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disposed to act in concert c. 3. But the chief benefits will accrue to the parties who come into union, as regards (1) masters; (2) scholars; and (3) the whole conduct of the schools.

(1) In addition to the stimulus which an expected visitation will necessarily impart to every master, it is the intention of the Board to bestow occasional rewards upon the most deserving, while to the less competent will be afforded the privilege of a temporary residence at the Diocesan Training School, the Board defraying a portion of the expenses incurred, or, when possible, supplying the place of the master for a season by one of their own more advanced pupils.

(2) The scholars in like manner will be encouraged to increased exertions, as well by the examination as by the occasional distribution of prizes; while the prospect of admission to the training schools may be held out as an object of ambition to superior merit, And,

(3) There will be a facility for communicating the most recent improvements in the management of schools, and such practical experience as the inspector will acquire in the exercise of his duties.

In another part of this Report will be found a tabular statement of such schools as up to this time have placed themselves

c As an illustration of the necessity of union, it may be stated that in the recent inquiries issued by the Secretary of State for the Home Department, all such schools as were not in union with the National Society were returned as belonging to Dissenters.

"What we want," says Mr. Gresley, "what the Church of England has long wanted, is a true church-feeling, a spirit of ecclesiastical union. The parochial clergy act too much independently of each other, and so lose the power which united exertion would give them. . . . . . Surely it is too much for any clergyman to say, that he has got his own school into the best possible order, and does not want to have anything to do with boards and inspectors. If his school is so perfect, it would be courteous in him to allow the rest of the diocese to benefit by it as a model; if, on the other hand, it is defective, the diocesan inspector is just the person to help him to improve it. The true church principle is to act together as a divinely commissioned body; therefore if a clergyman has made every personal exertion to render his own school and parish as perfect as he is able, still he has not done all he might do, unless he cooperates with his brethren for the general good. If we could but learn to act heartily together, our power of doing the Lord's work would be increased an hundredfold.”—Letter on Diocesan Education, to the Archdeacons of Stafford, &c.

in union. The lists of some deaneries are yet incomplete; but the Board are happy to state that when the subject has been fairly placed before them, there appears no unwillingness upon the part of managers to place parochial schools in union. In the deanery of Deddington one only out of twenty-three has declined.

With regard to commercial schools, it will be seen from what follows, that there were but few of a nature that the Board could admit into union. Time must also reasonably be allowed for masters to understand the advantages which will accrue from such a step. In the town of New Windsor, where the subject has been longer under notice, five schools have been united, through the medium of the Windsor and Eton Church Union Society. Application has been made by two or three other schools in Berkshire. In the city of Oxford, Mr. Andrews' School is now in union with the Board, and has already passed one very satisfactory examination. Others will be mentioned at a later stage

of this Report.

III. For the result of the statistical inquiries into the condition of education in the diocese, which have been made by the respective Archidiaconal Boards, the Subscribers are referred to the tables published at the end of this Report. They are scarcely precise enough to justify any very accurate calculations, but it will be seen at a glance, that though a great increase of schools is taking place annually, there is yet room for greater exertions. The grant of 3001. by the Board, in aid of parochial schools, will, it is hoped, give an additional stimulus to these exertions.

The number and condition of commercial schools is much more easily ascertained; and it very soon became apparent that the labours of the Board were much needed in this department. Grants have accordingly been made to the Local Boards of Bicester, Wallingford, Newbury, Witney, and Banbury, to assist in the establishment of new schools for the middle classes in those several towns. In the threed former the schools are now in

d At Bicester twenty-eight scholars have been received during the first half-year: the charge for boarding is £18. per annum, and £3. 3s. for education. The school is visited and examined every Monday, by one of the clerical members of the Local Board.

successful operation: at Witney the Worshipful Company of Grocers, though declining the aid of the Board, have undertaken to provide, in the Grammar School which is in their patronage, an education which shall be suitable to the wants of the inhabitants. For a very long period of time this school has been without pupils. At Banbury, though no school is yet established, the Board hope that steps are now being taken to profit by the grant that has been made.

Having said so much concerning their operations, the Board are anxious to recal attention to the circumstances which led to their appointment, in order that the Subscribers may see what has been done towards the accomplishment of the objects proposed, and what yet remains to be done. For this purpose it will be necessary to take a short review of the rise and progress of education for the lower orders in this country.

Previous to the commencement of the present century, our rural population was both too few and too scattered to admit of any greater number of children being collected together for the purpose of instruction in ordinary country villages than what some native female was competent to manage; nor was there any greater demand for education. More than a hundred years before this, parochial schools had been organized by some zealous and active ministers in the metropolis; and it was resolved at the first meeting of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, to "further and promote that good design of erecting catechetical schools in each parish in and about London." By degrees a desire for education spread itself throughout the provinces-a feeling which that Society endeavoured assiduously to encourage, by providing cheap books adapted for schools, and by an annual gathering of the different schools in the neighbourhood of the metropolis. In the year 1811 was formed, and in 1817 was incorporated the National Society for the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church; which relieved the earlier Society of all care in the educational department, with the exception of that of supplying books, which it still continues to do for those who choose to avail themselves of its publications.

Of the faithfulness and success with which the National Society

has executed the objects for which it was designed, its reports furnish the most demonstrable evidence. It appears by the statement published in 1838, that it has 17,341 schools more or less in union with it, in which 1,003,087 children are receiving education, exclusively of the union work-house schools, and those in course of establishment by aid of the parliamentary grants. One hundred and twenty-two masters and mistresses are likewise reported as having been under instruction during the past year, preparatory to their undertaking the charge of schools in different parts of the country. The extensive experience that had been thus gained by the National Society, and the success which, under Providence, has accompanied its exertions, became however the means of bringing under notice new wants, and of inviting to fresh spheres of usefulness. This will be explained under the heads of (1.) improvement and (2.) extension.

1. Two causes had operated hitherto to prevent the improvement of parochial schools (speaking generally) beyond a certain point-the want of a thoroughly educated class of masters, and the absence of a regular system of inspection. Towards remedying the first of these two hinderances, the National Society did what it could; and the number of teachers who passed under its training in the last year, was, as has been mentioned, far from inconsiderable. The means at its command, however, were wholly insufficient. No facility existed for superintending the moral or intellectual education of those in training; and the most that could be attempted was to communicate such a limited acquaintance with the mechanical duties of a schoolmaster as could be conveyed during a residence of a few months in the vicinity of the Central School. With regard to the second obstacle alluded to, the slightness of the connection between the Society and the different schools in union prevented any effectual examination into the degree of proficiency attained, even if the Society had been in a pecuniary condition to offer a well-devised system of inspection. But, 2. much as the state of education in parochial schools fell short of the standard of perfection, it was found not only to have equalled but to have surpassed the education that was afforded to the classes immediately above the poor. All inquiries agreed in representing the inferior sort of independent schools as most deplorably bad. The persons keep

ing them had usually received no training or prparation for the office. Religious instruction was almost wholly neglected; partly from the inability of the greater number of teachers to communicate it; partly from a fear of giving offence by preferring one form of religious belief to another.

These facts having come under the observation of several persons interested in the cause of education, a plan was proposed early in the year 1838b for effecting both these objects by enlarging the operations, and therefore necessarily the funds, of the National Society. The design is thus stated in a paper that was circulated at the time. By improvement is meant principally the tuition of masters themselves under a system of sound discipline, classification, and honorary encouragement, which shall elevate their characters, enlarge their attainments, and stimulate their ambition as a body, by holding out to professional excellence a hope of professional advancement©. Good masters will then insure to us good scholars. . . . By extension is meant the establishment of new schools or classes for small tradesmen and farmers, and, if possible, the union of many schools now conducted on independent principles with the Society, under the President (the Archbishop of Canterbury) and the standing Committee at Westminster; so that by unity of design and concentration of force, they may, in concurrence with diocesan and parochial committees direct and strengthen the system in all its ramifications." The general character of this proposal, we then find, was considered by the standing committee of the National Society so completely in accordance with the principles on which the Society was founded, and the prospect of advantage from it was so apparent, that it at once met with their most cordial approbation; and a Committee of Inquiry and Correspondence was immediately appointed for maturing the plan. A principal instrument for carrying out the proposed improvements was the formation of diocesan boards; by which the labour might be subdivided and the advantages of local superintendence secured to the different schools suggestion which

-a

b Reference to this date will shew that the Church had propounded her plan more than a year before government took any step in the matter of education.

c This of course implies a general system of inspection.

B

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