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EDUCATION IN DENBIGHSHIRE…

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EDUCATION IN DENBIGHSHIRE AND FLINTSHIRE. The following is the report of Mr. T. Morgan Owen, M.A., on the schools inspected by him in the counties of Denbigh and Flint, and the unions of Corwen and Conway:— I was somewhat disturbed by the instructions I received from the Education Department that it was your Lordships' desire that I should write a general report upon the educational condition of the Denbigh school district. This disturbance arose in consequence of the fact that I have been in charge of the district but one year, and also because of the heavy nature of my duties at this period of the year. During this month (November) I have about 50 departments to examine. However, thanks to the kindness of Mr. Sneyd Kyn- nersley, who favoured me with the timely help of his assistant, Mr. T. Williams, for three days, and by working late at night, I have been able to do your Lordships' bidding. "I find, upon reference to my diary, that I have travelled over 8,000 miles during the year. The word I travel' in Wales not unfrequently means bad weather, rough roads, waiting at railway stations, getting up early and returning late, and also splendid scenery, not always enjoyable, however, when a man is in a hurry, more than tired, wet or hungry. I examined about 25,000 children, attended conferences of managers, revised a batch of history papers and all the papers of the pupil-teachers conducted monthly examaninations of pupil-teachers, and the usual ones of the Normal College, Bangor (where the staff give me every help and the students no trouble), and attended to the customa^ correspondence of an inspector. "So pleased am I with the district that I would not leave it for another without experiencing much regret. The managers are kind and are an intelligent body of gentlemen, so that it is refreshing to me to exchange thoughts with them upon the natur tof ourmutual work an (upon othe op C eacner ;ar wjth some exceptions, super.o 1 xly Fou < them are undergraduates of the Un.ers,ty o Dublin they are Messrs. Thomas (Bagillt Nationa School), Thomas (Dolwyddelen National School), Pritchard (Penmachno National School), Morris (Towyn National School .my present assistant), and I am informed that about half a dozen are about to matriculate at the same un.wers.ty. I hope to have the pleasure of chronicling their names in my next report. Of course, this means self-denial, patient industry, and strict economy. The pupil- teachers, upon the whole, are clean, respectable, healthy, and intelligent looking. The children are bright and hardy, many of them, perhaps, are descendants of the warriors who retired to the mountain fastnesses of Wales rather than endure the Saxon yoke. And so in- terested are the common people in learning' that even the poor old man who broke stones on the roadside has stopped his uplifted hammer to remark, How have they done, sir ?' referring to the children of a school I had just left. Then, as to scenery, I have only to men- tion such names as Bettws-y-coed, Moel Siabod, Con- way, Llangollen, and the vale of the Dee, in order to conjure up a list of pleasant recollections. As far as one visit to the schools of the Denbigh district will enable me to form an opinion, I believe they will in time attain to as high a state of efficiency as those of any school district in the kingdom. "This belief is founded upon the fact that the children are certainly bright and, where proper care is taken of them, plodding also, and also upon the hope that managers will do all they can to supply their schools with a proper staff and plenty of suitable apparatus, and see to the regular attendance of scholars. Moreover I take into consideration the high state of efficiency attained in those schools where these matters are attended to. "Very few of the gentry, though many of them are nominal managers, appear to me to take an interest in school work. I see their names attached to school papers, but they very rarely visit the schools. I have read log-book after log-book, but I have searched in vain for an entry which would inform me of the gratifying fact that the squire or some other leading parishioner had helped the rector or a prominent member of a school board in the real duties of a school manager. Equally fruitless is the search for the names of those ladies who miirlit form themselves into committees for the instruction and encouragement of girls in their work. But as I have already remarked I live in the expectation of a better time coming," when the bright example of the few + will influence the many. My experience leads me to the conclusion that the success of a school depends almost entirely upon the ability and uprightness of the head teachers. It does not signify how grand the buildings may be, how high the school rate, nor how attentive managers may be, or what views they may hold unless they have the help of good teachers, the result is but a poor one. For instance, a school in the Vale of Clwyd was once a good one the building and the managers are still the same, but the school is now one of the worst in the dis- trict. Why ? because the master left, and the self-same master is now the chief of one of the best of the schools in the district. I mention this fact to allay the burning zeal of those who pin their faith to a particular style of architecture, or to certain dogmatic views, as though bare walls or dry principles could inspire a school system. This observation of mine is backed up by the follow- ing list of the most succebsful schools, as regards results and moral tone, in my inspectorate. I give the names of all concerned in them upon the principle that the names of those who do good are worthy of publicity. The schools conducted by males are mentioned first, and those conducted by females immediately follow. It will be seen that the school board and the three aspects of the voluntary system are represented upon this table :— Name of Schools. Head Teachers. (3) Connah's Quay, National Mr. Leonard Woodcock. Rev. T. Williams. Melinda Woodcock, Martha Mixed School. Snelson, John Hodgkinson (2) Pen-y-gelli, Board, Boys' Mr. Griffith, J. Jones. T. Bury, Esq. (Clerk). Hugh Jones, Ebenezer Department. Morris. (1) Wrexham British, Boys' Mr. Alexander Fyfe. Charles Hughes, Esq. Ch Irles Dodd, Jnmes Fyfe, Department. William Jennings. (1) Abergele,National, Girls' Miss Emily Harding. Mrs. Bamford IIebketh, .—— Department. (2) Holywell Roman Catho Miss Mary E. Straker. Rer. J. Baron (deceased). Mary Savin, Mary Hollo- lic Mixed School. way. (3) Wroxham, Briti-h, Girls' Nli.,s Jane Jones. Charles Hughes, E, (I. Alice Fyfe (part of year). Department. Since I have come into the district two large and im- portant board schools and some small ones have been opened, but not inspected. The large ones are Bistre and Bagillt board schools. Much zeal and temper have, unfortunately, been expended in the past over the vexed question of the respective merits of board and voluntary schools. I have heard people wax exceed- ingly wrath while discussing this question. These are honest people in their way, and must never be con- founded with those who, from political or other selfish motives, pronounce the shibboleth that will best excite the passions of those they are anxious to beguile to further their own ends. With such as these, the indis- criminate cry of 'board schools for Wales' is merely the means to an end, and they are insensible to the heart-burnings and local feuds that it arouses. But, as far as my district is concerned, it gives me great pleasure to be able to state that there is at present no silly and mischievous rivalry between the promoters and sup- porters of board or voluntary schools. And on some rds, as is but right, the clergyman and the minister ,.xdially unite to further the good cause of education. In evidence of this fact I may mention that the rate- payers of the important parish of Northop, having failed to see their way to enlarge its existing schools by sub- scriptions or other voluntary means, met in an amicable manner and decided upon having a school board, and they afterwards avoided the unutterable annoyance that now and again appears to be a necessary consequence of a school board sontest, by electing in the most friendly manner, certain representative gentlemen from among tiiemselves to constitute the school board. I venture to louk upon this friendly and common-sense proceed- ing as a good sign for the future educational welfare of that parish, and also as an index to the spirit that animates the true friends of education in the district of Denbigh and Flint. "There are certain portions of this district which we,re,itirely beyond the control of voluntary effort, and these districts are deeply indebted to the school board tem for the education of their children. And this is, o I take it, the true object of the Elementary Unfortunately Mr. Thomas died shortly after my report WAo written. t Oie gentleman volunteer, Stephen Rouse, Esq., of Rhyl, bjL- for some years devoted a portion of his time to school work; one lady walks six miles every week to attend her sewing class, and nothing but illness prevents her attendance. Mrs. Bamford Hesketh is an exemplary school manager, and the school buildings erected by her husband are excellent ones. Miss Jones. of Cynwyd, Miss Darbishire, Mrs. Williams Wynn, Miss Xex-Blake, and H. R. Sandbach, Esq,, also interest themselves in their respective schools. Eby, National Schools have .an Attendive ladies' committee. j Education Act of 1870, and not the cuckoo-like spirit that would occupy ground already occupied and thrust forth those who had for years been working in a quiet and unostentatious manner. School board rates have, happily, come upon those who were wont to subscribe but niggardly, if at all, towards the education of the masses. I say happily' advisedly, because the majority of people capable of paying towards the support of schools are indebted to our national system of education for the protection of their property; therefore, having declined to give voluntary support to these schools, it is but meet that they should be compelled to do so by the law of the land. "It not unfrequently happens in this district that parents who support board schools with their rates send their children, from conscientious or other motives, to British, National, or Roman Catholic schools. In such cases it would seem that the particular school utilised by the parents, and not the board school was entitled to their rates. Wrexham has a schoo board and no board scnook I do not know that this system is a success, e:;cept that it listens to the report of its attendance officer at stated periods, and is thus able to force upon the attention of negligent parents the fact that they are compelled to send their children to school. As far as I can learn, this board has not been so cruel as to send poor people to prison or to put them into—a Welshman's horror— the county court, in consequence of the infringement of its bye-laws. "As a rule I find that managers of voluntary schools are more alive to the responsibility of their position than members of school boards. This is not surprising when it is borne in mind that the latter are not unfrequently elected, not in consequence of a peculiar fitness for their trying work, but owing to worldy position, or political, or religious, or other views. Other pressing duties occupy the greater part of their attention, and they are forced to delegate their school duties to a clerk, and he too has, fortunately for him, other irons in the fire. "Unless a man has a real love and an aptitude for this work it would be better for him, and much better for the school, not to allow himself to be elected, for the office is sometives what may be termed a thankless one, and hence the necessity that its holder should be supported by a genuine regard for its duties. "It would be well for all managers to visit their schools now and again, and to see to the registration, and not merely to send for the registers, &c., at stated periods. During such a visit they will be able to see for themselves that things are going on aright, and they will have an opportunity of becoming practically acquainted with the work of a school and of encouraging the teachers. As a rule time-tables are drawn up in a careless manner. Not unfrequently I have been requested to sign time-tables written upon dirty bits of paper in a scrawling hand. I have always declined to affix my name to such unseemly productions, and I have pointed out to their authors the advisability of paying great at- tention to the mere manual part of time-tables, inas- much as they are ever before the eyes of the children as the handiwork of their teachers, and that consequently they cannot but influence their habits. Several time- tables have been drawn up in an able manner as far as organization goes, and also as specimens of careful arrangement and good penmanship. I may be excused if I mention that of Mr. Evan Williams (Brynteg Board School). This is altogether ignored by the managers of schools in my district. The only school that attempted it was the Brynteg Board School. The Code permits the attendance of boys at military drill under a competent instructor, approved by the inspector, for 40 hours in the year in the place of school attendance for that time. I am of opinion that such exercises are calculated to sharpen lads and help the organization and methodi- cal arrangements of a school. I am surprised that the managers of Wrexham and of other town schools have not availed themselves of this Article (24) of the Code. "The teachers in my district do not appear to attach much importance to evening classes. There were but seven examined during the past year. More or less evidence of painstaking was apparent in each of these classes. The scholars of Pont Blyddyn evening schoo? were the best behaved and the neatest in appearance. Those who attended the evening class in connection with the Board School of Capel Garmon deserve praise for their efforts. This school is situated in an out of the way locality, consequently those who attended its evening class must have done so at considerable incon- venience. "I should be glad if evening classes were attached to every school of any size in the district, because I am certain that if carefully and thoroughly conducted much good is done by such educational efforts. Many teachers assert that they are too tired after the labours of the day school to undergo the additional task of conducting an evening class. I can readily believe that teachers who are conscientious in the performance of their duty are too tired to do such work. Besides, very many teachers take their pupil teachers each evening in winter, consequently in such cases an evening class is altogether out of the question. "I would suggest that assistants should conduct such classes. And I would also most strongly recommend school managers and other friends of elementary educa- tion to take a part in this important work. A willing band of workers under the guidance of the teachers might attend the school in turn, and thus easily do a work which would be a burden for one. I believe I am correct in stating that there is scarcely a parish in the country that does not contain one or more individuals who could if they would do much national good in this way. I am sanguine and imaginative enough to assert with positive assurance that even one helping hand stretched forth to grasp that of a young man who is anxious to get on with his books may, like the midnight spark that warns the lost traveller of the vicinity of the precipice, unwittingly bring about much good and also prevent much evil.* "I regret I am unable to write in favourable terms of the attainments of the infants of my district. Wrexham is in sad need of an infant school. It is the largest, the wealthiest, and the most important town in my district; and, notwithstanding this fact, there is not an infant school in the town. The infants are scattered about in its various mixed schools. Naturally the teachers of these schools pay more attention to the standard children. The infants of the Free schools, of the National (boys) school, and of the British schools are taught in the rooms occupied by standard children. These infants are simply in the way of and an obstruc- tion to the other children. This state of things should not be permitted to exist. A large infant school should be provided. This important matter might be easily arranged if the townspeople and those of their immediate vicinity were to join together to help the vicar to carry out his intention to erect new and commodious buildings in a convenient part of the town, to take a place of those situated in the Beast Market Square, and which officially speaking, have been in a state of jeopardy for some time. "In the following mixed departments the infants were taught in a more or less creditable manner :— Eyton. National School. Gresford (girls), National School. Gwernymyndd, National School. Holywell, Roman Catholic School. Lime Bank, Roman Catholic School. Llansrernieu, Church of England School. Llauraintffraid Glin Conway, National School. Llitnrwst (girls), Board School. Khosymedre (firls and boys), National School. Rosset, National School. Wepre, St. Mark's, Connah's Quay, National School. Wrexham (girl?), British School. In several of the other schools in the district the infants were fairly well taught, but in the greater number they were more or less neglected. However, I live in the hope of being able to report very differently upon them when I am next called upon by your lordships to give an account of my stewardship. "These subjects have been taken by far the major part of the schools. In many instances they are well and carefully taught. I take this opportunity of ex- pressing my gratification at the instructions that were issued by the Education Department which severed the connexion between the two subjects taught in a school, for it now and again happened that a school did very well in geography but poorly in grammar, or vice verm; and it seemed to me to be a hardship that such a school was not pecuniarily benefited for its qualification in the one subject. And I took the liberty of remarking to your Lordships that such and such schools deserved a grant for geography or grammar or history or needle- work, as the case might have been, but not the whole grant of 4s. upon the average attendance of children above seven years of age. I might here point out the method I have adopted, in pursuance with the instructions of the Code, in test- ing the class subjects of a school. The grammar is written upon slates or paper. Standard II. has to write down the nouns in the passage given as dictation, and, if possible, to distinguish between them. They are rarely able to do the latter. Standard III. has to point out the nouns, verbs, and adjectives in their piece of dictation. The other Standards have sentences to parse, and V. and VI. to analyse also. By this means I am able to effect a saving of time, and also prevent restlessness and the inclination to gaze about the room or to look upon the work of a neighbour. Both history and geography are tested by word of mouth. I arrange the children in the form of a semi- circle, and give a question to each in rotation, and put down the number of answers made each round. By this means I am enabled to go thoroughly into the matter, for a short space of time allows me to ask from 50 to 100 questions, whereas it would take the children an hour to answer some half-dozen questions upon paper. I then test their map knowledge. By multiply- ing the number present in the class by the number of rounds and subtracting the number of answers from the product, I am able to arrive at a safe conclusion as to their knowledge of the subject. For example if a class contains 10 children, and I give them six rounds of questions, and I receive seven answers the first round, then six, then eight, then five, then nine and'lastly four? (10x6)— and the result is that one- half have passed and I have ten answers into the bar- gain. I feel sure that this is a safer test than a show of hands, for it has been my misfortune to meet with a child who held up the hand hut who did not know the answer to the question I had given. If the children were examined one by one, then the examination is an individual and not a class one. Moreover, I have been taught by experience that my method brightens up a class and promotes emulation. I should add that now and again I give a few test questions to a class, and in this case I ask for a show of hands. I put these questions in order to ascertain if the teacher has gone beyond the usual routine work, and also to test the thinking qualities of the class. I beg to suggest that specific subjects should be allowed to be tauglit in night schools, and payment for results granted. I should also recommend the recognition of a class of 5 or 10, I provided that they take a specific subject which has some connexion with the wants of the locality to wit, agricultural science ia rural, and chemiiiry in mining districts. science inEural, and chemiiiry in mining districts. I most strongly deprecate the continual use of books as home lesson or school work. What I wish to I urge upon teachers is the great importance of getting up the subject thoroughly themselves, and the urgent need of imparting their own knowledge in an intelligent and easy way to their pupils. In a few schools, but not in several, I am glad to state, I have found that young children have been obliged to get up by heart page after page of a text-book but when I put a simple question to them they stared at me in blank astonish- ment, as though I had addressed them in an unknown tongue. Upon appealing to the master he might ejaculate, 'Oh, but they know the íbook, And upon giving them the first word the poor little things would rattle away until they lost their breath through the rapidity of their utterance. Such treatment as this is a positive cruelty, and managers of schools would do well to see that it is not indulged in. As far as I am concerned this performance is a profitless one, because I should be robbing the public purse in a most unrighteous inauner j recommend a gran '.for the subject, I will not reinars so unintelligently taught but so wilfully abused. "In my ordinary reports upon schools I try to impress upon managers and teachers the nee to encouraging the thinking qualities of children. To show the neces- sity of so doing, I may state that in answer to the question, What is the feminine of heir ?' I received as replies, 'rabbit,' 'wind,' 'hares,' And I was told that the plural of 'knife' was 'fork.' I might give other instances, all pointing to the importance and the need of intelligent teaching. "Very few schools take any specific subject. The favourite one is 'literature.' This subject I examine thus each child's memory is tested with two trials of a piece selected. I repeat a few of the words and they repeat a few lines. I then ask about six questions as to the meaning of words and phrases and certain allusions. This is followed by their writing out a simple letter on the subject which will best enable them to express themselves in their own words. Welsh children have great difficulty in so expressing themselves, because to a great many of them it is simply a matter of transla- tion. The following is the answer given by a boy of Standard IV. to the question What do you eat?' eat potatoes and bread and onens (onions) and pipkle capetch (pickle cabbage^ansl carrets (carrots) and turmaphs (turnips) plun bodden (plum pudding) and herings (herrings) and fishes (fish) buns likeks (light cakes) and we drink water.' It is to be hoped, for his stomach's sake, that the little fellow did not indulge in this awful array of ediblies at the same meal. His composition will doubtless interest the queer people who go for phonetic spelling. Strange to relate, he passed in a very creditable manner in the three R's, in the class subjects, and also in physical geography and 'literature;' but as soon as he was obliged to leave the beaten track and journey on his own account, he lost his head. If the repetition is well known, and four correct answers are given to my questions, together with a fair result in the composition, a pass follows. The other specific subjects are examined by me on paper. French was taken in one school only (Denbigh National, boys). "Not above two or thres schools have done badly in reading, writing, and arithmetic, the greater number are above fair; the rest uood or very good. The arithmetic is dictated, but before the sums are given out, the Standards are intermingled one sum right and another almost so, together with a notion of a third sum, constitutes a "pass." I always contrive to have the whole school working at once, even when I am alone and, in order to do so, only part of each subject is given to each standard at once. I need not enter into particulars, but simply remark that I find this method conducive to steady work and good conduct, and the absence of restlessness during the examination. "The piece I have approved of for repetition with reading in Standards V. and VI. is The Traveller. When schools select different pieces it will be difficult to judge of their relative merits, but this difficulty vanishes when all have to repeat the same piece. Not long ago some of the London press was much concerned about pupil-teachers, their work, their health, their studies, in a word, their whole being was the subject of various letters and some leaders. I think the words namby-pamby best describe in part the tone of this discussion, inasmuch as outsiders were led by these lachrymose letters and ill-informed leaders to suppose that pupil-teachers were a delicate, over- worked, and very ill-instructed set of boys and girls. On the contrary, my experience tells me that, upon the whole, they are healthy, not over-worked, and fairly well up in their work. In the good old times pupil- teachers have had to light the fires, clean the windows, sweep the floor, and dust the things, attend early service each day, and one evening service each week, the singing practice, Sunday school twice, services, and sing in the choir on Sunday (the preceding were not in the" bond "), teach in day school, receive instruction, and get up their own work too. All this has been done, and the doers are still alive to tell the tale, and are, some will say, all the better for having been kept out of mischief and taught the benefits of a system. How- ever, in these "effeminate" days this "system" will not do. I conduct these examinations in person. Not un- frequently I have been obliged to fix two examinations for the same month, and when this happened the one examination was superintended by my assistant. This is in consequence of the bad arrangement of the schools of the district as regards their position to a com- mon centre. For instance, the examination of schools in the unions of Wrexham and Lianrwst takes place in the same month. The inconvenience of such an arrange- ment is too apparent to need any remarks of mine. I cannot, however, permit this opportunity to pass by without expressing my gratification for your Lordships' permission to put an end to this inconvenient state of things. The whole of the time is devoted by the pupil- teachers to their paper work. I do not take them in reading nor in repetion, nor do I examine the needle- work of the female pupils at this examination. Were I to do so I should be doing them an injustice, because I should be diverting their attention from their paper work in an individual and also in a collective sense." "These subjects I always take after the examination of the schools to which the respective pupil-teachers belong. On these occasions, where ever practicable, I assemble together the teachers of several schools. I do this in order to create a spirit of emulation amongst them. Upon these occasions I point out to the masters or mistresses of each school and to the pupil-teachers of the same, the merits and also the demerits of the papers of the latter. And I read aloud the nature of the marks they have obtained for each subject. This method entails upon me much more additional labour, but I am more than rewarded by its success. I also point out their errors and give them a few words of advice as to their work during the coming year." I beg to lay hold or this opportunity to offer the teachers of my district a little counsel. Do all you can to raise the attainments of your pupil-teachers. In summer give them lessons before breakfast, in winter after tea. By this arrangement these lessons will not, interfere with school work. Each week give them a written examination, I mean a home examination; write out a list of questions, and let these questions be answered either on Friday evening or on Saturday, and their answers could be looked over and discussed instead of lessons on the following Monday. Advise your teachers not to consult books unless absolutely necessary. Under such circumstances such a search for information is praiseworthy rather than blameable. Every two months give them a regular examination, after the model of the Government one, in your presence. During lessons you should sit with them, and not merely give them work to do the lesson hour is an hour for explana- tion and instruction, and not a mere matter of private study Welsh girls and boys need plenty of opportuni- ties for composition, and the subjects of such composi- tions should be such as to compel them to use their own words, and not string together words or phrases of a stereotyped character. "It would be a praiseworthy act, and one calculated to do pupil teachers much good if teachers pointed out for their perusal, not study, portions of Gibbon's Decline and Fall, Freeman's Norman Conquest, Froude's Tudor Period, Macaulay's History and Essays. I suggest this in order to encourage a taste for reading, and to arouse individual reflection and meditation. To this end a good novel is advisable, such as Scott's Ivanhoe, Waverley, The Talisman, The Bethrothed, Kenilworth; Lytton's Harold, Last of the Barons; Disraeli's Two Nations, &c. I mention these novels for two reasons, (1) they treat of different periods of the British nations, and (2) they are calculated to excite a spirit of inquiry and kindle noble resolves. I think newspapers should be avoided until they had left the training college. "I think too that no large staff of pupil-teachers should be without Todd's Student's Manual. On the whole, the moral tone of the school is highly satisfactory. Whenever I meet managers I always ask them what they do to bring up their children in habits of punctuality, of good manners and language, of clean- liness and neatness, and also to impress upon the children the importance of cheerful obedience to duty, of consideration and respect for others, and of honour and truthfulness in word and act.' A few managers were not able to answer the question one thought fit to become excited over it, and replied that he did not bother himself with that sort of thing, as he left all to the schoolmaster. But the majority of managers ap- peared to me to be fully alive to this most important requirement of the Code. I should however, exclude from this list the members of two school boards, inas- much as they did not enter their schools during the course of the year, and so left that sort of thing' to the teachers, who were, I am happy to state, quite able to cope with the 'thing.' Certain board schools were unrepresented by members or clerks on the day of their examination, consequently I am unable to report what they do to fulfil the obligations of this artice of the Code. I may here state that the clerks, especially those of the Ruabon, Holywell, Ruthin, and Denbigh school boards (Messrs, J. Denbigh Jones, E. M. Evans, Ezra Roberts, and R. Humphreys Roberts), are ever ready to give me every information in their power on this or any other question connected with the schools they represent. As far as the teachers are concerned I can safely assert that a more reliable body of teachers cannot be found in any district, and that they do all they can to carry out in the spirit and the letter these most essential and necessary requirements. And when we consider what their duties are when we bear in mind the fact that in their hands the instruction of the masses of society, and not only so, but that they have to mould the minds of the little ones committed to their charge by precept, example, praise, and correction, and often to counteract pernicious influences at home or abroad, then we cannot but conclude that in every sense of the word responsible, their work is responsible. An illus- ). trious statesman has observed that the future of our country is in the hands of the working classes; he might have added that the future of the working classes is in the hands of the teachers and managers of our elementary schools, and that the non-existence of com- munist, socialistic, and nihilist communities in our land, and the absence such names as those of Hoedel, Nobiling, Moncasi, Passanante, and Solovieff, from our criminal calendar, is in the main owing to the admirable tone of those schools which your lordships control. "I have been so pressed for time with other official j work that I have been able to pay but very few un- announced visits to schools. I regret this, as I should much like to have sufficient leisure to pay a considerable number of such visits. Perhaps your lordships will kindly favour me, after a time, with the help of another assistant. So far I have been kept on the run with my work. A man may be able to be under high pressure for some years in comparative safety, but the position is not a desirable one. Since I came into the district it has been enlarged by the addition of the Conway Union, and new schools are being opened within it time after time. Should I not need the con- tinual help of a second assistant ? No doubt his occasional help would be gladly welcomed in adjoining districts. "For some time I have endeavoured to excite the sympathy of the influential to forward the interests of the best boys in my district. And, I am happy in being able to report that as far as two boys are concerned, my efforts appear to have much prospect of success. The Rev. Lewis Lloyd, Principal of Christ College, Brecon, has bestowed upon these lads exhibitions of the annual value o f £10 10s. should be only too glad if I could only see my way to send the two best boys in the district every year to this college or to a similarly high-toned institution. I trust that the boys who have gone there are but pioneers, and that the venerable head-master, Mr. Alex. Fyfe, of Wrexham British School, will have occasion to congratulate his late pupils at some future period upon their university success. I should be wanting in gratitude if I did not allude to the, many acts of kindness and of help that I have received from almost every one connected with the educational machinery of the district of Denbigh and Flint and I beg to express the hope that, as in the past so in the future, we may, hand in hand, do all we can to perfect that machinery."

DENBIGHSHIRE.

FLINTSHIRE.I

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