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The Garden.

Vegetable Garden.

Art Needlework.



MID-CARDIGAN EDUCA- TIONAL CONFERENCE. MR. DARLINGTON ON THE ATTENDANCE QUESTION. INTERESTING DISCUSSION. NEW ASSOCIATION FORMED. A Conference of Teachers, School Board Mem- bers, and others interested in elementary educa- tion in Mid-Cardiganshire was held at the Felin- fach Board School, on Saturday afternoon, for the purpose mainly of discussing the attendance question, which has recently been brought to the front by the discovery that Wales, in this respect, is a long way behind its neighbours, England and Scotland. Notwithstanding the unfavourable weather, there was a very large attendance. Mr. Thomas Darlington, H.M.I.S., presided, being sup- ported on the platform by the Rev. J. M. Griffiths, J.P., Aberayron, Rev. T. C. Edmunds, J.P., Tre- filan, Mr. D. Tify Jones, J.P, Mayor of Lampeter, Mr. Morgan Evans, J.P., Llanarth, Mr. T. H. R. Hughes, J.P., Llanwnen, Mr. E. C. Willmott, Car- diff, Member of the Executive Committee, N.U.T. Mr, Daniel Jones, Llanfihangel. The following teachers were present:—Mr D. Jenkins, Ffaldy- brenin, Mr Davies, Ram, Mr Lewis, Boys' School, Lampeter; Mrs Jones and Miss Bowen, Lampeter; Mr Lewis, Llanybyther; Mr Jones, Llangeitho; Mr. Davies, Llanddewi-brefi; Mr Thomas, New Court; Mr. Griffiths, Cribyn Mr Jones, Llanwnen; Mr Stewart, Silian; Mr Jones, Bettws; Mr. Davies, Llangybi; Mr Davies, Farmers; Miss cly Evans, Dihewid; Miss Jacob, Llanarth; Mr R. Davies, Talgarreg; Mr J. Evans, Myd- roilyn; Mr. R. E. Bevan, Llanarth; Mr S. Jones, Penybont; Mr. J. R. Davies, Aberayron; Mr H. Jones, Aberayron; Mr S. E. Davies, Llan- ddewi; Aberarth; Mr T. R. Davies, Llanon; Mr. D. Rees, Pennant; Mr W. Morgans, Cross Inn Mr. W. D. Evans, Cilcenin; Mr. J. B. Jones, Ciliau Pare; Mr J. Ll. Davies, Felinfach; Mr D. Davies, Bwlchllan. Among others present were, Mr J. M. Howell, J.P., Aberayron, Messrs D. E. Davies, Gelli, Llancrwys (chairman of Llancrwys School Board), David Jones, (chairman Llanfihan gel Ystrad School Board), Morgan Griffiths (vice- chairman), D. Watkins (secretary), D. Jones (Cribyn), D. Hughes (Rhydyfydyr), J. Davies (Dyhewid), and Lewis Jones (Ffynonddafolog), &c. The conference was a great success, thanks to the efforts of Mr. Watkins, the hon. secretary, who is deserving of the highest praise. MR. DARLINGTON'S ADDRESS. The Chairman in his opening address which was delivered in Welsh, remarked that the fact of such a meeting as the present being held was in itself a very hopeful sign of the recent growth of interest in the whole question of attendance was one of the most encouraging elements in the situation. It was high time to move in the matter; for Wales had bee l far too satisfied and inclined to rest on her oars. For years Inspectors had been calling serious attention to the subject, and to Mr. Legard was due the chief credit of taking the initiative in the matter and of getting someting done (hear, hear). It was remarkable how little was generally known of the true relative position of Wales in respect of school attendance. Her system of education had been completed, and there was a. natural tendency to suppose that because the machinery was perfect, the education itself was faultless. But while Wales had been congratulating herself on doing better than her neighbours, the fact bad been too much ignored tnat the attendance in her schools was very considerably lower than in England. The report of intermediate examiners had been a rude awakening to them in Wales these had shewn them that for some reason or other the state of education in Wales had been considerably lower than what it ought to be and side by side with the ignorance of facts went ignorance of the law. He gave instances and pointed out current mis- conceptions as to the law. He would not (he pro- ceeded) go into particulars, as that was the busi- ness of the conference, but one thing he desired to lay special emphasis upon was that in the ulti- mate resort everything depended upon puplic opin- ion-upon the enlightened co-operation of the public; and the drawback in Wales was that public opinion was not sufficiently enlightened upon this subject (applause). To quote the words of the Depart- mental Committee of 1881," there was in Wales much enthusiasm for education in singular combination with considerable ignorance of what was meant by the word." That was as true to day as it was 18 years age, though since then education had made remarkable strides. The people of Wales had known how to make sacrifices for Intermediate Schools and for Colleges, and yet they had not succeeded in grasping the elementary fact of the necessity to send their children to school regularly. How was it that public opinion in Wales was not so enlightened as it was in Scotland or in England. That was a matter of history. In Scotland they had hadlan excellent educational system for centuries whereas Wales had been almost destitute of educational opportunities until the last 30 years. Hence the absence of an educated public in Wales as compared with Scotland. Parents in Wales did not realise how much their children lost by absen- ting themselves from school one day in five, nor how much the work of the whole class suffered from the irregularity of a few of the children (applause.) The parents must be educated before one could expect to educate the children (hear, hear.) He hoped a new era was about to dawn in Wales. There were many indications that public opinion was beginning to stir, and that efforts made by lovers of education in Wales were bearing fruit, but much remained to be done and he hoped that one of the results of holding this conference would be to open the eyes of the public to the importance of making Wales better in this respect. Lately some gentlemen from London had been giving them views upon this subject (a laugh.) He had not read their speeches, but he understood that they laid special emphasis, on the fact that in reference to the matter of attendance Wales came out a bad third, as compared with England and Scotland. There was nothing new in that. Some of them in Wales had been preaching the same thing for a long time and persistently to deaf ears, but for his own part he was glad to get the help of these gentlemen and they could only welcome criticism so far as it was based upon knowledge and sympatny (near, near.) Wales had in the past learnt much from her critics, so he was ready to learn from them in the future, but he would not like to leave the impression upon anybody's mind, that he agreed that Wales was a bad third in education generally as well as in attendance, for that was far from being true (applause.). If Wales was a bad third in some matters, she was an easy first in others (renewed applause.) It had not been by merely talking about education that Wales had shown the greatness of her love towards it, but by paying for it freely and generousiy-by paying, not from her wealth, but from her poverty (applause.) They might admit readily that there was much ignor- ance in Wales concerning the true aims and truo nature of education, but they could not permit it to be said without protest that Wales fell behind either England or Scotland in her love for education. This was not easy optimism, it was not the saving fact of the situation because it was to this spirit, the spirit that created the intermediate schools, and the colleges, and the University that they must look to correct the mani- fold faults of our elementary education. They must educate public opinion upon this subject- show the people what was wrong, and the best way to remedy it; and for this reason he welcomed the holding of that conference, because it would be the means of awakening interest and of raising the tone of public opinion, and of securing the co- operation of the parents and the public in the different work that was before them. With the growth of a healthy public opinion upon the question of attendance, everythiug else would follow as a matter of course (loud applause). THE STANDARD OF EXEMPTION. Rev. T. C. Edmunds (Chairman of the School Attendance Committee for the Lampeter Union), remarked that he read the circular from Mr. Watkins with great pleasure, knowing as he did, that that gentleman had the good of the schools at heart, and he sincerely hoped that the meeting would bring forth good fruit. That was their object in meeting-that they might be able to do something. For the past 30 years he had been associated more or less with day schools, and the most vexed question at all times bad been the question of attendance. Resolution upon resolution had been passed, but so far nothing had really been done. This was a loss to the school managers, but it was a far greater loss to the children themselves (hear, hear). Why were they in Wales behind other people ? Simply because there was not sufficent pressure brought to bear upon the children to com- pel them to go to school. The fault lay, not en- tirely with the parents, although they were more or less to be blamed he thought if the school managers exercised a little more stringent authority, and brought a little more compulsion to bear on the children, the attendance would prove immensely. He moved that this meeting is of opinion that the Model Bye-Laws issued by the Education Department should be immediately adopted throughout Mid-Cardiganshire, without a half-time clause, and with standard V. or any standard above that, as a standard exemption. He added that personally he thought standard VI should be the standard of exemption (hear, hear). He thought children left school far too soon. A Standard V child, 12 months after he left schcol, had forgotten all that he had learnt, however diligent the master might have been to teach him (applause). Mr. Lloyd (Adsolwen, Llanon), in seconding, signified his preference for Standard VI or Standard VII." In his parish they experienced great difficulty in reaching Standard IV in many cases, but they were determined now to get them to Standard V., and if possible to Standard VI. The worst of it was the parents did not know what education was, not having had any themselves, and they ought to establish a school for parents (laughter) Another difficulty was that, when school managers took action, the magistrates over-ruled them. Mr. T. H. R. Hughes said that, as a member of a School Board, he could say that they had quite enough to do to keep children at school till they reached Standard IV. A man in his district some time ago was wondering where he would get work- men from-they were getting to be so educated- (laughter)--but if every parish was like Llanwenog they need entertain no fear on that score (renewed laughter). Mr. Jenkin Lloyd (Tregaron) pointed out that the first body of men they should appeal to were the magistrates, who ought to be in a position to fully appreciate the situation. Rev. E. Morris remarked that it was a big jump" from Standard IV to Stanadrd VI, they ought to be more gradual. Rev. J. M. Griffiths considered Standard VI. low enough (hear, hear). If they raised it to that standard they would undoubtedly find that the parents would be much more assiduous in their efforts to send their children to school. It was not difficult for a child of average intelligence to reach Standard VI. at a comparatively young age—say 12—and no child in the county ought to be allowed to do manual labour under that age (applause). If in order, he would move as an amendment that the standard of exemption be Standard VI. Mr. T. H. R. Hughes seconded, and upon a show of hands 35 voted for the original motion, and 31 for the amendment. Mr. Morgan Evans, J.P. (Chairman of the Llan- arth U.D. School Board) moved that a certain minimum per centage of attendances should be required annually of each child between 5 and 14 years of age, and not legally entitled to exemption from school attendance, He remarked that he had had 28 years' experience in connection with a School Board, and had noticed two special diffi- culties in carrying out the work of elementary education. The first difficulty was in making up the teaching staff, and the Government was to some extent to blame, because after saying that such and such a number was necessary, they found fault with the Boards for not appointing more (laughter). He thought, however, that the attendance of children entirely depended on the School Boards, but the difficulty here arose when they came to deal with individuals on their merits. It was mostly the" bounillLry" children that were the cause of the difficulties, but these could be avoided by the co-operation of neighbouring Boards. The best way to secure better attendance was to punish those who employed the children (hear, hear). It would be much more effective than the present mode of prosecution, which meant five shillings without costs," or no fine at all. Indeed he knew of parents who said it was far better to run the risk" (laughter), for the child earned money and could afford to pay a few crowns (applause). He expected more from co-operation all round than from anything else. Some parents were too lazy to get up to prepare breakfast for the children in time to go to school. These indifferent people ought to be roused, for such parents taught children to be indolent. If a child was not taught that he had something to do in the world he would turn out to be, if not a beggar, then next door to one (applause). Mr. Daniel Jones (Chairman of the Llanfihangel School Board), in seconding, said that he was in full sympathy with the object of the Conference, as he believed in the rising generation—" Cymru Fydd "-receiving effective education. But the children had many difficulties to contend with, such as distance from school, bad footpaths, and the indifference of parents. He thought the per- centage of attendance should be in accordance with the distance, and that new school areas should be drawn out. Illness was the chief cause of the absence of children in his district during the past month, and he suggested that Parish .9 Councils should be pressed to improve the path- ways, so as to avoid wet feet (laughter and hear, hear). Parents who broke the law without some valid excuse should be punished. Prizes should be given for good attendance, and the children should have an annual outing. He preferred moral persuasion to punishment save in exceptional cases. The ratepayers should also be reminded of the financial loss they sustained through irregular attendance (applause). MR. WILLMOTT'S SPEECH. Mr. C. E. Willmott (Cardiff), member of the Ex- ecutive Committee of the N.U.T., in supporting the resolution, said that he should prefer if a definite percentage of attendance was mentioned. There was no doubt in his mind that the most serious hindrance to the progress of education at the present day was irregular attendance. At the present time throughout England and Wales there were, roughly speaking, over one million children who were absent on each occasion that the schools were open. In London alone there were over 100,000 children absent, and the worst feature of this was that it was nearly always the same children that kept away, children of careless parents who did not trouble what became of their children. The very children that ought to be in school and properly educated drifted in to the street and made up in the end a large proportion of the criminals of the country. And yet we were supposed to have compulsory educa- tion. The Act of 1870, which made attendance compulsory, was almost a dead letter; and al- though it had been described by Sir Charles Dilke as one of the most tyrannical Acts ever passed, it was jeered at alike by parents, employers and school authority. The law in itself was perfect; it was its administration that was at fault. Allud- ing incidentally to the practice of making bye-laws, he remarked that he had bye-laws in front of him which allowed children to leave school at half time if they passed the first standard (laughter). He believed that was in Cardiganshire (a voice: next parish). He did not blame the attendance officer for the irregular attendance. He was sent round from village to village and bad to cover a large amount of ground, and was paid £5 for it (laughter) He knew he could not do the work, and the whole thing became contemptible, and the law was a perfect farce, as far as he was concerned. Sometimes he would bring a child before the School Attendance Committee, who accepted easy frivolous excuse the parents brought before them, and if a case was brought before the magistrates, many of those gentlemen would do nothing because they did not want to be unpopular amono- their neighbours, and they winked at the law° When one was fined it was only to the extent of a shilling-sometimes Ss.-and very often the fine was not collected. In Scotland the maximum was 20s. and costs, whilst in Germany, France, and Switzerland parents were imprisoned for the non- attendance of their children. In fact they had compulsory attendance on the Continent, not simply the name and the sham. The administra- tion of the law in England had brought it into contempt, and the fines inflicted were so small that the parents paid them cheerfully out of the 'earn- ings of their defaulting children. The inaction of the magistrates was totally unjustifiable (hear, hear). He also objected to their adjourning cases for long periods. He did not suppose that the magistrates were against popular education, but they did not recognise that the schools were the training ground of the nation. What was the remedy? He advopated summary convictions, and an increase in the maximum fine, and that there should be a list of legitimate excuses without which the magistrates should be bound to convict. From the latest Government returns the percentage of attendance in Scotland was given as 84.3, in England 81.6 (just where Scotland was six years ago), and Wales, 75.86, whilst Cardiganshire itself stood at 72.97. The worst of the English counties had a percentage of 74.31, so that Cardiganshire was much below the whole of Wales, much worse than the worst of the English counties, and infinitely worse than Scotland with its 84.3. But coming nearer home he found that in Mid- Cardiganshire some schools had a percentage as low as 61 and 50, and one even as low as 40. There was no earthly reason why Wales should be so far behind. The children were quite as intelligent as they were in other parts. With regard to labour certificates, he found that they were not enforced in Cardiganshire. (A Voice: Yes). In Cardiganshire there were six schools with percentages varying from 55 to 59, 16 from 60 to 64, 14 from 65 to 69. That was enough to rouse the authorities to a sense of their responsibilities. He also drew attention to the early age at which children left school, but in this respect Cardigan beat England and the whole of Wales (applause). Mr. Watkins pointed ont that in Ystrad children left school without labour certificates. The Board never asked for labour certificates. He knew of one who went out at 10. The parish of Ystrad was full of children who had left without passing the required standard, and there many other parishes in the same position. The members of the Board would not do their duty if they thought they would lose one single vote by it (applause and hear, hear). The motion was then put, and carried un- animously, FORMATION OF AN ASSOCIATION. Rev.' J. M. Griffiths agreed with Mr. Willmott that the maximum fine should be increased, he thought R5 would not be too high (hear, hear ,and a laugh). Board members were not quite blameless in this matter. Every magistrate he knew was quite as anxious to administer the law as members of the School Attendance Committees. They must remember that most of the cases brought before the magistrates were not properly prepared. It was seldom that a solicitor was engaged. He was a manager of one school in Aberayron where the average attendance for the past five months beat the whole of England, being 85 per cent. (hear, hear). In the other school in Aberayron it was • 83. It ought to be so. It was surprising to him that the people of Mid-Cardiganshire than whom there were no keener people in Wales or England did not rise to the occasion. It was a loss to the child, to the nation, and to the future. Cardigan lost in wants Z1832 a year. of the whole of Wales £ 15,255. If they did their duty they should get the average up to 90 per cent. Mr. D. Tify Jones, J.P., (Mayor of Lampeter) in seconding the resolution, remarked that it was true in this, as in other cases that in unity there was strenght. He dwelt on the advantages that must accrue from frequent meetings of the new Asssocia- tion, and went on to say that they ought to feel thankful that they had a man in the district who took such a deep interest in education as Mr. Watkins. In welcoming Mr. Willmott, he said, that there was no need for Welshmen to resent the efforts of anyone who would try to assist them in realising high educational ideas. He was not going to say a word of apology for those magis- trates who took a lenient view of what had properly been described as the crime of neglecting to send children regularly to school; but he had seen cases brought before the- magistrate in so unmethodical and slovenly a manner that no jury in the world, let alone magistrates, would convict. The least that could be asked of school attendance committees was that they should prepare the cases welL— (Applause). Rev. J. M. Griffiths expressed the hope that the new Association would take it to consideration the advisibility of forming central classes for pupil teachers, who were not properly trained and too hard-worked. Speaking on behalf of his co- workers, he said they would be willing to make a contribution.—(Hear, hear). Professor Robert Williams (Lampeter College), who was called upon by the Chairman, remarked that he did not know of any class that deserved greater support than elementary teachers, who did not receive the assistance they should.-(hear, hear). They ought to be paid better salaries, for no work was more important than theirs, and every one came more dr less under their influence. He should like to teach a class composed of magis- trates—(laughter). He advocated the formation of a County Council of Education," and in con- clusion, alluding to the formation of central classes for pupil teachers, said he should be pleased to take them in history gratuitously.—(Applause). The Chairman having said that he put great im- portance on the motion, as the chief fault at pre- sent was the absence of co-operation amongst the different school boards, it was carried unanimously and Mr. Daniel Watkins and Mr. Lewis, of the Lampeter Board School, were appointed joint sec- retaries to convene the new association, which will embrace the Lampeter, Aberayron, and Tregaron Unions. Mr. John Howell, J.P., Aberayron, in moving a vote of thanks to the Chairman, and Mr. Willmott, remarked that Mr. Darlington had proved his love for Wales by learning her language and the inter- est he took in the schools and the teachers shewed that he was eminently fitted for the post he occu- pied. They also felt grateful to Mr. Wilmott for coming to address them, and to Mr. Watkins, their disinterested and indefatigable secretary, who had commenced that successful conference, and worked for the cause, not for personal gain. Mr. Daniel Jenkins (Pentre), seconded the motion, which was carried by acclamation. The votes of thanks having been duly acknowledged the proceedings ended. For motion of an Association Rev. J. M. Griffiths, concluded by moving that the managers and teachers and others engaged in Mid-Cardigan- shire in the administration of the Elementary Education Acts, should form themselves into an association to carry into effect the resolutions already passed, and to consider other matters of common interest, and that the immediate arrange- ments be entrusted to a committee consisting of one representative from each body of school managers joining the association, and a certain proportionate number of head teachers.

Voluntary Schools.

. Child Labor.

Llanfihangel-y-Creuddyn. ,



UniDcrsitp College, ABERYSTWYTH.





The Sale of Margarine.



. Gardening Scholarships.