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added, effectually hiding them, and at the same time giving increased depth and ornament.
The cornice the of wall is formed by moulded ogee bricks, with common ones cornerwise upon them, and others on these placed lengthways.
It is difficult to say exactly what the building cost, as there were some farm-buildings on the site previously, the materials of which were used in its erection. Their value was estimated at 956.; and the bills for the building were 525l. ; making altogether 6201. But then the amount of the bills was increased by the price of the extra labour occasioned by the use of old materials; the sawing and working old oak wood, with broken nails in it, being more expensive than that of what is new. Had these been used, the building would not have cost more than 6001., and possibly somewhat less.
The site was valued at 8l.; and the total cost of the conveyance was 241. 173. The cost of the fittings up was 401.; but rather more than 101. of this was for boards and tressles, to serve as dining-tables.
The specification of works, and copies of the working drawings, may be obtained at the National Society's Office, Westminster.-[Ed.]
A SIMPLE METHOD OF ENSURING REGULAR
ATTENDANCE IN SCHOOLS.
[A paper read at one of the ordinary meetings of the Church Schoolmasters' Asso
ciation, by the Rev. G. MOODY, M.A., President, with a few additions and corrections suggested by the discussion that followed.]
Among all the labours and difficulties which I had to encounter at
by far the greatest, indeed the only one that brought me to a stand-still, and forced me to say, “I must either conquer this, or throw up my undertaking,” was that of Attendance. Before I had served many weeks as a National Schoolmaster, I was most feelingly convinced, that upon this single point, more than upon any other, hinged several of the most important elements of success in schoolkeeping : e.g.,
1. Order.—The greatest enemies to order, as you are all too well aware, are the children who attend unpunctually or irregularly. They seldom settle down to do any good. Even when they are at school, their hearts do not seem to be there; they are never at home there; they do not appear to know what they are come for ; when they do come, it is all done grudgingly, and of necessity; their whole conduct and manner are enough to set a new boy against the school. They are generally, as might be expected, the parties most frequently brought up as disturbers
of the peace.
2. Then, again, how much the tone of a school is affected by the general regularity or irregularity of attendance. To mention but one little cir. cumstance, which would strike the least observant visiter :- The boys who come in late, almost always go to the bottom of their class, if not sulkily, certainly in a bad mind.
3. The evil effect upon the general proyress in learning, is too obvious to need remark. Were those alone the losers who are the parties in fault, it would not so much signify; but the whole class has to go over the same ground again and again, to say nothing of the weariness to the teacher, or of the evil influences upon the industrial character of their class-fellows, disheartening some and corrupting many others.
4. Then there comes the very disagreeable question of punishment. Is it any exaggeration to say, that in very many schools there is as much, nay more, use made of the cane for offences connected with attendance, than for all other offences put together? This becomes a more serious matter, if, as I expect to shew, there ought not, --need not, to be any punishment at all, of any sort or kind, under this head.
5. Or is it any exaggeration to affirm, that in some of our large schools one-third (in my own case, for a while, more than one-half) of the master's time is taken up or frittered away about this one point? e. g. there is giving leave; inquiring after absentees; sifting out cases of suspected truancy; occasional difficulty in making the accounts come right (in which half an hour or half a morning may easily be lost); interviews with parents, neither the easiest nor the least important part of a master's duties; and a hundred other interruptions, all of which are a waste of time,
6.—and not unfrequently of temper too. Let me, for one, confess, that my temper was more tried in this way than in any other. There was something excessively provoking in the same child always coming with bread and butter in hand, “just in time to be too late” for prayers ; and then to find the mother, who was evidently the party most to blame, always ready with the same answer, “ Why, sir, he could not have been above a minute behind his time; you are so very particular.". And, on the other hand, when I had once secured punctual and regular attendance, from that day I found it to be a pleasant employment to keep school. The various disagreeables seemed to diminish in proportion as the P.P. approached the T.*
7. Again, it would not be easy to overrate the importance of our present subject, as it regards the child's future career. The boy of whom there is most reason to fear that he will turn out badly in after-life, is the frequent or habitual truant. Truancy is to a schoolboy, very much what sabbath-breaking is to a lad in place; bad company being the temptation in both cases. A child never stays away from school to wander about the streets by himself. Now let us look this evil honestly in the face. A child committed to our care becomes a truant; and on leaving school a sabbath-breaker ; and, a year after, a thief. Through whose neglect did he first enter on the road to ruin? Is not the school in many cases bound in fairness to bear most of the blame? just because the parents, supposing him to be safe under his master's eye, are at no pains to look after him. Is not the time lost somewhere between the parents' house and the school-room, the very time in which the boy falls into bad hands and begins to go wrong. On the other hand, how great an assistance and comfort to an anxious mother to be quite sure that she knows where her boy is; that, if not at home, he is at school.
My reason for dwelling at so great length upon this introductory part of our subject is, that the only way in which I can account for many
* The Present at Prayers approached the Total on the boards.
masters allowing the evil to continue, is that, in the multiplicity of their engagements, they have never duly considered the point. If they are aware of its importance, and not able to remedy the evil, the wonder to me is, that they do not throw up their profession in despair. The late boys in some schools are enough to drive a man crazy. Well, at all erents, we may easily get rid of this annoyance; I mean, of children entering the school after the proper hour. The remedy is the simplest thing in the world: it consists altogether in taking one word in its right meaning, or rather in getting rid of it altogether. We do not want the word " late” in our school-vocabulary. To be late is to be absent. Let us set out with the broad principle, that the rules of the school are really meant to be observed; that if, e.g., nine be the hour appointed for prayers, to be absent at that hour is to be absent from school. We must not allow any slight to be put upon the devotional exercises. I believe that many ignorant parents fancy that no time is lost by the child in being a few minutes behind his time: -he only misses the prayers. In order to set our face against this fatal error, as well as to secure good attendance, let our rule be, “ No prayers, no school.” The only exception being (and the very trouble will cause it to be a rare one), where one of the parents comes with the child, or sends a note with him containing a reason. It will be necessary, however, to file the notes as a check ; should any boy bring a note often, then it is easy to say, "No more notes from John Smith." One of the parents, or at least an adult, must come with him, if ever he is late again. To be late without leave, is to be absent. Surely it must be a relief to any master to get rid of the punishment of late boys (say, in a school of 200 children, half a dozen when the door is opened after prayers ; three or four, ten minutes after ; two or three, ten minutes after that; one or two, after another ten minutes ; say only one at ten o'clock, or half-past ten, or perhaps nearer eleven); to get rid of the punishment, in the simplest and best way, viz., by doing away with the offence.
It would be no bad thing to hang up in the school-room a large notice, that “ To be LATE IS TO BE ABSENT.”
The great desideratum, then, is to secure the largest number possible before prayers, so that they may be in the room the whole school-time, and to do this without punishment, and with little or no trouble to the master, whose duty I conceive to be to educate the children at school, and not to be hunting them up for the school; I wish him to be a schoolmaster, and not a constable or policeman. Of course, it is essential that we should proceed throughout upon sound principles, which indeed. I suspect, are the only ones that will thoroughly serve our purpose here; I say " thoroughly,” being aware that something may be done by bribery and corruption, even where cruelty fails.
The one principle, then, which alone (as far as I have been able to discover) will ensure success, is to throw the whole responsibility of the attendance upon the parents, from first to last. Let the master do his work, and require the parents to do theirs; giving them to understand, that in this, as in many other points, their fulfilment of their parental duties, as far as the school is concerned, is the one condition upon which the child can have the benefit of the school. To my
notion, the master has no business in the world to usurp the parent's office; and I call it as much usurpation, when it is done with, as when without the parent's consent. The more of their disagreeable work you do for them, the more you may. If you choose to provide soap and towels, you may wash the whole school. On the other hand, the right-minded parents will from the first appreciate the principle, and be glad to have their own authority maintained; and the careless ones will learn their duty in much less time than is commonly supposed. The least that can be expected of the parents is, that they should take upon themselves the whole business of attendance, the master having enough to do in the charge of the children while at school; besides, it is much easier for each mother to look after her own child out of school, than for the master to look after-perhaps 200. And let no one object, that it may be done easily in a free school, but not so easily in a pay-school. Be it a free, or be it a pay-school, nothing is done towards a good school, until the parents feel that it is a privilege to have a child there. The worst thing that can befall any school, (leaving out of the question the moral character of the master), is to allow the parents for a moment to suppose that they confer a favour by sending the child ; and every movement on the side of the school-manager after an absentee, only confirms them in the false supposition. In this, as in many other points, we may learn a valuable lesson from our public schools : it is well known, that the masters allow no trifling with their rules on the part of either child or parent, though they have to deal with the highest ranks, who, of course, pay high school fees. The only sure method of obtaining respect, is to quietly demand it. The parents, bad as well as good, will soon find that it is to their interest to pay due respect to the school,-in its laws and in its master, and will soon do so with all cheerfulness. The improvement in the parents will keep pace with that of the school.
The two leading principles, then, being thus established, viz., 'that to be late is to be absent,' and that the whole responsibility of the attendance should lie with the parents,' we may now proceed to consider the ways and means by which all this may be put into practice. Like most other important principles in schoolkeeping, they depend for their success upon a variety of minute details.
The first, and in some cases the hardest step, is to give the school. managers, e. g., a committee, such a conviction of the soundness of the principle, particularly in a moral point of view, as will inspire them with the moral courage required to carry it out in practice. The rules of most schools are good enough for the purpose : the misfortune is, that the law-makers are the greatest law-breakers. And perhaps the readiest way, in some cases, will be to place the matter respectfully, but boldly, before the school-managers, and to request them either to repeal the laws, or to give the master, as the executive, full power to carry them out. No half measures will avail : “ less than thorough will not do it."
The next step is, to begin with the parents at the beginning, i. e., at the admission of the child; to have a right understanding with them at the outset, and only to admit the child upon the condition of the parent's undertaking ---solemnly undertaking, the whole responsibility about
attendance. The master, or whoever admits children (whoever it may be, the master ought always to be present), will naturally be led to speak to the parents of the advantages of a good school, and that there cannot be such a thing, except the parents will do their part out of school. Let him, however, distinguish more specifically than is commonly done between the parents and the schoolmaster's duties in reference to the school; and, after making sure that they understand the matter, require them expressly to promise to do their parts; with the proviso, that if they break the rules, the child's name is to be struck off. First, assure them, that leave of absence will always be granted cheerfully, if asked beforehand by one of the parents, either personally or by note (of course messages by children go for just nothing; you have only to receive no messages by children, and the parents will soon cease to send them), if asked beforehand, upon a reasonable ground. Impress upon them, that the emphatic word, the only word of consequence for them to remember, is " beforehand.” On the other hand, that absence, without leave obtained beforehand, will never once be overlooked. That it will be treated as a wilful violation on the parent's part of the great condition upon which the child was admitted to the privileges of the school; that a child once absent without leave must not be sent again-he no longer belongs to the school, no more than if he had never been admitted ; that the only chance is for the parents to apply for re-admission, which they must expect to find more difficult of attainment than admission upon the first application. Point out to them, that the strict observance of these simple rules will give very little trouble either to them or you, while the breach of them would give abundance to both, besides injuring the school. You will, however, always appeal, with the parents as with the children, to the highest order of motives that you find ready to respond. All this you will do with a manner as kind as it is firm. In conclusion, you had better call upon the parents to express their full assent and consent to the rules, and to pledge themselves to observe them; requiring them to answer aloud some such questions as the following: e.g., undertake all about the attendance of your child ; that he is to attend regularly and punctually ? that he shall never be absent without leave asked beforehand? You quite understand, that to be late is to be absent? If ever he should be absent without leave, you will not offer to send him again? If you wish him to come again, you will bring him at the appointed time as a candidate for re-admission? You may not withdraw him from the school without coming to return thanks for the advantages he has enjoyed ?" You may judge from the parent's look, whether it is desirable to add, “You make all these promises, honestly meaning to keep them ?” It will also be worth the while to address a few words to the same purport, mutatis mutandis, to the children also.
And here let me remark, that no part of a master's time tells more certainly, or more largely, upon the success of his school, than an odd five or ten minutes now and then given up to a quiet talk with the parents or children. Some masters seem to imagine, that all time is wasted that is not spent in direct teaching ; some, that even two or three minutes of perfect silence before prayers is waste of time. There should be no such bustling; no such fidgettiness about a church schoolmaster, who ought
" Will you