Education In Essex In 1870 Essay, Research Paper
First of all I would like to say that there are not nearly enough sources provided for me to make an accurate judgement on the provision of education in Essex. As we got through I will point out some of the shortcomings of these sources. First of all I am going to look at the provision of education before the 1870 act. Illustration 5 is a poster advertising a public meeting to discuss the alleged misappropriation of funds at the Brentwood Free Grammar School. It was alleged that the school was a means of providing an income for the ‘patrons’ of the school. From the sources I have been given, I have to assume that such accusations were common, but further investigation shows that this was not the case. In the case of Brentwood, many of the accusations were unfair or untrue. The results of the advertised meeting led to a committee being appointed to watch over it. Despite the name, the Free School was often not Free. They were endowed schools, which meant that someone rich had left money to set up a school. This was often in the form of certain amounts of money a month, or a year. But, due to inflation and rising costs, this money often did not cover the financial needs. Thus, to make up, fees had to be charged. Illustration 13 shows an advertisement for the Pilgrims Hall Academy, also near Brentwood. Like the previous school, the Academy was marketed at the lower gentry, as you can see from the source. It talks a lot about it’s nice location, and also that many of it’s pupils go on to “universities, the Naval and Military Colleges, Public Schools, and professional or mercantile pursuits”. Not a career for your average Joe. It is specifically aimed at the middle classes. If we are to believe a census conducted in 1851, those living in the house numbered 40. Two teachers, four servants and twenty eight pupils, all listed (except for the French master) as born ‘in England’. Presumably, they did not give out many details for fear of putting people off sending their children. The commentary provided with the source tells us of other similar schools. ‘Private boarding and day schools were apparently offering considerable choice to parents of varying means. In the same district one Cumberland-born schoolmaster had 18 pupil boarders of 8 – 15 years, including 7 from London. A Colchester academy, styled ‘Classical and Commercial’ but with comparable pretensions to Mr. Watsons’ establishment, was Mr S.W. Bradnack’s in Lexden Road. The parents of boarders there paid 48 guineas per annum (60 guineas for those over 14) and pew rent and ‘military drill’ were among the extras charged.’ As you can see, these schools were often rather expensive, so what about education for the poor? Education for the poor is explained in our next source, Illustration 20. It is the Foundation of the school at Manningtree. The source tells us that there is already a Sunday school there, but they want to establish a daily School for the Education of the Children of the Poor in the principles of the Established Church. First, I will explain what the Church schools were. The National Society for the provision of Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church used Bell’s method of monitorial teaching and only took pupils who were a member of the Church of England. The British and Foreign Schools Society used Lancaster’s system of monitorial teaching and took pupils of any religion. At these schools, religion was the most important thing taught. The methods were basic, with rote learning ‘parrot fashion’. This method enabled few teachers to teach large amounts of pupils, which was why it was so widely used. The teacher taught the older pupils something, who then went and taught their row of younger pupils the same thing. This was done by repeating the fact until it was firmly ingrained in their minds. Then the older pupils went back to the teacher for more facts, and this was how it worked. Rewards were given for good work and punishments were not overly severe. However, the value of this education was very small. Literal methods and being taught to answer set question in chorus led to them not really learning. To a certain extent that didn’t matter, because one of the aims of such schools was to keep kids off the streets causing trouble, and the schools achieved this very efficiently. So, the local circumstances of the town of Mannigtree, and it’s increased population, required a better school than the Sunday school already provided. The stated aims of the school reveal a lot about attitudes at the time; the Establishment ‘being calculated to produce the happiest effects, by training the rising generation to habits of religious and moral duty, and thus qualifying them to fill their respective stations, with decency and comfort to themselves, and with fidelity and satisfaction to their employers.’ So, what they want is lots of happy people, following the Church of England and staying firmly in their place. This school was to bring children up to follow what they believed was the right religion, and to get no ideas above their station. The rules also make interesting reading ( see overleaf). For example, rule 6 state that every Monday morning, the school penny will have to be paid. This may not seem a lot now, but if a poor parent had several children at the school, it could be quite a large outlay. Rule 7 shows a bit of Robin Hood spirit, viz. Take from the rich. Because it is a school for the poor, tradesmen, farmers and others of rank had to shell out a few shillings a quarter. Rule 9 says anyone outside the catchment area will have two pay two pence weekly into the school box. Rich folk outside the catchment area must talk to the Superintendent. But not all the rules were reproduced on this sheet. One of the most important rules, Rule 18, for some strange reason was missed out. It states ‘the object of this institution is to promote honest industry, as well as useful religious knowledge … The girls in particular will be taught … Plain work, knitting and other domestic services, calculated to make them good and faithful servants…’ So it was all fairly basic education, as usual in the Church system. By 1817 Manningtree National School had about 150 pupils. The last source before the 1870 Act is Illustration 25, about another national school. Similar in many ways to the last source, it is a copy of the rules and regulations of Saint Edward’s National School. But education here seems to be a little more worthwhile. Rule 4 states ‘The Instruction will consist of Scriptural knowledge and Religious Teaching; Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, History, Geography, Grammar, Book-keeping, and Singing.’ This seems to be a wide variety of subjects, but with only limited sources, I cannot say how common this is. This source is from 1854, after the school had stopped being free. Before 1848, an old system from the charity school it was based on provided free clothing and schooling for 65 pupils, those ‘on the foundation’. The commentary on Illustration 25 provides the only hint of charity schools being around, and there is no mention at all of Dame schools, so from these sources I have to say that none existed. However, it is more than likely there were both charity and dame schools around. Dame schools were schools in the most basic sense. They were generally run by old women (hence the name) at their homes. They gave very basic education and was really more of a babysitting service than a school. They often took in peoples washing and did that while trying to teach, to earn more money. Many children misbehaved, and the education was not worthwhile. It did, however, keep the children off the streets and out of serious trouble. Charity schools were the only truly free schools. Run (oddly enough) by Charities, education was again basic, but at least it was cheap. That was the last source telling us about education before 1870. The next source begins to tell us of the effects of the 1870 Act. The 1870 Act was brought in to ‘fill in the gaps
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