The BWI Archives

1891 ~ The Government Inspection


Ruislip Church of England School

The Government Inspection

- 1891 -  

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. 

By 1891 the Inspection system had become highly complex, with the School Inspector controlling Grants payable not only for achievement in the three basic subjects of reading, writing and arithmetic, but also for a number of additional subjects taught as class-subjects (with each school being able to choose several from a list) and yet others taught to a more restricted group of pupils (again, being locally selected from a published list).  The value of each Grant would be determined by the Inspector in terms of a value 'per pupil' and this would then be multiplied by the average attendance of the school pupils, or of the cohort being taught a specific subject, not the number of pupils actually on roll in the school.  Also, 1891 was to see the year in which the practice of parents paying a weekly fee (the School Pence) for their child's education would cease, with a further Grant becoming available to cover the school's financial loss. 

For a number of years the monthly Parish Magazine gave an account of the annual Inspection Report.         

The June 1891 edition of the St Martin's Chruch, Ruislip, Parish Magazine, informed its readers that the annual inspection would take place that month:- 

June, 1891

The Annual Inspection of the Schools by Her Majesty’s Inspector takes place on Monday, June 8th, at which every child on the Registers is bound to attend for examination.  The drawing examination took place last month.

While in July the Vicar,  the Rev. Thomas March Everett, said that, while the Inspection had taken place, the Report had yet to be received:

July, 1891
from the Vicar’s monthly letter :

No report has yet been received from Her Majesty’s Inspector of the Examination held on June 8th.

The August edition carried the usual monthly letter from the Vicar in which he expressed his disappointment at the size of the grant the Inspector had chosen to award the school and reflected on the shift of influence on what went on in the school from the Managers to the Inspector:- 

August, 1891
from the Vicar’s monthly letter :

My Dear Parishioners,
Our principal item of news this month is the School Report, which you will find published in full.  It certainly is not all that could be wished, nor is the Grant as much as we expected.  I might criticise the Report, but it would be practically useless here, so shall reserve any remarks I may have to make on it until our next meeting of Managers.  We had certainly hoped to have earned the two shilling grant for geography, and have been disappointed at receiving only the lesser grant of one shilling.  For the first time the children in the upper standards were examined by sample, and not individually in each subject; but it is hardly possible to tell how this has worked, for no duplicate examination schedule is now returned giving the failures or passes of the children in the different subjects.  One thing, however, seems quite clear, that there is a tendency to place more power in the Inspector’s hands in arriving at the result of School work, whilst on the other hand, School Managers have less knowledge than before to guide them in forming their opinion on that result.

Further on the Parish Magazine reports first on the Drawing examination (the candidates for which, it would appear, included the Pupil Teacher and the, as yet not fully Certificated, Assistant Teacher).  The Inspector's Report then follows:-

School News
The Report of the Drawing Examination, as well as that of H.M. Inspector, on the general work of the School, has been received.  The former took place on May 8th, boys only being examined.  The award for the examination is “Good,” the result of which is a grant of 1s 6d for each boy in average attendance; this amount has not yet been received by the Managers.  Minnie Watkins pupil teacher, and Mary Jane Chandler, ex-pupil teacher, passed Second Class in Freehand, but failed in Model Drawing.  The Certificate Cards have not yet been sent.  

The annual examination by H.M. Inspector, Mr. Willis, took place on June 8th.  His Report is as follows:-

Mixed School - The children are handier and brighter, the girls generally being much ahead of the boys in this respect.  The attainments have picked up somewhat, but Reading & Articulation want attention; Spelling is weak in the Fourth Standard; Arithmetic has improved, but is weak in the Fourth Standard, and the Problem is too much for most of the scholars.  English and Geography are fairly done on the whole.  Discipline is fairly good, but there are some loose habits in class which want checking, and the children must learn to speak out.

Infants Class - Results fairly good. Writing should be better, and the step from the Second to the First Class should not be so long.  School discipline wants some attention.  The more the teacher can engage the interest of these children the better for them; the elementary subjects will soon come in their turn.

Minnie Watkins is informed that if she passes the Queen’s Scholarship Examination she will be recognised under Article 50, but not under Article 52.

Gertrude Churchill is marked as having failed in her examination.

The Grants on total average attendance were as follows: -

In Mixed School. Principal Grant, 12s 6d.  For Discipline, Singing, English, and Geography 1s each, and 1s on separate average attendance of girls for Needlework.

In Infants’ School – Fixed Grant, 9s; Variable Grant, 4s; Needlework, 1s; and Singing, 6d.  Thus the amount of Grant is for Mixed School, £69 12s; for Infant School, £16 13s 6d; total £86 5s 6d.  To this will have to be added the drawing Grant, which will bring the total amount earned by the School to about £90.

The average attendance for the year was 105, viz., 43 boys and 39 girls in Mixed School, and 12 boys and 11 girls in Infant School.

In accordance with Article 89 of the Code, a copy of the School Accounts has been posted at the Schoolroom for public inspection, where the Report may also be seen.

The School holidays will last for five weeks this summer, as no holiday was given at Easter.  The School will re-open on Monday, August 17th, when all parents are requested to send back their children.     



First uploaded: 18 April 2018
Last revised: 28 April 2018