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Mr. E. Powell on Congregational…

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Pressure in County Schools.


Pressure in County Schools. RESTIVE TEACHERS. The Welsh intermediate system of educa- tion will shortly attain its majority. Dur- ing the time the system has been in exist- ence the Central Welsh Board has exer- cised a distinctly beneficial influence over the schools under its control. Complaints have, however, from time to time been made oi the unduly high standard exacted by the Board in its examinations, and it is a fact, perhaps not sufficiently appreciated by the public at large, that the excellent results achieved by the Welsh secondary schools in recent years have often been ob- tained at the expense of a serious break- down in health on the part of teachers and pupils. That the Central Welsh Board feels some uneasiness in the matter is evident- from the report presented at its recent half- yearly meeting. According to this report, the Board were glad to see signs of a ten- dency to lessen over-pressure in the case of those pupils in the schools to whom se- vere and prolonged study might prove in- jurious. If (writes a correspondent) the Board is in earnest in its endeavours to lessen over-pressure in the schools, some means will have to be adopted of revising the present methods of reporting upon the work done at the annual examinations. Particular exception is just now being taken to a method which the Board has adopted of stimulating the schools to still further efforts at th'e annual examinations. This takes the form of a letter in the fol- lowing terms from the clerk of the Central Welsh Board to the governors and head masters of the County Schools:—"I am directed to state that the Board will expect better results in the annual examinations of 1910 at County School." This form of report upon the work done at the written examinations held in July last year seems to have been quite unjus- tified in a number of cases, ami lays itself open to grave criticism. It means one of two things-either that the Board is not satisfied with the total number of candi- dates presented for certificates from any particular school, or that the number of certificates gained does not bear a suffi- ciently high ratio to the number of candi- dates presented. If the former, then the Board lays itself open to the suspicion of desiring to profit from the fees which would be derived from additional candidates for certificates; if the latter, temptation i", 1 ■« placed in the way of head masters to pre- sent for examination only picked candi- dates whose chances of success are con- sidered good, and to withhold from exam- ination all those whose chances of passing are considered doubtful, but. who would profit by the experience when they sat at the following year's examinations. From a discussion of the subject with several head masters of Welsh Secondary Schools, I find that the report to which exception is taken has been sent to schools where the Central Welsh Board's own Tri- ennial Inspection Report upon the work of the schools concerned, and which had only just previously been received, was in every respect satisfactory where the number of pupils presented for examination last year exceeded 4U per cent, of the number of pupils in atendance and where the percen- tage of actual certificates gained was higher than the average for the" whole of Wales In some cases, Mr O. M. Edwards, Chief Inspector of the Welsh Department of the Board of Education^ has expressed himself as being quite satisfied with the work of certain schools to which the Central Welsh Board has sent its unfavourable Teport. The Central Board's action has been much resented by school governors and head • masters throughout Wales, and the subject, is to engage the immediate attention of the Association of Head Masters, who regard the Board's action as unfair and harassing.