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NAMES OF PLACES.
Date of Visit.
Number on Attend. Present. of Head Books, ance.
Number Population of Assist- of Place
ants. or District.
500 in Wath district.
3 Nov. 17
YORKSHIRE. Barnby-in-the-Marsh Brampton Bierlow
Girls and Infants. Coley
Girls Kippax Kirkburton
no special district.
Report on 273 Schools in the Western District, by the Rev. H. W.
In presenting my Report of schools inspected during 1846, I would observe that I have visited 273 schools as follows:
80 in Gloucestershire. 65 in Devonshire.
15 in Cornwall.
5 in Dorsetshire. 10 in Herefordshire.
32 in Shropshire. 2 in Monmouthshire.
I in Worcestershire. Leaving 115 schools on my list unvisited. With reference to these schools generally, I am happy to say that a slow but gradual improvement is perceptible. Many of the evils so much deplored by all intelligent wellwishers of elementary education still more or less exist, of which I would speak hereafter-but an improvement is going on, and this the more encouraging, as it appears to me that greater progress has been made during the past year than in either of the preceding years in which I have been engaged in the work of inspection.
Of those points in which this improvement is most apparent, I would mention first that which seems to me to be one of the most important means by which elementary education on the National system is to be made efficient, viz. the general superintendence of the school, and the conducting of the religious instruction, by the parochial clergy.
A conviction of the importance of that part of the pastoral office which relates to the religious nurture of the young is, I feel sure, gaining ground in the West of England; and although it must be conceded that it is not as practically carried out in all cases as one could wish, still I am happy and grateful to be able to bear my humble testimony to an increase of daily self-denying exertions on the part of the clergy in this matter.
The advantage of a daily attendance of the parochial clergyman, and the conducting by him of the religious instruction, can, I think, scarcely be overrated.
The master is encouraged and aided in his work by the presence and assistance of a superior.
The parents are pleased to see him who, in most cases in the West of England, is the principal person in the village, engaged in the work of teaching their children; and the parishioners generally acquire higher views of the office of tuition.
And, independent of direct advantages, such a tone is given to the school generally as tends to promote considerably the true ends of Christian education.
As a proof of the benefits resulting from religious instruction
by the clergyman of the parish, I would state that I know of no instance of failure in this matter when it is regularly and duly attended to.
On the contrary, where it is neglected, I generally find a want of due information and intelligence in religious subjects.
Another subject for congratulation is the growing conviction on the part of intelligent masters, that the old monitorial system, conducted as in times past, is insufficient for the purposes of education.
In consequence of this I find an increasing demand for assistant masters, or pupil teachers, or paid monitors, to assist not only in mechanical teaching, but in imparting instruction, and exercising the intelligence of the children. I also find an increasing energy to improve existing monitors, so as to render them in some degree equal to the work in which they are engaged.
Hence, in several schools circulating monitors have been discontinued, and a certain number of the most intelligent children selected for the office, who receive extra instruction, and would receive pecuniary remuneration if the funds permitted.
In many instances simultaneous instruction has been introduced, from a conviction on the master's part that he is able in this way to bring his own mind in contact with the greatest possible number of his pupils.
In many cases, for the same reason, the senior boys and girls have been classified together in the same room during the morning, and the junior children of both sexes placed in another room under the mistress.
The advantage of this arrangement where, as in most cases it happens, the master receives the higher salary and is the more efficient, appears to be considerable. In some cases classrooms have been added, and in very many the Holy Bible, having been discontinued as a hack reading-book, is used only for religious instruction, and secular books have been introduced.
I am also happy to bear testimony to a gradual improvement in the masters themselves.
Such, briefly, amid all the discouragements of the present defective state of education in the West, are some of the bright subjects which excite one's hope that better things are in store.
During my last year's tour I have been very careful in looking after results, as well as into the causes from which those results are supposed to flow. In doing this, I fancy that I have learned to regard our present system, imperfect as it unquestionably is, with a more complacent eye as regards the past than I have hitherto done.
Many defects of the most painful kind still exist, defects which, looking merely at causes, would appear fatal to all sound and intelligent education; and yet, with these, I certainly find sometimes the most unexpected results.
A gradual improvement in the state of the population generally appears to be going on; and although one cannot too deeply deplore the little intelligence observable in the objects of past education, or the mere mechanical instruction in so many of our parochial schools, still there has been an amount of instruction given, and a degree of religious and moral discipline effected, for which one cannot be too thankful.
With reference to those things which are still matters of regret, I know of none than those I have mentioned in my former reports.
The same evils exist in many cases in a most lamentable degree; the instruction is in many schools still inefficient, the apparatus defective, the master incapable, and the children dull, ignorant, and undisciplined.
Of such cases, one's only subject of thankfulness is that they are becoming more rare; and one's only hope, that, cold and dull as they are, they may be effecting some good, which at present the outward eye cannot perceive-some such moral and religious results, imperfect though they be, as appear to me to have been the consequence of the inefficient schools of the past.
Of the causes of this inefficiency I have spoken in former reports. The same causes still exist.
Of these, it seems to me that one cannot too frequently insist upon the necessity of a greater expenditure in the machinery of our parochial schools.
From want of this arise inefficient masters, incapable monitors, improper books—I mean books unfit for the purposes for which they are used—absence of apparatus, with many other defects.
In reporting upon these defects, it seems proper to speak of them somewhat particularly as long as they exist; although, in doing so, it will be necessary to repeat what has frequently been said before.
Ist. Of the Masters :-
Irreligious, ill-tempered, without information or intelligence, and with no desire to remedy their defects.
In such instances, of course, the only mode of improvement is dismissal.
The importance of such a step is not sufficiently acknowledged, from the defective views so frequently entertained on the office of a schoolmaster, and the immense power he wields over the
for weal or woe. In other cases I find men who, although fairly intelligent