Paper on the
"Management of Large Schools in Scotland."
Auckland: Wilsins and Horton, Ganeral Printer, Wyndham Street. MDCCCXCIII.page break
The Auckland Branch of the New Zealand Educational Institute, having ascertained that Mr. John Hastie, Organist tig Secretary of the National Association, held a distinguished position in tho Old Country as Head Master in one of the largest schools under the Govan Parish School Board, Glasgow, invited him to read a paper to the members on "The Management of Large Schools in Scotland." He kindly complied with this request: and at the first Quarterly Meeting of the combined Auckland Branch of the Educational Institute and the Teachers' Union, which took place in the Young Men's Christian Association Rooms, on 30th June, 1893, the paper was read. It received much favourable comment; and the meeting unanimously resolved, with the Author's approval, to have the paper published in pamphlet form for dissemination among teachers and educational bodies in the Colony. By this means, it is confidently believed that professional brethren and others associated with them in the administration of Education, will be largely benefited by tho perusal of Mr, Hastie's interesting and valuable paper, wherein his extensive experience and practical knowledge are succinctly delineated.
R. B. Heriot,President.
Arthur Edwards,Hon, Secretary.
The Management of Large Shools in Scotland.
When the deputation from your Educational Institute waited upon me some months ago, to solicit a public exposition of my professional experience, I was somewhat surprised. I had assumed that a "recent arrival," with less than two years' sojourn in the country, would have remained unnoticed and unknown to his professional brethren for some time longer. It appears, however, that I have prematurely passed that interesting stage of Colonial probation, which all "new chums" have to undergo in a young Colony (whether they are in quest of health, or, to their mind, more favourable condition a of life), before they are ingratiated into that happy bourne of felicity and confidence, which, with many ulterior blessings, appear to have gradually dissipated with the lapse of space between the old home and the new. Be that as it may, the persuasion of Mr. Hames, your former worthy secretary, drew a reluctant consent that I should attempt, amid my multifarious public duties, to prepare and read a paper on "The Management of large schools in Scotland," to the Members of your Institute.
Unfortunately, I have been considerably hampered in its preparation; and only last week I got summary notice to have it ready for this meeting. Yet, though I present it in a crude, unpolished, and mayhap imperfect shape, I trust my professional brethren may, at least, learn something from the experience of one, who has, "from his youth upwards," and until a comparatively recent revolution of circumstances, and antipodean translation, been almost constantly associated with, and for twenty years been at the head of, two of the largest educational establishments in Scotland. Thus you will not be surprised, that I view those before me as fellow workers and co-adjutors in the noble army of preceptors and tutors, whose constant aim is to train and educate the young recruit for the stern battle of life. The young and rising generations may well be compared to tender little reeds, which have to rely for the first few years on faithful attention from the husbandman. Happy is that teacher, who, by pattern and example, succeeds in straightening, even by judicious application of the "bending" process, the lives of those to whom he (or she) stands in loco parentis.page 6
Education Proper.—Before descending into the minutiae of School Management, I should like just to add further, that Education proper, as viewed by your present expounder, means much more than the engrafting into the young mind the elements of reading, writing, arithmetic, and their accompanying subjects as required by an Education Act. More, I say, because long experience has shewn me, that education, to be efficient and complete, must comprise within its scope, an essential co-efficient—that is, the moral training, side by side with the intellectual. An educationist of authority has defined it thus:—"Education implies and comprehends the educing, leading out, and bringing forth those innate, though undeveloped, faculties and powers, which are acknowledged by the wise and good, to be of essential service, not only to the individual, but to the world at large."
You will thus perceive, that T view the aims and objects of efficient instruction from a two-fold standpoint—or rather, that true education, whilst encouraging, must be repressive; whilst stimulating, it must at the same time crush; though it opens the mind, it must also confine. It leads into walks of light, but must battle with the powers of darkness. Some of you here, may question such logio; but to one who has spent nearly all his life-time in the profession, it is confirmed to him more and more as an absolute necessity and reality.
School Buildings.—In treating my subject proper, namely, "the management of large schools in Scotland," it will be more practical to begin with those requisites having universal application, as the root and foundation of good management. The firsts though not necessarily the most important, is the school building—the architecture, plan, or interior construction of which affects, in large measure, the daily routine of management In this country, where large buildings, having accommodation for a thousand (or more) pupils, are solitary exceptions, rather than the rule, as in the Home country, no fair comparison can be made. But contrasting the larger schools I have seen in the Colony, with those of a similar size in Scotland, I fear my opinion is distinctly unfavourable to the New Zealand structures. Some of these are long straggling buildings, answering the appearance of military barracks, an asylum or hospital. The interior arrangements for class movement, concentration, and supervision, are equally unsatisfactory to my mind, the long lobbies and passages being perhaps the most objectionable of all, and aggravated further by the evils arising from the material used in the construction. The vibration and echo from footsteps, etc., all tend to hinder the temporary cultivation of peace and quietness, or the unrestrained and genuine merry laugh, to be licensed not unfrequently in the best regulated schools, where law and order are supreme.page 7
Now, such disadvantages, though not wholly removed in our modern Home establishments, are reduced to a minimum. Indeed, the external appearance and internal arrangements partake of a palatial character. As a rule, the school-building consists of one great square block, or of a T shape, two and often three storeys in height, with stone walls of about two feet in thickness. The whole edifice displays the like massive and substantial proportions. The staircases and lobbies are almost invariably centrally placed, access to and from playgrounds being free and easy by separate entrances for the sexes. Again, each class or department is focussed from the lobbies or landings, through separate doorways, the sexes (except in the Infant department) being isolated almost as if two different schools existed.
The interior arrangement and equipment are even more elaborate and advantageous for perfect organisation. The more recently built schools have class-rooms of a size varying to accommodate from 60 to 100 pupils each. By a very simple contrivance, however, the rooms in each department can be thrown into one large room for collective lessons, such as music, Scripture and moral lessons, standard examination work and revision. This arrangement, so beneficial to a large school, is secured by means of sectional sliding partitions, resting on a grooved pedestal about three feet high, and movable backwards, flush with each other to the wall while projecting three or four feet out into the room, The partitions are constructed of light wood, and frames with obscure glass, and are easily run out and in as required. The floor of nearly every class-room is terraced or galleried by three or four stages, allowance being made for a clear passage behind the row of writing-benches in each terrace. For writing lessons and criticism of the work of individual pupils, all practical teachers know that such an arrangement is invaluable. Again, there is always sufficient floor space in front of the deskst to admit of free movement for the teacher and class ad libitum. The black-boards, or slate-boards, are mostly permanent fixtures on the walls, so located that the pupil has no difficulty in decipher ing what is posted thereon. In like manner, the teacher's position at the board needs no special effort to discern by a side quiet glance round the benches, what a Scotchman calls "mischief." and a Colonial terms "larrikinism ism," Such is but a meagre description of the school buildings now being erected by the Glasgow and Govan School Boards. They surpass anything you are ever likely to have in this Colony. Indeed, in no other part of Scotland, or the world, have skill and inventive genius been more exercised to bring to perfection every adjunct for assisting organisation and sanitation. I shall only add to this description, by informing you, that attached to each school is a perfect arrangement of outside lavatories and latrines. The most recent innovation in this direction, is a swimming bath, situated page 8 underneath the school. There is also a Janitor's house of comfortable dimensions. The Janitor is in constant attendance at the school, and is responsible to the Head Master as the caretaker as well. The playgrounds, though naturally limited in area by ground values, are of sufficient size for arrangement of classes; and they provide ample breathing space for the combined scholars. Novelties in the heating and ventilation might be enlarged upon; but the ordinary furnace and hot-water pipes prevail, to circumvent the rigour of the trying winters; while the latest and most perfect novelty in ventilation is a suction fan, planted in the roof at a concentrated air shaft. This fan receives its rotary power from a little gas engine, and expels the vitiated air. Herein you have a faint conception of the varied and complicated contrivances at work in the transfusion of intellect, so to speak. To sum up, the cost of one built a few years ago, was close upon £20,000; and the only building at all approaching them in New Zealand, that I have had the privilege of inspecting, is the new Art School in Wellington, which is a credit to this young Colony.
Appliances and Furnishings.—These are appendages that come next in the ascending gradation of perfectness to be aimed at in the management of schools—large or small. It is a trite saying, that the tradesman must have his full set of tools, to shape and manufacture the article passing through his hands. So with every profession in life, and essentially more so is it in the art of teaching. By appliances and furnishings, I mean not only a full supply of maps, diagrams, blackboards, etc., but skilfully designed desks and forms, graded to the average ages of the pupils. The more modern designs possess the merits of lightness and gainliness—qualities secured in seats and desks of short length and size, that one person may conveniently handle. All seata have backs or supports, serviceable to rest betimes the tender supple frame of exhausted humanity. The instructions from "My Lords" of the Education Department, to their large army of Inspectors in regard to such matters, are clear and emphatic. Any School Board refusing to comply with the recomendations mendations of Inspectors, or failing to remove causes of criticism, runs the risk of the annual grant for the specified school being suspended, reduced, or refused, according to the degree of culpability defined in the Inspector's Annual Report, or that of his visits without notice.
Status of Inspectors.—Most of you are probably aware that the position powers, and duties of the Home Inspectorate, are much more responsible and onerous than those in the same branch of the educational machinery for this Colony. At Home, the appointment of Inspector comes direct from the Education Department. There are four grades of Inspectors—Chief Inspectors, who have controlling power over a large area; Inspectors page 9 in charge of specified districts; Sub-Inspectors, and Inspectors Assistanta. The first two grades are of themselves, as for the Education Department, the "all in all" of constituted authority on whom School Boards and Teachers generally rely for guidance. Yet abuse of such arbitrary power is seldom heard of; genuine complaints are rare, though occasional smothered grumbling does now and then find vent. Should a teacher unfortunately fed aggrieved, be must appeal or lodge a complaint with fhe School Board, who may (if they see fit), report the circumstance to "My Lords" of the Privy Council, or "the Scotch Secretary of Education." The complaint is referred back to the Inspector for explanation, and there it generally ends. But if, in isolated cases, it has to go further, the Chief Inspector for the divisional area or district, becomes the final arbiter. Thus the matter is decided for weal or woe—but mostly for woe to the teacher. In justice to Inspectors, however, it must be admitted that teachers are not infallible, are often over-sensitive in their zeal for a high pass, and become irritable, at finding a capable pupil ignominiously failing, when one with less ability had struggled through. Are you astonished at that? As practical teachers, we all know, that the same results by the same tests, from any single standard on two different days cannot be secured, The reason is, that in so much variety of intellect, constitution, and other influences, the mental barometer is constantly changing. In my own day, I have been subjected to every variety of the inspectorial "pruning knife." My experience covers eight Chief Inspectors, many Sub-Inspeetors, and a formidable array of Inspectors' Assistants, Always two, and often three Inspectors officiated at the same time, the examination commonly lasting from four to six days. The Assistants invariably pruned well down at a uniform depth, while the Senior Inspector gauged the general work and tone of the school from a higher, and in my opinion, broader and sounder basis, If, in such a variety of experience as this, I were able to admit that I had lived all along in an Inspectorial paradise, my position would be unique. Nevertheless, I have passed through this "teachers' fiery furnace" practically scatbless, and have nothing but praise to bestow upon a branch of Her Majesty's service, which represents, individually and collectively, men of broad practical principles and sound judgment, high moral character and integrity, coupled with intellectual gifts and varied ability. For many of them I cherish a warm regard, some are personal friends, and all I respect. As experience matures, the couviction grows, that under whatever variety or mode of inspection, the standard of general results expected is never materially affected. The royal road to this paradise is mutual sympathy and confidence between School Board, Inspector, Teacher, and Scholar, The school Board comprised fifteen members, including two ladies; and their frequent visits to the School were always marked by courtesy and page 10 kindness to their various teachers, which, in presence of the classes, was an excellent object lesson to all affected. The administrative staff consists of the Clerk, or as you more appropriately designate here, the Secretary, who is the responsible head. There are also the Treasurer, Inspector of Works, a staff of Clerks, and School Board Officers.
Staff.—The practical stage of Management is opened out, when the staff and its distribution over the school has to be considered. The Scotch Education Code fixes a compulsory standard of staff supply, according to the average attendance for the year. The Govan Board made a more liberal allowance, and the following scale vas in operation when I left in 1891:—
School Staff Allowance—Art. 32 (c) of the Code of 1887 fixes the staff which in must be provided for each school, viz.: After the first 60 sholars in average attendance, a Certificated Assistant Teacher or two pupil-Teachers is yuftuiient for 86 scholars; an Assistant Teacher fulfilling the condition of Art. 79 (a) or (b), for 60 scholars; and an Assistant Teacher fulfilling the conditions of Art. 79 (c), for 50 scholars. This stuff is the minimum required by the Code, and should it at any time fall below the requirements, a reduction of grant may be made.
The Board have agreed to the following scale: Including the Headmaster, each Certificated Teacher counts for 65 scholars in average attendance, an ex-Pupil-Teacher for 45, a Pupil-Teacher for 30, and a Sewing-Mistress for 50.
The Board Trill determine the staff in each of the Higher Grade Schools, and in so doing will consider the number of classes beyond Standard VI., and the number of scholars studying Latin, French, German, and Mathematics.
Not more than two Pupil Teachers are apprenticed for each certificated Teacher on the staff. In a school with 1,220 on the roll, and an average attendance of about 1,070 for the year, such as the one I had the honour of conducting, the staff (including Head Master and Infant Mistress) usually comprised 12 to 14 Certificated Teachers, and nearty as many Pupil Teachers. With one exception—that of Infant Mistress appointed by the Board to the Infant school—the Head Master has a free hand in the allocation o£ this staff over the school. Thus, his skill in organising, and judgment of the varied merits of Teachers is at once exercised. In the tactical discrimination of his choice for the respective standards, lies his faculty for organisation; and his decision operates upon the success of the whole establishment, Endlesa irritation accompanies indiscretion in selection; and peace and contentment reign supreme by the Head Master's requisite display of wise allotment. In my own case, I was usually fortunate in having under me an able staff, Some of them clung to the school with sacrificing persistency for many years—chiefly those trained in the school. This has disadvantages, in that there is a danger of teachers falling into a self-satisfied, yet mistaken groove or method in school management. I am not with these who believe in the necessity for relegating the most accomplished page 11 and capable teachers to the higher standards, nor in higher ratio of salary having a preference. Further, I have frequently found a female teacher competent to handle a class of boys, as skilfully as a male teacher; while on the contrary, a male teacher has succeeded with a girl's class, where the authority of a lady teacher was less respected. The first golden motto, which all successful teachers have to observe, is found in the scriptural injunction—" Order is heaven's first law." I venture to assert, that perfect order and discipline can never be secured by noisy punishment or harsher methods of treatment. The steady glanc, the slightest sign of the finger, a pause in discourse, or the quiet yet decided words of reproof, in most cases suffice, and [unclear: aie] the secret springs of sound discipline, as well as mutual understanding between teacher and taught.
Organisation of Departments.—The staff having been cart-fully adjudicated to the respective classes, I shall now summarise the method of organisation generally adhered to. The Schoo1 is divided into four departments—Senior, Junior, Juvenile, anl Infant—each with a separate time table. The Senior consiss always of two and sometimes three contiguous rooms; the Junior and Juvenile, four each, all convertible into one (applied to departments) as formerly explained. Standards V., VI., and Ex. VI, occupy the Senior rooms; III. and IV. the Junior; I. and I. the Juvenile rooms. Ex. VI. pupils (those who have passed VI) are not examined in readings writing, and arithmetic, but [unclear: aa] eligible to qualify for three specific subjects. There is in the Code a choice of eight or nine specifics, but Latin, Frencl, Mathematics, and Mechanics (the latter now withdrawn), were commonly chosen. Standard V. might optionally prepare for examination in one of these subjects, and Standard VI. in two.
Except in VI. and Ex, VI., the boys and girls of each standard are taught in separate classes respectively, and by different teachers, as the classes or standards (boys and [unclear: gir.s] inclusive) usually average from 150 to 180 pupils. In subjects such as dictation, composition, history, geography, etc., the boys and girls of their respective standards may be, and often are, taught collectively. The proportion of scholars in VI. and Ex. VI. is generally low, and never more than 6 or 7 per cent of the whoe school, while Ex. VI. rarely exceeds 2 per oent. When ony one Certificated Teacher can be allocated to any single standard, two senior Pupil Teachers take the vacant place, an dor the charge of the Certificated Teacher. Again, where the two classes in any standard are above the average size, the services of an additional Pupil Teacher are utilized for both classes.
Infant School.—In recent years, greater interest has been awakened in the proper training of Infant children. To the enthusiasm and fostering attention to this subject by [unclear: H.N.] page 12 Inspector (Mr. Jolly) for our district, the efficiency attained in the Infant Department of the Govan Schools was largely attributable. The Infant Department consists of one large room, and several class-rooms. The feature of the main room, is the capacious gallery for collective teaching, and the ample floor space for physical exercises and musical drill. Kindergarten work is taught systematically, and to great perfection. The ages of the little ones are from 4 to 7 years, with any admitted to the School physically weak who are 8, and on rare occasions 9 years old. With these exceptions, the age limit ia 7 years; and now that individual examination in Standards is, for percentage passes, abolished, the age for the Infant department may be raised higher. The Infant Mistress is assisted by a Certificated Teacher, and three or four Pupil Teachers all under the supervision of the Head Master. It goes without saying, that the burden and responsibility attached to this great educational machine, weighs heavily upon him; and doubly so when there is a weak spot in management or organisation. Yet even this he may largely lighten by cultivating, inculcating and practising habits of forethought, kindness, and prudence, as indispensable appendages conspicuous in his bearing to Teacher and Pupil alike. Thus mutual trust and confidence are engendered; self, interests are obliterated; and the uneven path of responsibility is made all the smoother by this harmonious leavening.
Time Tables.—Coming to the subject of time tables, it may appear a very simple contrivance to frame one for each Standard. You must bear in mind, however, that the different departments have to be organised, so that no section clashes with another. Collective lessons, intervals, rotation of writing and drawing seats, standard accommodation, and innumerable matters of detail, require to be provided for. The New Zealand Educations Code is elaborate enough; and the Standard requirements higher, because of the greater average age of the children at admission; but the Scotch Education Code is even more elaborate. The school hours are fixed at 9.30 a. m. to 4 p.m. with an hour's interval between.
Rligious Instruction.—In all the Board Schools of Scotland, religious knowledge is taught. The Education Department demands, that the hour for this instruction must be recorded on the time table. The Govan Board fixed the hour from 9.30 to 10 a.m. for all the departments, except the infants, which is from 10 to 10.30 a.m. An elaborate syllabus ia framed, graded for each Standard, and religiously adhered to. The instruction is tested by a deputation from the Board each quarter. The exercise in Bible lore is an incalculable boon, if imparted in a proper spirit; and this is the secret spring, I am confident, of what is noble and refined in the Scotch character. I am further convinced, that page 13 some sort of religious or moral instruction, introduced into your Schools, would elevate the character of the New Zealand [unclear: natioi] of the future, sweeten the lives of those entrusted to your care and relieve your burden of responsibility.
Moral Lessons.—By instruction of the Board, these an given at least once a week—usually on the Friday afternoon The course embraces such subjects as obedience to parents, kind ness to animals, respect for the aged, halt, and blind; habits o cleanliness, cautions against stone-throwing, and many other subjects applicable to every-day life. Here are the instruction; of the Education Department and of the Board in regard to this
Special attention should be directed to the following extract (Artich 19 A) of the Scotch Education Code: "To meet the requirements respecting discipline, the Managers and Teachers will be expected to-satisfy the Inspector that all reasonable care is taken, in the ordinary management of the school to bring up the children in habits of punctuality, of good manners and language, of cleanliness and neatness, and also to impress upon the children the importance of cheerful obedience to duty, of consideration and respect for others, and of honour and truthfulness in word and act."
Headmasters, Mistresses, and Assistants in charge of departments are required to give, on the Friday of each week, a short lesson on the points referred to in the above extract, and the time for such instruction shall be inserted in the time-table. The Board wish to direct the special attention of the Teachers to the lessons on temperance in the reading books, and to the suggested list of lessons on morals, and instructions as to using the Manul of Maxims of Manners And Moral.
I would recommend you to read the little book of Maxims in Morals and Manners referred to; it was published in Aberdeen and is universally adopted in Scotland.
Secular Instruction.—Along with the ordinary subjects of secular instruction, provided for in the time table, there are the specific subjects formerly mentioned, and Elementary Science. Sewing for ail Girls, according to a very elaborate schedule—too elaborate in many Standards, and a severe strain on female teachers—with Domestic Economy, and Practical Cookery for the Senior Girls. Physical Exercises and Musical Drill are given to all, while Military Drill is added to the exercises of the Senior and Junior Boys. Music from the Sol-fa system) is taught by a visiting master, with supplemental help from the staff. The Drawing is examined by a Special Inspector, generally the month before the annual school inspection. The time table also provides for an interval of five minutes at the end of each hour, and thus a constant whirl of excitement is kept up. There is no scarcity of distracting causes, and the Head Master's responsibilities in such a position are no sinecure. Further, he must not forget his functions as general inspector, for he should examine each Standard and class in the school at least once a month, retaining a record of the passes and state of each class, etc. This duty is laborious and nearly constant; but by this means be comes to page 14 know the weak spots in the school, better than any Inspector's report is capable of furnishing, which at the beet gives but a reflection of the Head Master's opinion.
Home Lessons, Etc.—I should have liked to refer in detail to such burning questions as "Home Lessons," "corporal punishment," "keeping in," and other important departments of school management, but time has not permitted. I will content myself by quoting the instructions of our Board to their teachers on these subjects:—
Home Lessons.—The Head Mastor shall make regulations to be observed in giving out home lessons, which should be adapted in number And extent to the ages and home circumstances of the children. Difficulties occurring in the reading lesson, in grammar and analysis, new rules in arithmetic, etc. should bo thoroughly explained, and this lesson should form part of each day's work. Home lesson should be given regularly throughout the year and there should be no "keeping in" beyond the hours of the time-table for the purpose of coaroaching backward scholars in view of the annual inspection. Backward children might receive moru personal attention during school hours, seeing a sufficient staff is allowed under the regulations of the Board. Exercises and sums should be moat carefully corrected, and praise awarded when deserved.
Corpora.l Punisment.—The Board have hitherto refrained from laying down a rule on this subject. They are, however, strongly of opinion that corporal punishment should be avoided as much as possible. The Board would consider it to be one of the best evidences of satisfactory discipline that the Head Master was able to carry into practice rules framed for the school Mtaff, whereby the work of the school was conducted without resorting to the necessity of corporal punishment. Pupil Teachers are on no account to be allowed to administer corporal punishment, and in no case must the cane or pointer bu used by any Teacher as an instrument of punishment. If any Teacher is charged with the undue punishment of a child, the Board, in the event of finding the complaint well founded, will consider the question of instant dismissal. The Head Master shall read this rule to all new Teachers and pupil Teachers on their appointment.
From these instructions you will at once rightly conclude that we were fortunate in having over us a practical, sensible, and considerate body of men and women. Regarding Home Lessons, personally I feel that while they ought not to be abolished, no writing exercise should be made a home task, except it were meant only to draw out the substance of instruction previously imparted in the school to the pupil.
In regard to corporal punishment, I feel I am treading on delicate ground. Theorists who know nothing of childhood except from books, believe in moral suasion; but practical men and experienced teachers know perfectly well that the abolition of corporal punishment would be fatal to efficient discipline and school management. As well might the theorist argue, that the laws of our land should be enforced without the aid of constables and handcuffs. Still, there is always a medium course; and punishment should never be resorted to, without due consideration of the fault, and an opportunity of explanation from the culprit. page 15 It is subversive of sound discipline to chastise a pupil before he knows his fault; it is worse to allow the guilty to escape. [unclear: 'et] much wrong may be done in a school which is ruled by continuous fault-finding, and the eye and language betraying [unclear: suspicbn] The rule should be to apply corporal punishment as seldom as possible, even where other forms of punishment partially fail. A continuous application of the cane is ruinous to healthy disciplne. Neither am I a believer in the efficacy of the "keeping in" system, so much in vogue. You will observe in the instructions quoted, that the cane, stick, or pointer is condemned as a weapon of punishment. I understand the cane Is the ordinary instrument here; and I would strongly urge its displacement by the more kindly and probably more effective weapon—the tawse—the only one tolerated in Glasgow, Govan, and other loading Boards throughout Scotland.
Exercises.—Had time permitted, a paragraph might have been devoted to other forma of punishment, as well as to methods of correcting home and school exercises effectively, and with the minimum labour to the teachers. Though I have repeatelly corrected hundreds of examination papers at a push in my [unclear: wn] home, it was a distinct instruction to the teachers to utilise their spare time in school for this as far as possible, without resorting to home labour.
Regular Attendance.—One important branch of school management, in which you must all be interested, I cannot [unclear: unit,] and that is the methods adopted to secure regular attendance. Our Scotch School Boards employ truant officers, who, in the large cities and towns, devote all their time to visiting absen[unclear: ces] at their homes. The teacher of each class makes a weekly report of irregulars on a prepared form. There you record the number and page of the register, name, address, and number of days the child is absent. The ofiicer fills in the report of his visit on a blank column attached. These lists are returned every Friday, when a new list is supplied. Meanwhile the names of all repotted to the officer as "back to school" during the currency of the week are posted on a sheet, to be verified by the teacher with a "yes" or "no," as the case may be, By this method deception is impossible, unless through omission or carelessness. That meets the case of absentees of two or three days; but all teachers know that the most annoying forms of irregularity are those "one day a week" or "Friday" absentees. I had a plan for dealing with this, which reduced absence to a minimum, and kept the percentage comparatively low—averaging from eight to twelve per cent, in ordinary circumstances. I went round the classes every Monday morning; and the teachers had the absentees of Friday with their line of excuse each in hand ready for me. The excuses were promptly examined, care being taken to discriminate between the page 16 young culprit with the proverbial "sore hand." carefully covered to hide its perfect symmetry and soundness, and another beside him with the "genuine article." I need not enumerate the variety and comicality of excuses volunteered. Suffice to say, that this form of censorship is a "terror to evil-doers," and another object lesson to every child in school. Its administration requires [unclear: tact] and firmness, tempered with consideration; but to be effectual it must have continuity of application. Here I might mention, that the school Board have a printed instruction to parents and teachers, that parents must deal directly with the Head Master in regard to all causes of complaint; and that letters or notes from parents must be addressed to the Head Master, if on school business of any kind.
Registration.—The subject of registration, though so very important, and one in which I was specially interested, I have barely time to touch. We had the ordinary Daily Registers, General Registers; and Weekly, Monthly, and Yearly Summaries. The Weekly I adopted was one of my own arrangement, showing the returns for each class and standard at a glance. The monthly return had to be made to the Board, and it detailed everything from the staff downwards. The Yearly Summary was chiefly useful for the annual Government returns, which had to be prepared for the Inspectors, as for the end of the school year. "Many hands make light work,"and it was no uncommon accomplishment to have the returns for our large School completed within a day or two after the year's registers were to be numbered with the past.
Pupil Teachers.—This paper might be considered incomplete without some reference, however slight, to the training of Pupil Teachers. In Scotland, the age limit of candidates is fourteen, and the full term of service four years; but the apprenticeship may be shortened, if candidates satisfy the age and educational requirements of the first or second year's schedule of examination. The School Board yearly hold a preliminary test of candidates from all their schools. Each school is thus fairly well represented; but the Head Master cannot always induce the most capable pupils to compete, though the proportion of female candidates largely preponderates. The selection is made by merit in the competitive examination; and candidates are then allocated to the needful schools on approbation, or until the appointment is confirmed by H.M. Inspector, who annually examines all, under the Scotch Code Schedule. The tuition of Pupil Teachers mainly devolves upon the Certificated Male Teachers in school, supplemented by lessons in school management and other subjects from the Head Master, who holds periodical tests upon their course of studies. This instruction is usually given in the morning from 8.30 to 10. The requirements for each year increase in difficulty; and page 17 Pupil Teachers are likewise encouraged to attend Saturday and Evening classes in connection with the Science and Art Department. When the term of apprenticeship has been satisfactorily completed, they are eligible for the candidates' examination for admission to a Training College. Merit again decides their fate, as only a limited number can be admitted to this two yearn' course of study and training, to qualify them an Certificated Teachers. Those who fail to secure admission, or have been prevented by illness or other causes, generally find employment under the designation of Ex-Pupil Teachers, until they pass an examination in the subjects prescribed for students in Training Colleges at the expiry of the first or second year. A short term of probation is then exacted before the parchment certificate is granted.
Conclusion.—I know that the teacher, who may have but the faintest conception of the responsibility resting on his (or her) shoulders, must be often oppressed with feelings of disheartiuent in warring against the bands of ignorance and evil. From my own experience, however, I have every reason to offer you encouragement in your allotted task. Unquestionably, it is one of great magnitude, and fraught with stupendous consequences to your young country. In a progressive and rising colony such as New Zealand, I conceive that your troubles are enhanced, because of the difficulty in blending together the natures, habits, and customs of the various nationalities of the Old World, from whom your young forces originate. Withal, lose not your faith in your powers to overcome; it is a Divine mission—that of educating the young. And thus the greatest philosophers in ancient and modern history agree in affirming that "education is the most comprehensive elevator of the human race; and that the men and women engaged in the seience and art of training and moulding the minds of children have the highest, most responsible, and probably the most difficult task to fulfil among all the missions of public life." To he numbered in the ranks of such a noble culling is to you indeed a great honour. Again I beseech you to appreciate your trust, as one fraught with far-reaching consequences to the young and rising generation committed to your care, and to the aspiring Colony, whose citizens of the future you now educate, to make or to mar its untold destinies.