The BWI Archives

1892 ~ The Government Inspection


Ruislip Church of England School

The Government Inspection

- 1892 -  

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 1892 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, 1892 had seen the introduction of free education, the weekly fee paid by parents replaced by yet another grant based on average pupil attendance. 

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

The August edition carried the Inspector's Report:-

Government Report of School

Mixed School - The school has been honestly taught, with fair results.  Reading and writing fairly good; the latter might be better in the Fourth Standard.  Spelling and composition are somewhat weak in the First Class.  Arithmetic also moderate.  Only six scholars above the Second Standard succeeded in getting more than two sums right.  Class work earns a fair mark in both subjects.  There is evidence of work, but the results are not up to the highest mark.  Altogether, the work of the school is rather too mechanical.  I am satisfied that the scholars would be more attentive and take more interest in their work if it addressed itself more to their intelligence.

Infants’ Class - Results fairly good considering the many drawbacks; but nearly half the children were absent from inspection.  I see that of the fifty-six infants on the Register twenty are between seven and eleven years of age.

J.B. Garrett recognised under Article 58

G.Churchill, Failure

While the Vicar was aware of shortcomings in the school under the direction of Mr Garrett, he also felt that the Inspector, J. Armine Willis, in 1892, as in previous years, was being particularly harsh in his judgements.  Challenging the Inspector in the past had proved futile, but all the same he felt it only sensible to point out to the parishioners in the September Parish Magazine why the Inspector's conclusions were not as secure as they might otherwise think:- 

My Dear Parishioners,
The School Report published last month calls for some little comment from me.  I could wish for the sake of all concerned that it had been more favourable than it is, but we must take it as we find it.  The remark that “only six scholars above the second standard succeeded in getting more than two sums right” requires some explanation, or yu might form a wrong opinion as to the general result of arithmetic work in the School. In Standard III. and upwards there were forty-eight children who presented themselves on the day of examination, and if all of these had been examined in arithmetic, with the result about named, the Inspector’s remark would have called for no explanation; but since children are now examined by sample, and not individually, in the three subjects of reading, writing, and arithmetic, the result actually gained on the day of examination may be a very open one either for or against the School.  For example, only one-third of the forty-eight children was examined in arithmetic; a third in reading; and a third in writing.  The result, therefore, as to the whole examination of these three subjects has to be gained from the sixteen children examined in each subject.  Hence, the arithmetic result is not so bad as it appears at first sight.  In the Class subjects, English and geography, both the Schoolmaster and I are disappointed that in the latter subject the higher grant was not given, viz., two shillings per head instead of one shilling.  There is much truth, I certainly think, in the Inspector’s remark, that the School work is “too mechanical,” and that the children’s intelligence requires more cultivation and attention than it at present receives from the teachers.  We must try during the coming school-year to make the children think a little more for themselves, and then we must hope for a better result at the next examination.  

In the Inspector’s Report of the Infants’ Class, he remarks that “nearly half the children were absent from inspection.”  I should like to qualify this to some extent by stating that there was an outbreak of illness just before the examination and consequently many were kept away.  It is also very melancholy to remember that two infants who were examined died within a week of the inspection.  Of the fifty-six names on the Infant’s register, only thirteen were absent on the day of examination, and many of these were children who had been recently admitted to the School.  

As regards the Grant, it amounts to £91, as compared with £86 5s. 6d. in 1891.  In addition to the above there is the Drawing Grant, amounting to £3 7s. 6d., as compared with £2 15s. 11d. in 1891.  I must postpone my remarks as the result of the Fee Grant System until another issue.

John Weller has resigned his monitorship at the School, and Sarah Ellen Allday has been accepted as a candidate on probation.



First uploaded: 19 April 2018