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SUMMARIES OF TABULATED REPORTS, FOR 1853-4, ON SCHOOLS

INSPECTED BY Rev. T. WILKINSON.

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The amount of accommodation in square feet, divided by 8, will give the number of children who can be properly accommodated. Calculations of area in school-rooms, as compared with the average attendance of scholars, should be made upon this basis.

At the date of closing this return. | These per-centages are confined to boys' and girls' schools, and do not include infants,

SUMMARY B.

Aggregate Annual Income, as stated by Managers, of 83 of the Schools

enumerated in Summary A.

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Aggregate Annual Expenditure, as stated by Managers, of 83 of the

Schools enumerated in Summary A.

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£ 8. d.

£ $. d.

£ 8. d.

£ 8. d.

3,937 14 104

269 17 111

830 16 51

5,038 10 31

Special Report, for the Year 1854-5, on the Prize-Schemes in the Counties of Chester, Salop, and Stafford, by Her Majesty's Inspector of Schools, the Rev. J. P. NORRIS, M.A.,

Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. SIR,

In presenting to the Committee of Council on Education my third annual report on the prize-schemes, which, with their Lordships' sanction, I have undertaken to conduct, I wish to offer, by way of preface, some general observations on the use of rewards in the education of children.

In dealing with questions which depend for their solution on practical experience, it is well sometimes, in the absence of ascertained principles, to put forward a theory, which, whether it ultimately stand or fall, may serve in the meantime to provoke discussion and to direct inquiry.

As far as I am aware, the subject of rewards, as a part of the philosophy of education, has never been satisfactorily cleared up. * At all events I find the greatest possible diversity of opinion respecting their application, and very few of the teachers or school managers with whom I have spoken on the subject have been able to give any clear or consistent reasons for the course they have chosen to pursue. The following are some of the principal points on which I have found people divided :

1. Whether it might not be better to abolish prizes altogether, as tending to substitute lower motives for higher motives.

2. Whether feelings of emulation were to be encouraged or discouraged.

3. Whether prizes should be given for moral or for intellectual excellence chiefly.

4. Whether religious knowledge was a matter for which prizes should be given.

5. Whether prizes should be given in money or in books.

6. Whether a few large prizes or many small prizes were best.

I shall not hesitate to put the conclusions to which I have been led by my experience thus far of the working of these

* The question was opened in a rery sprightly controversy which appeared in the pages of the “ English Journal of Education some twelve years ago, and is handled in several of the manuals of education which have more recently appeared; but most of the essays on the subject that I have happened to read have seemed

to labour under one of two faults--an unpractical stoicism which would refuse to admit any secondary motives, or a confusion of emulation with jealousy.

prize-schemes into a doginatic form, not because of the importance I attach to them, but simply because this form will best facilitate their discussion.

By stating briefly the way in which these questions have been from time to time forced on my attention I shall sufficiently indicate the train of thought through which I have arrived at my present notions on the subject.

Before the institution of the Staffordshire Prize-Scheme I had often observed how well a system of rewards seemed to answer in one school, and how mischievous they appeared to be in another. Generally speaking I found a disposition to retain them among old-fashioned teachers, and a wish to abolish them on the part of the more skilled class of teachers. On further inquiry, it most frequently appeared that they were disapproved by these latter persons not from any absolute objection to the principle of rewards, but because the importunity of parents and the good nature of school patrons were almost sure to lead to their abuse. Prizes given on exhibition days, according to the results of a public examination, were beginning to be almost everywhere condemned as fostering conceit, and as being in two cases out of three unjustly awarded. The form which was most generally approved was a reward in the shape of a book given for a certain number of marks or tickets for good conduct or place in class, gained during the preceding year or half year. The most complete example of this system that came under my notice was at the Belmont Patent Candle Factory, where every kind of good conduct seemed to have its proportionate reward attached to it in the shape of farthing counters, for which books were given at the end of the year. What I there saw led me into à correspondence with Mr. James Wilson, whose authority, in any matter connected with the moral training of youth, is of the highest value. He did not admit the force of my objection that this system tended to enervate the moral principle, urging Scriptural warranty for it, and contending that what was done at first for the sake of a prize would soon become habitual, and the habit being once formed would be persevered in from higher motives.

When the Staffordshire Prize-Scheme was established it became my business to frame rules for its administration ; they will be found in my special report for 1852. In each succeeding year, in the constitution of new prize-schemes, or the revision of their rules, I have been as it were confronted with the subject; and on each occasion I have consulted the opinions of the teachers, and ascertained as far as I could what the effects had been on individual children. Last year, when the Dean of Hereford was good enough to ask me to

allow Messrs. Groombridge to publish an account of these prize-schemes in a pamphlet form, feeling that I thereby seemed to make myself responsible for the general recommendation of prizes, I was at some pains in the preface to give expression to what I thought on the subject. I need not here recapitulate what I there said. My chief purpose was to compare the confessedly successful systems of prizes established in our large grammar schools and universities, with those adopted in our elementary schools, and to inquire how far the latter might be advantageously assimilated to the former.

Since writing that preface, I have been led to discuss the question, how far religious knowledge should form the subject matter of a prize examination in a correspondence with the Venerable Archdeacon Hodson, the president of the original South Staffordshire Prize-Scheme. I owe him many thanks for his kindness in helping me to clear up my views on this very important part of the general question.

In these ways my notions on the subject have been slowly acquiring form. I shall state them, for the reasons mentioned above, under distinct heads, in the inverse order to that in which for the most part they occurred to me.

In every society there will be found among its members the most various degrees of attainment in what is good, and in most societies common consent or public opinion will be found to have fixed rightly or wrongly a certain level, above which the several degrees are measured in order of merit, and below which they are measured in an order of demerit.

Now it is clearly the interest of a society to encourage its members to rise above this level, and to deter them from falling below it. And not only so, but society requires, for its own satisfaction as it were, to express publicly its approval of more than ordinary merit, and its indignation at great demerit.

Hence arise systems of reward and punishment.

The purpose of rewards is to assert and raise as high as possible the standard of what is good. The purpose of punishments is to condemn and diminish as much as possible what is bad. Each has its own range, if I may so speak, on the moral scale ; and it is highly important that the range of the one should be kept distinct from that of the other.

Hence my first practical rule for the right use of rewards* in the education of children :

* Here, and wherever I have used the term, I wish material rewards to be understood.

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