HC Deb 13 March 1884 vol 285 c1342

asked the Vice President of the Council, Whether it is a fact that the schoolmistress of the Tarrant Munckton School in Dorsetshire has received a notification that every girl under ten years of age at her examination will have to repeat a hundred lines of Shakespeare, and if over that age two hundred lines; what advantage is anticipated from such study to children who are chiefly of the agricultural labourer class; and, if he will recommend that some other course of instruction may be substituted which is likely to be of more value to them in after life?


It is not a fact, Sir, that the schoolmistress of Tarrant Munckton, or any other teacher, has received such a notification as that referred to in the hon. Member's Question. When children reach the Sixth and Seventh Standards—which, I regret to say, only about 3½ per cent stay long enough to attain to—they may, if the managers choose to take class subjects, learn during the year 150 lines from Shakespeare, or any other standard author. Children under 10 years of age are at the most required to learn a few simple verses of poetry. I am informed by the correspondent of this school that Shakespeare has never been taught in it. The very few elder scholars in it—only three or four altogether—have been learning the required number of lines from Macaulay's "Lays."