HL Deb 05 July 1867 vol 188 cc1045-62

rose to call attention to the Hardships entailed upon small Parishes by making the Employment of a certificated Teacher an indispensable Condition for their obtaining Government Assistance. The subject to which he proposed to direct their Lordships' attention was one replete with the utmost interest, both to every Member of that House and to every person in the country—he meant the question of education, and, in particular, the operation of the system by which under the present Revised Code Parliamentary assistance was conceded to schools, as well as the conditions by which such grants which were restricted. Their Lordships were, doubtless, well aware of the Motion brought forward during the two successive Sessions of 1862 and 1863 in "another place" by Mr. Walter, the then Member for Berkshire—namely— That to require the employment of certificated teachers by school managers as an indispensable condition of their participation in the Capitation Grant is inexpedient and unjust to managers of such schools; The Motion gave rise to much discussion, but was each time defeated. The speeches of the hon. Member in question seemed, nevertheless, to have produced some good result, for he found that, in 1865, a Select Committee was appointed to inquire, among other points, into the best mode of extending the benefits of Government Inspection and the Parliamentary grant to schools at that time unassisted by the State. The Committee examined a large number of witnesses without, however, arriving at any decision; though in a draft Report prepared by the Chairman, Sir John Pakington—which, however, was not carried—the following paragraph occurred:— That, although they cannot endanger the supply of competent teachers by proposing the abandonment of the teacher's certificate as a condition of assistance to the school, such a modification should be adopted as would prevent it from being, as it now is, an impediment to the extension of education, He (the Earl of Cork) owned that he relied to some extent upon this partial admission, coming from such a quarter, that one at least of the conditions exacted by the Privy Council operated as an impediment to the extension of education, to set him free from the imputation of factious fault-finding in bringing forward a grievance which, in his opinion required nice handling and careful adjustment; and he thought that in support of this opinion, he could refer their Lordships to no mean authorities on the subject—nay, he must be permitted to add that in stirring in this matter at all just now he was greatly prompted by a conviction of the really beneficial effect upon the country generally which would result from a strong expression of their Lordships' opinion upon points of moment and importance. For many years, while the question of National Education was pending, it was vehemently discussed by two antagonistic parties—namely, the advocates of a wholly voluntary system on the one side, and those who were desirous of State assistance on the other; while these latter were again divided among themselves as to whether the intervention of the State should carry with it the weight of religious training or be confined entirely to secular instruction. But the differences between the two antagonistic factions he might now assume to have practically adjusted themselves, inasmuch as the voluntary party was not only so widely spread as to have actual possession of the educational ground; but, moreover, the Report of the Commissioners of Education for 1859, most satisfactorily established the fact that the assistance hitherto obtained from Government, far from superseding, had additionally stimulated private expenditure; for while Government between 1839 and 1859 voted for educational purposes £4,400,000, the sum raised from other sources for the same purpose was £8,800,000. No one, indeed, could have studied the Report to which he had alluded or attended to the numerous debates which had taken place upon the subject, both in that House and "elsewhere," without arriving at the conviction that the Government of the day pursued the wisest course open to them between conflicting opinions in coming forward to help the voluntary efforts of the promoters of education by certain grants bestowed upon specified conditions. But allowing the original intentions of the Government to have been sound and right, let the House consider how these intentions had been carried out. Had these grants been distributed throughout the country equally in proportion to the need that existed, and fairly as regards the taxpayers, or, rather, on the contrary, had not their distribution created a privileged class, who, without resting solely upon the ground of superior merit, were yet able to enjoy exclusively what should be within reach of the whole? In thus alluding to certificated teachers, and in protesting against their monopoly of nearly all the Government aid, he was anxious to be understood to mean no disparagement of either themselves or the schools under their charge, nor to seek to institute any invidious comparison between the two classes of certificated and uncertificated teachers. Their respective merits had been most fully and ably discussed, both in 1859 and before the Committee of the House of Commons in 1865 and 1866. On the one side, Dr. Temple and Messrs. Bellairs and Norris, Government Inspectors of Schools, insisted strongly on the importance of a certificate, the superiority of assisted over unassisted schools, and the danger of any relaxation in the former respect; while, on the other, most of the gentlemen called by Mr. Walter seemed to agree with Mr. Lea, a Diocesan Inspector of Worcester, in thinking that— Payment by results, without certificate, would be a great encouragement to small schools, without any disadvantage; that it would practically lead to increased employment of certificated teachers; that some schools with uncertificated teachers are well worthy of the grant; that an experienced inspector could soon detect the true character and merit of the school, whether the teacher has a certificate or not. Then Mr. Fraser said— I have never seen any reason to modify in any way the opinion which I expressed before the Royal Commissioners—that, as a general rule, schools under certificated and trained teachers are very superior in discipline, organization, and instruction to schools under untrained and uncertificated teachers; but, at the same time, it is a rule which has many exceptions, and every now and then you come across a teacher who is neither certificated nor trained, but who is a very competent instructor and a very good organizer of a school. Such opinions as these must be based, more or less, upon individual experience, which experience must be, more or less, confined within a narrow field, and, however widely spread, could seldom arrive at constituting a full and impartial test. The real criterion of efficient teaching lay in the effects, not in the cause; or, in other words, in the pupils, and not in the masters. By establishing this test of efficiency as the real and paramount one, we should carry out with great fairness and certainty that system of payment by certain results recommended by the Commissioners in 1859 — namely, that if the results were bad there should be no pay, and vice versâ. He would call their Lordships' attention to the fact that in no profession of life was it made incumbent upon any candidate to adhere to some one particular school or tutor; but if once he passed the necessary examination he entered unimpeded upon the duties and advantages of his career. He would say, let the teachers of our smaller schools share the same comparative privilege, and they would gladly present their pupils to the necessary Government inspections, conscious of having done their best to earn the prospective reward. Mr. Winder, one of the Assistant Commissioners in 1859, said— I saw several, both inspected and uninspected, schools sufficiently efficient to deserve the grants if efficiency were the only test. Most of the latter would very gladly submit to inspection for the single purpose of obtaining the capitation money, so long as they were certified to deserve it. It certainly does seem hard that these schools, which, as far as the country at large is concerned, are as meritorious as any others, should have all public aid denied except on the condition of dismissing their tried and competent masters. That a master has not or cannot come up to a certain literary standard may be an excellent reason why he should not have the advanced education of pupil teachers in his hands, but it does not seem a very strong one for refusing to give him the means of teaching better the scholars whom he has proved he can teach well. In advocating the principle of payment by results, he was anxious not to be misunderstood. He did not desire that the Government system of according certificates to teachers should be altogether superseded. Let the managers of schools who thought it more to their advantage to employ certificated teachers by all means do so. Nor did he believe that a modification of the existing system would eventually have the effect of diminishing their number. He was aware that Her Majesty's late Government, in the Revised Code, took a step in the direction of affording greater facilities to schools which sought its assistance towards their securing it; but there nevertheless remained the difficulty caused by the Privy Council insisting upon the employment of certificated teachers, which difficulty was to many poor districts insuperable, since it prevented them having any claim upon the Government grant without incurring expenses beyond their means. The evidence upon this subject showed that the salaries of certificated teachers averaged from £20 to £25 a year more than those of the uncertificated teachers. It was thus perfectly impossible for the managers of the small schools in our lesser parishes, and the large schools in our poorer parishes, to obtain this additional sum. The consequence was that the richer parishes who really did not need help so much obtained it, and the poorer ones were passed by. The late Lord President of the Council (Earl Granville), in answer to the Question— Does not the condition of a certificate operate as a considerable premium to the salary of the master? said— I think it will find its level in course of time, but I should think that it had that effect now; and in answer to the Question— Have you any doubt that this condition does operate as a bar to the application for annual grants from rural schools under 1,000 inhabitants? he said— I think that it does. I think all safeguards for efficiency to a certain degree act as restrictions. Mr. Forster, who was one of the Assistant Commissioners of 1859, gave this important evidence upon this point— The most obviously well-founded complaint is, that the system is not calculated to reach the whole population; and that, as now administered, it inevitably excludes those that need it most. In the district I have been over, where the position of the labouring classes is much above the average of the whole country, only 35 per cent of the public schools, excluding 50 per cent of the children actually attending, are even nominally under Government inspection; while only 15 per cent schools, with 27 per cent scholars, receive that annual aid which alone insures regular supervision. The poorer neighbourhoods cannot afford the salaries for certificated teachers, and if they could they would not be able to obtain their services, although many deserving schools in poor neighbourhoods seem greatly to need help and would be thankful for it. This state of things fell with peculiar hardship on the poorer clergy, who took a great interest in their schools, and many of whom, with their families, subscribed liberally of their time and attention; for as the matter now stood the Government would assist the schools on which the managers bestowed money, but would not do so by the far more needy ones wherein they and their families could only give what was certainly equally useful, and to themselves perhaps more precious—namely, time and services. In nearly all the densely peopled town districts, for instance, the burden of education was chiefly thrown upon the clergy and sustained by their zeal and energy, and surely, when we considered how limited were their individual means, it was not overstating the case to say that few have such claims for aid as the workers in these less-favoured districts. Mr. Vaughan, Diocesan Inspector in Somerset, wrote to him thus— Allow me to point out the hardships the poorer clergy suffer. A poor clergyman can give his time to his school, and often get his school into first rate order by careful superintendence; he cannot afford to give money, and secure a certificated teacher. A rich man gives, say his £20 or £30, and never perhaps enters his school, obtains a certificated master, gets Government help. The gift of the poor clergyman's time is far more valuable than his neighbour's money, and he is discouraged," &c. As an instance of the unsatisfactory working of the present system, he said— In the parish of Wraxall, agricultural population 916, with rich and liberal landlords, we received more than £80 for our schools from Government. We have a certificated master and mistress. In another parish, population 1,500 or thereabouts, miners, no resident gentlemen, a poor parish, a master valued by the poor, a larger school than ours; no Government help is obtained, the master having no certificate. These parishes are contiguous. Mr. Hedley, one of the Assistant Commissioners, said— At present there is no doubt that the schools which need the help most, and which are (if their difficulties be taken into account) as deserving as any, are the least able to obtain it. The managers of rural schools say—and I think with reason—that they are not fairly treated as candidates for the grant. If persons who struggle most perseveringly to promote the education of the poor in the face of the utmost disparagement have any title to the help which the Capitation Grant would give their schools, the managers of village schools may certainly ask for some more favourable conditions to be attached to that grant. The system of requiring certificated teachers as a condition of Government assistance had had a fair trial, and much anxiety had been shown to share in its benefits; but nevertheless what were the results? Why, that while the sum of £636,000 was Voted by Parliament last year for educational purposes, there remained 11,000 schools in parishes, containing no less than 4,000,000 inhabitants in the aggregate, excluded by various reasons from such assistance. Although it might be true that a small proportion of these schools were injuriously affected by peculiar motives influencing their managers, with a much larger number the reasons that debarred the managers obtaining the services of a highly paid teacher, and so connecting themselves with the Government, were the smallness of the parish, the absence of a resident proprietor, and the short time for which, too often, the children were allowed to remain at school. This was particularly the case in the counties of Somerset, Dorset, and Cornwall, where more than half the parishes numbered less than 600 inhabitants each. He had a table showing that in Worcestershire, out of 143 parishes of less than 500 inhabitants each, only four were assisted by the State. In Warwickshire, out of 170 such parishes, only twelve were assisted. In the diocese of Canterbury about three out of every five schools received annual grants. In Shropshire, Cheshire, and Staffordshire, two-thirds of the schools in rural districts were unassisted. In Berkshire and Oxfordshire, of 168 schools in 229 parishes, only sixty-five received grants. In Devonshire and Cornwall only 233 schools received annual grants. In Somersetshire, out of 500 separate schools under diocesan inspection, only 206 received annual grants. In Norfolk and Suffolk 190 received them. In the county of Bucks only two-thirds of the parishes did. In Cumberland and Westmorland, out of 120 schools in connection with the Diocesan Board of Education at Carlisle, only eighty were connected with the Government. Surely the education of the people at large was at present a matter too paramount in importance to allow of the continuance of this number of neglected districts. It must be admitted by every one who looked on the subject with an unbiassed mind, that these things constituted a glaring evil, and that the system required amendment since it did not permeate through the country freely. He wished to see the subject lastingly settled on an equitable footing. The noble Earl at the head of the Government had admitted that there was a glaring evil; he said that the question was a difficult one, upon which he had not made up his mind, and that it was one to which the Committee of Council ought to turn their attention. The late Lord President of the Council (Earl Granville) in answer to the question You are aware that 11,000 parishes had not the advantage of either inspection or assistance? said— I may say since 1853 I have very constantly thought upon the question. I think it is a very great evil, and one which I wish to see remedied, but I believe that the greatest difficulty attends it. Mr. Bruce said— I think it most important that that portion of the country now receiving no assistance from education grants should be brought within the supervision of the Education Department. He also said— The present system is imperfect, since it only deals with a limited portion of the country: again he Considered the present state of the education question unsettled. For these reasons he (the Earl of Cork) earnestly pressed upon his noble Friend, the President of the Council, to go a step further than his predecessor had done, and to give effect to the views of the Commissioners of 1859, who said— The time is coming when a further attempt should be made to influence the instruction of the large body of superior schools and of superior pupils who have hitherto been little affected. He believed the maximum standard of requirements was more reasonable then it had been; but the question of money as he had endeavoured to show, still stood in the way of a very large number of parishes who were helping themselves to the best of their power. He was aware that the problem now raised was one not altogether easy of solution; and, theoretically, no doubt the principle of mainly helping those who could begin by helping themselves stood upon high ground; but, practically, it was one that did not admit of being carried out in education any more than in religion, for we wanted all classes to be Christians and educated, and the very objects most in need of our befriending in those respects, were those least able and likely to do much for themselves. He would conclude by expressing the hope that, during the recess, his noble Friend would turn his attention to this subject, and endeavour, if possible, to bring education within the reach of all those schools that, for various reasons, were struggling in vain to obtain the assistance they needed so much.


said, he thanked the noble Earl very heartily for having drawn their Lordships' attention to the subject. He had not been able completely to follow the noble Earl in the general drift of his recommendations, but he joined with him in expressing the feeling that the rural parishes certainly did deserve more consideration than they received from the Government of the country. In the diocese over which he presided efforts had been made to procure funds to provide certificated masters; but, after all, a very large number of rural schools were, and would continue to be, unable to incur the expense necessary for that purpose. On the one hand, the position of such schools was matter for very serious consideration; but, on the other, he must say that from his own experience he could not doubt the value of certificated masters. The question, therefore, appeared to him to be how they could meet the case of the rural schools. A friend of his, who had been one of the most efficient of Her Majesty's Inspectors of Schools, had suggested to him that the difficulty might be overcome in this way:—A regulation might be made under which a portion of the grant might be conceded to schools not having certificated masters, and that another portion of the grant should never be given except to schools that had certificated masters. It was also suggested that the capitation grant of 4s. should never be given to schools which had not a certificated master. For himself he must say he was rather disposed to go on the half-price system. He thought the certificated masters gave a higher tone to the education of the scholars, and ensured a better organization of the school. There could be no doubt that the system of inspection was very expensive. Now, their Lordships were aware that in several of the country dioceses there were Boards of Education well sustained in the diocese. Sometimes these Boards had two or three Inspectors, and sometimes they had more. Now he thought it was worthy of the consideration of the House whether it might, not be possible for the Government to put itself to some degree in connection with these Diocesan Boards, and render assistance through the machinery of these Boards, Where the Government were satisfied of the ability with which the schools was conducted they might use, to a considerable extent, the diocesan Inspectors. It might be urged that the examination of the schools must ultimately rest with the Government. It was true that must be so, but these diocesan Inspectors might receive instructions as to the examinations being conducted in such a way as to bring the school under the control of the Government. He thought that the noble Earl (the Earl of Cork) deserved the thanks of the rural parishes for the manner in which he had brought the Question under the notice of their Lordships.


said, that when in that part of the country with which he was connected it was thought most desirable to erect a new school, and an application was made to the Committee of Council, the regulations were so stringent as to preclude all expectation of assistance.


said, there was no doubt that the subject to which his noble Friend (the Earl of Cork) had called the attention of their Lordships was one of very great and vital importance to the best interests of the country; and there was no doubt, moreover, that their Lordships were met with the very broad and serious fact that there were a very large number of schools throughout the country which were not partakers of the grant which the State made for the purpose of national education. For some cause or other, not yet ascertained, these schools were not yet recipients of the aid which it was desirable they should receive. As far as he could gather from the remarks of his noble Friend, the observations which he had made, with a great deal of acuteness and judgment, would rather tend to establish the principle that the system of certificated masters adopted by the Committee of Council was one which it was undesirable to maintain, and that the more wide one of paying for results, however those results might have been obtained, should he adopted. His noble Friend had quoted from a draft Report, and taken his opinions, he thought, mainly from the statements in that draft Report, which was one submitted to a Committee of the other House of Parliament, appointed to inquire into the Education Department of the Privy Council. But he must remind his noble Friend that the Report in question had never been adopted by the Committee. It was submitted to them as the draft Report prepared by the Chairman, and must be taken for the individual opinion of that Gentleman and for nothing more. With regard to the general question of the expediency of employing uncertificated teachers, it was important that their Lordships should know what was the opinion of the Royal Commission of 1859 upon the subject; because, as far as he understood the remarks of his noble Friend, he would have led them to suppose that the Commission had simply recommended payment for results, and had come to the conclusion that the employment of uncertificated masters was not essential. He would quote a short passage from the Report of the Commissioners of 1859; but before doing so he wished to remind their Lordships of the state of matters which then existed with regard to the Government grants. There was at that time a complicated system of grants. Grants were made first to the masters on certain conditions, next to the pupil teachers on certain conditions, and then to the managers of schools in the shape of capitation money. The great object of the Commissioners of 1859 was to reduce what they found a very complicated and difficult system to administer to one of much greater simplicity and conse-sequent efficiency. They recommended therefore, that, instead of making payments in different quarters, those payments should be made simply to the managers of schools and that the local administration should be responsible for the payment of those dependent upon it. The objects which they had in view were expressed in these words— The objects which we hope to secure by the form in which we recommend that henceforth all grants from the Council Office shall be given to schools are—first, to maintain, as at present, the quality of education by encouraging schools to employ superior teachers; secondly, to simplify the business of the Office in its correspondence and general connection with schools in receipt of the grant; thirdly, to diminish the rigour and apparent injustice of some of its rules."—p. 337. They then stated that their object was to attach a special value to the Inspector's Report— In this manner we hope to maintain that principle of the Committee of Council, of which we have always recognized the importance, which has aimed at keeping up the standard of education by making the employment of trained masters and pupil-teachers essential to the reception of their grants. We regard this as the proper province of the Committee of Council. They have the control of the training colleges; they regulate the instruction of the pupil-teachers; and their representatives, the Inspectors, are peculiarly fitted by their position and experience to appreciate the differences which, independently of positive requirements, distinguish a good school from a bad one. We propose that the sums to be thus paid for trained masters and pupil-teachers may be increased or diminished within certain limits to be determined by the Committee of Council, according to the Inspector's opinion of the condition of the school. This is a necessary provision to invest the Inspector's opinion with importance; at present everything depends upon the Inspector's Report, and as the form in which we propose that the grant shall be given will have a tendency to diminish the importance of this report, we wish to attach a special value to it by the above means."—p. 333. It appeared, then, that the Commissioners directly recognized the maintenance of the certificated teachers as an indispensable condition upon which grants of the public money should be given. He thought that some misapprehension prevailed as to the idea that children were to form the only subjects of examination with a view to the distribution of the Government grant. But the fact was children were only one of the subjects. The grant was to be paid when a certain result had been obtained on the examination of the children; but the school apparatus, books, school buildings, and the conduct of the school had all to be reported upon by the Inspector, and under the Revised Code every one of these things was made a condition of the grant. If that were so, then, ought they to conclude that the children were to form the only subjects of examination, and that to that examination no conditions should be attached? His noble Friend had alluded to the great advantage which would result from the examination of schools where there were no certificated teachers; but had he taken into account the great expense that would be entailed upon the country by such a process? If a general rule were to be adopted that all schools, be they what they might, should have a claim—and if certain schools were to be entitled to Government grants simply on the condition of results, it would, he thought, be very difficult to establish the position that all schools which showed those results would not have the same claim—in that case the expense entailed upon the country would be quite disproportioned to the advantages which would be gained. In many cases 15s. or 16s. would be laid out for obtaining what would not be worth half-a-crown. It was necessary to consider this matter in all its bearings, and he would therefore trouble their Lordships with an extract from the Report of Mr. Stewart, the Inspector, presented in 1862, Mr. Stewart said— With your Lordship's permission I give examples of schools where the managers being in all cases entirely free from all interference have chosen the instruments they deem best fitted for their work, and are so far satisfied with the results that to the best of my belief they are making no efforts to improve them. He would read one of the cases stated by Mr. Stewart, as an illustration of the class of schools which, if the position of his noble Friend was adopted, would be entitled to a grant— The master has held the office of teacher since 1820, and is collector of assessed taxes and parish clerk. The schoolroom has a brick floor and is without desks, apparatus, or books. There are no voluntary contributions, but the master receives £34 per annum from an endowment, and supplies books, desks, &c., for the use of the few boys who come to school."—[1862–3, p. 68.] Now, he was sure his noble Friend, from his knowledge of the schools in the country, some of them being dames' schools, and some schools of a very inferior character, would agree with him in thinking that many of them would come within the category represented by the illustration which he had read to their Lordships. The consequence would be that if the Government went to the expense of giving grants where uncertificated teachers were employed, the Inspectors would have to go over the country to examine schools utterly unworthy, and the results would be altogether inadequate. The certificated teacher was looked upon in this sense—he was a warrant that the schools were worthy of inspection. The master was trained for two years in a training school, he was afterwards placed in charge of a school, and that school must be reported upon two successive years by a Government Inspector before the master obtained a certificate. There were therefore two steps—the first to give the master his training, the next to see that he was able to conduct the school. That was the warrant which the Government had under the present system. He had endeavoured in a few words to put before their Lordships some of the leading points connected with what was really the necessity of maintaining the system of certificates; and he had done so because he was rather under the impression, from the remarks of his noble Friend, that his aim was not only to extend if possible the present system so as to bring unaided schools within the Government grants, but also to deal a blow at the certificates themselves. Now it must be patent to every one that when there was a large number of schools unassisted it was the duty of the Government to take that matter into their consideration. Well, successive Governments had done so, and had endeavoured as far as possible to lessen the difficulties which surrounded the question. In the year 1853 a Minute was passed enabling the certificate to be obtained with much greater facility than would be the case if the Government had insisted on the teachers being educated in training schools. By the Minute of 1853 any teacher could obtain a certificate, and so bring his school within range of the Government grant, if he had passed two successful examinations by a Government Inspector. A teacher had no need to pass through a training college; he had only to ask a Government. Inspector to visit his school, and if that school was reported of favourably on two successive occasions, and he himself were to pass an easy examination in Scripture, English history, geography, grammar, and arithmetic, including vulgar fractions, the certificate would be given to him, and his school would become eligible for a Government grant. Another mode by which schools in small parishes could bring themselves within the range of Government assistance was dealt with at some length in the Report for this year, already presented to Parliament, and now being printed. He referred to the employment of school-mistresses, respecting which the Report said— Mistresses quite competent to manage, with the help of a female pupil-teacher, schools of sixty or seventy children where the boys do not stay much beyond their tenth year completed, may be engaged towards the end of each year, for commencement of service in the next, at the rate of £40 per annum, and furnished lodgings, from the training colleges. The cost per annum therefore of such a school will not be less than—Mistress's salary, £40; female pupil teacher's (average) £10; other expenses, £17; making a total of £67. In schools of less than sixty-four pupils a pupil-teacher was not needed, so that in such a case the expense, would be £57. The Report went on— Assuming, then, a school attended on an average by sixty-four children, including the ordinary proportion of infants, the cost per annum might be reduced to £57, and the grants might very well be as follows; or if so much was not actually paid, the reason would be that the amount must not exceed half the expenditure:—Grain of 4s. each on sixty-four, average number attending school, £12 16s.; grant of 4s. per pass on 103 passes, being the average number now obtained by schools of this size, £20 12s.; twenty-four infants at 6s. 16d. each, £7 16s.; making a total of £41 4s. The half, however, of £57 is only £28 10s., and therefore, while the grant is not to exceed this latter amount, the above calculation shows how little likely it is to fall below it. The fees paid by sixty-four scholars ought to average not less than 2d. per week for forty weeks in the year; and they yield, on this estimate, £21 6s. 8d., leaving only £7 3s. 4d. to be raised by subscription. It must be patent to all that small parishes having schools of the size named, and smaller schools could hardly be efficiently managed, would most easily raise the small sum of £7 3s. 4d. by subscriptions from the resident gentry of the place. Another mode offering small parishes great facilities for gaining grants was by the union of small schools—a plan proposed by a benevolent lady who took much interest in schools, Miss Burdett Coutts. The proposal had been carried out by the Revised Code, and now adjoining parishes might be placed under one certificated master, and the expense be consequently much reduced. By these modes the Government had endeavoured to do away with the difficulties formerly said to prevent schools from employing a certificated teacher; and the Report of this year contained statements showing that the difficulties in the way of employing certificated teachers were not as insurmountable as some supposed. With a fair amount of energy and good-will on the part of the inhabitants and their clergymen, those difficulties — whatever they were—had been most successfully overcome. Mr. Byrne, in his Report to be published this year, gave two cases showing how small parishes could overcome the difficulties in the way of placing themselves under all the regulations necessary to obtain a grant from Government. His first case was that of— Standish, a purely agricultural parish at a considerable distance from Gloucester. Population, 1,150. Vicar, the Rev. J. W. Sheringham. At Hardwick and at a distant hamlet are separate schools, leaving a population of not more than 350 available for the school in Standish proper. On succeeding to the living in 1864, Mr. Sheringham, who is also chaplain to the Bishop, engaged a certificated school-mistress at an annual salary of £40. His voluntary contributions for last year amount to more than £30; the Government grant; to £13 16s. 10d. Number of children present at examination, thirty. In this school, notwithstanding the entirely rural character of the parish, and although it has hitherto been customary to confer gratuitous education, Mr. Sheringham has adopted the excellent plan of raising the school fees to a rate ranging from 2d. to 6d. per week. The other case was still more remarkable. It was the case of— Nympsfield, a village difficult of access, lying in a hollow on the top of one of the Cotswolds. In the face of extraordinary obstacles, the local squire being of a different religious persuasion, Mr. Leah, the rector, has built a capital school-house, and is now about to erect a teacher's residence. His expenses during the past year have amounted to £118 17s.d., out of which £56 have been paid for the master's salary, £10 to a monitor, and some considerable sum for building alterations. His voluntary subscriptions amount to £73 13s.; school fees to £11 12s. 1d.; Government grant to £28 16s.; total income, £113 2s. 8d. This school is fully attended both by day and night, and is in a steadily progressive condition. Those were instances of what might be done in small parishes where will and energy were brought to bear on the work by the population and clergy. He was far from inferring that, in those places where no certificated teacher was found, there was an absence of energy on the part of the clergyman; but he asserted that in many places there was an absence of interest in education which permitted the presence of difficulties for which the Government was blamed. Mr. Norris, in his Report, also to be published this year, gave a remarkable instance of a school's condition before and after a certificated teacher had been appointed to it. In 1853, Mr. Norris reported of Diddlebury, in Yorkshire, as follows:— Buildings: no properly enclosed playground or yard; schoolroom not good. Wall desks. Books and apparatus deficient. Organization, three classes, under a master without any assistant. Methods, discipline, and instruction imperfect. I visited this school two years ago, and hoped the master would be able to overcome the difficulties of the place; but in this we have been disappointed. I find the school decreasing and lamentably inefficient. The demand for agricultural labour is very great; but I feel sure that a master of strong purpose and professional skill might raise up a good school. In the following year Mr. Norris made a somewhat similar Report with regard to the efficiency of the school, and added— The school deserves every encouragement; the efforts of the clergyman and his family have kept the school open under very great difficulties. A certificated master has now been induced to undertake it, in the hope that it may be made in some measure self-supporting; already I can see much improvement. If the experiment suceeeds, it will be most valuable, as showing what may be done in a small scattered agricultural population, in the face of great want of funds and much local prejudice. Mr. Norris also gave the balance-sheets of this school for the two periods. That relating to 1856 gave:—Local subscription, £23 16s.; books sold, £4 15s.; children's pence, £15 5s. 6d.; capitation grant, £1 18s., making the total receipts, £45 14s. 6d. The expenditure was £50 19s. 1d., with a consequent loss to the treasurer of £5 4s. 7d. The balance-sheet for 1861 showed: — Local subscriptions, £23 14s.; books sold, £6 0s. 9d.; capitation grant, £10 4s.; augmentation grant, £15; and children's pence, £52 11s. 3d., showing the total receipt to be £107 10s., which balanced the expenditure, which had been augmented by the expense of a certificated teacher. He gave these instances, not so much with a view to controvert the noble Earl's statement that there were unhappily a very large number of schools unassisted by the Government grant as to show that the question must not be decided hastily, because examination clearly proved that the disadvantages and difficulties under which some small parishes laboured arose not from the regulations of the Education Department, but from the unwillingness of those most concerned in the prosperity of the schools to exert themselves on their behalf. He therefore insisted that the abandonment of the principle of employing certificated teachers should not be hastily adopted. He was glad to say that the number of small parishes not enjoying the advantage of a certificated teacher, although still large, was decreasing, and that upwards of 116 were now receiving Government grants beyond what were receiving such grants four years ago. The action of the Revised Code, the "conscience clause," and the uncertainty always awakened by the fear of impending changes in the arrangements for dispensing the Government grant, were all causes calculated to create the difficulties opposing the full working of the system. He thought, however, that the suggestions made were well worth consideration by the Government, especially that thrown out by his right rev. Friend (The Bishop of Gloucester) with regard to the employment of Inspectors. While anxious to uphold the employment of certificated teachers he did not mean to say that some means might not be found by which assistance of a subordinate kind should be given to small schools. He could only assure their Lordships that he was fully alive to the importance of the subject brought forward by the noble Earl. It would receive the most anxious consideration of the Government, and he trusted that they would be found able to act in conformity with the principles which had been laid down, and by which they hoped that the blessings of good sound education might be conferred upon all classes of the community.

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