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Such regulations, I would suggest, should clearly define that the schoolmaster should not be subject to any other interference than that of the school committee and chaplain, as respects the instructions and training of the children in the school and playground.
Nor, if he were enabled by the aid of school apprentices to take charge of the children in the dining-hall and dormitory, should they then be removed from his control.
General school regulations should be carefully framed for his guidance, and he should be required to keep simple registers.
The punishment of the children should be defined by precise rules, restraining all excess, and encouraging a mild and rational discipline.
The schoolmaster should be exempted from any other class of duties in the workhouse, such as acting as clerk to the master, superintending adult pauper labour, and the performance of other household duties, which have not unfrequently been imposed by either the Boards of Guardians or masters.
He should have a comfortable private sitting-room and bedroom, and should be permitted to take his meals alone.
Daily hours of recreation should be allotted to him, and he should annually be permitted a period of absence to visit his friends.
Such arrangements are indispensable for the health of all men, but are peculiarly needed in a life of such obscure and monotonous toil as that of the master of a school of pauper children in a workhouse, separated from all the common associations of life.
To render such a position tolerable to a well-trained master, his school should be properly fitted up with desks and benches, and be supplied with black boards, maps, and other simple apparatus of education, as well as with a good store of lesson-books.
In rural workhouses, also, garden allotments should be provided close to the workhouse, for the exercise and instruction of the children.
With such arrangements for securing his comfort and efficiency, 351. for the master, and 201. for the mistress, with comfortable apartments and liberal board, are the lowest stipends which would secure the services of well-trained teachers for the schools of a rural workhouse.
Such salaries are obviously inadequate for the masters and mistresses of schools in the larger workhouses of towns, or for unions in populous districts including towns.
My impression therefore is, that the estimate ought to have been raised to a salary of 401. on the average for the master, and 251. for the mistress, or to 45,5001., and that the apartments of the master and mistress, their board, their duties and authority in the workhouse, should be defined by regulations, so
as to render the position one which would attract and retain the services of efficient officers.
The position of the schoolmaster in a workhouse is, however, so peculiar, that I am doubtful whether respectable and skilful men can be induced to undertake these duties for such salaries, if they are trained with the hope of having charge of parochial schools.
The desire to possess a home, in which to settle for life, and to enjoy the familiar associations of neighbourhood and friends, and the freedom during many hours of every day from the restraints of discipline incident to a public establishment like a workhouse, will more than compensate for a lower and more uncertain income.
I should therefore urge on your attention the great importance of immediately connecting with some great and efficient school, like Norwood, a normal school for the training of masters for workhouse schools, in which they should be prepared for their peculiar position, and, in return for their training, enter into engagements of service in workhouse schools for a certain period.
If such an establishment provided fifty trained masters annually, and the average duration of their service in a workhouse (having a regard to all casualties) were twelve years, these establishments would, ere long, be supplied with a class of efficient masters.
Three thousand five hundred pounds per annum would probably provide for the expense of such an establishment.
If the Government made these arrangements for the increased efficiency of the workhouse-schools, they might require
II. Certain conditions from the Board of Guardians in consideration of the expenditure on the training of the teachers, and on the salary, the chief of which I have already suggested, and which I now recapitulate, viz.A. Regulations defining the teacher's duties, position,
board, and the size and furniture of his apartments. B. Regulations respecting the supply of school fittings,
apparatus, and books, and gardens for the children. C. Regulations as to the hours of recreation and the va
cation of the teacher. D. And also that the Board of Guardians should, when
called upon by the inspector, apprentice one or more of the most proficient and skilful monitors as assistants to the master, and provide them with a small
stipend for their services. I proceed therefore to consider
III. The mode of appointment, and qualifications to be required.
To lead the Boards of Guardians to a more faithful and intelligent course of action will require a cautious and patient administration. I do not contemplate in the first instance attempting by direct interference to produce a great and extensive change, but to attempt, by advice and assistance, to procure the assent of the Boards of Guardians to progressive improvements.
The progress of this gradual reformation will mainly depend on the supply of schoolmasters from a well-conducted normal school.
At the commencement of the administration of the new grant the majority of the masters will probably be found inefficient.
It is important that their inefficiency should be made apparent to the Board of Guardians, by the reasonableness of the objects proposed in the examination, and by the mode in which it is conducted.
It may be questionable whether, when a certificate of competency cannot be granted to the schoolmaster, the salary should at present be withheld, except in extreme cases.
I would rather suggest that the salaries should be divided into three or four classes, and that the minimum salary should be given in those cases in which the lowest certificate is awarded, but where it may not be expedient at present that the master should be dismissed. Certificates might be granted
1. Of Permission.
4. Of Efficiency. To determine each certificate it may be expedient to fix a certain standard of qualifications and mode of examination.
Written examinations, especially for the lower classes of certificates, are most useful, as they are a permanent and demon. strable record of the results, and they give the candidate the opportunity to make a deliberate effort. For the certificate of Permission it might be required 1. That the master or mistress should be able to read
fluently 2. To write correctly a few simple sentences, read aloud
from the Testament. 3. To write from dictation sums in the first four simple
rules of arithmetic, and to work them correctly. 4. To answer verbally a few simple questions respecting
the life of our Saviour. For the certificate of Probation the requirements might be raised to the following standard :
1. The master or mistress should be able to read fluently. 2. To write from memory an abstract of a simple narra
tive, in a neat hand, and without errors.
3. To write from dictation sums in the first four simple
and compound rules of arithmetic, and to work them
correctly 4. To answer correctly, in writing, a few simple questions
on the life of our Saviour and his disciples. 5. To examine a class on a reading lesson as to the mean
ing of words and sentences, and as to the remembrance
of the matter of the lesson. To obtain a certificate of Competency 1. The master or mistress should be able to describe in
writing the organization of his school ; explaining the methods of instruction and discipline which he employs, and the course of instruction communicated by
him. 2. He should write from dictation, and work any sum with
correctness in the arithmetic of whole numbers, in
cluding simple interest. 3. He should parse and explain the construction of English
prose narrative. 4. He should answer in writing a few questions in geo
graphy, especially in that of the United Kingdom
and the English colonies. 5. He should give replies to a series of questions on the
Scripture narrative, and the geography of Palestine. 6. He should conduct a class, in the presence of the In
spector, in such lessons as might be required. To obtain a certificate of Efficiency, the master should give evidence of sound attainments in biblical knowledge, English grammar, composition, etymology, decimal arithmetic, geography (especially of the British empire and of Palestine), the outlines of English history, and in the theory and art of organizing and managing a school.
In determining the certificate to be awarded to the master or mistress, skill in some handicraft or other industrial occupation and zeal in the instruction of the scholars should be taken into account, even as a compensation for some deficiency in elementary acquirements.
The amount of salary to be apportioned to each master would be determined by his certificate.
The minimum salary would be awarded to a master holding a certificate of Permission ; a somewhat higher remuneration to a master obtaining a certificate of Probation ; an average salary to a master declared competent ; and the highest to the class of masters declared to be officient.
By these means each Board of Guardians would be enabled to discriminate the qualifications of its master, and to appreciate the advantage of procuring the services of a master de. serving a higher rate of reward.
On the other hand, the inconvenience and discord attendant on the peremptory removal of masters contrary to the convictions of a Board of Guardians would be avoided.
The administration would have a tendency to progressive improvement, corresponding with the growth of more correct views of the tendencies of education in the minds of the Guardians.
Until the normal school had been in operation for a certain period, the means of procuring more eligible schoolmasters would be slender, and the abrupt dismissal of the present class of masters might leave the pauper children without instruction in many workhouses. But if such dismissal be for the present confined to extreme cases (to the removal of immoral and extremely ignorant men, and of men who have been habitual paupers), the scale of certificates and salaries will operate as an incentive to exertion, even among the present masters; and will form a strong motive to the Board of Guardians to improve their schools.
The certificate should in each case set forth the nature of the examination, and give a detailed statement of its result, so
a that wherever presented it may convey an exact account of the qualifications of the master.
When the normal school was able to supply fifty schoolmasters in each year, trained with a special view to these situations, and bound to render a certain period of service, the vacancies would probably be supplied from this source.
These remarks introduce the question of
IV. The officers by whom the school, the masters, and the candidates should be examined.
It is obvious that these duties and the inspection of the schools require a peculiar experience and knowledge, and that they could not properly be discharged amidst the other urgent claims of the service on the Assistant Poor-Law Commissioners. This will be even more apparent from a consideration of the extent of duty to be performed.
There are 600 Unions in England and Wales, and probably at least 700 workhouse schools.
The inspection of these schools, in order to be effectual, should be systematically conducted. Each class should be personally examined by the Inspector in all the subjects of its instruction, and each child in the simple elements of reading, writing, and arithmetic.
The state of the school organization, the apparatus and books, the discipline, and the methods of instruction require the survey of an experienced eye.
On all these subjects the results of the inspection should be