HMI Report 1924

Report of H.M.I’s visit on 27th June 1924:–

“1. The Mixed and Infants’ Departments were officially amalgamated on 1st May 1923 but this arrangement did not become fully operative until 1st July [1923].

2. The School is now organised in seven classes of which the highest – Class 1 – contained children in the last two years of school life while the lower contains the Infants. The other Classes are very largely organised on the ‘Standard’ basis.

3. The Headmaster, who takes a definite share in the actual teaching, is earnest, progressive, and unsparing in his efforts to develop successfully both the more ordinary and the social side of school life. His efforts are loyally supported by the Assistants who are all working with commendable industry. The tone of the school is distinctly good, and the behaviour of the children exemplary. Much continues to be done to encourage the children to co-operate in all efforts on behalf of the corporate life of the school, and to enlist the interest of the parents in all its activities.

4. Specialisation is practised in the four higher classes. The arrangements for this have, on the whole, been carefully made, but in certain respects they need further consideration. Thus, for example, it appears that in Class 4 the instruction in English is shared by four teachers.

5. The work of the school continues to suffer from the inadequate preparation received by the Infants and there is little promise of any material improvement in this respect in the immediate future. The 43 Infants at present on the books ranging from 5 to 7 are grouped in one class in charge of a teacher* who, though most earnest and energetic, does not employ methods likely to ensure a really satisfactory rate of progress. It is only fair to state, however, that her task is by no means an easy one, and as the year [that] proceeds [i.e. precedes] is will be rendered more difficult owing to newcomers. The Headmaster would well advised to re-consider the existing organisation in the lower part of the school with a view to overcoming the weakness from which the school has suffered for some considerable time. This point was discussed with him The adverse effects of the past inadequate preparation in the Infants’ section is well exemplified:–

(a) in the present Class 6, where the majority of the children are very backward for their age in the more essential subjects;

(b) in the fact that though there are at present on the books 76 children who are either 12 years of over, only 48 of these are in the higher class, which contains two sections corresponding to “Standards” VI and VII.

6. Marked improvement is effected by the time Class 5 is reached, and in this class, apart from some weakness in Arithmetic, and to a less [sic] extend in Reading, the work reaches a generally satisfactory standard. This improvement is continued in the four higher classes, and the school, as a whole, is in a much more efficient condition than when the last Report was sent. Though there are some few poor readers in each class, Oral Reading is generally fluent and as a result of thoughtful direction wider Reading, appreciation of Literature, and independent study are good features. In Composition the carefully organised methods referred to in the last report continue to produce good results; and, except in Class 4, where the work is not well known, keen interest has been aroused in Poetry, particularly in Classes 1, 4, and 6. In Arithmetic careful attention has been given to the suggestions made in the last report and a much better standard is now reached in this subject. Geography is successfully taught; and, though some weariness is shown in Classes 3, 5, and 6, good work is done in History. The scheme in this latter subject is somewhat ambition, but the methods employed are commendably thoughtful and enterprising. Drawing shows promise in Classes 1 and 5 but is somewhat weak in Classes 2 and 3. Nature Study is taught with much enthusiasm and the children show keen interest and a very fair knowledge of the work done. Physical Training continues to show the good features noted in the last Report.

The Practical Work in the School garden is, on the whole, well done, and correlated with other subjects of the curriculum. Too large a proportion of the garden, however, is devoted to the growing of potatoes, and thought the “common plot” is in good order and the work well advanced, little has yet been done in the “dualplots”. [sic]

7. On the whole the work of the school is in a very promising condition, and should become creditable when the weakness pointed out in paragraph 5 of this Report has been overcome.”