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VI. The Committee submit that, unless the Diary or Log-book required in Sections 50-57 is more clearly and minutely described, the attempt to keep it will be very embarrassing to school teachers.
VII. With regard to Pupil-Teachers (Sections 75-84), the Committee, if it is assumed that the State is to give up the relation it has hitherto maintained with some classes of Teachers (which does not necessarily follow from the Managers being left to make their own terms with them, and to which the Committee must not be understood to assent), do not object to the general principle of these provisions. But the principle is applied in an unfair and one-sided manner. The Managers are required, under heavy penalties, to have a certain number of Pupil-Teachers, and, when they have got them, they are further compelled to undertake large pecuniary liabilities on an uncertain prospect of partial repayment. One effect will be, as has often been pointed out, that in very many cases it will be more for the interest of Managers to do without Pupil-Teachers than to have them.
On the assumed principle, Managers should be left to decide whether to have Pupil-Teachers at all, and to arrange when, as well as what, to pay them. Moreover the Committee conceive that at least it should not be made impossible to continue the present system of apprenticeship for a term of years, even if in order to it the beginning of such apprenticeship should be fixed somewhat later than at present : for it is doubtful whether an able race of Teachers is not much more likely to be produced under that system than under one of terminable and precarious engagement.
VIII. In conclusion, the Committee have to advert to the case of the Training Schools.
It is easy to dwell on the fact that a very large proportion of the cost of these Institutions falls on the Government. The reply is, that, except in reliance on that very prospect, hardly any Training Schools would have been established. In the case of their own Diocese the Committee can state that the attempt was not begun till the most careful and explicit calculations had been furnished to the promoters by the Secretary to the Committee of Council, encouraging them to hope for a very large amount of aid from the Government.
What has been lately stated by the Commissioners might easily have been foretold, that Training Schools are not institutions calculated to attract very much local support. The Reports of Her Majesty's Inspectors show that not one of them is carried on without considerable pecuniary difficulty. On the other hand it is believed that in most Dioceses, certainly in that of Worcester, the amount raised in voluntary subscriptions on their behalf is not out of proportion to those contributed to most other Church objects. It follows that not much increase can reasonably be looked for to that part of their necessary income.
The Committee, however, do not contend for anything like vested rights in connection with Training Schools : and they admit that in some cases the amount of support which they have received from Government has been excessive. But they submit that considering the large amount of time and trouble expended on them for many years, and that from their nature they cannot bear even any material interruption of their resources, a longer time ought to be allowed to them before any measure seriously affecting them should take effect.
The Committee must say that the opinion officially given in the Circular accompanying the Code, that in the face of the discouragements which, for a time at least, the Code offers to the profession of School Teachers) a year and a half would be ample time for the Training Schools to recruit their supplies, especially from the middle classes, is wholly erroneous and unfounded.
Any cause affecting elementary Education must of course tell powerfully upon Training Colleges, both as to the Practising-Schools connected with them, and the supply of intending School Teachers to them. But besides this, the Code has at least one provision which must directly tend to deprive Training Colleges of one half of their efficiency. No less well established than the conviction that children leave school too early, has been the belief that in the great majority of cases Training-Pupils ought to remain in the College at least two years. Hitherto the State has encouraged their doing so by an increased value to the certificate of the second year. That inducement is removed by the Revised Code. It cannot be expected that in very many cases the young men will not in consequence leave the College at the end of their first year.
Without pretending to have exhausted the subject, the Committee submit that on the above points the Code ought to be carefully reconsidered and modified.
ON PUBLIC AFFAIRS IN ENGLAND.
, MARCH 1863. (Published in the Canterbury Press, New Zealand.) You have asked me for any stray thoughts upon public affairs in England.
Most persons could comply with this request after a fashion. But to do so to any purpose at this moment is perhaps difficult, as relates to what is ordinarily called politics, from the strange inertness, want of incident, want of interest, which has so long been observed in this matter.
Probably for many years past a more singular illustration of this sort of torpor could not be found than the fact, that in the whole of last Session the only “action taken”_according to the vile modern Yankeeism—by Lord Derby in the House of Lords, was to move for and direct a Committee on Noxious Vapours. The eloquent and chivalrous leader of the Conservatives “found for his hand” nothing better to “do with its might" than resolutely to encounter the Great Stink Question.
This is not as in the days of the younger Pitt, when no Government majority was less than four to one ; or of the elder Pitt, when Sessions passed almost without any division at all. For our present Ministers have no sure majority anywhere, and are perpetually defeated on all sorts of questions except when defeat would involve the slightest chance of their resignation.
There is no breeze to fill the sails of Opposition, no current to bear on their bark.
The contrast with former times of bitter and vehement political partizanship is most striking. A recent article in the Quarterly, called “Four Years of a Reforming Administration," and attributed to one of the most brilliant political writers of the day-in which a most ingeniously contrived set of motives and objects wholly bad and corrupt is imputed to the present Government in all their proceedings—is quite startling from its dissimilarity to the prevailing tone, and its precise resemblance to what was universal till about twenty-five or thirty years ago.
Another unexampled fact of similar significance is the Queen's Speech of the present Session, in which not a single legislative measure of any kind is even hinted at or suggested.
This sort of stable equilibrium is no doubt liable to sudden disturbance. Yet it seems partly the effect of a great public cause, which may not cease to tell for a good while yet~the rapid and decisive political action of the Reform Act, which, in less than thirty years, has brought public affairs, as far as legislation is concerned, to as “advanced” a position as the great majority of men desire to see occupied. No one thinks of going back: not many have any wish to go much further.
Another cause--a temporary one, nay, one which nature must inevitably put an end to in no very long time—is the character and circumstances of Lord Palmerston the Premier.
Sir Robert Walpole is known in history as a great Whig, only because his function was to maintain and consolidate a dynasty resting on Whig principles. In