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National Union of Teachers.


National Union of Teachers. IMPORTANT MEETING AT COLWYN BAY. MR. A. R. PICKLES ON EDUCATIONAL POLICY. THE TEACHER AND THE CHILD. A combined meeting of the Llandudno and Colwyn Bay branches of the National Union of Teachers was held on Saturday afternoon in the Higher Grade School, Colwyn Bay. The object of the meeting was to hear an ad- dress by Mr. A. R. Pickles, M.A., of Burnley, member of the Executive and ex-President of the National Union of Teachers. The Rev. John Edwards, Chairman of the Colwyn Bay Education Authority, occupied the chair, and there were present Canon Hugh Ro. berts, Vicar af Colwyn Bay; Mr. S. Glynne Jones, B.A., Higher Grade School, Colwyn Bay; Mr. J. H. Roberts, B.A., Colwyn Bay; Mr. H. Bedford, Abergele; Mr. William Wil- liams, Eglwysbach; Mr. H. Barnwell, Llam- gernyw; Mr. Daniel Owen, Colwyn; Mr. J. Roberts, Llandudno; Mr. Tom Thomas, Llan- rwst; Mr. William Williams, Llanrhos; Mr. B. H. Jones, Llanddulas; Miss Gittens, L.L.A., Abergele; Mr. Hugh Hughes, Llysfaen; Mr. H. D. Roberts, Llandudno; Miss M. Hughes, Llandudno; Miss L. Morris, Llandudno; Mr. J. Vaughan Humphreys, Llan- dudno; Mrs. Tegarty, Bangor; Miss Evans, Mochdre Miss Kate Owen, Colwyn Bay; Miss M. E. Owen, Colwyn Bay; Mr. F. Phillips, Rhvl; Miss Nevitt, "Llandudno junction; Mr. W.' Tegarty, Secretary of the Llandudno branch, and Mr. M. Evans, Secretary of the newly-formed Colwyn Bay branch. Mr. M. Evans, the local Secretary, stated that the Colwyn Bay branch had sprung from the Llandudno and Vale of Conway Associations. Some years ago it was decided to live apart, and since then they had not met in a combined meeting. This was the first meeting of the com- bined Associations, and the desire was to cement old friendships, and he hoped that the meeting would attain its object. Mr. Pickles was pre- sent with them that day as a deputation from the Executive. He (the speaker) had written asking Miss Hovey, of the Penrhos College, to be present, but he had received a letter from that lady regretting very much that she could not attend owing to a previous engagement. He had also received a lengthy reply from Mr. Ro- berts, late Inspector of Schools, also regretting his inability to be present owing to the departure of his sister for abroad. Mr. Roberts wished the meeting every success, and paid a high tribute to the great organisation, of the National Union of Teachers. The Rev. John Edwards said it gave him great pleasure in being present, although he was asked rather suddenly to do so. He knew the advantage there was whenever he stood in the presence of teachers. In fact, he felt very humble. However, they dealt with one branch of education, and he and Canon Roberts dealt with the other. (Hear, hear.) The subject that afternoon was education. He could not but think that the reason for Llandudno and Colwyn Bay being disunited in the past was because the towns were in two different counties and they lived apart. There was a great ad- vantage in a combined meeting. It brought them nearer as individuals and as an organisa- tion, and the more they did so the more highly they thought of one another. A great deal of the strain now so apparent was due to this liv- ing apart. It was a great advantage to belong to a great organisation like the National Union of Teachers. (Applause.) Speaking for the Local Education Authority, he could say it was deeply interested in the work. They were really in the world to help one another. The Local Edu- cation Authority criticised them, and they criticised the Local Education Authority. Re- ferring to the work of education, he was not quite sure whether they all grasped the mean- ing of that word. It was said by some that education was to lead out," but he thought it was the putting in for ever and ever. There was a great deal in the child, and it was their privilege and duty as teachers to draw out the good there was in the child. They were living in an age of trials, and it was said that second- ) ary education was a bugbear on the path of progress. There were two opinions on that. (Hear, hear.) He hoped they would meet often. (Applause.) Mr. A. R. Pickles, M.A., who was warmly received, said that recently he looked up the figures of membership relating to Anglesea, Carnarvonshire, Denbighshire, and Flintshire. He was delighted to find that whereas in 1902 there were but 473 members of the N.U.T. in these four counties, in 1909 their number had increased to 697. (Hear, hear.) This improve-, ment, however, was not really so satisfactory as it at first appeared, for during the past four years there had only been a net increase of four members, or one to each of the counties in ques- tion. The speaker would commend this fact to the notice of Mr. Harry Thomas, of football fame—(laughter),—and to other old members. The membership of the combined Llandudno and Colwyn Bay branch at the time of the lat- ter's secession in 1905 was 58, but last year the total number of the members of both branches was 78-a satisfactory increase. (Hear, hear.) The speaker thought that were the North Wales members of the National Union of Teachers to use their influence with those of their colleagues who were outside the fold, it would not be long ere their numbers had in- creased to a thousand. The speaker yielded to none in his loyalty to the Union but he could not help but feel that its members were living in a state of specious security. He remembered the names of the GRAND OLD WARRIORS of the past who had made it possible for the country in which he stood, and also for the smaller country across the Dee-smaller, that was, in self-esteem, Celtic fire and eloquence, but probably more largely endowed with the more valuable qualities of endurance and cau- tion--(laughter),-to boast such an organisation as theirs. In 1889 the Union had 13,950 mem- bers, and at the present time, twenty three years later, the number had grown to 67,612. (Ap- plause). Practically two-thirds of the teachers were members of the N.U.T., but of the remain- ing third the women teachers out-numbered the men by two to one. At a time when the pro- fession of teaching was so largely in the more able hands of ladies, it was to be hoped that ere long many of them would join the ranks of the Union. An interesting feature of the present day was the way in which the product of the elementary school was taking his place in the public and the social life of the nation. Without having had any of the advantages of a University career these men were yet figuring more and more prominently year by year. In the present House of Commons there were a hundred mem- bers of Parliament who had received no educa- tion other than that given in the elementary schools. (Hear, hear.) This meant added re- sponsibilities for them as teachers, because if the best product of those schools were to con- tinue filling high positions the present system of elementary education must be changed. The notions of many of them concerning education were becoming radically altered. Referring to the work of the Union since 1870, the speaker claimed that many of the comforts teachers to-day enjoyed were owing to the efforts put forth on their behalf by the Union. The success of the N.U.T. had been due not to those like himself who went from place to place lecturing, but to the local secretaries, men like Mr. Evans and Mr. Tegarty, who worked day by day among their colleagues' in the interests of the Union. Tracing the history of the Union back to its earliest days, Mr. Pickles related how in 1862 a few teachers went to the Board of Education ¡ I to protest against the way in which the Code was being cut down to the minimum, and to enquire why the promise made in 1846 concern- ing Pensions had not been fulfilled. They were LAUGHED TO SCORN, and as a result the National Union of Teachers came into being. It was a difficult matter to make young members realize what their pre- decessors had done for the liberty and pro- tection of teachers. An excellent thing would be for each branch to hold a meeting once a year at which old members would speak of what took place in the-period of 1870 and 1880. In those days it was a common thing for 70, 80 or 90 children to be in one class. The teachers were expected to train all the children in exactly the same way, as if their scholars were inani- mate objects that might be woven or fashioned in the direction required. There was payment on the basis of the number of passes, and the tricks and subterfuges by which teachers sought to hoodwink the inspector and enable the children to get the sums given them correct or to write their dictation free from error were numerous and elaborate. Those days had long sinced passed away, owing in a large measure to the efforts of the Union, but they were still troubled with fussy Inspectors, as unfortunately all Inspectors were not Roberts's. (Laughter and Hear, hear.) The Union had much trouble in ensuring that certain teachers of fifty years and upwards remained in their positions until they reached the age of sixty-five, and many a one owed it to the N.U.T. that he had not long since been displaced by a younger and more up- to-date man. It was a difficult matter for a man of fifty or sixty to alter the methods he had been in the habit of using for so many years. The Union had been instrumental in raising, the leaving age of the child to fourteen, and it had done what it could to substitute education for cram. (Applause.) The salary and status of the teacher had been raised mainly through the N.U.T., but neither was so high as it should be. The cause of education had been subordin- ated to a clamour for Dreadnoughts, and the Board of Education was thrusting the cost of education more and more upon the locality. A few days ago the Manchester County Council, one of the most enlightened in England and one that never grudged money spent on education, passed ten hours considering an amendment to reduce the cost recommended by sub-com- mittees for teaching salaries, buildings and up- keep, and only by 33 votes to 23 was it rejected. The Manchester County Council it was who in 1902 raised the salaries of the voluntary teach- ers at a cost of thousands of pounds, so it would be seen how difficult it was becoming to secure money for education purposes. It was taking the Union all its time to hold its own in England and Wales. It was their business to prevent the engagement of unquali- fied teachers at inferior salaries to those com- manded bv certificated ones. At the age of twelve the speaker was in charge of a class, c standard IV., numbering 65 children, and a friend of his, aged fourteen, had entire control of a whole country school for three summer months in the year, whilst the head teacher, who was a good bowler, played cricket for his county. These were some of the things that the Union had agitated to stop. The N.U.T. pro- tected teachers against VIOLENT PARENTS. It had secured a measure of superannuation, the improvement of which it was seeking to secure, and it had a splendid Benevolent and Orphan scheme. The N.U.T. had been honoured by having two of its secretaries invited to sit on a Royal Commission, and included in its mem- bers were three or four members of Parliament. One teacher-Dr. Macnamara-was a member of the Government—(hear, hear)—and the Union had been honoured by the Knighting of its General Secretary, teachers having thus been recognised as a body. A brilliant member of Parliament who had been a teacher was Mr. Edgar joiies-(hear, hear)—who had been re- turned at the last election. The Union had Z25,000 invested funds, the annual subscription of each member being less than three pence a week, and it had secured reforms which had proved more beneficial to the welfare of the children than Education Bills could have been. Mr. Pickles enumerated other improvements which the Union had brought about, including the institution of smaller classes than it was customary to have, and spoke of the endeavours it made to exclude from the profession the in- efficient teacher. Certificated teachers were being turned out at a great rate, and in London they were to be found acting as waitresses and in other capacities owing to their inability to find positions. The cost of the education of each one was not less than £200, and the best face the Board of Education, who were furious with the N.U.T. for bringing the matter to light, could put upon the matter was a statement to the effect that but seven teachers out of a hun- dred were without a post twelve months after leaving College. However, even if those figures were correct, the Union considered it was far too high a proportion—(hear, hear)—and it was endeavouring to check the over supply. The Union had given its attention to securing instruction in HANDICRAFTS FOR BOYS and in housecraft for girls. (Applause.) It was well that a girl should receive an insight into domestic matters whilst yet at school. It was the custom of certain schools when their scholars were unable to pass the Prelimin- ary Examination for Certificated Teachers, to enter them for a much simpler examination, the Oxford Local, and thus qualify them as uncer- tificated teachers. The N.U.T. wished that this should be put a stop to. (Hear, hear.) It would do all in its power to prevent any lower- ing of the standard of code required. The Welsh Central Board examination was quite twice as hard as the Oxford Local. Speaking of the growing tendency to throw the cost of education on the local authorities, Mr. Pickles remarked that whereas in 1902 out of every ,f ioo spent on education £68 came from Government sources, and £32 from local sources, the position to-qay was that over £5° per cent. was derived from the locality. (Shame.) More money was required for edu- cation, and if teachers wished for scales, proper provision must be made for them. The speaker hoped that now Mr. Lloyd George, who was such a happy combination of Celtic fire and the Lancashire grit, was Chancellor of the Ex- chequer with a Budget surplus of three or four millions he would see his way to aid education to the extent of the cost of one Dreadnought. It was only right, now that medical inspection and certain new subjects were insisted upon, that there should be larger grants for education purposes. The N.U.T. encouraged teachers to fill their rightful position in life, and it was high time they took a foremost place in local, civil, social and political work. The Union was also in favour of certain alterations in the curriculum of the schools, and considered that teachers had a high sphere of labour, for not only had they to instruct children but to teach them how to live. (Applause.) Canon Hugh Roberts, in rising to propose a vote of thanks to Mr. Pickles, said he had great pleasure in being present to hear the able, inter- esting and very stirring address from him. He could not help feeling that there was some Celtic fire in Mr. Pickles. (Hear, hear.) The Chairman had said that he was a man in the know." Well, he (the speaker) was one who was not in the know. It was some years since he had experience, and he was delighted to find great progress and great improvement in the manner of teaching since those days. In those days it was impossible to teach a child in a rational way. The old schoolmaster of Martin Luther, it was said, took off his hat to the child. He (Canon Roberts) felt ready to take off his hat to the teachers. Their work as teachers was more glorious, more divine than any he could think of. They all had their work to do. One man had to see that two bfades of grass grew where one was before. Some had to work for their comforts of life. All were doing work but the work of the teachers was the noblest I work of all. To cram a pupil with dates and figures was no education. It was like the filling of a water bottle with water, and letting it run out before the Inspector. (Hear, hear.) The bottle was then put aside. And so it was witu the system of cram. To train the mind of children they must have the co-operation of the I children. Children were more capable of reason than they—clergymen and teachers—gave them credit for. In obtaining THE CO-OPERATION OF THE CHILD they must treat the child as if he was a grown up, and the effects would be surprising. Dr. Johnson had said light a fire, and the fire will go on." And the beauty of the learning of the child was that the zeal for knowledge should burn after leaving school. He was of opinion that it would be a good idea if in their schools they had pictures hung on the walls of dis- tinguished men and women. Pictures which could be told scholars were concrete instances of success. Let them take Prof. Henry Jones, who was an authority all over the world Arch- deacon Temple, who as a boy, could not afford lights to do his reading, and take another man, Mr. Lloyd George, whom the lecturer had referred to. (Hear, hear.) He saw "by the way they listened to Mr. Pickles that they magnified their office. May they go on and prosper doing the best thing for themselves and education as well. Mr. Tegarty seconded, and stated that it was 22 years ago that seven of them met at a way- side hotel in Talycafn and formulated a scheme for their interests as teachers. Four of them had passed away since. The National Union had done for teachers generally what thev would not do for themselves. They should stick together, and no authorities, such as Local Education Committee, could upset them if thev became A SOLID ARMY of teachers. (Applause.) The vote was carried with enthusiasm, and Mr. Pickles briefly returned thanks for the kind- ness which he had received. Mr,, M. Evans proposed a vote of thanks to the Local Education Authority for the use of the room. Mr. T. Thomas seconded, and it was carried. Upon the proposal of Mr. T. Thomas, second- ed by Mr. Tegarty, a vote of thanks was passed to the Chairman. Tea was afterwards served, the proceeds being in aid of the Benevolent Fund of N.U.T. -.c

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