« PreviousContinue »
INSPECTORS REPORTS, &c.
Report on Schools inspected in the North Western District, com
prising the Counties of Lancaster, Cumberland, and Westmoreland; for the Year 1847-8; by Her Majesty's Inspector of Schools, the Rev. ALEXANDER THURTELL, M.A., Fellow and lately Tutor of Caius College, Cambridge.
June 30, 1848. I HAVE the honor to present to the Lords of the Committee of Council on Education a report on the work of my inspection, since my appointment in January, 1847. Besides the occupations that form the subject of this report, I have been engaged in the inspection of the Training Institution at Battersea, in conjunction with Mr. Moseley, and in that of the York and Ripon Diocesan Training School. For an account of this work, I must refer to special reports already transmitted to their Lordships. Occasional special reports respecting individual schools have been made, to which I need make no reference here.
The greater part of the present report concerns schools, mostly in Manchester and its neighbourhood, which were inspected in 1847, between the middle of February and the beginning of July.
From that time till the end of October, 1847, I was mainly occupied in work connected with the inspection of the Training Institutions at Battersea and York. At the close of last October, it pleased God to afflict me with a severe illness, which entirely disabled me from work till the latter end of January, and from the effects of which I had not fully recovered before April. Whilst I was unable to attend to my district, the most pressing business was kindly undertaken, at their Lordships' request, by the Rev. M. Mitchell and the Rev. J. J. Blandford. The remainder of my time, during the present year, has been taken up in work connected with the Easter examination of schoolmasters; in the examination of candidates for apprenticeship, and the examination also of the schools in which, and of the teachers to which, they were to be apprenticed; and lastly, in the corresponding examination of schools in which pupil teachers were apprenticed in 1847.
Appended to this report will be found a table of the schools inspected last year, all of which lie in and about Manchester, Rochdale, Bury, Bolton-le-Moor, Burnley, and Preston. These schools were all inspected pretty fully. From five to seven hours a-day were usually spent in ascertaining as rapidly as possible, and in recording, the attainments of every part of each school in each department of the instruction.
The “ general observations” on these schools have been carefully condensed from my daily reports, for the most part, at the time of my drawing them up; and, when taken in connexion with the numbers tabulated, they afford a definite measure of the state of each school at the time of my visit. These “general observations” are more briefly drawn up for the schools that were first visited; but, from having for many years been accustomed to visit and examine schools, the results were obtained at first with as much certainty, though not with quite the same rapidity, as afterwards. All records of mere general impressions have been, as far as possible, avoided; and it has been my endeavour to ascertain a number of indisputable facts, sufficient to preclude the necessity for remarks of that nature, either on the schools or their teachers.
· There is one set of numbers in this table to which I attach especial importance. It is that which indicates the attainment of each school in reading. The standard for fixing such numbers must of course be different with every Inspector; but they seem to me to afford an extremely good test of the comparative activity of instruction in schools examined by the same person; and their usual correspondence with the results of the rest of the examination has much struck me.
Before remarking upon special points regarding these schools, it may be well to state at once some general results.
I have made a list of the schools, in which the character of each, as being excellent, good, fair, moderate, or bad, has been noted. Each set of children, under an independent teacher, has been considered to form a separate school. With the infants' schools have been classed some in which elder girls are also taught; and in many of the rest there was found one class, at least, of mere infants. The result of the analysis, thus made, is represented in the following table:
The six excellent schools for boys are those at Stretford, Bickerstaffe, Deane, Bolton (Holy Trinity), Bury (St. Paul's), and Rochdale. I have considered as fair schools for boys those at Middleton, Manchester St. Michael's, Astley, and Manchester Bennet-street. The two excellent schools for girls are those at Bolton (Holy Trinity), and Staley-bridge (St. Paul's); the excellent mixed school is that at Leigh; and those for infants are at Manchester (St. Ann's), Salford (Great George-street), Habergham (All Saints', Cheapside), and Middleton. The girls' schools at Stretford, Manchester (St. Ann's), and Atherton-the mixed schools at Oldham (St. James'), and Littleborough,—and the infants’schools at Manchester (All Souls') and Southshore,-have been designated as fair.
It is manifest from the table, that the schools in which boys alone are taught are in the most satisfactory condition; and that next to them stand those in which infants alone are taught, with a peculiar organisation, and methods specially adapted to infants. Of the mixed schools that are in a satisfactory condition, I observe that every one has a man as principal teacher. On the whole, it appears that the schools taught by mistresses are the least efficient. Perhaps this result was to be expected, since comparatively little has hitherto been done to train young women as mistresses for any schools, but those for infants.
The table indicates, it may be thought, that the condition of the schools in this district is not on the whole unsatisfactory; for the great majority of boys' schools, and a majority of the whole number inspected, are reported to be in a fair condition.
This, however, would be, in my opinion, a very erroneous conclusion. In the first place, have every reason to think that the Church schools, under inspection in the district, include most, or nearly all, of those that are in a tolerably good state.
And again, the standard set is a very low one, and has been adopted rather with a view to arrange these schools in classes, and to compare them with each other, than with reference to any idea of what they ought to be.
I am fully convinced that the result of the measures now in operation for the advancement of the people's education, without assuming any such development of them as may naturally be anticipated, will soon be to place a large proportion of schools, selected as these have been, on a level with those which I have ventured to call excellent, and to give a less favorable appellation to such as I have called fair.
I will now offer some observations on their organisation, discipline, instruction, &c.
Organisation. After the pains that have been taken for years that every school teacher should know “the system," and ihe satisfaction which,