« PredošláPokračovať »
previously done and taught universally. Its Burial Service, the beauty of which we have no desire to contest, is a service well suited, no doubt, for what was its obvious end. Its purpose, however, most certainly was and is fundamentally different from that of the Catholic Burial Service.
In conclusion, we submit to the good sense of our readers (in this matter which requires no technical knowledge) whether the facts here brought forward do, or do not, clearly show that there was a breach of continuity--a rupture of previously existing relations -at the so-called, reformation.'
ST. GEORGE MIVART.
important religious duties (as they must have done had they not entirely repudiated the teaching of the whole Church, East and West), would be to lay to their charge an amount of wickedness so appalling as to be entirely incredible.
VERDICT ON THE BARRACK' SCHOOLS
Much public attention has recently been drawn to Poor-law children, and it is well that it should be so.
A departmental committee has recently reported on the subject, and a great deal has been said both for and against that report. Objectors have asserted that the committee was composed of persons who brought to the subject preconceived opinions. It is true that four out of the eight of those who had seats on the Departmental Committee of Inquiry were experts on Poor-law matters, but although experts they were not agreed; while the other four were unfamiliar with pauper schools. Angry guardians have declared that the report is not in accordance with the evidence; they do so on the assumption that it is merely the duty of an inquiry committee to listen to all, and to write an epitome of what has been said. The more judicial course is to weigh evidence, to study character and personality, to consider the value of the testimony of each witness, and to endeavour to decide how far such evidence has been influenced by circumstances of training, interest, environment, or experience.
Again, it must not be forgotten that the members of the committee made personal inspections, both of the Poor-law institutions and of kindred organisations, and thus saw and heard things impossible for witnesses to reveal. Witnesses with even the purest intention hesitate to criticise fellow-officers' work, or to expose faults in a system on which their livelihood depends. Examples are not wanting of the dismissal of those who have dared to do so.
But if the Departmental Committee Report has been strongly condemned by some persons, it has been highly commended by others. One North-Country Guardian' writes to the Times :
The committee's far-seeing suggestions and grip of the situation must strike those of us who have been struggling for years with just the evils they see in the present administration. I do not know how anyone who has had experience of i barrack schools' can think the report sensational or exaggerated; to me it reads like words of truth and soberness.
Miss Louisa Twining, a veteran in children's service, writes :
It is a new charter for the emancipation and advancement in life of those who are now trained in the pauper schools. I hail it as a masterly exposition of reforms sorely needed, and am deeply grateful for the arduous labour bestowed by the witnesses, and in far larger measure by the committee to which we owe it.
In any case, rightly or wrongly, the committee were unanimous in condemning barrack schools. It condemned them because it was shown that among children aggregated in large numbers the standard of health was lower than among those living under ordinary conditions. In proof of this it may be mentioned (1) that out of 16,441 children in metropolitan schools, no fewer than 1,330, or 8 per cent., were unable to attend the examination on account of illness ; (2) that at Sutton Schools it was found on one of our visits that 38 per cent. of the children were in one form or another under medical treatment; (3) that, according to published statements, there have been quite lately serious outbreaks of ophthalmia in several of the large schools; and (4) that in Leavesden, which is certainly one of the best managed of these institutions, the medical officer's figures showed the number of sick children isolated from the healthy to be no less than 115 out of a total of 672.
The committee condemned barrack schools because much weighty testimony, including that of inspectors and medical officers, showed that they tended to make the children 'dull, sullen, and mechanical,' depriving them thus both of the joy of childhood and of subsequent strength in manhood. What child can be childlike who lives by rules; who obeys, not for love's sake, but for necessity's sake; who has no room for choice or for adventure, no basis of experience for imagination ?
Barrack schools, therefore, stand condemned, not only by the Departmental Committee, but by the spirit of the time which considers child nature, and knows that the joyousness of freedom is as necessary for growth in power and love as is the discipline of control.
But how are things to be changed? That is really the question.
Every nation excepting England has abolished its barrack schools, Sir William Windeyer declaring that in New South Wales they keep one which cost 100,0001. as an interesting monument of the stupidity of its founders.
It is useless trying to perfect the system, or to strengthen the administration. Paradoxical as it sounds, everybody who loves childhood and understands one little child will recognise the truth of Miss Brodie-Hall's statement that the more flawlessly a barrack school is managed, the worse it is for the child. The very perfection of organisation which makes it possible to offer the visitor the pretty picture of 700 or 1,000 children, all clean, all in order, all respectful, all disciplined, is fatal to the child's freedom. It has robbed him of
that possibility of choice which lies at the root of self-respect, and is necessary to the development of character.
It is useless also to contin ue to abuse the guardians and managers, , many of whom (and I speak as one of them with a nineteen years' experience) have given generously of their time, strength, and thought in the endeavour to do their duty by the children. In many cases they have found, not founded the schools, and during the inquiry it was noticeable how many witnesses were ready to place the figure of their ideal school lower than the number with which they had had actual experience.
Thus Mr. Wainwright, the kindly and respected chairman of the Anerley District Schools, which contain 847 children, thought that a school of 500 or 600 should be the outside number, and even then that it should be divided into sections. Dr. Littlejohn, whose duty has been to supervise something like 1,000 young ones, does not think that any school should have more than 500 children at the outside, or if you could make them schools of 250 it would be better.' Miss Baker, who had dealt with 486 children, put 300 as her maxi
Mr. Brown, a manager of a school of 700, would be sorry to see more than 200 or 300 under any circumstances; and Mr. Harston, whose twenty-seven cottage homes contain either twenty-six or forty, would like to see the number limited to twelve.
It is useless also urging guardians to classify the children so as to minimise such of the evils as are consequent on the mingling of all sorts together. Putting it roughly, there are thirteen classes of children.
1. The children with ophthalmia.
13. The morally depraved class. Hitherto, with a few exceptions, all these thirteen classes of children have been treated alike. The big establishment is there, the child becomes chargeable, the guardians are satisfied with the aggregated system of education, so to the school each child is sentthe quiet, home-protected widow's darling to mix with the sturdy little rebel of the streets; the crippled boy to stand in corners and watch the work or rough romping in which he cannot share; the
mentally feeble to develop or deteriorate among the normally minded; the morally depraved to do his worst amid the innocent; the nervous child to suffer all the pains of a crowd ; the hard girl to be left unsoftened by affection; the loving lad to be steeled into indifference; while the dreariness of the position of the child afflicted with ophthalmia or ringworm has to be seen in order to be realised.
All this should not be so, and yet the guardians are, to a large extent, helpless, for what can they do? Already each child in the school costs 291. 58. 6d. per annum, already 1,207,3981. has been sunk in the buildings, and for 517,7371. the ratepayers still continue to pay interest. If any Board of Guardians decided to adequately classify its children, what would the ratepayers say if it commenced to build, hire, or otherwise organise thirteen different establishments, each provided with suitable heads, doctors, skilled trade teachers, or other experts ? The expense would be the first barrier, but the second would be the impracticability of the scheme, for no one Board would have enough children of various classes to make it advisable to maintain so many different kinds of schools, and probably few Boards would have the time, skill, or knowledge to organise or superintend them.
It is useless, therefore, to continue to abuse the guardians for not reforming the system. They cannot do it. Even if they were dissatisfied with their present methods, even if they were willing to surrender the rights which they consider their past work has conferred on them, even if they were enlightened and progressive educationalists eager for reform, they could not do it. It must be done for them. On this point the Departmental Committee were practically unanimous. Their report said:
The evidence laid before us upon this subject convinces us that no radical improvement in the management of the Poor-law children of the metropolis will erer be carried out uniformly and consistently under the present system, however excellent the personnel of the Boards of Guardians may be. We have arrived at the conclusion that the first step towards improvement is the securing of unity and strength in the authority charged with the control of the schools. We therefore recommend the appointment of a central authority for the metropolis.
It is this suggestion which has so angered the guardians, all the more, perhaps, because among those who support it are two of the most experienced and trusted inspectors of the Local Government Board, Dr. Bridges and Mr. Holgate, who have known these schools for the last twenty-five years, and who noted with generous praise the improvements made in them. Mr. Holgate considers that the existing Boards are in too many cases not suitably selected for the best interests of the schools, and he does not see how any improvement can be effected unless some change is made in taking them from Boards of Guardians.
Mr. Chaplin, in the debate in the House of Commons, amid much that was complimentary to the Departmental Committee, twitted it