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Family Notices





THE COUNTY SCHOOLS. The meeting of the Brecon County School Governors last week was of more than ordinary interest, since a recommendation was made on a question which has long been talked about, but never, so far as the schools in Brecon are concerned, seriously tackled. It has to do with the length of stay of pupils in the Intermediate Schools. It has long been held that a great deal of the education lavished on pupils in the County Schools is absolutely wasted, and money, public and private, spent in vain unless full advantage is taken of the whole course of instruction, which should extend to, at least, three years. The Intermediate School Scheme in Wales-like all other good progressive schemes, we suppose-has come in for a very fair share of criticism, not only from the general ratepayer, but even from some expert educationists. The common complaint seems to have been that so much expenditure has been made on an elaborate education, which is, after all, said to be not altogether needful for the avocations sub- sequently pursued by the large majority of pupils. The average person's conception of education, is, of course, generally wrong. It would be a waste of time to enter into the various ideas of people as to how children should be educated. We expect such con- troversy will always obtain. No one, we suppose, is foolish enough to assert, or even think, that the education given in our Inter- mediate Schools is not of the highest value, but there is good reason for saying that unless such education is fully assimilated,^ so much time and expense has been wasted. In this one particular critics and friends of the schools appear to agree, namely, that unless pupils make a longer stay than is generally the rule at present, the full ad- vantage cannot be derived. The fault lies, if we mistake not, in the fact that the real object of the schools has never been fully understood. These schools were never in- tended for what is usually termed a finish- ing off." The very word Intermediate points to something other than that. The Schools were first of all intended to be a stepping stone to the higher education necessary for the professions, civil service, and so forth. There are many who advo- cate that the education in the schools should be more technical, or, as they say, voca- tional, that a County School in a certain locality should take into consideration the industries of the locality, and that the teaching should have a bias towards those local requirements. Granted this.-in our counties the requirements would be mainly agricultural, and special attention would be given to the subject of agriculture-theo.. retically, of course, for the boy or girl must go to the farm before any practical know- ledge could be acquired. Even then there could be no useful instruction in the theory of agriculture unless the subject was dealt with scientifically, and unless the period of the stay in school was at least a few years. It is useless to send children to these schools for six or twelve months, and it was never intended that they should be sent for so short a period. That the schools have done much to bring to the fom Welsh boys and girls cannot be gainsayed, but it is question- able whether the real object for which the schools was established is being strictly borne in rrund. Much too may be said on the somewhat inadequate support these -schools have had from the Treasury, The re- quirements of the Board of Education are many and exacting, but it has all along been evident that more funds are necessary to carry out those requirements. The Bre- con Governors, who since their formation have always been more or less worried with the financial outlook, now propose to im- prove matters by making compulsorily a longer stay for pupils. They propose enter- ing into an agreement with parents that pupils should attend school for a period of not less than three years. Provided this recommendation is adopted the tuition fee will be reduced, and the County Education Authority will be asked to sanction an ad- vantage to junior candidates in the entrance scholarship examinations. These recom- mendations are far more important than they may at first appear, for if adopted, they will certainly ensure a sounder financial stability, and a better training for the pupils, whatever their future vocation may be. This would, in our opinion, give greater satisfaction to teachers, parents and ratepayers, especially to the latter, who will feel that there will be a more certain return for the expenditure.

Notes and Notions. I

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