The BWI Archives

1894 ~ The Government Inspection


Ruislip Church of England School

The Government Inspection

- 1894 -  

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 1894 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 Vicar draw attention to forthcoming Examinations and Inspections in the May edition of the Parish Magazine:   

May, 1894

The School Drawing Examination has been fixed for Monday, May 21st, at 2 p.m. and the Annual Government Examination will take place most probably early in June.

And he confirmed the date of the Inspection in the June edition:   

June, 1894

The Annual Inspection of the Schools by H.M. Inspector will take place on Friday, June 8th at 10 o’clock.  There has been a slight increase in the average attendance, which stands at 116 for the past year. 

As the school broke up for the summer holiday the Vicar identified in the July Magazine that the Inspector's Report had not yet arrived:

July, 1894

It has been found necessary to close the School a week earlier than usual for the summer holidays, owing to the present spell of fine weather, and boys available for work being wanted in the hayfield.

The Report of H.M. Inspector after the Examination last month has not yet been received.

The Inspector's Report was finally published in the September edition of the Parish Magazine.  The Vicar promised to follow up the rather disappointing report with comments in the October Magazine.

September, 1894

Government Report on Schools

Mixed School
Attainments, fairly good for a country school.  The Reading and Writing are not very strong.  The Spelling of the boys is moderate, that of the girls is better; Composition wants teaching.  Arithmetic correct in the first, second, and third standards, but defective in the upper standards; Mental Arithmetic wants practice, especially in the lower standards.  Oral work fair, best in geography, the distinction between boys and girls is no quite so marked this year.

Infant’s Class
The first class does fairly well, but wants more fluency and stile in Reading; the work of the lower class is fairly good in writing, but otherwise is low in standard and confined to a small number.  There is some evidence of instruction in objects, but the teacher requires training.  The lower class (comprising about three-quarters of the school) is left out of the drawing and Needlework instruction entirely.  I have carefully examined the Registers for the past year, and I do not find in the attendances of the children an adequate excuse of the deficiencies of instruction in the lower class.  I should recommend that the new batch of babies be drafted into a separate class as they come in, so as not to interfere with the progress of those next above them. The fidgeting on the gallery should be checked, and the children should be encouraged to give fuller and more audible answers to questions.  Some improvement is required in the ventilation.

The Class Rooms disallowed last year should no longer be entered on Form IX as part of the accommodation.  

I am to inquire whether the Managers were satisfied with G.A. Churchill’s character, conduct, and attention to duty.

M. Watkins is recognised under Article 68 of the Code, and J.E. Garrett is continued under that Article.

Adverting to your letter of 27th ult., I am to state that the payment of the Infants’ Needlework and Drawing Grant is suspended for further communication with H.M. Inspector.


The Vicar defers his comment on the foregoing Report until next month.

Minnie Watkins has resigned her position as Teacher in the Infants’ School, and Bertha Grigg has been appointed to succeed her.

As a follow up to the payment of the Infant's Needlework and Drawing Grants, the following letter was received from the Education Department on 27th September giving clear warning that standards in the school were not good and that without improvement the grants would not be paid in future years :-  

Adverting to your letter dated the 27th July last, which has been refered to H.M. Inspect. I am directed to state that my Lords have allowed payment of the grant for Needlework and Drawing for Infants for the past year, but it must be understood that the preparatory instruction in Needlework and Drawing to the lower class of Infants must be improved for further grant.  

As promised, the Vicar addressed issues relating to the H.M.I.'s Inspection Report in the October Magazine.

October, 1894

from the Vicar’s monthly letter:

My dear Parishioners,
I deferred commenting last month on the Government Report of Schools, as there appeared to be some misunderstanding on the part of the Education Department with reference to the work in the Infants’ School. In the Infants’ Report the Inspector made the following statement: “The lower class (comprising about three-quarters of the schools) is left out of the Drawing and Needlework instruction entirely”; and on the strength of his statement the Education Department suspended the payment of Grant for this work until further communication with H.M.'s Inspector. I complained to the Department at the suspension of the Grant, stating that the subjects had been taught, and that the school was therefore entitled to the Grant. I am glad to state that the Department have since paid the additional Grant, amounting to £1 19s., which makes the total Grant for the year £96 9s., as compared with £97 9s. in 1893.  The Grant is, item for item, the same as last year, with one notable exception – viz., that the variable Grant in the Infants’ Department was only 2s. per head as compared with 4s. in previous year.  The average attendance in the Mixed School was 5 less and in the Infants’ School 10 more, than in 1893; the total being 111 in 1893, and 116 in 1894.  Owing to this slight increase in the average attendance the Fee Grant earned this year was £56 12s. 6d., whilst the Drawing Grant was, on the other hand, less by 4s. 6d. than in 1893. The weak spot in the School is, in the opinion of the Inspector, the Infant Department.  It will therefore be our duty to pay more attention to this Department in the current year.  Within the past twelve months the staff of Teachers, owing to resignation, has been changed thrice; and now, as I write, another change is in contemplation.  This fact must tell against the School, and it would appear that some Teachers have yet to learn that more is required of them in accepting an engagement on the Staff than the mere gratification of their own capricious will.  The Managers are entitled to feel that Teachers should remain a reasonable time at their posts, so that the interests of the School may not suffer (as our own School has done) by repeated changes in the Staff.  As regards the Inspector’s Report we may, on the whole, be satisfied with it, when we take into consideration the many disadvantages which our School suffers from the scattered nature of the population.  I shall have more to say at some future time about School attendance, and the carelessness, not to say absolute neglect, on the part of some parents in sending their children to be taught.  There is no excuse for the very meagre attendance of certain families whose children are kept at home on the score of work, or that they can earn something, when, owing to their being under age for exemption, they ought of necessity to be in School. When I mention that certain children have not yet been sent back to school, though it has been open for six weeks since the holidays, you will see that there is good ground for complaint that some parents are not doing their duty by their children, even though they can get them educated for nothing.  

Bessie Weller has been apprenticed as Pupil Teacher, the engagement lasting for four years, from June 1st, 1894.



First uploaded: 22 April 2018
Last revised: 29 April 2018