is needless, however, to dwell upon this subject, beyond expressing the sincere respect which I entertain for the teachers generally, who have heretofore presented themselves for examination; and my conviction that they will take certificates of such merit as can be ascertained by examinations like ours, without being led to look with the less solicitude to the growth in their own hearts of that practical piety which must ever be the basis of the life and labours of a successful teacher.
In the 289 days devoted to inspection, and the discharge of the various duties of correspondence, &c., I travelled 9,871 miles, inspected 275 schools, and passed 382 pupil-teachers, besides candidates ; being 34 miles per day, and, for the 211 days, exclusive of the Saturdays, generally one school, and, for one-fourth of the time, two schools per day; or 142 children and nearly 2 pupil-teachers ; besides reporting on the aug. mentation of salaries to 28 schoolmasters. This statement will be vouched by Appendix V., at the end of which will be found the total number of each class of schools, and of the children contained in them.
At the date of my last Report, I had inspected only seven
Wesleyan schools, of which, one at Lambeth (p. 437), is a pian, a new British school in organization, as are several others of oldest
establishment by Wesleyan societies, as at Radnor-street, City. road (p. 402), Great Queen-street (p. 409), and Limehouse (p. 409.) The perfect arrangement which had then recently been made on the part of your Lordships with the Committe appointed by the Wesleyan Conference, and which includes a model deed and a complete system of government for the schools of that connexion, has since had the effect of so aug. menting the number of them applying for annual aid under the Minutes of 1846, that they now form one-third of the whole number receiving it that come under my inspection. It becomes incumbent upon me, therefore, to give a brief special notice of these schools; since, with the few exceptions already noticed,
Wesleyan Schools on tie Glasgow
all the most vigorous form an entirely distinct class from the British, Infant, or Village schools, which I have heretofore had to describe, having been organized on the plans of the “ Glasgow Training System."
They are a remarkable monument of exertion for the Christian education of youth, made by the Wesleyan societies throughout the kingdom, chiefly within the last ten years, during which they have had the advantage of a central organization expressly for this purpose, around the Wesleyan Committee of Education, composed of an equal number of ministers and laymen, appointed annually at the Conference. The total number of the Wesleyan day-schools in England and Wales, returned to this Committee in 1848, was 64 for boys only; 58 for girls only;56 for infants only; and 229 mixed schools, expressly for boys and girls, but into which an infant section is commonly found obtruded. The total number of schools was thus 343, and of their scholars 37,704; the Sunday-schools of the same denomination, to the elevation of which these day-schools are already operating, being no fewer than 4,227 ; of voluntary teachers in them, 81,341; and of scholars, 438,690. It is only a part of the more vigorous of the Wesleyan, as of the British schools, which have yet, therefore, been enabled to avail themselves of the advantages offered by your Lordships' recent Minutes.
Their school premises are generally respectable in dimen- Character of sions and construction, though they frequently want more up-compared ward ventilation by outlets into chimneys, air-flues, or other writishat of orifices in or near the ceiling; while, on the other hand, con- Schools. sidering their usual situation in towns, considerable effort has been made to give them the great advantage of a playyard, upon which their systeni sets a merited value. The
provision of such premises alone was a great effort on the part of societies whose members are certainly not reputed to be above the average in the advantages of worldly fortune, and who in many localities have scarcely any in their number above the humbler middle, or the artisan classes; and yet, as at Mousehole, Stonehouse, &c., they have not shrunk from the sacrifice. Still, it must be obvious, that the proportion of the subscribers who hoped to reap advantage in having a good Christian education brought home to their own children, was greater than among the subscribers to any other class of schools upon which I have to report; and that such persons could scarcely be expected to contribute more to the annual support of the school than a fair fee for the cducation of their own children. The amount of extraneous aid, therefore, in addition to the school fees, is less in proportion in this than in other class of public rschools, compared with which they have generally, Therefore, more of a self-supporting character. In many instances, it was indeed anticipated that they would prove wholly
self-supporting ; and I trust that neither this hope nor its partial disappointment will raise a doubt in your Lordships' minds as to whether they may come fully within the scope of your provisions for schools for the poorer classes. They are all open to those classes at very low fees, of which many are excused payment; they are self-supporting only in proportion as their supporters are poor; and the meed of success which has been vouchsafed to them in circumstances so difficult, is to me a witness of their Christian character; for I have never known success to attend the efforts of persons of the same class in society, for the education of their own and their poorer neighbours' children, which had not a religious basis.
The extent to which these observations are really applicable will be seen by the following table, in which the receipts from subscriptions, donations, and collections, are seen to be 50 per cent. greater in the British than in the Wesleyan schools; while the receipts from school fees are 20 per cent. greater in the Wesleyan; the total income of each being as nearly as possible equal, as is also the total expenditure, and even each item of it.
AVERAGE Income and Expenditure in the British Schools taken indiscri
minately, and in the selected class of Wesleyan Schools applying for Pupil Teachers.-See Minutes for 1846, vol. ii., pp. 164-7, and Appendix VIII. to the present Report.
The attendance in the Wesleyan schools is here seen to be about 12 per cent. less than in the British, and by a subjoined statement of the ages of the children, it will be ages of the observed that the attendance in Wesleyan mixed schools, is each class of of a rather superior range of ages to that which is found in schowks. the British mixed schools, which occur only in poor localities, , and include the infants, as well as the boys and girls. In none of the schools are there more than 10 per cent. above 12 years of age, while the proportion above 10 is only 18 per cent., in either the Wesleyan or British mixed schools; while in the boys' and girls' schools of each class it is about 25 per cent.
ABSTRACT of the Ages of the Children in 73 Schools, and of the proportion
per cent, in attendance at each age.
The teachers of the Wesleyan schools have been carefully character. selected by the Central Wesleyan Education Committee in methods of London, from candidates, members of, and commonly reared in the Teachers the Society, from all parts of the kingdom; and they have leyan Schools generally received at least a year's training at the Normal School, at Glasgow, sustained through all its vicissitudes chiefly by the energies of Mr. Stow, whose name is universally associated with its plans and methods. They are men worthy of the Society, of their selection, and of their office; and well calculated to imbibe with ardour the spirit of the institution to