HL Deb 19 February 1875 vol 222 cc551-2

asked the Under Secretary for War, Whether it is intended under the new regulations for admission to Woolwich Academy to confer an exceptional advantage upon classics as over all other subjects in the examination?


said, the explanation he had to give to the noble Lord was, that the effect of the new Regulations, which would come into operation in July next, would be to diminish, not to increase, the importance of classics in the examination at Woolwich. Under the old Regulations of 1871, 3,000 marks were given for Latin and 3,000 for English—being in each case 1,000 more marks than were given for any other subjects except mathematics—the object being that boys who had the advantage of a public school education might proceed straight to Woolwich without the interposition of professional "crammers." It was, however, found by experience that those expectations had not been fully realized. Latin and English were taken up as cram-subjects by all alike, on account of the great number of marks given for them, and the low standard of the Latin examination, and one result to be deprecated was that mathematics and foreign languages were somewhat neglected. Under the new system Latin and Greek together, instead of having 5,000 marks, as against 4,500 awarded to mathematics, would have 4,000 as against 6,000, and in English the marks would be reduced to 2,000. It was believed that this alteration would be attended with beneficial results.


considered the explanation of the noble Earl quite satisfactory. The object at which the authorities aimed in fixing these standards was to obtain the best men for the Army from the whole educational surface of the country, and the great evil against which they had to guard was that of cramming. He knew from experience that those who were entrusted with the carrying out of this complicated and difficult system must watch its operation from time to time, and advise the making of such alterations in it as might seem to be desirable. He believed that the public servants who had made this change had given much consideration to the subject, and he hoped the system they had adopted would prove successful. If it did not, then they must only try back and further modify it.

House adjourned at a quarter before Seven o'clock, to Monday next, a quarter before Five o'clock.