REPORT, by the Rev. John ALLEN, on the State of several

Schools in the Counties of Chester, Derby, and Lancaster. MY LORDS,

On the 29th of March, 1841, I was instructed to proceed to the inspection of 52 schools in Derbyshire, Cheshire, and Lancashire. They were all connected with the Church of England. Eleven of them having been aided by your Lordships, were formally liable to inspection, the 41 others had invited the visits of Her Majesty's Inspectors. Of these 41 schools 39 had been aided by the Lords of the Treasury:

I left London on the evening of the 29th of March and returned on the 30th of April.

Previous to my departure I waited on the Right Reverend the Bishops of Chester and Lichfield; the kind assistance which their Lordships gave me proved of considerable service to the furthermy

Of the 41 schools that invited inspection, 7 are in operation only as Sunday-schools; 2 are in the district of Furness, so as to be most accessible from Cumberland or Westmoreland; I was omitted by an oversight; and 3 were visited, but, from circumstances over which I had no control, were not in. spected: of the remaining 28 I subjoin in the Appendix detailed accounts. Again-of the 11 schools aided by your Lordships, one is at present used only as a Sunday-school, another was to be opened as an infant-school in a fortnight after my visit, the remaining 9 added to the 28 mentioned above make in all 37 schools visited and reported on.

A table in the Appendix gives the names of the inspected schools, classifying some of the results ascertained; from which it appears that out of the 37 schools reported on, 5 were dame-schools, 8 were infant-schools, 16 were schools under a master in which boys and girls were assembled in the same room, 7 were schools in which under a master and a mistress the boys and girls were taught in separate rooms, and one was a school exclusively for girls.

Of the dame-schools little can be said; as far as I could observe, the mistresses commonly seemed gentle, right-minded women, and with a single exception they were neat in their persons; one could not however help regretting that the school building was not so applied as to be the means of imparting more efficient instruction; in one of these cases where the mere structure had cost above £300, and in which more than 70 children were assembled on the day of my visit, the mistress (a good worker) was unable either to write or to detect the most gross errors of spelling, and a. large portion of the children were sitting wholly unemployed. Of these five schools, two were aided by a grant from your Lordships. The largest number of children that I found in a dame

school was 73, the smallest number 13; the whole number of children divided by the number of schools gives 30 as an average attendance.

The infant-schools were all fitted with a gallery, and were commonly well furnished with prints : one of them (that attached to St. James's Church in Heywood) appeared to me an exceedingly good school. The master (a Scotch Episcopalian, trained under Mr. Stow at Glasgow), aided by his sister, was more successful in bringing into action the intellectual faculties of his children than any other paid teacher whom I saw in Lancashire. Here also I found a border of flowers round the playground, perfectly neat and free from weeds; this, which is always an agreeable sight as connected with a school, is most precious in a town like Heywood, where the pleasurable feelings excited by flowers and other of the good gifts of the Author of nature have but few opportunities of being called into action. A flower-garden is also a place where lessons of self-denial may be very early taught. I was told that during the last year only one blossom had been picked without leave. The children, although coming from the most unpromising localities, were neat and clean. I shall have occasion to refer to the district attached to this school in a subsequent part of my report. Of the other infant-schools, one of which alone was under a master, the teachers appeared to be in most instances kindly-hearted women, and some of them showed considerable cheerfulness and energy joined with a very agreeable manner of talking to the children; but in all of them I noticed a great lack of any systematic plan for calling out the intelligence of their scholars. What was done seemed chiefly routine work. The lessons in Scripture, which might be made most profitable to children (by first exciting their imagination with a well-designed print, and then, when they are interested in the subject, and their faculties are brought as it were into the proper temper, by impressing upon them in a few weighty words the lesson intended to be conveyed), were commonly mere appeals to the memory, in which a few of the more forward pupils led the answers of the rest. It is of course something that the children of the poor should be assembled in spacious and cheerful rooms, and taught, by marching and manual exercises, accompanied with singing, habits of order and the use of their bodily powers; but surely, without burdening their memories with unintelligible terms, a well-trained and skilful teacher will find means to accustom his scholars to put forth and bring into action the faculties of their minds. Quickness of perception, the capacity for accurate observation, a facility in passing from the symbol to the thing signified, are powers educed by exercise, and dependent in a great measure for their efficiency upon the habits we form. In most of these schools the older girls were taught to sew and knit. Attached to two of them were playgrounds fitted up with a circular swing. In none of these were the children exercised in writing or drawing at the blackened board or wall; and I met with only one instance of a cabinet of natural objects. Of the eight infant-schools, four are aided by your Lordships. The largest attendance that I found of infants was 131, the smallest 37; dividing the whole number of infants by the number of schools visited, would give nearly 74 as the average attendance.

In 10 out of the 16 national schools kept by masters and attended by children of both sexes, some assistance was given by a female in teaching the older girls to knit and sew, and in superintending the younger children. Of the 16 masters, 5 only could be said to have received any proper training, namely, those of Mersham, of St. James's Heywood, of Walton-le-dale, of Habergham Eaves, and of Downham schools; six of them taught on no system, without any arrangement of the children into classes, and in these the results, as far even as mere instruction went, seemed to me inferior to that which is obtained in a good dameschool. Of the remaining five, one had been instructed under Mr. Wilderspin, as an infant-schoolmaster, for six weeks, and the results even of this short training appeared in the order and cheers fulness of his children; but he began the work of a schoolmaster late in life, and although not wanting in quickness and energy, the defects in his early education will probably prevent his ever becoming a very efficient instructor. Another had had charge of his school for so short a time, that I was not well able to judge of what he was likely to effect; he was however gentle in manners, and his wife, who assisted him in his work, was particularly neat and pleasing in her appearance. A third, at the head of a very large and badly-managed school, was not wanting in shrewdness, but he had been very imperfectly educated, and his severity towards the children left on my mind a most unpleasing impression. A fourth, who presided over a school of some 25 children, will I have little doubt, as he grows older, become more serviceable in his work; he has had slender advantages in the way of education, but he is quiet and intelligent. And the fifth, a man likewise of not much education but apparently of gentle and pleasing character (the effect of which was very visible in his school); he was one of the few masters who had begun to teach his children to sing from notes, he himself accompanying them on the violin. To go back, however, to the five schools mentioned above.

In the Measham school the sphere of instruction is rather confined, but all that is taught is thoroughly taught, and equal attention is paid to the lower classes with the higher. The children are intelligent, and the tone and character of the school satisfactory in every respect. Their proficiency in religious knowledge was great. The master has the advantage of a most painstaking and efficient superintendent in the clergyman. It is not usual to find a seraphine in a national-school room, but the effects of its presence on the singing of the children, the master being a good musician, was remarkably good.

The St. James's Heywood is another of those schools which are chiefly indebted for their merit to the constant superintendence of the clergyman. When I first visited it (without any notice) I found the curate engaged in teaching one of the classes, the clergyman's wife was also in the school; religious instruction is habitually given by the clergyman, who also gives orally lessons in geography and history. The school was attended at the time of my visit by 64 factory children, who came in drafts, half in the morning, half in the afternoon. Their regular payments are a great assistance to the school, and they can here receive bona fide instruction. When they chance to be thrown out of work, they are allowed still to continue their attendance at the school withoutout any payment. I brought away with me specimens of needlework, which although done by children employed half the day in a factory, were remarkable for cleanness as well as good sewing.

The Walton-le-dale national school was the largest I saw during my tour; there were present on the day of my visit 140 boys and 77 girls: many of these would have found their appropriate place in an infant school, but the master, a thoughtful and as it appeared to me a well-judging person, was able, with the assistance of monitors, to keep fair order, and an efficient system of instruction pervaded the entire school. In the room above some 20 girls were taken off his hands by a sewing mistress. The appearance, intelligence, and manners of the boys spoke much in favour of the school. I was not able to give it the time that I could wish to have spent in it.

In the Habergham Eaves school the master gives his chief attention to the first class. He seemed straightforward in his character, and to possess considerable capacity, understanding what he is about, and he is evidently fond of his work, for which he has in a great measure formed himself; his children are in perfect order, but this result is produced perhaps rather by fear than love. There is a deficiency in the amount of religious instruction communicated in the school, but the parents of many of the children being Dissenters, the master felt himself under some restraint. A new arrangement is about to be made in this respect, by which it is intended to provide for such instruction being regularly given by the clergyman of the district.

The Downham school was the best village school that I visited in Lancashire. It is endowed with 201. per annum. The master has been trained in the National Society's Central School at Westminster; he is neat in his person and cheerful in his manners; his children show some intelligence, and are in good order. The school is not one of very great pretensions, but what is attempted seems to be fairly done.

In the above schools the largest number that I found in attendance under one master was 217 (140 boys, 77 girls); the smallest number 21 (12 boys, 9 girls); dividing the whole number of

children by the number of schools will give near 70 as the average to each.

In the next class of schools, seven in number, where boys and girls are taught in separate rooms, under a master, and a mistress, I did not observe any so deficient as those which are noticed above. The school at Whalley has been only for a few weeks under its present master and mistress, having been left by its previous occupants under very disadvantageous circumstances. The situation is confined and the arrangements not good, In the school attached to St. Mary's, Preston, where many of the children come from a very poor

class--the hand-loom weavers- the master seems scarcely to have energy sufficient to cope with the difficulties of his position. The boys are but very imperfectly instructed and are in bad order. The master having been in trade, began his present work at the age of 32, and was trained for eight months some years back at the Central School of the National Society; but it could not well be hoped that the imperfections of his early education would, with his character, be remedied in mature life. The mistress is more intelligent, and her school is in better order.

The master of the school attached to Trinity Church, Bolton, is a man of education superior to that possessed by the average of national schoolmasters. What was done, as far as I could examine it, was accurately done. I was hurried in my visit to the school, and was not able to give it the attention I wished. In the three upper classes which I examined the children were intelligent, and the school was generally in good order.

About 30 factory boys were in attendance, having replaced a like number who had received instruction during the earlier part of the day. The acquirements of these were but scanty. The mistress, who had lately been appointed, was at the head of a quiet orderly school; she was gentle in her manners. The intelligence of the girls did not equal that of the boys. At Rainhill a very large part of the expense of building and fitting the school has fallen upon the clergyman. The school is not attended by the children of the poorest classes, the amount of payment which is thought necessary for the support of the master and mistress precluding their attendance. The master was a shoemaker, and has not been trained to his work ; he is neat in appearance and gentle in manners. On the day of my visit there were 26 boys and 18 girls present. The school has been in operation about 16 months; the building is an exceedingly good one.

At Marple there is a very well-built school-room, attended by about 100 children. The instruction of the boys is confined-to reading, writing, and arithmetic, and the two first of these are not taught very efficiently. The master, a young man, neat in his person, is but imperfectly educated, and his conduct seemed to me harsh towards the children; but I was not quite sure how much of this might be attributed to some degree of nervous anxiety manifested at my visit: his wife appeared more gentle with the girls. The

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