Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

6 articles on this Page

Advertising

BARRY DISTRICT TEACRE, RS,,…

News
Cite
Share

BARRY DISTRICT TEACRE, RS,, ASSOCIATION, L- A meeting of the Barry District Teachers' Association was held on Monday week last at Barry Board Schools, when the following were amongst those who attended :—Mr E. T. Williams (president), Mr J. E. Rees (vice-president), Mr J. E. Thorpe (secretary), Messrs T. Higman, F. W. Siidmerson, W. M. Morgan, R. T. Evans, J. Evans, J. A. Jones, Miss Wood, Miss Carr, Miss Williams, Miss Merriman, Miss Lowther, Miss Lewis, Miss Hodder, Miss Hallett, Miss John, Miss Lester, Miss Evans, Miss Welch, Miss Meredith, icc. A CHALLENGE TO FIGHT. The minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed, and a letter having been read from the secretary of the National Union asking the association to head all its notices with a request to members not to resign their appointments at the request of managers or boards until the Union or local association had been consulted, the President said in a district like that of Barry there existed no ground for justification for the adoption of such a course.—Mr Higman moved that the re- commendation of the Union be declined. It was, he said. a distinct challenge which the teachers in the Barry district were not justified in offering, being simply a declaration of war.—Mr F. W. Siidmerson seconded, but said it would still be well to bear the suggestion in mind.-The motion was agreed to. THE CARDIFF UNIVERSITY COUNCIL. The secretary of the Cardiff and Barry District Union wrote stating that the association were now entitled to only one representative on the Cardiff University Council, instead of two, and Messrs T. Higman and T. Ewbank having accord- ingly resigned, and after a discussion, it was resolved, on the motion of Mr J. Evans, seconded by Miss Lowther, that Mr J. E. Rees and Miss Fleming be submitted to the forthcoming meeting for election on the council. THE PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS. This being the first meeting of the association since the annual election of president, Mr E. T. Williams delivered an address in his capacity as president for the present year, in the course of which he said—My first duty is to thank you for the honour you conferred upon me at the annual meeting of 1893, when you elected me as your president for this year. I shall do all in my power to further the best interests of the association, and I confidently rely upon your support in carrying out the duties which your kindness has imposed upon me. It is customary on first occuying the presidental chair to review briefly some matters connected with education in general, together with those of the National Union of Teachers and our local organization. You have already learned from the secretary's annual report that there has been a slight decrease in the number of members for the past year, and it seems to me that Mr Thorpe is treating this fact a little too seriously. It is to be regretted, I admit, that we have not succeeded in inducing more of the teachers in the district to enrol themselves but when we con- sider that there has been an average membership of twenty-eight during the last two years, where previously no association existed, I think we may fairly congratulate ourselves, and take courage for the future. A special meeting was held in the earlier part of last year to consider the attendance question, the result of which was the drafting of a. prize scheme, but it is very evident that the attendance throughout the country is not yet what it should be, as there are over a million and a. half of children of school age absent every day, and whichever way we look at it, a more thorogh- going system of compulsory education is a national necessty. So far, however, compulsion, chiefly owing to the undue leniency of magistrates, has only been played with. Cases are dismissed, repeatedly adjourned to see if the child will at- tend better, or the slightest penalty is inflicted. It is not generally recognised that even a single absence from school without a valid excuse is a breach of the law. and until a higher standard is adopted attendance will be as unsatisfactory as in the past. The recent conference at Oxford decided by an overwhelming majority in favour or "Age and Attendance as a substitute for the present Standard qualification for labour. If we turn our attention for a moment to the N.U.T.. of which our Association forms a branch, we have every reason to be highly gratified, us the number of members for the past year exceeded 25.003, being an increase of over 2,000 on the preceeding year— although an entrance fee of five shillings was levied for the fir,;t time. By its influence, the Union has played a prominent part in the ad- vancement of true education many of the changes introduced into our elementary school system by the Education Department, and which are now generally regarded as wise and beneficial reforms, have received the loyal and persistent support of the Union, and it has become, without doubt, the greatest educational force of the nineteenth century. As instances of what the Union has done for teachers. I may mention the securing of liberty of classification, abolition of parchment endorsements, reduction of needlework require- ments, and right of appeal against unfair reports it has established a. legal defence fund, and it has also performed a great and good work by means of its provident and benevolent societies. The work of the N. U.T. has been seriously handi- capped in the past for want of direct Parliamen- tary representation. Strenuous efforts have been made to place a practical teacher on the benches of the House of Commons, but, up to the present, without success. However, the union is looking forward with feelings of pleasure to the next Parliamentary election, when Mr Gray, the honoured president of the Oxford Conference, will contest North-West Ham. and Mr Yoxall, who made such a splendid fight at Bassetlaw at the last election, will stand for the West Division of Nottingham. These are, without doubt, the best opportunities the union has yet had, and with two such men, one on either side of the House, teachers may rest assured that their interests will be care- fully watched, and any grievances will be promptly exposed by an expert in the council of the nation. These who were present at the last meeting held in Holton-road Schools will readily remember the very able and interesting paper read by Mr Thorpe on Security of Tenure." To this question the Executive is giving its constant attention, and urging that a court of appeal should be instituted to inquire into cases of capri- cious dismissal. In many parishes teachers are little less than slaves the slightest independence of thought or action is denied to them, and often the common enjoyments of life are refused under pain of dismissal, from which they have no appeal. Teachers in elementary schools are State trained, State certificated, and State- examined, and, therefore, have a right to expect that the State should protect them from tyrannical rule and unjustifiable dismissal. You will remember that in February of last year the House of Commons decided without a division, or even a single dissentient voice, that it was desirable that a superannuation scheme for teachers should be established at an early date. As you are aware, the mills of the Education De- partment grind but slowly, and this early date has not yet arrived, but we trust before long to see the promise of the Government assume a practical shape. A Departmental Committee has been appointed, and is at present engaged in collecting evidence and receiving suggestions as to the best method of following out the recom- mendation of the Government. It is almost need- less to say that the executive, which laboured most energetically in pressing this question on the Government, is carefully watching the course of events, as there are several points in the select committee's scheme which require attention. Teachers generally would like to see provision made for a break-down fund the lowering of the ages of retirement, and to secure the recog- nition of all teachers now at work as present teachers, so as not to allow that ridiculous distor- tion of the English language to remain which calls teachers of less than ten years' service future teachers. Sch ool boards and managers throughout the country are particularly anxious to see the scheme definitely established as most of you are aware, only a short time ago our own Board, after finding it impossible to formulate a scheme for its own teachers, passed a resolution strongly urging the advisability or the formation or a natiollal scheme. The executive lias lately bem carefully considering if something cannot be done to iucrease the salaries and improve the conditions of service of mistresses in rural schools and it is to be hoped it will soon turn its attention to the case of assistant teachers, many of whom, by force of circumstances, must remain assistants to the end of their lives. The difference between the assistant of to-day and his predecessor of twenty years ago is not yet re- cognised as it should be. In many instances he is looked upon as a half-educated, untrained youth, who it still wriggling through his apprenticeship, instead of one who has spent four or five years as pupil teacher, two years' residence in a training college undergoing a course of education, the satisfactory accomplishment of which we are told by a reliable authority is nearly equal to graduating at a university and, finally, two years of practical teaching, bearing results satisfactory to H.M.'s Inspector, before the hard-won parchment is awarded. What is the sequel to all this ? h this district we find that assistants are paid about on a par with attendance officers. I don't say that attendance officers are too highly paid, but I certainly think that in proportion to the amount of preliminary training required that the present scale of salaries is inadequate. You are all by this time acquainted with the new code in which we find physical exercises, and object lessons and kindergarten for the lower standards added to the list of compulsory subjects, but for which no pay- ment in the shape of extra grant will be made, although, should instruction in either of these subjects be neglected, the higher principal grant will not be recommended. It is, I think, high time that our executive called the attention of the Education Department to the continual increase in the compulsory work of the code, as scarcely a year elapses but we find something fresh demanded. The children's mental capacities are the same as in former ysars, the number of school hours remains the same, and the regularity of attendance has not improved to any great ex- tent yet, in spite of these facts, we have fresh subjects continually added without any correspond- ing deductions. Surely, there must be a limit to the amount of work which can be conveniently covered during the ordinary school hours. In infant schools the inspector may, at his discretion, sub- stitute intermittent inspection for the annual examination. According to last winter's experience in the evening schools, intermittent inspection simply means surprise visits, plus the annual examination at one of these visits, when no pre- paration has been made, and everything has to be done in a most hurried fashion, quite contrary to the instructions of the code. Rather than have this hybrid arrangement become general, teachers will, I think, prefer to stick to the old method until something better can be devised. In conclu- sion, I would strongly impress upon our members the desirability of attending more regularly to our meetings, and to make an effort to induce teachers who are non-members to join our association, so that they may take an active part in discussing the leading educational topics of the day, and also participate in the benefits and privileges which the union exfends to its members. —Mr J. E. Rees proposed a hearty vote of thanks to Mr Williams for his valuable presidential address, and Mr J. E. Thorpe, in seconding, spoke in favour of a system of security of tenure for teachers.—Mr F. W. Siidmerson, in supporting, remarked that the annual Government inspection of schools was a mere parade day, and was quite uneducational in principle. The inspectorate, too, he maintained, should be open only to those who had practical experience of school work. (Hear, hear.)-The motion having been enthusiastically carried, Mr Williams suitably acknowledged the compliment.

INTERESTING SPEECH BY MISS…

Advertising

BARRY CHAMBER OF TRADE.

GOVERNMENT INQUIRY AT CARDIFF.