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were 15 years of age. Twenty-six
12 The remaining forty-two 11 Of the elder ones, eight or ten had left their day-school, but had continued to attend the Sunday school or evening school, according to the requirements of the association.
3. Of the 431 candidates examined in South Staffordshire, I have accurate returns of age and regularity of attendance from 300 ; from which it appears that,
(a) In the east of Dudley district the average age of the boys was, 12 years 6 months; of the girls, 13 years 6 months. The boys had attended school, on an average, 190 week days during the preceding year, and the girls 171.
(6) In the west of Dudley district, the average age of the boys was, 12 years 8 months; and of the girls, 12 years 11 months. Their average attendance had been, -boys, 192 week days; girls, 182.
When one thinks of that group of 572 Stafforshire children, all bearing certificates of good character, many of them honourably mentioned for their attainments, not a few the proprietors of a growing fund in the savings bank; and this too at an age when such an impulse may, under God's blessing, be the means of giving a right direction to their whole afterlives, one cannot but regard them with hope, and count the four or five hundred pounds a small price for the year or two years' additional schooling which has borne so much good fruit.
But to these feelings of satisfaction there is one drawback.
South Staffordshire is a mining district. This is an iron and coal masters' prize-scheme. Those four or five hundred pounds are a trifling fraction of an immense amount of wealth extracted from the earth, and minted at the forge, by the sinews of the collier and the ironworker. The child of the miner and the child of the forgeman, therefore, have the first claim upon this fund. It was for their sakes chiefly that it was subscribed. It was to sow in them a seed of good, which might in after-life bear the fruit of more sobriety, more thrift, more self-control, than has hitherto characterized their class, that the prize-scheme was established. These were the children whom the iron and coal masters wished to see bringing their certificates of two, or three, or four, years' schooling, and carrying away their 31. or their 41. to the savings bank.
Alas, where are they? How many of them were among those bright and hopeful faces that we saw before us last month ? If we ask the teachers they will tell us where these children
They left our schools long ago; they came and went at six or seven, or eight years old ; at seven or eight years old one
little fellow went to be a " lifter” at the rolling mill, another to straighten bars, another who had a little more strength, to raise the furnace doors. At ten years old or under—for the law is continually evaded—they go down into the pits to mind the points, or drive the skip, or take away the slack. These lads are earning already from 48. to 68. a week.
Some few, it is true, have been retained at school to compete for prizes ; and one, I rejoice to say, has shown what the son of a collier may do if allowed fair play by his parents; his name is Bellenden; he gained the highest marks for mathematics at the late examination at Dudley.
But how few of the children of the miners this prize-scheme is reaching, appears only too plainly from the following table, in which I have analysed the several classes to which the 300 children of South Staffordshire, of whom I have accurate returns, belonged :
Thus, it appears that the children of the mining class, who form the bulk of the population, formed only six per cent. (one in seventeen) of the total number examined ; children of forgemen four per cent. (or one in twenty); children of engine men, fitters, coke burners, banksmen, boatmen-all of whoin may be considered to be connected with the works of the iron and coal masters—four or five per cent. (or one in twenty-two); making tn all little more than fourteen per cent. (or one in seven) belonging to the classes for whose benefit the prize-scheme was specially intended.
I do not mean to imply for one moment that the prizescheme is not also needed for the other classes. The iron and
coal masters will observe from this table that three fourths of those who were candidates for their prizes belonged to what are called the labouring classes ; and that the children of shopkeepers, publicans, clerks, &c. formed a very small proportion of the number. It has been more than once proposed to the iron and coal masters that the competition should be confined to those who are directly or indirectly in their own employment, and they have wisely and liberally decided that it shall continue to be open to all.
But if the question be asked, “Is a prize-scheme of this kind a sufficient means to counteract the special difficulties that hinder the education of a mining population ?" the answer must be given unhesitatingly ; it is wholly insufficient.
I must, therefore, conclude this report by repeating the same conviction which I have so often expressed before, that nothing short of legislative interference can redress the educational balance of these mining districts. At present the divergence between the employers and the employed is increasing every year. Every year's delay brings us nearer to a crisis.
And when, last month, I traversed the district between Wolverhampton and Bilston, and marked the angry looks and muttered threats of the men that were gathering in knots at every meeting of the roads, it was with a feeling almost akin to bitterness that I thought how all this, and many other deeper evils of which this“ strike” was but the symptom, might have been lessened or prevented, if the Legislature had done some few years ago what it must and will do when the case is desperate.
I have the honor to be, &c.
J. P. NORRIS. The Secretary to the
Committee of Council on Education.
REPORT ON THE PROPOSED School or APPLIED SCIENCE AT
14 March 1855. Having been appointed a Committee on the 3rd of November last year to consider the desirableness of establishing a school of science in the Potteries and to report thereon, we have the honour to inform you that we had an interview with Dr. Lyon Playfair, the Secretary of the Department of Science at Marlborough House, on the 26th of January.
The results of this conference were very favourable to the establishment of such a school at Stoke.
Not only did it appear that the scheme was strictly in harmony with the views and intentions of the Board of Trade, but also that, in carrying it into effect, we might hope for the active co-operation of the Department with which Dr. Lyon Playfair is connected.
We understood Dr. Playfair to say that this assistance might be looked for in two ways,—the usual conditions being fulfilled, viz. that the master be in possession of the diploma of the Government school in Jermyn Street, and that his school be open to Government inspection.
1. A grant from the Board of Trade in augmentation of his salary by way
of annual premium. 2. If there appeared to be a fair prospect that the school would become self-supporting, or nearly so, in a few years, the Board would be willing, for the first year or two years, to guarantee to the master a minimum salary of 1001.
Dr. Playfair was also good enough to give us the names of one or two of the Jermyn Street students most distinguished for their attainments in chemistry and mining science, with whom he would put us into communication in case the school was likely to be established.
With a view of rendering the school as inexpensive as possible in its establishment, and as far as may be self-supporting when once fairly established, the following scheme has been proposed, which we beg to submit for your approval.
1. That the committee appointed on the 3rd of November be empowered to communicate with the Stoke Athenæum and Philosophical Institution, with a view of securing the use of a class-room and laboratory for the purposes of this school.
2. That Mr. Smith Child's offered donation of 1001., and any other sums that may be added to it, be expended in the establishment of a laboratory and museum of mining geology and chemistry, and also for the purchase of the requisite educational apparatus and to meet any grant of apparatus given by the Board of Trade.
3. That the committee should enter into communication with the authorities of the Government School of Mines with a view to securing the services of an approved teacher, and of obtaining aid in the way of duplicates of specimens, &c.
4. That the Department of Science be applied to, and requested to guarantee a minimum salary of 1001. for the first year, and, if necessary, for the second also.
5. That with the view of carrying out the intention of the Government, in which the supporters of this scheme entirely concur, that the school should become self-supporting, the Committee make it their business to procure the names of at least 20 students to form an evening class for chemistry, and 20 students to form an evening class for mining science, willing to pay a shilling a week, which should also entitle them to admission to the museum and laboratory.
6. That the Committee also obtain promises from the managers of at least six of the neighbouring elementary schools that they will enter into engagements with the teacher of science to give a weekly lecture in their respective schools on the more popular branches of these sciences, at the rate of 51. for one hour a week, or 101. for two hours a week, per annum, from each school.
7. That the teacher be also assisted to form a class of private pupils, paying a higher rate of fee.
8. For the monies so received the teacher be required to account to the local Committee, and through them to the Department of Science. If, after deducting a certain proportion, say one fifth, for incidental expenses, the remainder fall short of 1001., the deficit to be made up by a grant from the Board of Trade. If, on the contrary, it exceed 1001., the whole to go to the teacher.
9. The Committee, on their part, undertake to place at his disposal, lighted and rent-free, the room above mentioned; a small yearly subscription Weing raised for this
10. That the “ Association for the Advancement of Education in the Mining and Manufacturing Districts of North Staffordshire,” be requested to award a certain number of exhibitions to this school to such boys as may most distinguish themselves each year in their prize examination.
By such a constitution, it will be observed, that while on the one hand a minimum salary is guaranteed, on the other hand it will be impossible for the teacher to increase this salary until he shall have first by his own exertions rendered his school self-supporting.
We have the honor to be, &c.
M. D. HOLLINS.
J. P. NORRIS. The North Staffordshire Educational Association. P.S. - It is with much pleasure that we are able to inform you that thirty persons have already signified their intention of joining the chemistry class on the terms proposed, should the scheme take effect.
£ 5 10
SUBSCRIPTIONS to the STAFFORDSHIRE PRIZE FUNDS, 1854.
€1 C. B. Adderley, Esq., M.P.
5 Earl of Harrowby Messrs. Alcock and Co.
J. E. Heathcote, Esq. Wm. Baker, Esq.
10 Viscount Ingestre, M.P. John Bateman, Esq.
T. Kinnersley, Esq. F. Bishop, Esq.
A. Minton, Esq. Smith Child, Esq., M.P.
10 Edward Wood, Esq. W.T. Copeland, Esq. James Edwards, Esq.
10 10 5
J. Bagnall and Sons
E. Page and Sons W. Baldwin
5 Parkfield Company Barrows and Hall
10 Patent Axletree Company Joseph Bonnitt
5 Plant and Fisher William Bennitt
5 J. and S. Roberts S. H. Blackwell
10 Solly and Brothers Chance and Co.
10 W. and J. S. Sparrow Earl of Dartmouth
5 J. Spencer J. Davies and Son
10 J. and E. Walker W. H. Dawes
W. J. Ward Eagle Coal and Iron Company
10 Williamson and Brothers R. Haines aud Sons
10 George Jones
Total John Marshall
South Staffordshire, West of Dudley.
15 . 15
Marleley Court Company