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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 68

New Zealand. Proceedings of the New Zealand Secondary Schools Conference, Held at Nelson, January 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 1888

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New Zealand. Proceedings of the New Zealand Secondary Schools Conference, Held at Nelson,

R. Lucas and Son, Printers, Etc. Nelson Bridge-street, Nelson.

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Secondary Schools.


This Conference commenced its first session at the Girls' College, Nelson, on Monday, Jan. 9, at 10 a.m., when there were present:—The Headmaster of Auckland College and Grammar School, Mr C. F. Bourne. M.A.; the Principal of the Girls' High School, Wellington, Miss Hamilton; the Principal of the Nelson College for Girls, Miss Edger, M.A.; the Principal of the Bishop's School, Nelson, Mr J. H. Harkness; the Headmaster of Christchurch High School, Mr. Bevan-Brown, M.A.; the Headmaster of Akaroa High School, Mr. W. Walton, B.A.; the Hector of Timarn High School, Mr. A. L. Halkett-Dawson, M.A.; the Rector of Waitaki High School, Mr. J. Harkness, M.A.; the Rector of Dunedin High School, the Rev. Henry Belcher, M.A., L.L.D., and the Principal of the Otago High School for Girls, Mr. Alex. Wilson, M.A.

Mr. Halkett-Dawson was, on the motion of Mr. Bourne, seconded by Mr. Bevan-Brown, unanimously elected Chairman, and on taking the chair, spoke as follows:—

I return thanks for the honor you have conferred on me in electing me President of the first High Schools Conference. I trust this will be the beginning of a series of similar meetings whoso business it will be to look after the interests of higher education in this colony. I trust this meeting in its results will promote the interests we all have at heart. In New Zealand, with its scattered communities, there has been little or no association among teachers in our High Schools, we have been separated from each other by the natural barriers of chains of alpine mountains and silver streaks of sea. It may be that mutual jealousy has existed in some few cases—remnauts of the old provincial rivalries and antipathies; but the natural barriers have been surmounted by the railroad and steamboat, and mere provincial rivalry is merged in a common national struggle. The question is, not whether Auckland is to have the mastery over Otago, but whether in higher education we are to hold our own against the world. Hence the need for combination among the head masters is very great. Here and there, in this and that centre, certain steps in page 4 the right direction may be taken, but for lack of communication there has never been anything like progress all along the line. Since coming to Kelson I have heard old Æsop quoted very frequently. May I follow suit? May I say that hitherto we have been like the single sticks in the fable? This Conference will bind the separate sticks into a bundle. When some improvement has been effected in one centre now, it will, by means of this Association, be quickly passed round. Hitherto, opinions of the right sort have grown very slowly. Questions raised in Auckland may not be even so much as heard of in Canterbury or Otago. The necessity for association has long been felt. Ideas and circumstances were gradually maturing towards the realisation of this end whey the circular of the Education Department was sent down to us some six months ago. It was then felt that concerted action was necessary, and that at a Conference we could better discuss matters that interest us and are vital to the progress of higher education. This Conference then has grown out of the circumstances of the case. It is no mere combination for selfish ends, nor is it a Conference whose work will end with the results of owl deliberations on this occasion. So long as the present system of High School education exists, so long will it be necessary to meet to exchange ideas and form such opinions as will result eventually in the promotion of the cause of higher education. It is true that we are only a consultative body. We cannot carry into effect our views directly, us can a governing body, but we can do what is perhaps a safer and more beneficial thing for the public; we ear disseminate our views, we can put them into the crucible of public criticism, and, as in these days we have Government by opinion we shall ultimately get our views carried out if only they find general acceptance. In this we have a certain superiority over law-making body like the Senate of the University, an Education Board, or a Board of Governors. We may do something rashly we may pass resolutions that afterthought will prove to us are foolish, but no harm will come of such resolutions, as they will not be followed by immediate action. Some may say, let them talk they cannot follow up their talk by action. But herein lie our strongest point. We seek the general good; we shall deliberated for the welfare of higher education; we shall formulate doctrine that will find general acceptance because they are for the general good; we shall create a body of public opinion respecting higher education in New Zealand which will gradually find its way [unclear: ist] the by-laws of every educational authority in the colony. This [unclear: dso] all we want, this is all we aspire to. I should like to say here [unclear: the] personally I think our system of local government in New Zealand is wonderfully good, all things considered. I believe that, as a [unclear: rub] speaking of that branch of local government which is [unclear: concer] with Education, our local bodies are extremely anxious to do [unclear: whe] is right and best for the community. If they err it is because of [unclear: lac] page 5 of knowledge, and I believe they will be most happy to profit by our deliberations. Here we are, a body of experts whom the colony has imported, and whose best services the colony is entitled to. How can we better do our adopted country service than in taking part in such conferences? How can we better do ourselves good than in meeting together to discuss difficulties, to suggest improvements, and to influence the department and the whole educational machinery of the colony? We are all working with a common aim, and I believe such meetings as these will result in great good to all. But, ladies and gentlemen, it is unnecessary to further vindicate our meeting this day. I may say in a word that the progress of association is the progress of civilization. In union there is strength, in disunion weakness, in the multitude of counsellors there is safety. Chief among the subjects that will engage our attention this time will be the relation of Secondary Schools to the University. This is a very wide subject, and we are determined to have a say in several matters which hitherto have been managed without much outside criticism, and without any suggestions from an important and competent body of men like ourselves. We are the feeders and the tributaries of the University, and as such we are most deeply interested in their regulations for entrance examinations. We want to tell the Senate what effect some of these regulations have on our work. We want to suggest certain improvements. We have every reason to know that the Senate will be ready to give full consideration to our wishes. We do not want to imitate Melbourne in having a preponderating influence of headmasters on the governing body of the University, but we must contrive to get ourselves effectively represented there. Then we shall discuss our own schools, their curricula, and the means of examination, and, lastly, we shall consider some few topics connected with the relation between the High Schools and the Primary Schools of the Colony. I shall not detain you longer by any further remarks, but simply express a hope that our deliberations will be conducive to the best interests of the sacred cause of education.

The Conference then proceeded to the election of a Secretary and Treasurer. On the motion of Mr. Wilson, seconded by Mr Harkness, it was resolved that Mr. William Walton, of Akaroa High School, be appointed to these offices.

The Conference then resolved itself into Committee to consider the Order of Procedure, agenda paper, See.

On resuming, the following resolutions were adopted:—

Moved by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Mr. J. Harkness (Waitaki), "That the Standing Orders of the Convocatiou of the University of New Zealand be adopted as the Standing Orders of this Conference."

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Moved by the Rev. Dr. Belcher, seconded by Mr. Wilson, "That this Conference proceed to discuss the questions raised in the order suggested by the Committee."

The Conference then went into Committee to consider its constitution, and on resuming at 12.30 p.m., adjourned till 2.30 p.m.

Second Sitting.

The Conference resumed at 2.30 p.m.

Minutes of previous sitting were read and confirmed.

On the report of the Committee re the constitution of the Conference, it was resolved:
  • "That the name should be the Secondary Schools Conference."
  • "That no voting by proxy be allowed; that no one be allowed to vote except a Principal of a Secondary School, or his accredited representative, such representative to be a member of his staff."
  • "That assistants in Secondary Schools be allowed to attend the Conference, and take part in the deliberations without voting."
  • "That the subscription of such schools as join the Secondary Schools Conference be one guinea per annum."
  • "That the Conference be not constituted unless seven voting members assemble, and that a quorum for any sitting be five."

1. Proposed by Mr. Bourne, and seconded by Mr. Bevan-Brown, "That it is desirable that the heads of Secondary Schools be represented in the Senate of the New Zealand University."—Carried

2. It was proposed by Mr. Harkness (Waitaki), and seconded by Mr. Wilson, "That in the Matriculation Examination for Arts and Medicine, the subject of mechanics should be more clearly defined."—Carried.

3. On the motion of Mr. Harkness (Waitaki), seconded by Mr. Bourne, it was resolved, "That in the University Entrance Examinations the subjects under the head of Mathematics should be more clearly defined."—Carried.

4. Proposed by Dr. Belcher, seconded by Mr. Bevan-Brown, "That the Conference respectfully calls attention to the ineqnitableness of the present system of marking by examiners for the Junior University Scholarships, as practically undue preponderance is given to Science and Modern Languages over Latin and Mathematics in the interpretation of the marking instructione."—Carried.

5. Proposed by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Mr. Bourne, "That it is desirable that no teacher engaged in teaching candidates should examine for scholarship or entrance examination."—Carried.

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6. Proposed by Mr. Bevan-Brown, seconded by Mr. Harkness (Waitaki), "That it is desirable that each examination paper in the entrance examination of the University of New Zealand should be approved by, at least, two Examiners."—Carried.

The Conference adjourned at 5.30 p.m.

Third Sitting.

The Conference resumed at 7.30 p.m. After the minutes of the previous sitting had been read and confirmed, the following resolutions were affirmed:—

7. Mr. Bevan-Brown moved, and Dr. Belcher seconded, "That certificates be granted to all candidates who in the Junior University Scholarship Examination shall obtain 1500 marks (section 5, chap. 8, New Zealand University Calendar, 1887), and the subjects in which he has satisfied the Examiners be endorsed on the certificate with some sign appended if he has won distinction in any such subject."

8. Proposed by Dr. Belcher, seconded by Mr. Walton, "That this Conference respectfully requests that no changes affecting the work of Secondary Schools be made by the Senate without prior consultation with the Principals of Secondary Schools throughout the Colony ."—Carried.

9. Proposed by Miss Edger, seconded by Mr. Harkness (Waitaki), "That this Conference is of opinion that the University Entrance Examination should be fixed to begin on a certain day, instead of varying, as at present, over the first fortnight of December."—Carried.

10. Proposed by Miss Edger, seconded by Mr. Bevan-Brown, "That this Conference is of opinion that the fee charged to matriculated students under the University statute, "Terms and Lectures," is excessive, and would therefore respectfully request the Senate to reduce it to two guineas for the examination, provided only three subjects are taken, and half a guinea additional for each extra subject."

The Conference adjourned at 9.30 p.m.

Fourth Sitting.

The Conference resumed at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

The minutes were read and confirmed.

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Mr. Daniel Brent, M.A. and Mr. G. M. Thomson, F.L.S., of Otago High Schools, and Mr. E. Pridham, M.A., of New Plymouth High School, took their seats and were welcomed by the President, Mr. Halkett-Dawson.

11. Mr. Bourne proposed, and Mr Harkness (Waitaki) seconded, "That students of University Colleges should not be eligible for Junior University Scholarships."

Motion put and carried.

12. Dr. Belcher moved, and Mr. Bourne seconded, "That in the opinion of this Conference it is highly desirable that the number of Junior University Scholarships should be considerably increased."

13. Mr. Thomson proposed, and Miss Hamilton seconded, "That the following list of Secondary Schools be recognised by this Conference:—

Auckland College and Grammar School
Auckland Girls' High School
Thames High School
New Plymouth High School
Wanganui Endowed School
Wellington College
Wellington Girls' High School
Napier Boys' High School
Napier Girls' High School
Nelson College
Nelson Girls' College
Christ's College Grammar School
Christchurch Boys' High School
Christchurch Girls' High School
Rangiora High School
Akaroa High School
Ashburton High School
Timaru High School
Waitaki High School
Otago Boys' High School
Otago Girls' High School
Southland High School
Bishop's School, Nelson."

The list was approved.

The Conference adjourned at 12.30 p.m.

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Fifth Sitting.

The Conference resumed at 2 p.m.

Minutes of previous sitting were read and confirmed.

14 Mr. Bourne moved, and Dr. Belcher seconded, "That in the opinion of tills Conference it is desirable that some arrangement should be made by which the examinations of the New Zealand University may replace as far as possible the existing examinations leading up to the professions."—Carried.

15. Mr. Bourne proposed, and Mr. Harkness seconded,
(a.)"That in the opinion of this Conference it is desirable that regulations should be laid down by the central authority as to the disposal of the sums of money placed in the hands of "Boards of Education for the purpose of maintaining scholarships."
(b.)"That these regulations should embody conditions such as to ensure that the scholarships shall serve to carry on pupils from the primary schools until they are able to compete for the Junior University scholarships."
(c.)"That the essential points are: (1) That the scholarships should be divided into two classes, Senior and Junior; (2) That the examination for Senior scholarships should include the subjects usually taught in Secondary Schools; (3) That the period covered by a Junior and a Senior scholarship together should be not less than five years."

16. Mr. Wilson proposed, and Mr. Harkness (Waitaki) seconded, "That it is desirable that every holder of an Education Board Scholarship should be required to attend some properly constituted Secondary School during the whole tenure of the Scholarship, as recommended by the Royal Commission on Secondary Education of 1879."—Carried.

17. A long debate ensued as to the examination of Secondary Schools, and eventually Mr. Wilson moved, and Mr. Bevan-Brown seconded, "That this Conference is not at present prepared to suggest any practicable scheme for the regular examination of Secondary Schools, and is of opinion that the entrance examination of the New Zealand University should be used as far as possible as a test examination of the highest forms."—Carried.

The Conference adjourned at 4 p.m.

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Sixth Sitting.

The Conference resumed at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

Minutes of previous sitting were read and confirmed.

Various subjects connected with the relations between Primary and Secondary Schools were discussed at considerable length, and several propositions were made, the consideration of which was deferred till the next meeting of the Conference.

The Conference adjourned at 12.30 p.m.

Seventh Sitting.

The Conference resumed at 2 p.m.

Minutes of previous sitting were read and confirmed.

18. Mr. Bevan-Brown proposed, and Mr. Walton seconded, "That it is desirable that more liberal provision be made to give secondary education to the more promising pupils of Elementary and Primary schools, such as, for example, giving free or assisted education to all pupils who, under the age of 12, have passed a Fifth Standard examination with credit, or who, under the age of 13, have passed a Sixth Standard examination with credit, or an equivalent Entrance Examination."—Carried.

19. Mr. Bevan-Brown proposed, and Miss Edger seconded, "That free education for four years at Secondary Schools should be given to some of the candidates at the scholarship examination held by the District Boards of Education, who, failing to win scholarships, obtain at least half the total of possible marks."—Carried

20. Mr. Brent moved, and Mr. Bourne seconded, "That the Senate of the New Zealand University be respectfully requested to give every encouragement to High Schools by cheapening and localising the Matriculation and Junior Scholarship Examinations so that they may be used to test the work of the ordinary Fifth and Sixth Forms."—Carried.

21. Mr. Brent proposed, and Mr. Harkness (Waitaki) seconded "That the Secretary of Education be respectfully requested to furnish this Conference with details respecting the academical careers of all holders of Education Boards' Scholarships since 1879,'—Carried.

22. Mr. Thomson proposed, and Mr. Walton seconded, "That this Conference is of opinion that the management of all Secondary Schools should be by Boards of Governors, and not, as is at present the case in some instances, by the Education Board of the district."—Carried.

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23. Mr. Brent, proposed, and Mr. Thomson seconded, "That Messrs Dawson, Walton, Bourne, and Brent, and Miss Edger be the Revising and Printing Committee."—Carried.

24. Mr. Thomson proposed, and Mr. Bourne seconded, "That the next annual Conference be held at Christchurcli."—Carried.

25. Mr. Pridham proposed, and Mr Bevan-Brown seconded "That Mr. Bourne. M.A., Principal of Auckland College and Grammar School, be elected President."—Carried.

26. Mr. Bevan-Brown proposed, and Mr. Harkness (Waitaki) seeconded, "That Mr Walton, B.A., the Headmaster of Akaroa High School, be re-elected as Secretary and Treasurer."—Carried.

The Conference adjourned at 4 p.m.

Eighth Sitting.

The Conference met on Thursday at 10 a.m.

The minutes of previous sitting were read and confirmed.

The business transacted was purely formal.

After the usual votes of thanks had been passed the Conference adjourned.

Motions Deferred.

The following motions were, after discussion, deferred for consideration at the next meeting of Conference:—

Dr. Belcher moved, "That in the opinion of this Conference it is desirable that Moderators for examinations be appointed by the Senate, to endeavor to secure reasonable uniformity from year to year in the examinations in Arts carried on in New Zealand."

Mr. Bevau-Brown moved, "That the certificates to be issued to candidates for the Junior Scholarships who obtain not less than 1500 marks should be accepted for—(1) D Certificate, (2) Senior Civil Service, (3) Law Preliminary (Solicitors), (4) Medical Preliminary; if the certificates be endorsed with the subjects pre, scribed for the examination,"

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Mr. Bevan-Brown moved, "That candidates for Junior Scholar, ships must offer five subjects, but that the marks shall be counted for those four subjects only in which they do best, provided that in the subject not counted at least 20 per cent of possible marks be obtained."

Mr. Brent moved, "That in the examinations for Education Board Scholarships it is desirable to have one set of papers through, out the colony so as to secure the following ends:—
(a.)Satisfactory results in the way of comparing the different districts with one another.
(b.)Economical examination secured by printing one set of papers only."

Mr. Walton proposed, "That this Conference at its next meeting proceed to draw up a scheme defining the powers of Boards and Principals of Secondary Schools."

Miss Hamilton moved, "That it is desirable, with a view to encourage pupils of Secondary Schools to take part in the work of Primary Schools, that inducement should be offered to pupil teachers to spend enough time at a Secondary School to enable them to matriculate before beginning to teach."

Agenda Deferred.

1. Examinerships to be open to Secondary teachers.

2. Age and standard of entrance to High Schools.

3. Preparatory classes in High Schools.

4. Fees at High Schools.

decorative feature

R. Lucas & Son, Printers, &c., 'Mail' Office, Nelson.