Thursday, 13 September 2012

School day from Yesteryear!

A windy day on literal face value! 

The Public Boarding school!

A new idea surfaced in the area of  state led Lifelong Learning promoting social mobility.  There was talk and mention of the fact some areas starting to set up State Boarding Schools.  The experiment in social engineering is not a new idea.  Looking back in history to the 1830s and 1840s  Poor Law and Public legislation  set about increasing life opportunities (using modern terminology).  The setting up of the Workhouses as a place where poor people could be housed is a stark Victorian image.  However, the next step which was not always implemented, was to provide a bad influence free environment where poor children could be prepared for a useful life. 

A school day typical of that time in local district schools in the Stow area of Suffolk was:

6.00 rise, wash, dress.
6.20 rollcall, inspection.
6.30 prayers, breakfast.
7.15-8,00 recreation in yards.
8.00-11.00   boys-gardening or carpentering, shoe making, whitewashing etc.
                     girls-make beds, scrub floors, work in laundry, kitchen.
11.00-12.00 reading from bible, hymn singing.
12.00 lunch.
12.30-2.00 recreation in yards.
2.00-4.00 reading in lesson books, writing, arithmetic, etc.
4.00-5.00 religious instruction.
5.00-6.00 singing. ,-
6.00 supper. After supper, prayers, hymns and bed.
                                                                         (From Edwin Chadwick, Poor Law and Public Health
                                                                                         by Roger Watson ISBN 0 582 20458 5)

The idea being to educate pupils even though it might not be considered fun by today's standards.  Would we be able to have a twelve day for young people?  The 3 Rs "academic" content of the day might be considered quite small with 2 hours specifically for this out of the day.  The proportion of the day devoted to practical activities and recreation as well as what we would call PSHE/RE is very high compared to the academic week in most schools now.  The practical activities of the 1840s today would be those covered by GNVQs but with more practical than today's arguably theory driven qualifications.   Your average pupil looks as though they might also have been more musicals than today's.

So after nearly 200 years have we educated the population enough that communities are able to self-regulate their life outcomes?  Can we as individuals see how the  benefits of education moves the whole society along a continuum of relative wealth? Interesting questions in the consumption driven economy of today.

More thoughts on the cost of knowledge to follow.

1 comment:

  1. Relates a little now to chaotic homes statement,