« PreviousContinue »
that of the Latin language, and moreover enables the schoolmaster to understand the New Testament better. Still most of the advantages alluded to are perhaps sufficiently secured by the study of Latin; and, whilst subjects of essential importance are very inadequately cultivated, the student's time cannot properly be expended upon an additional language.
It may be urged that the acquisition of Greek tends to fit masters of higher ability and culture for a future entrance into the ministry of the Church. But these institutions are supported in order to train schoolmasters, and not clergymen ; and we must not weaken the laudable and healthy ambition of their students to become good schoolmasters; and at the same time, perhaps, stimulate
the morbid ambition to place themselves in a higher social position, and one for which assuredly very few of them at present are adapted. In this college, however, the study of Greek has not been introduced with any such views as these, or apparently with any of the evil consequences alluded to.
From the preceding sketch of results it will be apparent that there has been, in this Institution, no stint in the supply of objects of instruction and culture; that a zealous and forward spirit has animated the laborious and earnest teachers of it. If some subjects, especially those connected with science and natural philosophy, have not been sufficiently cultivated; yet, on the whole, too much has, in my opinion, been put before the student. Why should we, in our training colleges, set at nought the principles on which the instruction in our best schools and our Universities is founded; viz., that of teaching well a limited number of subjects; and such subjects only as most call forth and exercise the intellectual powers, with comparatively small regard to the mere acquisition of knowledge? Let us see that the trained master possesses the knowledge which he will be called upon to communicate; and more: let us lay in his mind a sound scientific foundation for every part of this knowledge to rest steadily upon; so that the structure may have connexion, unity, and completeness, as far as it extends. If we send forth the teacher to the discharge of his lowly but momentous duties with, in most cases, only a moderate range of attainment ; let us provide that he have acquired such a readiness in all that concerns the art of teaching as will render his knowledge at once available. Nothing like this has yet been satisfactorily realised, so far as I know, by any of our Training Colleges; and perhaps they might have approached more nearly to it, had their aims been more strictly limited to a range detined by the practical objects for which they have been instituted.
It would be useless entering into any calculation to show that the supply of teachers from this Institution is utterly inadequate to the district for which it is intended. The applications that are
made to it for masters are so numerous, that but a small proportion of them can be attended to; and the want thus manifested must daily increase. And yet the supply of properly qualified students is very inadequate also. I observed that a considerable number of the pupils in their first year, and those lately come, were extremely illiterate," and sadly deficient in qualifications of
It was clear that not a few were entering the profession of a schoolmaster merely on account of their unfitness for anything else. It seems that those who conduct the college are not unaware of this; but that they feel themselves obliged to admit such as they can get, and would gladly get better material to work upon if they could. This, however, is an evil which we may trust to see rapidly diminishing as the apprenticeship system, under the minutes of 1846, advances. It appears that in this college the best pupils, in every way, have been the Ripon exhibitioners, who have been selected from the pupil teachers of national schools.
I am enabled by the Principal to make the following statement regarding those pupils who have gone forth from the college :
“Since 1842, 82 masters have taken charge of schools: of these 40 were placed in the diocese of Ripon, 35 in that of York, and 7 in other dioceses; 3 are deceased; 2 have forfeited their claim to the patronage of the Board, one from intemperance, the other from dirty liabits; 2 are in lunatic asylums; 13 have left the schools to which they were originally appointed for others within the two dioceses, chiefly on account of inadequate salaries. There is only one exception to this remark; one, on his removal, went into the diocese of Durham. Two have abandoned the occupation of schoolmaster, one from incompetence, the other from a preference to another line of life. None have been admitted to holy orders; and 60 remain at the schools to which they were first appointed.”.
The Institution has had, and has still, to struggle with great difficulties in every way. It has, however, found persevering support, and has been conducted with persevering effort and devotedness to its object. It is nothing to say that the means have been imperfect, that much remains to be done, and done better. Institutions of this kind are discreditably new to our country, and it must be long before they take a settled form, or do their work in an entirely satisfactory manner. Experience however is fast improving them, and causes are at work which will probably increase their efficiency as rapidly as they will their number.
I learn from the Principal, that practical fruits have already resulted from the inspection upon which I have now the honor 10 report to my Lords. He says, that “those pupils who have entered only for a short period, in hope of being qualified in some degree for the trust of a school, are now convinced that their best, and indeed their only policy, is to prolong their stay and enlarge their attainments. They foresee that they will in a few years be regarded, as their predecessors have been, as persons unfit for their charge, and whom it is desirable to eject. Instead, therefore, of readily accepting those vacancies which have been thrown in their way, they have in several instances declined appointments, and preferred remaining in the Institution. “Conduct of this kind," he adds, “in men steeped in poverty, tells no unpleasant tale. They have learned to estimate better the requirements of a schoolmaster; and the community will eventually learn to do the same."
The Principal's testimony accords well with the impressions which seemed to be produced, at the time of the examination, upon those submitted to it. At its close, they presented to me an address, expressing their thanks for the manner in which it had been conducted. In one passage of this address, they spoke thus :-"Whatever the results of the examination may be to ourselves, we feel deeply sensible that it, and the circumstances attending it, have been of an elevating character. We are inspired with juster views of what is required of us; we have obtained information for the direction of our future reading; and we feel ourselves nerved to go on with energy in the course we have begun, and by private study to strive after the removal of those deficiencies under which we now labour."
Middle School. This has been part of the establishment since its commencement.' It forms the practising school, and it helps to meet the expenses. It consisted, at my visit, of 51 day pupils and of 86 yeomen pupils or boarders. The former pay per
each, the latter 221. per annum. A few of the more backward pupils in training are sometimes taught in the middle school, and a few of the more advanced middle-school pupils are taught in the upper school.
These arrangements, as I have before remarked, have never received even the indirect sanction of the Committee of Council on Education, who would have greatly preferred that the practising school had been a school for the poor alone.
The school was arranged in six classes, the lowest class containing some children only five or six years old. The discipline was not very strict, nor the order precise; but the boys were well behaved and attentive. The catechetical method prevailed throughout in the instruction.
The writing was good; reading fluent, but with little attention to expression. Writing, from dictation, well done, though with occasional mistakes in spelling, which were entirely avoided in the vivâ voce examination.
A written account of something connected with their knowledge done well by several. Mental calculation very ready and accurate, Notation moderately known. Arithmetic very fair ; interest, fractions, and decimals fairly worked by several; the early rules of mensuration by a few. English grammar well and intelligently known. Latin begun by the first class. Outlines of the early part of History of England well known. Religious knowledge, in most respects, good.
The Yeoman School. The proposal for founding, in connexion with the Training School, one for the sons of Yorkshire yeomen, was made to the Committee in April, 1845, by Viscount Morperh, and steps were taken immediately for carrying the design into execution. In January, 1816, the school was opened with 20 pupils, for whose accommodation premises were hired at no great distance from the training school." In August, 1846, the pupils were transferred to one wing of the training school, at that time unoccupied. The increased accommodation permitted an increase in the number, which soon rose to above 50. At the time of my visit, the handsome, well-arranged, and well-fitted building prepared for them was occupied, and there were 86 yeomen pupils.
The object proposed in founding a yeoman school was to give 10 the sons of the middle classes a cheap and good education, and to ensure their moral and religious training in the principles of the Church of England. Its connexion with the Training School has been very advantageous to the latter in a financial point of view. One peculiarity in this Institution is, that the middle school helps considerably to support it.
One feature in the education intended to be given in the yeoman school was instruction in “ Chemistry, mechanics, or any other branch of science which may tend to promote acuteness and intelligence in agriculture or manufactures." This part of the design has, however, not yet been developed, but it is intended to appoint “ a chemical master, to be resident in the Institution, to assist in the daily instruction of the pupils, to superintend and direct them in experiments to be made by themselves, and from time to time to deliver courses of lectures.' Such a master would be of great advantage to the whole Institution, and help to supply some of its most palpable defects.
I have only to add that, upon my suggestion, my Lords were kind enough to request Mr. Hullah to assist me in ascertaining the musical attainments of the students, and that part of the results of his examination has been embodied in the report upon the candidates for certificates of merit, which I have had the honor of transmitting to their Lordships. I have ihe honor to be, &c.,
A. THURTELL. To the Secretary of the Committee of Council on Education.