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3 - Educational Obstacles to Overcome

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Summary

The visit of Her Majesty's inspector was the day for which the entire school year was spent in preparation. Even so, Catholic school logbooks, in which teachers recorded daily notes on events, visitations and other schoolroom incidents, reveal that the amount of secular instruction spiked in the months leading up to the inspection, often at the expense of religious education. As the examination neared, teacher entries in the school logbooks reflect the heightened repetition of secular lessons for all levels of students. The logbooks also reflect tangible classroom anxiety as teachers not only struggled to teach rudimentary skills in preparation for the examination but also battled daily attendance problems. Imagine the impact on the headmaster and manager from the following report – a report that affected a school's financial health – when it was published several weeks later:

The state of instruction in the … school calls for notice. I found the advanced children unable to copy letters from the black book and frequently their efforts were unintelligible. The progress of the children will be retarded seriously by not laying these necessary foundations. Sewing I found does not exist at all … and there is no reason why it should not be taught here as elsewhere. Some of the seats in the gallery require backs … [and] the walls require illustrated cards of object lessons. The Committee of Council will be unable to allow an unreduced grant to the Infants school next year unless Her Majesty's Inspector reports more favorably upon the instruction.

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Publisher: Pickering & Chatto
First published in: 2014

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