Слике страница
PDF
ePub

average number of boys in each school was 58, of girls 44, and of infants 80.

With very few exceptions, the children are taught by one another, on what is called the monitorial system, being arranged in classes, of which there are usually from 4 to 8 in each school, each class containing from 6 to 20 children (the average number being 13 in a boys' school and 10 in a girls' school), and being placed in charge of a monitor, whose age varies from 8 to 13

years (the average age being between 10 and 11).

The master exercises a general supervision of the school, and, taking the place occasionally of one of the monitors, examines and teaches the classes in succession.

The following is a tabular statement of the number of children present in the schools at the time of my inspection, and of their organization

:

[blocks in formation]

Number present during inspection 4,780 3,574 1,688
Number of schools examined . 83 82 21
Average number of children in

57 43 80
each school.
Number of classes .

363 350 Average number in each class

13 10

[blocks in formation]

::

::

The Ages of the Children. It is a general impression amongst those persons who are likely to be the best informed on the subject, that the average age of the children who attend our elementary schools is steadily sinking.

We may be educating more, but they are, I believe, younger children, and stay with us a less time. The labouring poor are apparently less disposed than they once were to make sacrifices that their children may go to school. A disposition to employ them from the earliest period at which their labour is available, towards the maintenance of the family, is growing upon them, and a public opinion unfavourable to the school, first, probably, set in motion in the manufacturing districts, is extending itself to all others. The multiplication of schools has tended to this result, and the cheap rate at which education is offered. Its value has been thus depreciated in the market.

In respect to 27 boys' schools and 20 girls' schools, I ascertained the ages of the childreu present at my inspection, and found them as follows:

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

From the above table I have collected the following:

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

From the above, it appears that half the boys in these schools were under 9 years of age, and that only 1 boy in 25 was above the

age of 13, and 1 in 4 above the age of 11. I have recorded in a table annexed to this Report the particulars in respect to each school from which the above tables are collected, and also the mean age of the children in each school. (Appendix C.)

The average age is, of course, less in manufacturing than in other districts. The following is a statement of the ages of the 114 children in the boys' school at St. Mark's, Birmingham, at my inspection in September, 1845.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]

Thus 80 per cent. of the boys in this school were under 9 years of age, and only 1 child in 10 was above 11 years of age.

There were 14 boys employed in this school on alternate days as monitors, of whom

4 were 8 years of age,
5 9
3 10

2 12 Within a month after my visit, 3 between 11 and 12 years of age, 2 between 10 and 11, and 10 under 10, had left to go to work.

The shifting Character of the Attendance on Schools. Its changing character is a remarkable feature of the attendance upon the schools of large towns, and particularly of manufacturing towns. The numbers of the school keep up, but the faces of the children change.

A manufacturing population is less stationary than any other. The parents shift their workshops and their abodes, from one sectio.. or suburb to another, and send their children in succession to all the schools in the district. Evidence of this fact might be found, I believe, in all the returns made to me from such districts. I take the first that presents itself. In the boys' school at

there were 156 children on the books when I last inspected that school (August, 1846), and 144 had left and 128 entered it * since the date of my preceding inspection (September, 1845).

There were, therefore, not probably more than 12 or 14 of the children in this large school present at my second inspection whom I had seen there 12 months before.

Whilst this perpetual change of the children is, no doubt, in a great measure due to the shifting character of the population, it must, nevertheless, in some degree be attributed to the varying estimate formed by the parents of the merits of the schools; and whilst the one view of the case is full of discouragement, disclosing, as it does, an evil for which there would seem to be no remedy, I have found some consolation in the other.

This school of 156 children is taught by a single master, aided, on alternate days, by 15 monitors, whose average age is 1020 years, and only two of whom are above 12

years

age. However zealously and laboriously the services of the master might be given to the duties of so large a school; if the parents were found dissatisfied with it, it would not excite my surprise.

I am not aware that differs essentially from thers the circumstances to which I have directed your Lordships' attention.

of

* 89 had entered and 94 left during the preceding six months.

It may, indeed, be taken as the type of a large class of the schools which I have inspected.

I have obtained the following particulars in respect to a school, which may be taken to represent, in respect to its attendance, the class of town schools not situated in manufacturing districts. The

National School contains at the present time 96 children, and 88 have left it within a period of one year and nine months, terminating at Christmas, 1845. In respect to 63 of these 88 boys, I have ascertained that

20 had been in the school less than 1 year
17

between 1 and 2 years
10

2 3 10

3 4 4

4 5 1

5 6 1

6 7

[ocr errors]

The average time these children had remained in the school was 1 year 11 months 2 weeks 4 days.

The Register Books of Schools. I have appended to this Report specimens of the register books which are commonly in use in the schools which I have visited. (Appendix A.)

In No. 1, called a Class Register, a record is made of the attendance of each child every day; and if the child be absent, whether with or without leave, or by reason of sickness. Certain numbers also in the two last columns of this register indicate the child's standing in its class.

In No. 2 an abstract is made, in respect to the whole number of children in each class, of the results recorded in respect to each child in No. 1.

In No. 3 the date of the child's admission is registered, its age at that time, the name, residence, and occupation of the parents, and the time of its quitting the school.

No register can, however, be of value unless it be correctly and regularly kept. If it is impossible thus to speak of the way in which the register books of schools are at present kept, it is, I believe, often because the labour of the teacher in keeping them is an undervalued and a thankless one; and because it is in some measure a useless one; no conclusion being drawn from the mass of information contained in these books, however faithfully recorded.

To encourage the teachers themselves to extract from them such statistical results as are applicable to the history of their own schools, and, generally, to the progress of elementary instruction, would probably be the most certain way to provide for punctuality and accuracy in keeping them. Nor would it be the least advantage of researches such as these that they would not fail to stimulate the efforts of the master for the progress of the school, or to put him in possession of much information useful for his guidance in conducting it.

Every master might thus ascertain, in respect to his own school,

1. The number of children who were on the books at the com. mencement of the

year, 2. The number of children who have entered the school during

the year.

year. 4. The average time of a child's remaining in the school, drawn from a comparison of the first and last of these numbers,* and verified by similar comparisons extending over two or more preceding years.

5. The average number on the books, the average daily in attendance at the school, and the same average per cent.

6. The average number daily absent from the school, and the same average per cent.

7. The average per cent. absent daily from sickness, taken for the whole year, and in respect to the month when sickness was most prevalent.

8. The average number per cent. absent, with leave, and without leave.

9. The average age of the children in the school at the time the return is made, and the numbers under 7, between 7 and 8, 8 and 9, &c. &c.

10. The average time the children, in the school, at the time of the return, had then been in the school. Also the number who had been at school less than half a-year, and less than one year; the number between one and two years, the number between two and three years, and so on.

The same numbers per cent. in respect to the whole number who have left.

11. The total amount of the school pence, and the average payment per

child. 12. The total cost of maintaining the school, and the average cost per child.

These particulars might be recorded every half-year, in a book set apart for that purpose, and their accuracy certified by the school committee. And if a book were provided with printed forms for registering such results, the task would, I have no doubt, in many schools, be very cheerfully undertaken.

By no other means could it, perhaps, so readily be placed in

* If, for instance, at the commencement of the year there were 120 children in the school, and 40 have left during the year, it will follow, that at this rate of change, the whole 120 will have left in three years, and that the average time of the continuance of each in the school is therefore three years.

« ПретходнаНастави »