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upon the blessing of a good and Christian education, as every man's birthright, and a parent's neglect of securing it for his child, as a crime against the community. The laws which, in Germany, compel the attendance of every child at some recognized school, for a prescribed period of its life; which provide that the child shall have support, and decent clothes in which to go there; and thus leave none to be picked up in the streets, and coaxed into attendance at a "ragged school," these laws have not been forced on the people by despotic rulers, but have received the full support of public opinion. Frederick the Great began the work in North Germany, which we set about some few years ago, and in which we have, as yet, very niuch to do. There can be no good reason why every beneficial result of what has been done abroad should not attend our exertions ; and there are many reasons for thinking that to us advantages will accrue, exceeding theirs in every respect.
There is another class of children, that came occasionally under my observation, whose condition is perhaps still more deplorable than that of any of those employed in cotton-mills, except only as regards their bodily health, which seemed satisfactory enough I allude to the children employed in cotton-print works, with regard to whom the Legislature merely requires that they shall attend school, on the whole, 150 hours during cach half-year. This regulation has been adopted on account of the irregular nature of the work required of the children, the times for which cannot, it is said, be predetermined. Of the necessity I cannot judge ; but the smallness of the benefit derived by the children from their occasionally dropping in for an hour or two, and the disadvantage to the schools of having their systematic proceedings so intruded upon and disturbed, were sufficiently obvious.
If instead of a requirement of 150 hours, it were possible to dispose the same time for instruction in half-days, so that each child attended school during 50 half-days each half-year, it would be greatly to the advantage of the children. In most schools the occupation of each half-day is, or might be, arranged so as to include the most important lessons; thus no essential part of the instruction would be entirely lost to the children. Three hours' continuous instruction, moreover, would effect much more for them than three separate hours.
With regard also to another class of children, whose condition the law does not altogether neglect, viz., those employed in mines, I may add an extract from a letter addressed to me by an intelligent schoolmaster, and to which fully corresponds whatever I learned respecting the same class elsewhere :-“At the age of 10, they are allowed to go down and work in the mines; and, no sooner are they arrived at that age, than their parents, generally anxious and desirous that they should contribute something towards their own maintenance, readily seize the opportunity for accomplishing their wishes. The effect produced upon the moral character hereby is, of course, very striking and serious, and is soon discernible in an irreverence in general tone and behaviour. Example carries with it more than precept, and therefore quickly causes to be obliterated all the good impressions that have been made during the short stay at school.”
It will be found, I believe, that there are still in the district, classes of children whose education is in a deplorable condition, for whom no law at present provides, and yet with respect to whom regulations, similar to those now in force, might with advantage be made. My opportunities for observation have not, however, given me full and satisfactory evidence of this.
In all the above mentioned, and in other like instances, it is too much to expect that poor and ignorant parents should make, of their own free motion, such sacrifices for the education of their children, as the foregoing their children's wages, and, in addition, incurring expenses on their behalf. Again, from the improvements in the machinery used in various occupations, the labour of very young children is made more valuable than it ever was before ; so that, instead of the parent supporting the child, the reverse is often the case. It is certain that, where this is the case, the danger of the parent's neglecting to provide education for his child, and the difficulty he has in doing it, however good his will may be, are greatly increased. And yet it can scarcely be to the real interests of parent or child, or to that of society, that this tendency should be allowed free course. It seems clearly a subject for wise legislation, and one which can only be dealt with by a succession of measures which shall gradually meet the evils that observation brings to view, and employ the experience of the past to render new efforts more efficient. No one can doubt that the provisions, hitherto made in this respect, have been highly beneficial to the classes that they affect, and we may hope that the benefit may in due time be increased, and extended to the still more numerous classes that remain untouched by what has been
Examinations with reference to the Apprenticeship of Pupil
Teachers. In several of the schools, to which the previous part of this Report refers, candidates for apprenticeship were selected, and some have been apprenticed to their teachers. A large proportion, however, of the young persons that were at first presented by the school managers, as being likely to prove fit for apprenticeship, were found inadequately instructed and trained. It was manifest that not a few had left other occupations and returned to their schools, induced by the advantages held out in the Minutes of August and December, 1846.
The attainments and fitness of the candidates presented for
in this respect.
my examination, during the present year, were, in general, considerably greater. The lapse of some months had made a sensible difference. The requisite qualifications had become better appreciated, and great efforts had been made to raise both scholars and pupil teachers up to the new standard, which, it had been discovered, was to be rigidly insisted on. There will soon be no objection to putting the most rigid interpretation that is possible on the terms in which the qualifications of candidates for apprenticeship are described. The best pupils of 13 years of age will be readily provided with them in all of the better class of schools.
In one respect the preparation of almost all the candidates was defective, viz., in their ability to inanage and instruct a class. Very few of them had much notion of teaching; and yet, from the improvement I witnessed in the teaching powers of the apprentices at the end of the first year, there seems no doubt that the candidates for apprenticeship will soon be brought to a satisfactory state
An important part of these examinations, and one which tends to lessen greatly the hardships to which many deserving teachers will be put, in striving to reach the new standard of requirement in their calling, is the examination to which the teacher is invited, in the subjects of instruction, during the following year, that are prescribed for the pupils apprenticed to him. All the younger teachers, who possess fair natural abilities and energy, will thus be led gradually to the attainment of the reasonable amount of qualifications required for obtaining a certificate of merit. As soon as it is understood with what moderation, and consideration for practical ends, that standard has been set, and how assured
school teacher may feel of being able to reach it, by simply obtaining a good acquaintance with the subjects which he is teaching every day, and by cultivating the power of teaching those subjects efficiently, few of the better class of teachers, it is to be hoped, will hesitate to apply vigorously to the obtaining of this essential requisite for success in their vocation.
Before giving lists of the schools visited this year, in order to ascertain whether the last year's apprentices had made the prescribed progress, to examine fresh candidates, and to satisfy their Lordships that the schools in question, and their teachers, were fit to be intrusted with apprentices, I will record my impressions respecting the working of the new system in the few schools in which pupils were apprenticed previously to the month of July, 1847.
After making great allowance for prepossessions, arising from my very office, and from the hopes connected with a subject of deep and long-felt interest, I think there can be no mistake in stating that the results, in the instances that have come under my own observation, have been most satisfactory. In returning to the schools in which I last year left these young apprentices, with, in general, but meagre attainments, and little peculiar sense of, or apparent fitness for, the duties to which they were about to devote themselves, the change was very striking. When they appeared, it was manifest that their growth in stature was less remarkable than their growth in the tone and bearing suited to their new calling. The inducements to self-control, the stimulus to exertion, the constant sense of responsibility which belonged to their posi. tion, had exercised a great influence upon them, the results of which were palpable. They had been making steady progress in instruction and culture. They had arrived at another, and higher, position in the scale of civilized and educated people. Retaining the humility, the simplicity, and the playfulness of youth, they showed something of the gravity of persons with duties before them. It was impossible not to feel respecting them a lively interest.
They all succeeded in passing the examination for which they had been preparing; some answered with great readiness, fulness, and accuracy, and showed in their teaching, and in their management of children, that they had made great advances in the first qualifications of a school teacher. When we have a multitude of young persons so trained, from whom to choose the teachers of our elementary schools, the result upon the education of the country will be felt, to a degree which it is difficult to estimate; and, with an abundant supply of persons who can really instruct the children of our poor, the other requisites to a good general education will be found with comparative ease. The want of competent teachers has been, and is, the great educational want. Buildings have been already provided to a considerable extent ; good books will be supplied, when we have good teachers; and good teachers will shame us into finding support for them.
A large proportion of the future apprentices will, doubtless, never become school-teachers at all. But, wherever they go, they will carry with them principles and powers, the influence of which cannot but be beneficially felt by the community. They will have been really educated; educated in the control of their lower nature, in the diligent application to duty, and in the fear and love of God. They will have, it is true, more real and enlarged knowledge, and more intellectual training, than many of those in higher walks of life have had hitherto, or will have hereafter, it may be. Still, society has everything to hope, and can have nothing to fear, from them; for all their education has been connected with lowly labour and self-sacrifice; with self-control, for the sake of good influence over others; with higher aims, and with the highest truths. Such fellow-citizens, such subjects, can never and nowhere, be dangerous,-except to the evil that is in the world.
It will be observed, from the following list of schools, that the influence of the apprentices, upon the condition of the schools with which they are connected, has been very beneficial. The following schools were only visited with reference to the apprenticeship of pupil teachers, and only so far examined as seemed requisite for the purpose of determining, whether their condition was such as to make them suitable for the training of young persons intended for school teachers.
Schools in which Pupil Teachers were apprenticed in 1847, and
which were again partially inspected in 1848.
BICKERSTAFFE, May 24, 1848. Boys' School.-One apprentice. Average attendance 45; present at inspection 53; arranged in four classes. Order fair; drill well gone through. The state of the instruction was not so good as last year; but, in addition to the season of my visit being unfavourable to an agricultural school, the excellent master, who had charge last year, left soon after my visit, and a second change of masters had occurred in the course of the year. The master now in charge came last January.
The same care as before has, I doubt not, been taken of the school ; and it is a very good one. Last year's plans, for forming an agricultural school here, are at present in abeyance.
Girls' School.-Two apprentices. Average attendance 50; present at inspection 59. Arranged in five classes. Girls
very neat, in particularly good order, and very attentive. On all the points, on which I tested the instruction, the results were very satisfactory. The mistress had manifestly taken great pains, and the school had been considerably improved in several respects; greatly, no doubt, through the aid of the pupil teachers. The musical instruction in both schools is very good.
BOLTON, EMMANUEL, May 30.
Boys' School.-One apprentice. Average daily attendance 200; arranged in seven classes. Besides the pupil teacher, three lads were presented as candidates. The result of such examination of the school, as I could find time for, was satisfactory in every respect. The neatness, order, and attention, were very great. Singing taught with good results by the pupil teacher; the instruction active and efficient; the teaching of the pupil teacher, and of the candidates for apprenticeship, was particularly good; great pains had clearly been taken to inake it so. I regretted to hear that the master had resigned; he is to be succeeded by another from the Battersea Training Institution.
Girls' School.-One apprentice. Average attendance 104. Girls arranged in seven classes; there is an assistant mistress besides the pupil teacher ; each monitor serves one day in the week. Order and attention not very good. Instruction in rather