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school at Hyde would be far better managed if it had the benefit of more superintendence; the master does not want capacity, and has some right feelings as to what his office should be, but considering rather the requirements of the parents than the responsibilities of his station, his chief attention is devoted to getting his children on well in arithmetic. His school is a large one, and might be in far better order. The children do not read intelligently, and the amount of religious instruction given in it seemed but scanty. The building is a remarkably good one.
The girls under the care of the schoolmaster's wife are quiet and orderly, but the amount of instruction given did not seem to me very great.
The master of the national school attached to St. Peter's, Derby, appeared to be a gentle, thoughtful person, but he has not been well trained, and his education is but imperfect; he is also not sufficiently neat in his person, and this want of care tells unfavourably on the children; a good deal of what his children do is in correctly done, but I cannot tell how much of this may be attributed to the late master, who left the school some six months back. The mistress is a good quiet sort of person, but not trained to her work, and the acquirements of her girls are not very great. The arrangements are not very methodical in either the boys' or the girls' school. Of these seven schools that at Hyde is the largest, being attended by 142 boys and 63 girls. The smallest is that at Rainhill, where the numbers were 26 boys and 18 girls ; 80 boys and 54 girls would be about the medium number.
There is but one more school to be noticed separately, namely, a girls' school in St. Mary's parish, Chester, the merits of which are above the average. The mistress, an intelligent woman, neat in her person, keeps her girls in good order; and the amount of instruction given seemed to me rather more than is usual in schools of a similar class.
In the Appendix are given detailed reports of the schools inspected, following the forms issued to me by your Lordships.
I very much regret that from various causes the answers in some respects are so imperfectly filled up; but I hope that I have gathered some experience
late tour, and that, if I am called upon to present any further reports, more attention to the points on which your Lordships have required information will be exhibited; but in so large a body of questions as are supplied for each school, some escaped my notice at the time of inspection, and others on which information was obtained I am unable now to answer, from having trusted my memory too much.
The table given in the Appendix presents but an unsatisfactory view of the general amount of the instruction conveyed. To take one instance—there were in attendance at the 16 schools (not infant) kept by masters and attended by children of both sexes, 1106 scholars; of
these I noted the numbers (one) who could read with ease, and (two) who could read words of one syllable, such as " length,” &c., without spelling; the numbers of such as could read
with ease were 338 (being less than one third of the whole), and if we add to these 305 the number of such as could read imperfectly, we shall have in all 643, which is but a small proportion out of more than 1100 children. All of these schools were assembled in substantial and well-sized buildings; what is wanted is not so much school-rooms as efficient masters and greater means for their support. At present perhaps we ought not to say that proper training and sufficient education among schoolmasters is so scarce a commodity, that those who are esteemed the possessors of it are liable to ask for it a high price (for instances are not I believe uncommon of men at the head of schools of a considerable size leaving the calling of a schoolmaster to be employed as book-keepers in offices and the like); but the poorer classes have as yet no adequate sense even of the mere exchangeable value of what is called a good education, and when one finds the case continually recurring of apparently no accessible funds by which a better master may be secured, the enquiry must press itself on one's mind, How is this difficulty to be met?
It is a favourable symptom, that in the upper classes there is undoubtedly a general and a spreading feeling that more ought to be done : and much is it to be wished that this feeling would prompt them to visit the elementary schools attended by their poorer neighbours more frequently. The superintendence of these is too commonly left with the clergyman and his family; wherever a judicious and habitual superintendence takes place, the school will uniformly exhibit the favourable results of it, and a mere occasional visit will do much. It is something to have the windows opened in the close atmosphere which the schools in Lancashire commonly present, owing to the high temperature to which the children are accustomed in the mills. Such visits would also, where necessary, do much towards moderating the tones of the master's voice and preventing unnecessary harshness.
It seems to me that gentleness is a peculiarly valuable quality in a schoolmaster for the poor. With the children of the upper classes, if they get rough treatment at school they have their kindly sympathies brought out by the education of their homes ; but with the poor, their external manners, especially where there is a pressure of poverty, do not always do justice to the warmth of feeling within, and the consequence too frequently is that their offspring grow up untoward and stubborn, from its never having been realized to them that those with whom they came in contact had any serious care for their welfare.
I have dwelt most upon such schools as seemed to me to have that in them which deserved praise ; but no one who has seen any, thing of the cotton districts can help feeling that very much remains to be done. I do not know an every-day sight more melancholy than the stream of faces that one sees issuing from the mills at noon in the manufacturing towns. Not that such as are employed in the factories appeared to me out of health or en
feebled--they are commonly well fed, and the uniform temperature in which they work compensates in some measure for other physical disadvantages--but their demeanour has no marks in it of shame-facedness or self-respect; and the facility with which they can provide for themselves frees them at an early age from parental control : want of chastity is in many places amongst these scarcely thought of as a reproach. It seems therefore greatly to be desired that the attendance at school enforced by the Factory Act should be given to schools of character, where not only the children might not be reported of as present, when absent on errands or on other insufficient causes, but where moral training as well as instruction might be accessible to those whose spiritual condition labours under so many disadvantages. If some qualification were necessary for a man to act as a schoolmaster to factory children, the regular payments of these would afford great support to good schools, and a feeling would gradually find place that the children were obtaining something that was really of value in return for the trivial sacrifices imposed by the requirements of law.
It is said that what is really efficient in Lancashire is the Sunday-school, which frequently numbers above a thousand within its walls ;—and certainly that at Bolton, the only one in which I spent any time, appeared to me a sight which would well repay the trouble and expense of a long journey to visit it: by assiduous superintendence of more than 20 years the spirit of the pastor is in some measure transfused through the school, and the teachers, all privately instructed week after week by the clergyman, become the channels through which his lessons are conveyed to each of the children that have the happiness of attending his school ;--and the example set at Bulton is followed out in other places. At Bolton there is also an efficient day-school: but there are large towns in Lancashire, such as Oldham, where there is no parochial school accessible to the children of the poor. The difficulties in the way of the establishment of week-day schools where there are already spacious school-houses erected amidst a dense population of more than 60,000 souls, cannot be insurmountable.
The district attached to St. James's, Heywood, may be taken as evidence of what may be effected in a town, the circumstances of which are amongst the least favourable that can well be imagined for its spiritual culture. Within the last 30 years the population of Heywood has increased from a few hundreds to more than' double as many thousands, and these consist almost entirely of two classes, the operatives and their immediate superintendents. There are no gentry; and the bad arrangements of the more recent manufacturing towns of Lancashire here appear in their most disgusting forms. The clergyman with a flock of 8000 is not so well paid as an ordinary curate; but within the three years ihat. he has held the appointment he has established an efficient dayschool attended by a considerable number of factory children, and the best infant-school that I have seen out of the immediate neigh
bourhood of London, with three night-schools for such as are at work during the day. A daily school, supported by a factory master, has been placed under his superintendence, and in a short time two more day-schools will be opened along the line of his population, which, as so many missionary stations, will, we may reasonably hope, prove, humanly speaking, the means of leavening his district. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, himself and his wife and their two female servants leave the house with the key in their pockets to spend the evening in a room given up to their use in a manufactory two miles distance. Here some 60 young people who have been in the mill during the day are assembled; some of the girls are taught sewing and knitting, the rest, with the boys, learn writing and accounts; the evening's work is concluded with a short catechetical lecture out of the Bible, and prayer.
At St. James's, Clitheroe, I spent the evening in another nightschool of a similar kind, in which the clergyman, after a laborious day's work, is always himself the chief teacher, taking class by class in succession ; the number of scholars present was 87; their ages from 13 to 20, with a few older pupils. In these nightschools I saw nothing like fatigue or inattention resulting from the labours of the day.
While I have been writing these remarks, I have often been in doubt whether I should express my feelings, from the fear that I might be taking too much upon myself in presuming to act in so many respects a judge of those around me. And although I feel deeply that even praise of such as are greatly our superiors in self-denial, in laborious diligence, and in all that is most worthy of the estimation of men, doth little become our lips, I thought that I should do most towards discharging the office that has been allotted to me by an attempt to give as faithfully as was in my power a transcript of the impressions I received. Moreover I was sure that whoever read these reports, so far as they do not include statements of facts, would read them as the notions formed by one who had only a limited time for making his observations, and that consequently opinions miglit be stated which subsequent and more patient observation might modify, or even entirely change.
I must further add, that it cannot but be that a person such as I am, who gives himself with any degree of consideration to his work, will have abundant motives for self-humiliation in the instances which will continually be brought before his eyes, of men giving untiringly their time, their energies, and their money to the furtherance of the best interests of their fellow-men. My Lords, I have the honour to be
Your Lordships' obedient humble servant, King's College, London, (Signed) JOHN ALLEN.
20th May, 1841. To the Right Honourable the Lords of the
Committee of Council on Education,