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had been from four to six months in those classes. It was urged that during the greater portion of that time they had been without the aid of the assistant master, whose duties are confined to the lower part of the school. In the second, third, fourth, and fifth classes, however, the boys in which had been at the school from one to three years, the progress was in all respects very unsatisfactory. In reading, none of those examined in the second class were capable of giving any explanation of the meaning of the words which they read. In arithmetic they had not advanced beyond the Rule of Three. In the classes below them the advance in arithmetic was still less; and, with few exceptions, there appeared to be an entire absence of any power to understand the meaning of some of the commonest words, or to show a comprehension of the very plain sentences of their lesson-books. Of the 36 boys present in the fifth class, 15, who had been at the school from one year to one year and 10 months, were unable to read. In the fourth class, three who had been at the school from a year to 18 months; and in the third class, eight, who had been at the school from two to three years, could not read. Sixteen, who had been there a similar time, could only read imperfectly. Of the 350 boys, the average number present at one time at the school, those who wrote small-hand on paper were 79 boys of the first class, and 34 out of 74 in the second ; 113 in all.
It is not without considerable regret that I advert to the state of religious instruction in these schools. The classes were severally examined in the presence of the Chaplain, who was requested first to put such questions as, from his knowledge of the progress of the children, he deemed suitable to their capacities. I feel compelled, with much concern, to state that the degree of intelligence manifested on this important subject by all the classes below the first was of the lowest and most imperfect kind. The boys composing the three junior classes had, indeed, been but a comparatively short time at the establishment, but those from the fifth to the second class inclusive, had been under instruction there from one to three years. Fifteen boys, examined in the fifth class, were unable to answer some of the simplest questions relating to their religious belief, or to show that they understood the words of the Lord's Prayer. Of the six most proficient in this class in reading and arithmetic, one only could give any intelligent answer as to the first principles of religious knowledge.
In the fourth class eight were unable to give any proof of understanding the simplest questions relating to the meaning of the words in their catechism and the Lord's Prayer.
In the third class 22 were unable to mention any fact showing the most elementary acquaintance with the Bible history. The second class was but little removed from those below them in the ability to understand the meaning of what they could either read or repeat, or in the power of remembering the facts they had read of in the Old and New Testament.
It was satisfactory to observe that the first class, consisting of about 100 boys, under the immediate superintendence of the master, had derived some benefit from the instruction imparted to them. The mode of reading showed intelligence, as far as was consistent with a still imperfect knowledge of etymology. Some acquaintance with Scripture history was also manifested. The writing was good, and in arithmetic some had advanced to Fractions. In addition to the course enjoined by the regulations, the master had given to this class some instruction in English grammar. No geography whatever was taught, or anything that had especial reference to a seafaring life, except " the points of
A selected number from this class, being required to write on their slates what they could remember of some of the simple narratives of the Bible history, were unable, with one or two exceptions, after an hour's trial, to express their ideas otherwise than in fragments of verses from the Bible, which occurred to their memory
These boys had been from three to four years at the school.
Medals are given as rewards for general good conduct. The punishments are chiefly corporal, and are publicly inflicted. The vacations are six weeks at Midsummer, and two at Christmas. All are allowed to remain whose parents are unwilling or unable to receive them. About 300 remain, on an average, in the three schools, under the supervision of only one instructor in each. The afternoon lessons only are required by the regulations to be omitted ; but it appeared that, practically, the daily occupation of the children at those periods amounted to little more than attending prayers one hour each day. The half-holidays on Wednesdays and Saturdays are entirely unemployed in all the three schools. Neither is there any stated occupation for any portion of Sunday, except for the hours of attending the chapel.
No library is attached to the Lower School, consequently the boys have no opportunity of employing themselves profitably out of school-hours, should they be so disposed.
Industrial Occupations. The regulations require that the boys of the Lower School should be instructed by the master tailor and master shoemaker, in rotation. With respect to the latter trade this injunction is entirely neglected. Two boys only attend the shoemaker's shop each day, and they are not taught any branch whatever of shoemaking or mending. In this shop one master and nine men are at work, making and mending shoes for the establishment at the high cost of 4s. 5d. per pair. The two boys sit with them in the shop, but are employed solely in sewing the small leather caps worn at the school. Even this small portion of instruction falls to their lot at considerable intervals of time. To the tailor's shop the boys go by detachments of 18, for three consecutive days. They are only taught to mend. The selection of the drafts from each class is left to the monitors alone, without any check upon
its being made in due order.
Gymnastics. These exercises, and the Drill, are performed by the boys of both schools very creditably. A portion of every day is given to them. The gymnastics are under the direction of the boatswain, and are well calculated to form a useful introductory training for some of the duties of a sailor. Among those who have been some time in training a remarkable degree of strength and dexterity has been developed. But the system at present pursued appears to require to be enlarged, and io receive a practical application, for which the vicinity of the river would afford the opportunity.
Girls' School.—Those present at this school were divided into four classes, three of which were able to write, and the first to read with some degree of propriety. With regard, however, to the capacity of remembering the facts, or explaining the meaning of the words which they met with in their reading, they appeared to be nearly on an equality with the boys of corresponding ages in the Lower School." None of the girls wrote small-hand on paper, and in arithmetic the point attained was a very low one. Their industrial occupations are not such as to give them much useful preparation for the duties incident to their condition in life. They are only taught to sew, and not to cut out or place work, or to knit or plait. The parts they take by rotation in the domestic duties of the establishment are such as to convey to them very little useful instruction. In their own school-house they clean the dormitories, dining-hall, &c. In the laundry they only fold the linen, and are not employed in washing. Their sole occupation in the kitchen is in cleaning. They are taught nothing of the plainest processes of domestic management. Their school library is very imperfectly provided with well-selected books. It was stated that those it possesses were very seldom used. Their time out of school-hours, on Sundays especially, is as unemployed as that of the boys. The matron, whose duties have reference to discipline and not to instruction, voluntarily teaches a few of the elder girls for an hour or two on Sundays.
Upper School. The boys of this school are admitted between the ages of 11 and 12, and remain for three years. The dimensons of the school-room are similar to that of the Lower boys. The desks are disposed in a manner resembling Dr. Bell's plan. The books used are the Bible, Goldsmith's History of England, English Grammar, Guy's Geography, and Mr. Riddle's Course of Geometry and Nautical Astronomy. The apparatus consists of maps, black boards, slates, and copy-books. The masters are four, one for each division of the school. There is no class-room. About four-fifths of the school-hours are given to arithmetic, and to the course of geometry and navigation; the remaining time is chiefly devoted to writing. No attempt is made to teach more than the plainest principles of religious knowledge, or to impart more than a very trifling amount of geography or history. The mode of conveying the very small amount of instruction that is attempted in the three last-mentioned branches consists, chiefly, in the master giving a brief lesson to some of the most advanced boys of his division, who afterwards communicate what they have learnt, as far as they are able, to the rest. With respect to this portion also of the establishment, I feel obliged to advert to the very slight attention paid to the religious branch of instruction, The standard at present prevailing in the school may be sufficiently indicated by the fact, that the elementary catechism of Dr. Watts forms part of the instruction on these subjects given to boys of 14 at the head of the first class.
The Lower division of the school, comprising about 150 boys, is under the sole superintendence of the second master, whose chief duty is stated to be to prepare his division, by a thorough knowledge of arithmetic, for passing to the Upper portion of the school. This appears to be effected with all those boys who have an aptitude for that branch of study with much skill and completeness. The attention of the other three masters is chiefly contined to that which is the main, and may indeed be said to be almost the exclusive, object of the instruction in this school, the course of geometry, plane and spherical trigonometry, navigation, nautical astronomy, a little map and perspective drawing, and the way to take sights and lunars. On this course it is unquestionable that a high degree of talent, zeal, and industry is brought to bear by the respective masters. The progress, therefore, of those boys who have taste and ability for these pursuits is, at the end of their three years' study, very considerable; and it is satisfactory to learn that this school has been the means of furnishing a large number of young men, well prepared in certain departments of their duty as officers, both to the naval and merchant service. Its deficiencies, however, are great and obvious.
Those boys who have no ability for a mathematical course leave the school with scarcely any acquirement at all. The great and almost excessive development given to the course of pure mathematics absorbs, under the present imperfect arrangements of the day, so great a proportion of the time appropriated to study, that very little attention can be paid to any branch of general instruction, and all practical application of the professional course is almost entirely overlooked. A training-school for future sailors ought manifestly to comprehend the groundwork of all the duties which a sailor may be hereafter called upon to perform, as far as they can be taught in a school, or by aid of the facilities which it may afford. Chart-drawing appeared to be the only practical branch taught within these schools, and this only by copying. Practice in laying down soundings, and in the general principles of hydrography, might be obtained with much ease on the river. Geography, so essential to a sailor, is necessarily most imperfectly taught in the Upper School, by reason of the very short time devoted to it. In the Lower School it is entirely overlooked. No branch of Natural History or Natural Philosophy is attended to in either. No time is given to the study of the steam-engine, its powers, and uses, although its connexion with vaval science has assumed a first-rate importance. The elements of gunnery and fortification, the detail of making and setting up rigging, practice in rowing or managing boats, might also very profitably engage attention at these schools. Other subjects might be mentioned, which will be adverted to in a subsequent part of this Report, where the measures considered necessary to bring these schools into a condition of efficiency will be stated more at large.
The library of this school contains a very fair collection of books of amusement; but it was stated that they were very seldom asked for, and that when given out they were frequently destroyed.
Discipline.-It did not appear that any greater disorder prevailed habitually in the boys' schools than arose almost necessarily from the very crowded state of both the school-rooms.
Out of school the masters are never present with the boys, the discipline being for those periods intrusted to a boatswain and four mates, two to each boys' school. This number is manifestly inadequate to the effectual supervision of so many boys, during the hours occupied each day with their meals and in the play-ground.
The buildings are so arranged as to afford to the boys continual facilities for escaping all vigilance, and making their way into the town. A head-nurse and two assistants are also equally inadequate to the numerous duties required of them, in superintending the girls when not in school.
The gravest result of this state of circumstances is the frequent clandestine intercourse maintained between the boys and the girls. The building appropriated to the latter is between the other two. Doors open from it into and towards the corridors common to both. T'he play-grounds adjoin, and are separated from each other by no division in the slightest degree effectual. Receiving no lessons in common, not uniting at recognised periods in their sports or recreations, yet always within view of each other when in their respective play-grounds, they are constantly devising plans for surreptitious communications. This is the more naturally the case as many become well acquainted with each other during the vacations, or in going to or returning from their homes in the seaport towns. These journeys they perform in waggons and steam-vessels, in companies of 20 and 30 together, without any control, and passing often many nights on the road. No vigilance has therefore hitherto been able to prevent continual meetings taking place, especially during the winter evenings, or to checka system of correspondence, the evidences of which are frequently brought to light. The disorder and demoralization to which these circumstances give rise are subjects of great anxiety and regret to all the officers and authorities of the establishment, and a re