The BWI Archives

1890 ~ The Government Inspection


Ruislip Church of England School

The Government Inspection

- 1890 -  

1862 had seen a change in the way that schools were to be supported by State funds.  The ‘Revised Code’ of the Committee of the Privy Council on Education introduced an annual inspection of schools and testing of pupils (often referred to as ‘payment by results’). The results of these inspections determined the grant that would be payable to the Managers to support the running of the school along with money they could raise through local subscriptions from parishioners and ‘School Pence’ contributed by pupils’ families.  For a number of years the monthly Parish Magazine gave an account of the annual Inspection Report.         

In the July 1890 edition of the parish magazine, The Ruislip Church Monthly, the Vicar informed his parishioners that the inspection had taken place and that, although the report had not yet been received, the results were very disappointing.  No doubt in the Vicar's mind the lack of reasonable levels of attainment evidenced were the results of the recently departed Mr. Prosser's poor teaching, Mr. Garrett not yet having had time to make an impact on the school.  

July, 1890

from the Vicar’s monthly letter:
  Our Schools were inspected on June 6th by Mr. J.A. Willis and his assistant, Mr. Bush, but the report is not yet to hand.  The schedules showing the passes or failures of the children have been received, and the results are not all that could be wished.  Out of eighty-seven children in the Mixed School who were presented for examination, forty-two passed in three subjects and twenty-eight in two.  Of the seventeen complete failures eight were in three subjects and nine in two, whilst the number of those who failed in one subject was twenty-nine.  The worst feature in the examination was the entire failure in Arithmetic of all the children, with one exception in Standards IV., V., and VI.  Certificates have been provided for those children who have passed, and they will be presented before the School closes for the summer holidays.


The Vicar followed this up in August with the Inspector's Report preceded by a long commentary in his monthly newsletter, where he seeks to make the best of what is clearly a very damming judgement.  

August, 1890 

The Vicar’s monthly letter ;

My Dear Parishioners,
I publish this month the School Accounts for the past year ending May 31st, also the Inspector’s Report.  The former calls for little comment.  The loss on the Government grant (1889) is met by a slight increase in the amount of subscriptions, whilst the school pence is only a few shillings more than in the previous year.  The expenditure is less by £25, but this is accounted for in a measure by the fact that the teachers’ salaries are now dependent, to a certain extent, on the grant earned, so that their full salaries cannot be paid until the amount of grant for the past year has been ascertained, and any payment made under this arrangement must necessarily appear in the accounts of the following year.  I must also mention that the Managers last year found it necessary to reduce the teachers; salaries owning to the falling off in the average attendance of scholars and, consequently, the reduced Government grant. As regards the Inspector’s Report, it points more to the future than to the past, and the Managers are left to infer that no commendation could be given to the school work of the past year, but, in spite of any recognition of improvement from the Inspector, the School would appear to have done better than in the previous year, as there is an increase in the grant of about £3. This amounts to £83 15s. 8d., which includes the sum of 13s. underpaid last year.  I must not forget to state that the two shilling grant was earned for geography, instead of one shilling in 1889, and that there was a similar increase in the merit grant, the School being classed as “Good,” instead of “Fair.”  In my last letter I alluded to the passes and failures in which are called “The Three R.’s.”  The complete failure of the upper standards in arithmetic had the sad effect of reducing the total percentage of passes to seventy-one as compared with eighty-five in 1889.  There would appear from this fact to be some truth in the Inspector’s Report “of a great deal of leeway to make up.”  His remark also on the disproportion of the numbers in the upper and lower standards should be noted by all who have the welfare of the school at heart.  There can be no doubt that children leave school much earlier than they did a few years ago, which will account for the falling off in the numbers of the upper standards.  It is, I fear, quite the exception for them to stay on after having passed the fourth standard, and very many leave, on the score of age, before passing even that standard.  I wish that parents would see the necessity of keeping their children at school until they had gained, at least, the fourth standard certificate.  It would, I am sure, be a great help to them in after life.  As school work will begin again after the holidays, on Monday, August 11th I take the present opportunity of impressing upon parents the importance of sending their children back to school on that day.


H.M. Inspector’s Report of School

Mixed School – Having gone very fully into the details of the work with the master, I need only say here that the school has a great deal of leeway to make up, and I have every hope that Mr. Garrett will be able to effect the needful improvement.  I must add a remark on the very serious disproportion between the numbers in the upper and lower standards; there are twenty-seven in the third standard, and only eleven in the fourth standard, and ten in the fifth and sixth standards; also on the fact that the average is only 65 per cent. of the number on the books.  I look forward to some improvement in these respects also, as a consequence of Mr. Garrett’s efforts with the parents.

Infants’ Class – I must suspend my judgement on the work of this department under the new regime.  Attainments and discipline at present both require attention.  Some easy reading sheets are wanted.  The needlework must be improved if any further grant is to be given for it.  M. Watkins has passed fairly.  M.M. Taylor should be informed that she is now qualified under Article 50, but not under Article 52.  M.J. Chandler is recognised under Article 50.



First uploaded: 17 April 2018
Last revised: 28 April 2018