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7. Fiftieth Annual Report of the Incorporated National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church throughout England and Wales. 1861. 8. A Letter to J. Bowstead, Esq., H. M. Inspector of British and Foreign Schools, concerning Education in South Wales. By Connop Thirlwall, D.D., Bishop of St. David's. London, 1861. 9. Speech of the Right Hon. Robert Lowe, M.P., on Moving the Education Estimate in Committee of Supply, July 11th, 1861. London, 1861.
10. Minute of the Committee of the Privy Council on Education, establishing a Revised Code of Regulations. 1861.
11. Letter to Earl Granville, K.G., on the Revised Code of Regulations contained in the Minute of the Committee of Council on Education, dated July 29th, 1861. By Sir James Kay Shuttleworth, Bart. London, 1861.
12. The New Educational Code: Grouping by Age, and Paying for Results. Two Letters. By John Menet, M.A., Chaplain of the Hockerill Training School. London, 1861.
13. Letter of the Wesleyan Committee of Education to the Right Honourable Earl Granville, K.G., on the Revised Educational Code. 1861.
14. Memorial of the Committee of the Rochester Diocesan Training Institution at Hockerill to the Right Hon. Earl Granville, K.G., on the Revised Code of the Committee of Council on Education. 1861.
15. The Revised Code of the Committee of Council on Education dispassionately considered. By Charles John Vaughan, D.D., Vicar of Doncaster. Cambridge, 1861.
16. The Revised Code. By James Fraser, M.A., Rector of Ufton, late Assistant-Commissioner in the Education Inquiry. London, 1861.
IT is well known that Popular Education in England and Wales has for upwards of twenty years back been materially aided by a grant of money annually voted by Parliament, and has been very much influenced and controlled by the Committee of the Privy Council on Education, to whom the administration of the grant has been committed; that a Royal Commission has lately made a Report, in which certain important changes are recommended; and that the Committee of Council has still more recently issued a minute containing what is called the Revised Code, as the canon by which it proposes to be guided after the 31st March, 1862.
It is important in the first place to ascertain the real merits of the system which is actually in operation, and next to con
sider the new plan now under discussion; and therefore we shall here notice, in the order in which they appeared, the Report of the Commissioners, and the Revised Code of the Committee of Council. We need scarcely say, after the remarks contained in our last number, that we do not intend to take much for granted in favour of the existing system. On the contrary, we shall especially note and examine the Royal Commissioners' criticism on its working; for it is to their judgment, or their supposed judgment, on things as they are, that the new regulations owe their birth.
The main object of the Commission was to elicit information. A second object was to recommend measures for the extension of sound and cheap elementary instruction to all classes of the people.' To elicit information, there is no better machinery than a mixed Commission consisting of men of independent minds, clear heads, and ordinary judgment, who have not been previously connected in any special manner with the subject which they have to investigate. To make recommendations worthy of attention, more practical acquaintance with the subject is needed. And so it happens that the part of the Report which is concerned with investigation and criticism is remarkably good, while the recommendations are wholly impracticable.
The amount of education in this country as stated by the Commissioners is undoubtedly most encouraging. Indeed, the progress reported to have been made in the last fifty years is from 500,000 to 2,500,000, from 1 in 17 of the population to 1 in 7,—an enormous stride. Out of a population of some 20,000,000 there are, we learn, but 120,000 children wholly without instruction, and of these 100,000 are the children of out-door paupers who may be dealt with immediately and separately by a legislative enactment. We have yet to include within our meshes the untaught 100,000 and the 20,000. But we are better off than any of our continental neighbours. In France the proportion of children receiving instruction to the whole population is 1 in 9, in Holland 1 in 8, and the slight superiority of Prussia, where the proportion is 1 in 6, is dearly bought by her compulsory system of schooling. These are the only nations whose educational statistics are supplied by the Commissioners.
In our own country the importance of the figures which we have quoted is only seen when we look back a few years and mark their steady growth. In 1858 there was one person in seven under instruction (it is probable that by this time the proportion may be one in six), in 1851 one in eight, in 1843 one in ten, in 1833 one in eleven, in 1818 one in seventeen, and at the beginning of the present century there was hardly any basis
on which to make a calculation. Whatever advance there has since been is mainly the work of the British and Foreign School Society, the National Society, and the Committee of Council on Education. Among them the merit must be divided, but in unequal shares. For the origin of the two Societies we have to go back fifty-one years, for that of the Educational Committee twenty-three. It would be an interesting sight could we transfer ourselves to Freemasons' Tavern, and see the goodly gathering of Whigs under the presidency of the Duke of Bedford, on Saturday, May 11, 1811, to pass resolutions in favour of the system of education invented by Mr. Joseph Lancaster,' which, it was thought, enabled 'one master to teach reading, writing, and arithmetic to any number of children by the agency of his scholars alone.'
The result of this meeting was the permanent establishment of the Borough-road Training Institution, and of the British and Foreign School Society, which, for a few years previously, had been dragging on a scarcely more than nominal existence. Another meeting was called on October 16, 1811, under the presidency of Archbishop Manners Sutton; and thus commenced the National Society for the Education of the Poor throughout England and Wales in the Principles of the Established Church.". This Society has just published its fiftieth annual Report.
Before the institution of these two Societies, there were (we speak, of course, in general terms) no day-schools worthy of the name, such as we now find in every town and in every large village in England. There were a few endowed schools scattered over the country, and the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge had made most praiseworthy efforts to furnish instruction to some of the children of the poor in London:
'But it is evident from the early reports of the National Society,' says the fiftieth Report, that its good and pious founders had before them the task of supplying school-accommodation for a very large majority of the parishes of England and Wales. This, however, was far from the whole of the work which the Society had to accomplish. Before much progress could be made in school-building, it was necessary to overcome many deep-seated prejudices against the diffusion of information among the labouring classes, and to consider and define the principles on which any general scheme of national education could be safely conducted. Besides this, teachers were to be trained for the work of school-keeping; methods of instruction had to be arranged; books were to be provided. With all these things the present generation is familiar, but half a century ago they were matters of experiment.'—(P. v.)
So far, then, as quantity goes, nothing could be more satis
factory than the advance that has been made. The quality of schools depends upon their organization and method, upon their instruction, and upon their tone and discipline. At the end of the last century Dr. Bell invented the monitorial system. In 1797 he published a pamphlet explaining its principles, and it was adopted by two schools in England (St. Botolph, Aldgate, and the Kendal Schools of Industry), previous to the commencement of the nineteenth century. In 1803 Mr. Joseph Lancaster also wrote upon the subject of Education, acknowledging, in the first three editions of his pamphlet, that the discovery of 'the system' (as the monitorial plan of teaching was proudly called) was due to Dr. Bell; but after a time, outstripping Dr. Bell in popularity and acquiring the patronage of Whig magnates, he advertised himself in the newspapers as the inventor, under the blessing of Divine Providence, of a new and mechanical system of education for the use of schools.'
The partisans of Dr. Bell and of Mr. Lancaster differed fundamentally on the all-important question of the combination of religious and secular instruction, but they vied with each other in the unqualified approbation that they gave to 'the system." But as soon as the system' was brought to the test, it was found wanting :
The first important result,' say the Commissioners, 'which was obtained from the inspection of the state of education in the years 1839-46 was proof of the inadequacy of the monitorial system and of the inefficiency of the teachers who were then in possession of the schools. The unanimous testimony of the inspectors was that the teachers were bad, and that the monitors, from their extreme youth, were of little use. They were fit only for the discharge of routine duties, and even these they discharged without interest, without weight, and without authority. They were frequently untrustworthy, and almost always ignorant. The consequence of this was that the schools were generally in a deplorable state in every part of England. It may be stated generally that all the inspectors declared that the best teachers were ignorant and unskilful, though they were often well-meaning and serious-minded men, and that the inferior and more numerous class of teachers were unfit for their position, and unqualified to discharge any useful function in education.'-(Report, i. p. 93.)
In place of the inefficient monitorial system and unskilled masters, was substituted in the year 1846 the present system of pupil-teachers, working under trained and certificated masters and mistresses, which is generally known as the Government System. The evidence not only of the comparative superiority, but of the actual merits of this system-as exhibited in the
six volumes of the Report of the Commissioners, and in the yearly Reports of the Education Committee-is undoubtedly very strong. With regard to pupil-teachers, Mr. Cook (one of the inspectors, and a man of sound judgment) says, 'they often conduct lessons in reading, arithmetic, and writing from copies and dictation, better than many adult teachers of ordinary ability,' whilst many of them can teach and examine a large class in grammar, geography, English history, and the subjectmatter of books of general information, with less waste of time and greater facility of illustration than the generality of untrained masters' (Rep. i. p. 103). Mr. Arnold describes them as 'the sinews of English primary instruction' (ib. iv. p. 73). The Assistant-Commissioners are unanimous as to the superiority of schools in which pupil-teachers are employed (ib. i. p. 103), and the Commissioners themselves express a hope of seeing a considerable increase of pupil-teachers, 'as constituting the most successful feature of the present system' (ib. p. 346, and see p. 806).
The pupil-teachers having served their apprenticeship for five years in an elementary school, pass on to one of the Training Colleges, the moral condition of which appears' to the Commissioners' satisfactory,' and 'the intellectual training of the students' deserving of a 'favourable opinion' (p. 168)-' on the whole sound and satisfactory' (p. 138); the Colleges themselves not requiring any change in relation to the State.' (p. 143.) After two years at the Training College they undertake the charge of schools as certificated masters. Here, again, we have evidence of the immense improvement which has been wrought in schools by raising up the present race of certificated masters:
'My decided impression,' says Mr. Hare, is that the systems of training have been very successful, both in adapting the students to teach, and in furnishing them with solid matter and good method of instruction. As a class, they are marked, both men and women, by a quickness of eye and ear, a quiet energy, a facility of command, and a patient self-control, which, with rare exceptions, are not observed in the private instructors of the poor.'-(Report, iii. p. 282.)*
The Commissioners testify that it is proved beyond all doubt that they are greatly superior to the untrained teachers' (ib. i., p. 149); that they are not only comparatively far
• The evidence of the other Assistant-Commissioners is to the same effect. See Report, ii. p. 96 (Mr. Fraser); ib., ii. p. 161 (Mr. Hedley); ib., ii. p. 218 (Mr. Winder); ib., ii. p. 535 (Mr. Jenkins); ib., iii. p. 84 (Mr. Cumin); ib., iii. p. 393 (Mr. Wilkinson); ., iii. p. 541 (Dr. Hodgson). Mr. Coode speaks somewhat doubtfully (ib., ii. p. 269); Mr. Foster reports unfavourably (ib., ii. p. 360).